Turning your new car into a camper is easier than you would think, when you have the right car and it should only cost you about $40. Here's a quick step by step guide on how to do it. All you need is:
1 sheet of plywood
2 8ft long 2X4 beams
3 8ft 1X2 beams
A box of 2 1/2 in screws
A wood cutting device of some sort
A screwing device (preferably electric)
The first thing you are going to want to do is take out those back seats, you're going to want all the space you can get. Once you've done that you will have a better idea of how much space you have to work with. Measure up that space and cut your plywood sheet to size and slip it on in there just to make sure it fits.
Once you know it fits perfectly, cut about 30cm (12 inches) off one end. This will later be re attached using hinges allowing you easier access to the stuff stored under the bed at the back of the car (In smaller cars you may need to cut a chunk off the front end so that you can add hinges to allow it to fold back so the seats can be returned to driving position).
Now you need to strengthen your base by screwing some 1in X 2in wood along the edges and across the middle.
Now it's time for the legs, the most important part. Before you cut the legs you need to work out how high you want the bed to be. It needs to be high enough to get your storage boxes in and out, but at the same time, low enough for you to be able to sit up as straight as possible when you are in bed. Normally 30cm (12 in) legs will be sufficient for most storage boxes whilst giving optimum headroom. Don't forget to include the wooden supports in your calculations. They will knock a few centimeters of clearance off the legs.
You will want more legs attached where you get in and out because this is where it will need to support most of your weight. Get the legs as tight into the corners as possible. You will want a minimum of 2 screws in each leg coming down through the plywood. One through the side from the skirt won't hurt either
Next you just need to attach the 'headboard' flap with a couple of hinges. You don't really need to strengthen this bit as it's only for your head. You could attach legs to the sides if you wanted, but I tend to just have one unattached leg to put in the middle as support, or in this case I built a spice rack and pull out BBQ shelf which held up the head board.
This whole process can be changed to any sized car, as I said earlier if the car is on the smaller side you may need to make the base in three hinged segments. Here is the frame I made for our '92 Ford Festiva, the bed is the same design as the one we used in our old Festiva that we drove across America in.
This was a lot more complicated due to the shape of the car. Most of the foot board had to be cut in place using a jigsaw to cut around the steering wheel and to bring the corners in so that they would fold back past the seat belts and also the narrower roof, but it is possible!
So there you have it folks, for less than $40 you can convert your car into a camper. Size doesn't matter, as long as you can get those front seats flat. Have some fun with it and style it out as you go, there's a road trip waiting for you...