Introduction: SUV MicroCamper - Fat Berta 3.0

Picture of SUV MicroCamper - Fat Berta 3.0

This is a modular SUV/station wagon based camper setup, that sleeps two in luxury, has ample storage space and costs almost nothing. Additionally, I'll show you how to make a trunk tent, magnetic mosquito screens, thermal flaps and much more.

For those of you who are new to Fat Berta, in 2013 I built a MicroCamper on the base of a Renault Kangoo. She was lovely and provided us with the opportunity for many unforgettable holidays until she was destroyed in a car accident. We got a new car, a Skoda Yeti 1.6 TDI and started a new camper setup immediately. The whole structure is completely new and redesigned. However, some things stayed similar and you might profit by checking out the other build as well. Both setups are not limited to these two car models but can be adapted for many other cars and SUVs.

We learned some lessons with the earlier version, especially while traveling through rainy countries. The possibility to hang around in the car comfortably while it rains outside is paramount. To achieve this in a car that is even less tall than the last one, we had to build the structure much lower. And to still have enough storage space, we ditched the whole sofa design and made one narrow platform that covers the whole backseat area and gives you ample storage space underneath. We also ditched the inner tent and made mosquito screens for the side windows and the trunk door.

The whole setup is non-destructive and can be taken out and replaced with the backseats whenever you want 5 seats and don't need a bed. And since you basically need only some plywood and a foam mattress, it will cost you close to nothing.

For those of you with safety concerns:

  • Carrying a load in a car is always a safety risk. I built the structure in a way that in case of an accident, the setup can slide together and prevent injuries to the driver and passenger. The bed and bed-frame are connected to the car floor with straps, securing them tightly in place.

She's nowhere near finished, since I always will add things to try and improve her still. But believe me when I say she's close to perfect. We love her. We had tons of fun traveling through France and hopefully will enjoy her in adventures to come.

So, we're ready to start. Open a beer and lean back. I must admit that this instructable became a bit of a monster. That's mainly because it is several instructables compressed into one. I didn't want to split it into several projects but chose to present you with one nice package that will give you all information to transform your car into your own MicroCamper. I honestly hope you'll enjoy the reading.

[ Should you find yourself dancing around your room because you just got an idea that will bring you tons of fun in the years to come and you feel like you want to give something back in return, there is the Fat Berta Charity Fund. We are supporting a couple in South Africa that is very dear to us. We got the inspiration to build our Berta while using their 4x4 in Africa in the first place. Unfortunately they got robbed three times in as many weeks, seriously injured and lost everything they had. With this charity fund we will try to help them as best we can. Any donations, however small they may be, are very very welcome! ->Donate via Paypal ]

Step 1: Why?

Picture of Why?

Why would you choose to sleep in an admittedly rather small car. You can choose to buy a much bigger car, or motorhome, or trailer.

Small means less comfort, no shower, no toilet. But it also means that you can park basically everywhere. And few people will suspect that there are people sleeping inside. It means you can travel fast and light and still have a nice little home waiting for you when the sun goes down. It also means paying less for gas and coming further without stopping at each and every petrol station. And we don't need an extra car for the vacation. We can just use the one we use daily in the city. Just pack some food and you're ready to go.

You don't have to buy a Skoda Yeti. There are plenty of similar options out there. For us it is a perfect mixture of not too big, not too small and partially off-road worthy.

Step 2: Planning and Measuring

Picture of Planning and Measuring

After the first Berta got totaled I had a short mourning period of approximately 2.5h and then started thinking and googling how the new Berta should look like. I stumbled upon a german guy that built something similar into his Skoda Yeti and sells the building plans online. From the pictures on his website I got a pretty good idea of how his setup worked. Some of his ideas (low profile, side plank supports) I adapted and altered to my specific needs. In case you like his more basic structure better, you can buy his plans here.

Warning: All the dimensions and proportions in the nicely colored schematics are NOTto scale.


