Ikea Kitset Camper Vans

No, they don’t exist.

I’m quite interested in camper vans – I’ve spent 1/2 my life living in one for some reason… but I don’t like the decor of what’s on offer. Everything is a bit bitty, and cluttered. I want an Ikea version – I want Zen etc. Something like this

life pod


But with wheels.

It also has to be unobtrusive… ie: look like a panel van on the outside, so you can park it anywhere without people thinking you’re camping. Mobile squatting etc. And of course the other problem with camper-vans is that they now cost more to hire than fucking hotels.

I was thinking of doing something along these lines this year – before I wound up broke, living on a boat and then winding up in hospital and having to move back in with my folks so I could be looked after etc. I was thinking of getting a panel van and building a modular kitset thing so the essentials were covered (ie: shower, toilet, bed, electricity)(no, cooking isn’t as essential as it looks)(yes, you can live on pizza forever)(mmm pizza) but everything went a bit wrong so I’ve been watching developments etc from the sidelines.

This turned up recently. Natty concept etc. Like living in a luridly coloured concertina, modeled loosely around A. E Poe’s Masque of the Red Death.

(more pics here). What could possibly go wrong? Apart from being endlessly moved on by the cops etc.

Ok – something a bit more Urban and invisible… A dump truck (almost)camper2

which is pretty cool, but it’s starting to get back into itty-bitty-land interior-decor-wise

camper3 (from via), and the prices seem to average around 400,000 US dollars – holymotherofgod. I mean they’re nice, but not as nice as the two houses you could buy for the same price.

So I think an idea that’s a bit of a goer is this sort of design asthetic:


(which is a shipping container) but made out of lego like stuff that you can use to line the walls of a generic panel-van.

In my experience, the most difficult thing about living in a van is temperature control. Security is a big one as well – I lived in a panel van in London for a month, and had two attempted break-ins, while I was in the van. The 3rd time they got lucky, and nicked everything.

A shower is crucial (solar, gas-heated hybrid). Electricity (probably solar/gas-generator). A toilet… less so, but when you need one, you need one – so I’d say that was pretty crucial as well. I also think access to daylight is fairly critical if you’re going to be spending long periods of time in it. You need some way of having big (like metre sq) windows or a skylight. The more I think about this, the more I’m thinking that ideally you need to be able to cut big holes in the van. You could achieve a lot using big neo-magnets and t-slot beams… but to really sort out the temperature control and daylight, you’re going to need to cut holes in things.

And to be honest, I have this nagging suspicion that what this is really about is a Child-Of-The-70s reincarnating the shaggin-wagon with ’00s minimalist styling. Shaggin Wagons were all the rage at about the same time that Star Wars came out…


And they had something to do with pornography, though I’m not sure what. It’s like the interiors were kindof like 70s porn decor, but with all the lust-filled fetishisation transferred from the porn-stars to the plush-velvet-over-everything obsession.

It’s like there was this weird transferal where the woman was no longer good enough for the fantasy (or was simply unavailable) so all the lust went into the upholstery. So to speak.

I can’t find any decent photos of just how extreme this got… but did find this rather lovely bit of paleo-futurism which kindof gets the point across etc:


This hasn’t gone away of course. The Japanese have gotten hold of it, and have (characteristically) pushed all the sliders up to 11, and created something way beyond what is remotely practical or workable. They’ve got an interesting take on super-normal stimuli:





And there’s some tragic irony floating around out there somewhere, that the design aesthetic that I have in mind is actually Japanese… but the Japanese themselves have taken vans and gone so far in the opposite direction that it’s not longer measurable using normal scientific instruments.

2 Comments » for Ikea Kitset Camper Vans
  1. “paleo-futurism” God, you’re funny, Nick. Sorry to hear you had a rough patch. Hope you stay on the mend.

    Naturally, I too am fascinated with this subject. We must be traveling on the same ray of light or something.

    Wheels are nice, but the size limitation is too constraining for me to live with permanently.

    However, I am getting closer to the perfect solution. Something that can be constructed without heavy machinery or strength by 2-3 people in a couple days, that costs well under $50,000USD, fireproof, quake proof, yet doesn’t look like something designed by curve loving, toad-licking hippies…

    I give you…

    wait–you gave me these…

    Icosa Pods

    A 3 or 4 connected compound of these, insulated with straw bales, and a Vietnamese composting toilet dual system around nearby?! Home!

    Did you see the Yomes too? http://redskyshelters.com/

    Must be affordable within my means, that’s the firm rule. No Mortgage. There’s a reason the word for death is in there.

  2. admin says:

    That’s cool – that second picture down on the first one reminds me of Hearts and Armour…


    which I was enormously impressed by when I was more… impressionable. It had Tanya Roberts in it. She was one of Charlie’s Angels. And a Bond Girl (arguably the worst one) and a Sheena, queen of the jungle. So there you go. Hearts and Armour was way ahead of its time though, even if it is a bit crap today. It represents a kind of transition between 70s Shaggin Wagon aesthetics and the minimalist ethic-chic you get in trendy hotels today.

    Ok, it doesn’t. Whatever. I was 12.

    The yurt things look a bit like Vinay’s Hexayurts as well. Aren’t Yurts basically like camper-vans but instead of wheels you have camels? I’m not really the cutting edge as far as that sort of thing goes.

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