There is probably nothing more annoying when traveling in a mini camper than moving boxes back and forth and looking for your things. Because you don’t have a lot of space, even if you have completely expanded the camper with a kitchenette and bench and so on.
I didn’t intend such an expansion because I don’t think it’s necessary for the Kangoo. Instead, I used a system with Euroboxes in a very minimalistic and cost-effective manner. And so on our first trip there were two large (60 x 40 cm) and four small (30 x 40 cm) boxes on board, so there was a lot of storage space.
For the journey, the large boxes were stacked and lashed on the right side of the trunk so that the other half of the trunk offered enough space for Mowgli. I stacked the small boxes between the first and second row of seats. For the overnight mode, three of the small boxes were then simply piled up on top of the big ones and the fourth parked somewhere in front.
Since the passenger seat folds down to form a flat surface, this allows two people no taller than approximately 1.70 m to sleep in the car. There is also space for the dog. It’s not luxurious, but it’s comfortable.
But moving around really wasn’t fun, and because I’m mostly out and about alone with my dog, I came up with a slightly different concept, which I’m going to present to you here.
- What qualifies the Kangoo as a mini camper?
- The camping shelf
- Places for the remaining luggage
What qualifies the Kangoo as a mini camper?
Unpaid advertising 😉
You don’t see it immediately, but the Kangoo is a small miracle of space. What you can carry with you in it will certainly become clear in this article. In any case, enough for a holiday of several weeks! It doesn’t claim to be a real mobile home, but it is a versatile vehicle that can be driven like a normal car and in “normal” life plays the role of a spacious and manoeuvrable everyday car.
The back seat is divided and – as well as the passenger seat! – Foldable to form a flat surface. This results in a straight area of 2.50 m on the right-hand side. The length of the loading area behind the driver’s seat is around 1.80 m. The interior width is between 1.12 m and around 1.50 m. With an interior height From 1.15 m you have a very pleasant freedom upwards.
There is a storage compartment above the front row of seats. The side compartments in the front doors and the sliding doors as well as the pockets on the backrests of the front seats offer additional storage space, albeit not a lot. Two folding tables are also attached here. A huge compartment is hidden in the armrest between the driver and front passenger seats, big enough to accommodate 1 liter drinks bottles. There is also a large storage compartment on the dashboard.
Sufficient lying surface and storage space.
The roof rails, which can be converted into a roof rack for the roof box in two simple steps, are really cleverly designed.
The camping shelf
Now we come to the heart of my mini camper setting, my custom-made, self-designed and self-built camping shelf 😉 :
Fitted perfectly into the trunk!
The basic idea of my concept is to assign each thing its clearly defined place and not to change it if possible , so that you can find everything in your sleep. In addition, everything should be accessible with one hand if possible. What could be more obvious than building a shelf with drawers?
This means that I have to do without half of the boxes that I had with me on our first trip. But! I designed the aluminum shelf to provide additional storage space. You can also attach bags and bags with snap hooks, for example. It also offers the option of hanging a table top.
The available space in the trunk is used in such a way that cargo is stowed on the right side and above and a cozy “dog kennel” for Mowgli has been created on the left side. The whole thing is secured by the folded-up rear seat. Since the first level of the shelf rests against the rear seat, nothing moves forward even when braking harder. In addition, you can secure the shelf with lashing straps that are attached to the lashing eyes in the trunk and connected to the shelf. I do that when I need the entire loading area for larger transports and have to drive with the rear seat folded down. Unsecured, the construction would slide forward when braking.
As far as the boxes on the shelf are concerned, they are additionally secured with locking bars. Overall, I made sure that nothing could fall out and fly forward.
Since the boxes can also be used in everyday life, for example when shopping, the shelf stays in the car all year round.
After intensive tinkering, measuring, drawing and revision, at some point I had the order list for the 25×25 mm aluminum profiles and connectors together and could have the profiles cut to size. When I hammered the material together and put the shelf in place for the first time, I found that the back door wouldn’t close because the top corners of the shelf were sticking out an inch too much. So measure again, reorder and convert and do without a 7 centimeter high compartment for a flat 60×40 box! I was only slightly annoyed because this was the first time I had built something like this. Finally this is what came out:
The first level fits a 60x40x32 box. A 30x40x22 box is pushed into the second level, in front of it is a 10×40 and a 15×40 compartment. For these small compartments, I sawed out suitable boards as shelves. Due to the conversion, I had to screw on perforated panels to hang the table top, as you can see in the front. On the second level there is also space for another 30×40 box. Before that, I slide in my “bookshelf”. For this I built a small wooden box that is hung in the rear crossbar. Actually, the front crossbar is missing here, but I just didn’t feel like converting it again. And that’s how it works.
On the fourth level you have two areas. On the left I pushed a 30x40x7 box to the front, behind it there is space for another 10×40 board, onto which I screwed a small fire extinguisher. On the right I inserted a 60×50 board with a front panel.
Here you can see the “box tower” on the left and the supports on the right, divided in the middle by a crossbar on which one side of the tabletop rests.
What is where?
Large euro box below:
Put in here: dog food, gas cartridges (in an insulating bag), a small insulating box, the gas cooker and a small waste water canister (not in the picture), garbage bags, clothesline, clips, a few tools, Mowgli’s anchor hook (you can drill into the meadow and the attach a dog leash to it) and other household odds and ends.
Crockery, cutlery, towels, washing-up liquid, rags.
Tea, vinegar and oil, cans, bags of lentils, rice, oatmeal and pasta, other. So that the bottles don’t tip over, I cut separator discs (you can see them on the left).