As in the first Berta, there is a stand-alone kitchen box in the trunk that can be used even if the back seats are installed. It features two top panels. The one on the left side has a nifty parallel hinge that lets it slide out of the trunk as a cooking table. The other one can be flipped open and stays open by means of a cupboard spring hinge.


The middle section has one top panel, again mounted with two cupboard spring hinges to the side panels. I used nuts and bolts for the connections to make it easy to take apart and reduce the storage volume when not in use.


The front section has two top panels. The sleeping extension is connected to the cross support with normal hinges so that it can be flipped back all the way and laid on top of the second panel while driving. The second panel is connected in the same way as the green panel. The connection between the orange and the green side support is done with two long holes per side. This is a safety feature that will be explained later. With the seats folded to the steering wheel and the sleeping extension in place, you get an effective sleeping space of 180cm by 140cm (torso) / 100cm (feet) [imperial: 70.7" x 55.1" / 39.4"]. If you open the trunk door a bit (for example with this device) even a taller person can sleep comfortably.

I made all the connections with bars of hardwood, t-nuts and bolts. However I would suggest that you just use big brackets instead. This is much easier and possibly even sturdier (see picture 4 and 5). Be aware that you have to assemble the sections inside the car. If you connect all the panels outside, it will be too big to get through the trunk door.


After several requests for some main dimensions I finally motivated myself to get my (metric) ruler and brave the cold weather. I added a rather ugly sketch with most of the important dimensions. Keep in mind that some of the corners are rounded and be prepared to alter some distances. The car has plastic parts and not all the cars are exactly the same. I sincerely hope I measured everything correctly. However, try and add the distances together to check if you reach a length that resembles a bed. All units are in metric millimetres and the font is my handwriting, not chinese.


As pointed out by member sylfest.muldal there is an error in the blueprint. The length of the middle section side panels ought to be 550+ mm instead of the 500 mm. An updated version of the blueprint is now online. Should there be any reports of other measurements that don't add up I will update it here. So be sure to always use the latest version.

Step 3: Making the Kitchenbox

Picture of Making the Kitchenbox

The kitchen box is a quite simple design with two compartments. After finishing, I decided to add two spacer bars to the trunk end. This enables you to still have access to the accident breakdown triangle. You can build it the same way I did, or you can make your life easier and make the side panels a bit "overhanging". Everywhere where the panels aren't resting on the side panels, I attached some hardwood bars to give them more support.

The left top panel can slide out and provide you with a nice area to cook on that is covered by the trunk door, should it be raining. As you can see in the pictures, one corner is slightly rounded. Depending on the height of the sub-structure this is needed so the panel can slide out and not get caught on the trunk side. The parallel hinge is constructed with bars of hardwood. You can just as well use aluminum or steel bars to accomplish this.

The right-side panel is mounted with cupboard hinges. Details on how to mount them are provided in the next step.

Use some hardwood bars with t-nuts or (easier) use metal brackets to attach the side panels of the middle section.

I drilled two big holes into the top panels as handles to make the opening process easier.

Step 4: Middle Panel

Picture of Middle Panel

The middle panel is connected to the side support with two cupboard hinges. I got mine over ebay for a few dollars. The cross support is level with the top panel. This is not necessary and you can rest the top panel on the cross support without the need of the hardwood bars as support. You have to be careful though how you mount the cupboard hinges (Picture 5). Depending on the type you are using, they won't open if the top panel is mounted too close to the next panel/cross support.

The side support is connected to the front side support with two bolts/washers/t-nuts. This is part of the safety feature shown in step 6.

Step 5: Sleeping Extension / Front Panel

Picture of Sleeping Extension / Front Panel

The front panel is mounted in the same way as the middle panel. The side supports have two beams that reach into the foot section of the passenger seats and provide stability for the sleeping extension. The beams have a hole in the foot where a t-nut rests. A bolt that is screwed into this t-nut acts as a level adjuster.

