HONDA ELEMENT CAMPER VAN CONVERSION
I've now been living full time out of this Honda Element camper since February of 2016! It's a 2003 Element DX with AWD. I bought it used in 2014 with 76k miles on it. At the time of writing this article (April 2018), it has nearly 160k miles! Let's take a more detailed look at the camper conversion.
The exterior is mostly stock, aside from the OEM style roof rack that I added and the rain guards on the front windows. The roof rack holds a 100 watt rigid Renogy solar panel and my surfboard. I mounted the panel with a makeshift metal rack using supplies I bought at Home Depot for less than $50. Folks often ask if I worry about the surfboard getting stolen. I have it secured using Kanulock stainless steel locking straps. They are very difficult to get off without the key, so they certainly help to ease any worry.
Inside the toaster, I removed the rear seats and built a custom camper conversion with help of my grandfather. There's a cabinet system, tri-fold seat that becomes a bed, sink area, fridge + extended counter space, desk setup, and fully functional 12 volt solar system.
Unfortunately, I only have the one picture (shown in below thumbnail) from when we were building the camper conversion. We assembled the bed support using 2x4s and then built the cabinet/ sink system and tri-fold seat on top of it. The seat/ bed is built using three 24" x 34" pieces of plywood. The plywood is connected via piano hinges so that it can fold from "seat mode" to "bed mode" with ease.
The bed uses two moveable supports which I can easily setup at night before going to sleep. It features a very comfortable foam tri-fold mattress. Check out this older video that discusses the build process for more detail.
The solar system features the 100 Watt panel on the roof, a 100AH AGM deep cycle battery, and a Renogy Wanderer charge controller. I do not run an AC inverter. It is a simple setup, but works extremely well to keep the Dometic CF-018 12v fridge running 24/7. Even through a stretch of cloudy days, the battery is the perfect size for keeping my power supply going. I have special 12v adapters to keep my laptop, camera batteries, and drone fully charged.
I recently added the extended counter space above the fridge so that I can cook inside the Element. I prefer to cook outside on the lift gate, but if it's cold, dark, or rainy, I now have the option to cook inside as well.
Other new additions to the camper conversion are my Big Kahuna 12v portable shower and my new "office mode" in the front seat area. The desk is incredibly sturdy and comfortable, making for a nice work station while I'm out on the road.
Be sure to check out Element Van Life for more information about the camper van and to follow along on my adventures across North America!