The holder was screwed onto a small board so that the fire extinguisher is always ready to hand. There is also a little space on the board for small things.
Here you can see the roof level from the inside of the car: The 30x40x7 box contains my writing materials, my tablet, a mini fan, a mobile WiFi router and a power bank.
Towards the front, the space expands to fit a hot water bottle, mosquito nets for the doors, a cruciform wrench, a camping guide and speed towels.
Here’s the whole thing from the inside:
I love my bookshelf! 🙂 Fits more here than I can read in one vacation, including a travel dictionary.
A kitchen roll is attached in front of it with a luggage stretcher:
I found a small wooden box that fits exactly on the front board. Spices and small jars (e.g. for mustard and spread) go in here. In the small boxes next to it are tea bags, behind them vegetables and fruit are stored in nets, as well as coffee and an espresso machine. There is also room for tea tree oil 😉
All boxes are packed at home in peace and then simply pushed in.
That’s not all that can be accommodated in and on the shelf! On the right and left in the window niches, for example, there is plenty of space for towels, toiletry bags, dog backpacks, dog leashes…:
As you can see, the windows are blacked out. For this I cut a sleeping mat and covered it with black foil on the outside and fabric on the inside. I made this type of blackout for all windows including the rear window. The covers are attached with magnets or Velcro strips depending on the condition of the window area. Only the windscreen is made opaque with a sunshade. Since I don’t need to see through the rear side windows when driving, the blackout and the contents of the compartments can remain the same throughout the trip.
As you can see above, various bags can be hung on the shelf. I found different sizes with click closure. For example, several rolls of toilet paper fit in the largest.
From the shelf to the coat hooks on the sliding doors, I stretched a luggage net into which I woven a chain of lights. This is not only very romantic in the evening, but also extremely practical for temporarily storing clothes and towels. You can also attach a camping lamp. The window covers are pushed all the way back for the ride over the net and prevented from slipping with a luggage clamp.
On the driver’s side, a hanging shelf for shoes and a garment bag is hung on the camping shelf. On the left picture you can see the upper part of the shoe rack, which is wedged between the camping rack and the window niche and stays there. The garment bag on the other side of the top bar must be removed if you want to hang the table top. It is then placed flat on the dashboard and clothing can be easily removed from above. I made sure that the view through the rear window (except for the 40 centimeters that the turret takes away) is not obstructed.
The table top is provided with metal brackets and is transported hanging on the side of the tower and secured with luggage clamps for safety. The table fits snugly between the tower and side bar and the construction is very stable and doesn’t wobble.
Cooking is done from the outside with the tailgate open. If I stand somewhere for several days, I build an awning on the car where I can cook comfortably. I also have the option of hanging the tabletop on the shelf outside. In this case I have a normal photo tripod in the car to support the plate on the other side. Sometimes I just put the cooker on the small stepladder that I have to take with me to get to the roof box easily. Then I have the table free for snipping.
Inside you can sit at the table and write. For the necessary seat height I bought a yoga cushion.
There is enough space between the tower and the side wall for an inflatable sleeping pad (70×200). However, the second sleeping pad has already let me down because the valves don’t seem to last very long. That’s why I bought a roll-on futon in the right size, but haven’t tested it yet. In front of the tower, i.e. on the passenger side, is Mowgli’s sleeping place:
The rascal is lying on my bed again 🙂
Places for the remaining luggage
And what about the water canister, bedding, awning, etc.? There are also some bulky parts. Clearly: for a longer tour I take the roof box with me. If I’m only going away for a few days and don’t take an awning with me, I don’t need them. So where do I put the rest of my stuff?
In the car
Two organizer pockets for T-shirts, leggings and laundry go into the storage compartment above the driver’s seat. Behind it is the large first-aid bag with a warning triangle for the car and a small one for excursions. A cardigan also fits:
The spacious armrest compartment is mainly used for charging cables, charging adapters, navigation systems, batteries…
In the storage compartment on the dashboard there is a small box for small change (e.g. for parking fees), next to it an interior thermometer/hydrometer and a navigation bracket.
Breakdown tools, hydraulic jack and stand are in the rear of the wheel arch. You can get to it despite the camping shelf, but you have to take out a box.
In the footwell in front of the passenger seat, I put another plastic box with a 10-liter water canister and a water bottle for Mowgli and myself. In between there is a collapsible water bowl.
On the back seat or in the footwell in front of it I place the sleeping pad, sleeping bag and pillow, step ladder, hand brush/dustpan, kettle (too bulky for the kitchen box) and an additional blanket. I clamp a foldable emergency toilet (chapeau claque system :-D) between the back seat and the camping shelf.
In the roof box
Everything I need for longer camping goes in here: awning, groundsheets, camping chair, camping table, tool bag, 25m CEE cable and CEE adapter, rubber mallet and spare pegs, travel bag with additional clothing…
I haven’t listed every thing I carry with me here, but the concept should be clear. It doesn’t really matter where I put the glass with the tealight or something like that, three points are crucial:
- clearly defined assignment
- easily accessible
- not changing the location of a thing, or changing it only temporarily
Especially with the camping shelf, it is very easy to fulfill these points. On my Slovenia-Italy trip last summer I didn’t have to search or go without anything, because there really is space for everything you need. If the awning is then attached to the car, you have an additional room that you can get into directly from the car (very practical in rainy weather!).
All in all, I’m very satisfied with the concept, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be revised if I can come up with better solutions to individual questions. For example, the heating issue is an unresolved issue, but that’s another chapter…