The sleeping extension is connected to the cross support by two heavy duty hinges connected with bolts and t-nuts. Make sure that you mount the hinges in a way that allows you to fold the sleeping extension all the way back and lay it onto the front panel. The sleeping extension has two hardwood rods glued and screwed to it to make it more stiff. The cut-out section comes to rest on the drivers arm rest and gives another point of support (that depends a bit on how high your structure is...). Since the plywood is rather thin, I added two bookshelf brackets (white plastic / IKEA) to make it even more stable.

Depending on the position of the driver seats, the sleeping extension becomes a back rest for a sofa style sitting option. When it's raining outside and you're reading a book, it's priceless.

Step 6: Attaching It to the Car and Safety Feature

Picture of Attaching It to the Car and Safety Feature

This depends entirely on the mounting points of your car. I used the connectors for the back-seats and the tie-down points on the side and in the trunk. I drilled several holes into the side and cross supports and laced luggage straps through these and the tie-down points.

  • Kitchen box: Connected to the tie-down points in the side of the trunk.
  • Front/Middle structure: Strapped to the tie-down points on the side/middle of the car and the attachment for the back-seats.

These straps try to pull the structure to the trunk side. Should you have an accident where your trunk section gets squashed in, the sliding connection ensures that the structure folds together and doesn't press into the driver seats. As seen in picture 6, the front top panel is slightly beveled, enforcing it to glide over the middle panel if compressed.

All the way under and over the support structure (and tied to the attachment of the back seats in the middle) and the mattress rests another luggage strap that is only closed while driving. This strap stops the panels from opening during an accident and keeps the mattress firmly on top of the panels (image shows the strap without the mattress. It's winter here and the mattress is in the cellar...).

Step 7: Painting the Support Structure and Finishing Touches

Picture of Painting the Support Structure and Finishing Touches

If everything works and the structure is complete, take the time and give it a layer of paint. It makes it look much nicer and protects it from dirt and water damage. We chose a light beige color. If you are searching for something when it's dark, the inside of the boxes are dark enough as they are.

Buy a big batch of adhesive felt patches. We used them everywhere where it could potentially clatter while driving or turning in your sleep. If you use enough of these (in the pictures in the other steps you can see that I used many) the whole setup stays completely silent. Since the side panels are bolted together (wood on wood) they can creak if you turn in your sleep. A few strips of duct tape between the panels where they touch will prevent this very effectively. What did humanity just do when there was no duct tape yet...

Since the flat tire kit is stored in a compartment underneath the kitchen box, always carry a toolkit that is compatible with the bolts you used, so you can detach the kitchen box should the need arise. In fact, I always carry an emergency kit of tools in my car:

  • Leatherman
  • Small screwdriver bits and nuts set
  • Duct tape
  • Zip ties (small and big ones / I once stitched the torn composite skidplate with those...)
  • hot glue stick and bic lighter (yes, thats a hot glue gun too)
  • WD40
  • Steel wire
  • and much much more...

Step 8: Cutting the Mattress

Picture of Cutting the Mattress

We bought a cheap IKEA foam mattress (140cm x 200cm). Ditch the cover and cut the foam with a box cutter as seen in the picture. Since the drivers arm rest is higher than the panel, cut out a bit of the foam so it rests flat again. Between the sleeping extension and the front panel we cut the foam halfway through. You won't notice it while sleeping but it folds very nicely when in reading position or when you want to open the panels.

We used one large bed cover to make the mattress covers. We sewed them in a way that the bottom stays open. It's nice to be able to wash them after extended use. It's a bit tricky to sew it nicely, but then again you won't see it too often from the underside.

Step 9: Destroying an Old Tent

Picture of Destroying an Old Tent

I had an old tunnel tent with broken beams laying around. Surprisingly it had the perfect dimensions to be used as a part donator. You can get old tunnel tents for a few bucks at most thrift shops.

