There are two Honda Odyssey camper conversions in these pages.
My first minivan camper conversion was a 2004 Honda Odyssey. I sold it to a friend and it later met an untimely death. My second minivan conversion is a 2013 Honda Odyssey, which is my ongoing project. In these pages, I refer to them as the Phase 1 (PH 1) and Phase 2 (PH 2) vans. This is to keep them separate in the DIY posts, but also because the mission was different with each one.
A micro-camper build for someone who wants to get in their van and GO, ASAP, for as little money as possible and is more of a use case than an actual build. No permanent modifications are needed and you can convert your van back to soccer mom duties at any time. Phase 1 is designed to get you on the road and seeing the sites as soon as possible. We used a VERY affordable 2004 (second generation) Honda Odyssey for Phase 1. Taking the shortest and least expensive route, it shows you how with a minimum of gear, you can use your minivan for camping. It is also designed to allow you to change back to a kiddo transporter during the week. If you want to go camping ASAP, but still have roots in your town, this might be the path for you. Here’s a walkthrough of how my van was set up for Phase 1:
I chose a 2004 Honda Odyssey for Phase 1 of my minivan camper conversion project because of:
- Purchase Price
- Fuel Mileage
- Interior Dimensions
Gold with a brown interior was not my first choice, but this was the best-maintained Odyssey I found! At least both colors do a fairly good job of hiding dirt and mud. It had only one tiny surface-rust spot on a fender and no accidents. Tires looked to have about 20,000 miles left. A complete service history put the cherry on top and I paid $3700. That should give you an idea of what you’ll find with a little patience.
My first Odyssey microcamper was the mid-level EX model with a cloth interior. I think cloth is better suited to camping than leather and the Honda fabric up to 2004 is very durable. The EX has a power driver’s seat, power side doors, a rear 12v outlet, and a fold-away center console. The lower end LX skips those features. Most of what you find out there will be EXs or EX-Ls (adds leather to the EX). If you want factory Nav or a rear entertainment center, you have to spring for the EX-L.
All 2004 Odysseys have a 240 HP V6 and 5-speed transmission. I averaged about 22mpg in the city and 25 on the highway, so far.
A more detailed Honda Odyssey camper conversion for the long-term road-trekker or the VanDweller. For Phase 2, I upgraded to a 2013 (fourth generation) Honda Odyssey. Here’s where I set up an Odyssey for the nomadic van life with a bed, solar, house batteries, curtains, etc. for a semi-permanent RV-style van. We’ll also have how-to articles and lists of materials. If you are heading out for more than a couple weeks, this build up is for you.
I chose a 2013 Honda Odyssey EX for Phase 2 of this minivan conversion project because the 2013 is two generations newer than my 2004 Odyssey and has updated features, including:
- Side Curtain Airbags
- Split 60/40 rear seat (now I can have a seat next to the bed!)
- Rear backup camera (nice when backing up in the woods or near cliffs)
- Cylinder Deactivation for better MPG–a LOT better, it turns out.
I’ve already started the modifications and you can join my mailing list to get reminders whenever I make an update.
Articles and posts not labeled as PH1 or PH2 are general information that is applicable to all minivan RVs.
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Don’t get stuck buying a separate membership for each campground chain, join Passport America instead!