Many adventurers make the mistake of thinking they must have a van to live the van life. However, car camping was around long before #VanLife and some vehicles are better suited than others. For instance, we’ve found some Honda Element camper conversions that we think you should see. Seriously, these camper conversions have just about everything you could need to live the nomadic life comfortably.
Today, we’re sharing five of our favorite Honda Element camper conversions. Whether you have a Honda Element or are looking for inspiration, check out these vehicles!
What Is a Honda Element?
The Honda Element is a compact SUV produced by Honda from 2003 to 2011. It’s a practical and versatile vehicle that can accommodate a variety of lifestyles and uses. While it was discontinued after several years of declining sales, the Element holds a special place in the hearts of its fans. Rumors of a new Honda Element coming out surfaced in 2021, 2022, and 2023, but they all turned out to be just hearsay.
The car was known for its unique boxy shape and rear-hinged-style doors, providing easy access to the rear seats. It was also notable for its spacious interior and massive cargo area. It could easily fit some larger or bulkier items compared to other vehicles. The seats fold up to the sides or remove completely to create one of the most useable and versatile spaces of any vehicle.
The Honda Element was offered in front-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations and powered by a four-cylinder engine. It was popular among outdoor enthusiasts, who appreciated its rugged build and practical features, like a washable floor and water-resistant seats.
Overall, the Honda Element was a well-regarded and popular vehicle during its production run and has developed a dedicated following among fans of compact SUVs and outdoor adventure vehicles.
What Makes the Honda Element Good for Camper Conversions?
The Honda Element is a popular choice for camper conversions due to its unique design, spacious interior, and practical features. The roomy interior makes it perfect for setting up sleeping mats or cots and using as an instant car camper. Taller individuals who typically struggle with leg room and head height don’t have to worry. In addition, it provides plenty of space for gear and equipment for your adventures.
One of the standout features is also its flat floor. It’s easy to use the backspace as a flat sleeping area. Many other vehicles require the individual to make modifications to sleep comfortably, but the Honda Element makes it easy. In addition, there’s no carpeting inside, which means it’s easy to clean, and you don’t have to worry about moisture. So you can travel comfortably and keep it clean.
The last Honda Element rolled off the manufacturing lot in 2011. That means most of these vehicles are over 12 years old and likely have over 100,000 miles on them. However, that means you’ll likely be able to get a great deal on them. You can find most of these cars for $10,000 or under, depending on the car and how many miles are on it.
What Are the Pros of a Honda Element Camper?
You should consider the Honda Element for your camper conversion for several reasons. First of all, they’re incredibly spacious, reliable, and affordable. Its rugged design not only means it can handle whatever adventures you throw its way, but it will last an incredibly long time. Many drivers easily hit over 150,000 miles in these without missing a beat.
Additionally, they’re insanely easy to clean. The vehicle has no carpet, so you don’t have to worry about getting dirt and sand stuck in your carpet. You can remove the rubber floor mats to wash them and blow out the vehicle with an air compressor.
The final reason to consider the Honda Element is its fuel economy. If you’ve stopped to fill up your vehicle lately, it was likely not the highlight of your day. However, unlike larger vehicles and campers, the Honda Element typically gets between 20 and 25 miles per gallon on the highway. Considering most of these vehicles have a 15-gallon tank, you can expect to go over 300 miles on a single gas tank.
What Are the Cons of a Honda Element Camper?
While the Honda Element can be an incredible camper conversion, it’s far from perfect. It’s roomy, but there’s nowhere near enough height to stand up inside. While this might not always be a problem, it can make for some long days when the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Additionally, while the rear is great for a bed, there’s little room for anything else. Depending on the people, you may even struggle to have more than one person comfortably in the back. While you can attach a roof-mounted tent, these can reduce your mobility since you’ll have to take it down and set it up each time.
We talked about getting them for cheap as a pro, but you have to consider that it likely means high miles. While these vehicles can easily go over 100,000 miles, they can be like ticking time bombs for drivers. You never know when something is going to go wrong with them. In addition, they’re no longer in production. Finding a replacement part may not be easy or possible, depending on the part.
Pro Tip: Use our guide on How to Turn Your Vehicle Into a Stealth Camper when converting your Honda Element.
5 Honda Element Camper Conversions You Need to See
The Honda Element is incredibly versatile and easy to customize. Here are some of the best camper conversions that can help inspire you during your conversion. As you’ll soon see, your creativity is practically the only thing limiting you from creating an incredible home on wheels. With the right Honda Element camper setup, some even sell their homes and live in them for full-time adventuring.