I cut it into three parts. The apsis and side entry will become the trunk tent. The other end is bound to be the privacy screen. And finally the middle part gives you a rectangular piece of fabric that becomes the mosquito trunk screen. If there is some mosquito mesh, use that for the mosquito screen. If your tent has some additional useful hardware, keep that too. I used the duffle coat buttons to roll up the mosquito screen flap, the stakes for the trunk tent and the bag to store everything in it.

I left most of the seams untreated since the tent fabric doesn't fray that much. You can use a lighter to secure the edges, but be aware that this stuff is highly flammable. Same goes for the mesh.

Step 10: Privacy Front Screen

Picture of Privacy Front Screen

In my case this piece needed no modification whatsoever. If it doesn't fit, trim it and attach three to five attachment points (sew on a piece of string or strap).

I used some copper wire to make a makeshift hook. These attach to the side hooks and to the rear mirror (optionally the exit handles too...). Since the tent fabric is extremely thin and light, it's easy to store it in a side compartment while driving. Be sure to push the lower edge over the extended driver-seats. This gives you enough head room to sleep and no one can look inside from the outside.

Step 11: Mosquito Trunk Screen

Picture of Mosquito Trunk Screen

This one is a bit harder. The Skoda Yeti has trunk seal with a groove that runs all around the backside. Put your tent cloth around it and secure it temporarily with a string to give you an idea of how much fabric you need. I made the lower section much broader and not secured to the trunk. This enables you to get the cooking table out and to reach inside to grab something. Keep in mind that you will have to sew a tunnel seam around the top and side edges. This needs some excess fabric. Through the tunnel seam you can put an elastic cord (tape it to a wooden stick to pull it through the tunnel). When drawn tight, this will hold the mosquito screen around the trunk lip.

The lower edge gets stuffed between the trunk end and the kitchen box while sleeping. Sew on a piece of mosquito mesh to the outside of the fabric. Don't cut the flap first. Sew it on first, trust me, both fabrics are extremely slippery. After the mesh is in place take some scissors and gently cut a flap inside of the mesh seam (on the inside of the fabric). Take care not to cut the mesh! On top of the flap sew on two attachment points (I used the duffle coat buttons and some elastic cord). Now you can roll up the flap and watch the rain from the inside.

When you don't need it, you can just rip the screen off the trunk. Installing it again only takes a second.

Step 12: Trunk Tent

Picture of Trunk Tent

While this is not entirely necessary, it's very nice to have. It gives you some privacy when on a camp site, shelters you from the rain and keeps your stove out of the wind. Depending on the tent you just killed this will need few to no modification. The apsis just gets pulled over the open trunk door and secured with strings to the car and with stakes to the ground.

If you leave a tent site and want to return, just use two stones to mark the position of the rear wheels and let the tent connected to the ground. After returning just position your car in the same spot, pull up the tent and open the trunk door. And voilà, your trunk tent is in place again.

Step 13: Mosquito Side Screens

Picture of Mosquito Side Screens

Let me say this first: Use gloves and an excessive amount of cling film / plastic wrap. It's worth it!

These screens are brilliant. However, I can't take credit for it. I found the idea on this site. While they use the screens on the outside of the car and apply the silicone a bit differently, the idea is pretty much the same.

I had some left over material from a mosquito sliding door. This is not the mesh they use in tents but a heavier version, similar to a tiny plastic fence. It's flexible but a bit stiff. Mesh will also work but it's easier with a stiffer material.

I bought a roll of magnetic adhesive strips. You can cut it easily with scissors. This will be the connection to the window frame (make sure your frame is metal and not covered in a plastic shell).

Now, cover the passenger door with a liberal amount of cling film / plastic wrap. Press the plastic wrap to the window, don't stretch it over the frame. Cut the magnet strip into 3 pieces that go left, right and on the top edge and snap them on the window frame on top of the plastic wrap. Peel off the protection strip and expose the adhesive. The adhesive has to face you and not stick to the plastic wrap! Now gently place the mesh to the upper edge. Press the mesh to the window and rub it onto the magnet strip. This connection is temporary since the adhesive is not strong enough. Cut the piece of mesh roughly into shape like shown in the pictures. leave some excess fabric in case you made a mistake.

Tuck in the lower edge into the window slot. Try and make the mesh hug the form of the window slot/ beginning of magnetic strip as tightly as possible.

Now, use the gloves and apply a line of flexible construction glue (flexible silicone adhesive) on top of the mesh and the magnetic strip. Use a gloved finger to smear the glue into the mesh fabric and onto the magnetic strip. Remove any accidental drops of glue as they really stick well to almost everything.

Let it dry over night, remove the plastic wrap and trim the edges to the magnetic strip.

They are really easy to install and take off and in combination with the rain/wind deflectors let you get some fresh and bug-free air during the night. Ours are permanently in place, since they don't interfere with driving.

Step 14: Rain Deflectors

Picture of Rain Deflectors

Not much to say about these. They are really handy to prevent rain from entering the car during the night. You can get them over the internet and should be made for your specific car. We bought two pieces for the passenger side doors because that's where your head will be during the night.

Installation is product specific but usually very simple. Peel off a protective strip, press them into the window slot and let it rest for some time to cure.

Step 15: Thermal Window Screens

Picture of Thermal Window Screens

These are very similar to the ones we used in the old Berta. There are two versions for the different windows:

  • Stick-in with cardboard where magnets don't work
  • Magnetic flaps, where it is possible

We made two for the passenger windows (magnetic) and two smaller ones for the trunk side windows (cardboard).

We used the thermal foil you can buy in every petrol station to prevent your front window from freezing over night. Cut them to the size of the window.

Magnetic version:

Cover the seam with duct-tape to prevent it from disintegrating. Use 4 strips of duct-tape to attach 4 small magnets to the screen.

Cardboard version:

Use duct-tape to attach two strips of cardboard to the foil. Don't use too thick material since it has to go between the window and the plastic cover.

You can also use a combination of these two techniques (magnets on top and cardboard on the bottom.

They really help to keep the temperature in the desired range and also give you some privacy.

Step 16: Handling the Cooler

Picture of Handling the Cooler

Since the cooler is no longer integrated into the structure you will have to move it around. While driving it rests against the backside of the driver seat and is secured with an elastic spider web. While sleeping you can place it on the passenger seat to have it out of the way.

Ours is a Waeco Tropicool (peltier type). It's working nicely for our climate. Should you travel through the death valley, a compressor cooler might be a better (albeit expensive) choice.

Step 17: Home Sweet Home

Picture of Home Sweet Home

What can I say. If you managed to get to this step you will know by now that we love her. She's light and fast. Easy to handle too. With a bit of work and a very moderate amount of money you get a camper that will bring you to your destination and give you a good night's sleep. It's simple as that.


killoyeti (author)2017-07-10

Hola, tengo un yeti. Y me interesa está propuesta. Pero veo que no hay medidas. Las tengo que sacar yo?

dtextor (author)killoyeti2017-07-25

Hi there

My spanish is really terrible. If you are looking for measurements, there is a blueprint pdf in Step 2.


Gjallandi made it! (author)2017-07-17

Thank you for making your Instructions. It has bee quite the inspiration. I was looking for a way to build a frame inside my Skoda Yeti for managing my work luggage. Your Instructions where an excellent inspiration and a starting point for me. I maid an account and created my own Instruction for anybody that is solving the same problem as me. Thanks again for the Instructions and motivation.

Best regards from Iceland :)

Changing Skoda Yeti into an organized work car that can easily and quickly be changed into private mode over weekends.

dtextor (author)Gjallandi2017-07-25

Hi there.