1. Honda Element Camper With Pop-Up Tent
The YouTube channel Charisw shared a tour of her Honda Element camper. This camper separates itself from the rest as it has a pop-up tent mounted to the top. The tent is an ECamper made by Ursa Minor Vehicles, and it allows her to access the rooftop sleeper from inside and stand up in a small section of her vehicle. While it adds 6″ to the top of her vehicle, it provides a sleeping areas for up to 2 people on the roof of the vehicle.
Additionally, she installed a cargo net inside to store blankets, jackets, and other random items out of her way. An additional benefit is that it doesn’t obstruct her view. She also uses a Black and Decker travel cooler. It will keep things cold and hot, which is incredibly useful during her adventures.
2. Overlanding 2003 Honda Element Camper Conversion
Mindy did some customizing to her Honda Element to create a beast of a camper conversion. It features a two-inch lift and a beefed-up suspension. This enhances the vehicle’s capabilities and makes for a smoother ride.
In addition, she installed a Rhino lining coating on the exterior. This allows her to take her vehicle into some rough locations and not worry about it getting scratched.
She installed a swivel seat, which allows her to enjoy the view from multiple angles and increases functionality. Watching YouTube, editing videos, and having plenty of space are huge pluses. She sold her house and moved in and loves the lifestyle. However, her soft-closing drawers show you can still enjoy some luxuries while enjoying the nomadic life.
Pro Tip: We took a closer look to uncover Can the Honda Ridgeline Tow an RV?
3. Phil and Vanessa 2004 Honda Element Camper Conversion
Phil and Vanessa live full-time in their 2004 Honda Element. The element features a rear kitchen space with a table that folds up when not in use. They can easily access their pots and pans to make delicious meals while enjoying the view and store seven gallons of water for drinking and cooking.
They enjoy stealth camping and use curtains and window covers that maximize their privacy inside their rig. They’ve made this tiny space work for them to make some incredible memories as a couple.
4. Amy Makes Stuff Honda Element Camper Conversion
Amy from Amy Makes Stuff designed her Honda Element for short camping trips and a temporary workspace. She installed a low-profile bed, which allows her to sit comfortably on the couch. While this reduces the amount of storage space under her bed, she doesn’t need a tremendous amount of stuff for her shorter adventures.
One of the best features of Amy’s renovation is how she turns the sunroof into a holder for her iPad. She can queue up videos and lazily watch them while lying in bed. Genius!
5. Element Life Honda Element Camper Conversion
Nate from the YouTube channel Element Life shows off his incredible conversion. He didn’t make many modifications to the exterior except installing a roof rack to hold his surfboard and a 100W solar panel.
He has plenty of cabinet space for storage inside his Element, a 12-volt Dometic fridge, and an outside shower. It’s everything Nate needs to live comfortably while enjoying stealth camping.
Can You Buy a Honda Element Camper Conversion Kit?
There are a variety of Honda Element camper conversion kits readily available online. All you have to do is find the one that works for you and order it. They’ll ship it to your front door, and you can install it and start packing up your vehicle for your next adventure. In addition to the Ursa Minor ECamper, there is one by Fifth Element Camping and Freeway Camper Kits.
You can find conversion kits that provide just the wood platform, mattress, and cover. They’re specifically engineered for the Honda Element to help you make the most of the space. When dealing with limited space, you don’t want to waste any of it.
Pro Tip: Considering using a camper conversion kit? We uncovered all you need to know about The Truth About Van Conversion Kits.
How Much Does a Honda Element Camper Conversion Cost?
A Honda Element camper conversion will cost anywhere from $750 to about $1,300. However, the total cost of the conversion will greatly depend on the modifications you choose. You can spend thousands of dollars converting your Element into an off-roading machine. For example, the Ursa Minor ECamper designed for Elements costs around $7500.
However, you don’t have to break the bank to have an incredible camper conversion for your adventures.
Is the Honda Element Good for Camping?
The Honda Element is a great vehicle for camping due to its unique design, spacious interior, and reliability. The Element easily converts into a comfortable sleeping and living space with a completely flat floor and a roomy cargo area.
The Honda Element is a versatile and practical vehicle for camping, offering plenty of space and customization options for those looking to hit the road and explore the great outdoors.
Do you have a Honda Element camper conversion? What’s been your experience? Tell us about it in the comments!
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Monday 17th of April 2023
I've had an '04, '06, and '10. Next year I'll get another '10 or an '11 and pay 8-12k for awd w/100k-150k miles.