You did a terrific job with your modular work setup. I'm glad I could be of some inspiration! Actually we just decided that the journey next year will bring us to iceland, albeit I guess with a new Berta. It's just too much fun to build a new setup. :)

Regards from Switzerland.

tedlabete (author)2017-04-17

Hi again!
Almost made mine with some minors modifications. Will put some pictures soon!
However, after hours and hours searching everywhere... I cannot answer this question.
I find anywhere something to refresh the air in a small room (general
question, not specific to a car), Using battery. I only find that

hours autonomy and optional battery but very bad reviews on reliability
and noise ...So this product is bad, but the concept seems good, is
somebody has any ideas about refreshing the air inside the car, will be
very happy!

dtextor (author)tedlabete2017-04-18

Hi Ted

I guess with refreshing you mean bringing down the temperature? When it was too hot in the car we used a small silent 12V PC-fan that we hooked up to the car battery. This will give you a nice breeze in the car. Also, if you google "DIY swamp cooler" you'll find instructions how you can build something similar like in your link. Only better. Hopefully.

tedlabete (author)2017-04-17

Also, If anybody has an good link or shop to buy any compact product to get a portable shower, maybe build one finding a good electrical water pump...?

TimB310 (author)2017-01-02

Hello Dominik,

Thank you for all the great ideas. I built a sleeping platform and made a version of the trunk tent for my Yeti. It's absolutely fantastic! Here's some pics:

dtextor (author)TimB3102017-01-02

Hi TimB310
Very, very neat!! Is that a one-person sleeping setup with a large fridge?
Regards and thanks for the pics!

TimB310 (author)dtextor2017-01-02

Yep. It's a one person platform with hinges in the middle so I can easily fold it and lay it flat when traveling. I built it for my weekend climbing adventures where I'll often have two passengers in the car with gear. The middle support is attached with two collapsible shelf brackets so it folds down. The front left support is made with a length of metal that slots into the passenger seat rails and has another collapsible bracket with a bit of wood to form the support for the platform. It's an insulated cooler not a fridge. It was super fun to build but needed a bit of help from my sister with the tent tailoring!

travell1n (author)2016-12-13

I am planning to head out alone this summer. I am borrowing my husband's GMC Acadia to use as my camper. What attracted me to your post was the rain fly. Did you make this? Are there instructions anywhere? Thanks! I love your setup.

dtextor (author)travell1n2016-12-13

Hi travell1n
It's made out of an old tent. You'll find detailed instruction when you go to step 9 & 12. You can also click on the button at the end of step 1 to show all steps on one page. :) Enjoy.

citixen (author)2016-09-20

Wow - this is, excuse the bad Skoda pun, superb!

Sorry if I missed it, but how long would you estimate it takes you to put this in and out of the car? And do you need two people or can you get it in/out on your own?

Thanks for a fantastic instructable.

dtextor (author)citixen2016-09-22

Hi Citixen

Thanks for the praise. Well it's not that RAPID (sorry, had to..) but not slow either. It takes about 10 minutes. I use a cordless drill to loosen all hex bolts and the loose parts can be easily carried by one person. The seats are a bit heavy and cumbersome to put back in but it can be done by one person. I wish my setup could be folded away while leaving (optionally) the seats in, but the extra headspace during longer trips is absolutely worth it.



sylfest.muldal made it! (author)2016-09-09

Hi Dominik

I've got a question about the slider mechanism and how the frame is supported. I've found that the two assembled sections aren't parallel, so the weight bears on the bolts, preventing the sections from sliding. Even with the front legs at minimum length, it seems that the structure only touches the car at the back corners of the kitchen box and the curved points marked with arrows (first photo). This causes the frame to ride forwards a couple of centimetres (last photo). (Note also that the maximum sliding distance has turned out to be little more than half the slot length (2nd photo) - do you think that's a problem?)

There are various ways I might fix this, but where was the frame supposed to have been supported?


dtextor (author)sylfest.muldal2016-09-13

Hi Sylfest

I'm sad to hear your struggling a bit. The interior bottom of the Yeti is not very uniform and the carpet makes it even harder to make it "hug" the bottom. From the pictures it looks indeed as if your front legs are (even minimized) too long. If you can cut them a bit shorter it might level (some) things out. In my setup it was never an issue (also no sliding of the kitchen box). The kitchen box rests more or less on the ground and then I have several points where the side panels rest on the ground. If it rests only on the curved cut-out section corner it might help to make this corner even rounder. The sliding mechanisms is ok if it doesn't slide that well. It's not meant to slide but to give a weak link should there be a car accident. Should your car's back get smashed in it's this section (hopefully) that will compress the easiest and thus prevent the structure from hitting the driver seats. All in all it's a bit hard to give good advice from afar. The side panels should end up mostly parallel, dictated by the level of the kitchen box. You will never get equal pressure on all side panel bottom faces, but you should have a better contact pattern than the one you describe. And shortening the legs (or detaching them to test it first) might give you the best start.

Hope that helps.



BertrandK (author)2016-09-06

Hi Dominik.

First of all, big thanks to you for the time you took to share your experience with everybody here. It is really nice, everything is well thought and well explained! THANK YOU :)

I found your instructable while I was looking for a solution to sleep in my Yeti. You have a very big place when you take off the backseats, but for my 1m85, it was not enough!

When I saw your solution almost three months ago I immediatly said to myself "this is what I want!" and I immediatly began to think about doing the same and the roadtrip we could do with this solution....

Tomorrow, me and my sweetheart, we will finally try it in Vosges mountains near my home (Alsace, France)! I can't wait ;)

We just added some modifications, because I hadn't any tunnel tent to destroy. I just had an old "igloo" tent, that cost 25€ many years ago. I used the front face with the zipper door, and zipper mosquito screen to do the mosquito trunk screen.
For the trunk tent, I ordered a big tarp there:

Cheapest and best quality I found on the web, with 19 attachment points, so it won't be difficult to attach it to the car and ground!

And finally I haven't made the "privacy front screen". I made screens with thermal foil for every window of the car, so you have a good access to front seats at night, to store some stuffs. And hope it will prevent a little bit condensation...

Will post some photos there when I'll be back later this week :)

Thank you again!


dtextor (author)BertrandK2016-09-06

Hi Bertrand

I'm thrilled that you built something similar. And yes, please post some pics as soon as possible! :) Funnily my girlfriend and I made one of our first trips together to Alsace, albeit in a Rover Mini at the time.

Thanks for the link about the tarps, might come in handy for others as well.

Wish you alle the best for your trip and regards to the sweetheart.


sylfest.muldal (author)2016-08-16

Thanks so much for the 'blueprint' with marked dimensions for the platform/kitchen box construction. I've cut the parts to size and it doesn't seem to fit quite fit. Can it be true that the length of the middle section side pieces is 500 mm and the angular top piece that fits over them is 495 mm? That 5mm difference isn't enough to allow for the middle section's 18mm-thick cross wall, surely?

Hard to describe in words! I enclose some photos that might help a bit. Figuring out which pieces to alter to make it fit is mighty confusing I find. Which measurement is marked wrong, or have I missed something?

As you suggested, I chose to use metal brackets to join the sections, though I don't think that should affect those particular measurements. I attach some photos of the platform loosely fitted in my Yeti. (The overall bed length seems okay for me and the missus. We're not very long.).

Hope your Scotland trip went well. Our Berta's maiden trip will also be to Scotland, next month.

dtextor (author)sylfest.muldal2016-08-17

Hi Sylfest

First of all, that looks extremely neat and well done. I'm highly impressed. Thanks a lot for the pictures, it helped a lot to find the culprit (me as it is..). The middle section side panels should be around 550 mm and not the 500 mm as in the blueprint. This allows the top panel (495 mm) + cross beam (18 mm) + overhang (30 mm) + a little bit space between (2 mm) = 550 mm. If in doubt make it a bit longer. It might be that I initially meant the distance until the dotted line but anyways I'm extremely sorry that there was a wrong measurement. I read your comment in the morning and went straight to the car to measure it before work. So, how to fix it...

There are 2 possible solutions:


Cut the middle section side panels again in the correct longer size if you have some leftover wood.


Use either a bar of hardwood or a large metal bracket to join the side panels and cross beam together. (see attached picture)

Since you're close to be finished, were there any other measurements that were far off? I really hope it all worked out and that at least most of the blueprint was helpful.

The trip to Scotland was fantastic! Although, sadly, we decided to fly to Edinburgh and rent a Land Rover with roof top tent (from Scotland Overland) since the driving distance would have cut our vacation time in Scotland rather short. As fun and adventurous as it was, there wasn't a single night that I didn't dearly missed Berta. Especially in rainy and windy conditions the rooftop tent and the rather thin foam mattress is absolutely no match for the comfort and stability of Berta's interior.

I'm looking forward to seeing more pictures of your setup and some nice pics from the wee mad road or sunset at Dunnet Head. :)

Please write again should the workaround be too cryptic or if you have any other problems.

Best regards and sorry again for the misleading measurement!


PS: I'll upload a corrected blueprint and will do so again should you find any other measurements that are off.

sylfest.muldal (author)dtextor2016-08-18

Thanks again Dominik. I'm glad the error was in the side length - simpler to correct. I'll probably re-cut some wood to make a proper fix, but I think the other would do as well.

I thought one other measurement might be a typo? (see pic) It's very close to the edge anyway.

Good to hear about your trip to Scotland, though a roof-top tent on top of a gas-guzzling Land Rover just isn't as smart as that nice Yeti!

What I really enjoyed about your post was "I ... went straight to the car to measure it before work". It seems that you keep your micro-camper conversion permanently installed!

dtextor (author)sylfest.muldal2016-08-18

Yes, it's most of the time installed. I would love to have the option to have the seats in it as well to transport other people, but well, it's worth a lot to be able to sit on the mattress without a neck cramp.

Gas-guzzling and mind-blowing loud! And yes, I think as well that it should be 50mm, not 5mm. Thanks.

tedlabete (author)2016-08-17

Thanks for the update of the blueprint measurement!
I am about to start very soon but was thinking about build only 2 parts rather than 3 for the support structure as I would like to be able to store bigger stuff, as a table or some foldable chairs by example.

tedlabete (author)2016-05-21

Hi again Dextor!
Which model of waeco tropicool do you have? And what about place it behind the two front seats just on the floor under the front of the bed, not enough space?
And please let me know aswell where did you get your spider web because I can't find any that i can't use in the same way of yours!!

tedlabete (author)tedlabete2016-05-21

(was wondering about the noise of the tropicool during the night especially, is it really disturbing?)

dtextor (author)tedlabete2016-08-17

Hi Ted. Should you be in the process of building it, be aware that there was a faulty measurement in the blueprint I provided. An updated version with the (hopefully) correct measurement is now online.

dtextor (author)tedlabete2016-05-24

Hi Ted

I'm pretty sure it's a Waeco Tropicool TC14. However, it's discontinued and now replaced by the similar TCX14:

You can hear the fan working, so it's not super silent. However, we usually cooled it down while driving during the day and left it closed and unconnected during the night. Since we didn't have a secondary battery the cooler would have drained the starting battery within hours. It's also a good idea to use a battery watch dog so the cooler doesn't drain it accidentally if you forget to switch it off.

About the mesh. We bought the mesh in a hardware store (Coop Bau & Hobby). They sell them as a cheap possibility to make the windows of your house mosquito proof. They come as broad sheets of mesh with thin velcro strips to attach them to the windows. Ditch the velcro, use the mesh. There were two versions, stretchy and not. Both are fine. The stretchy is a bit nicer quality while the normal will be easier to sew.

Hope that helps.

BenjaminS62 (author)2016-03-07

Hi dtextor, first of all: thanks a lot for this awesome instruction! I'm planning to build the bed exactly the same way you did. However, I wanted to ask if there's any chance that you provide the dimensions for the colored section in the sketches in step two. That would be really helpful.

dtextor (author)BenjaminS622016-03-13

Hi there. I just added a pdf in the measuring step with most of the main dimensions. It's handwritten and crappy but bear in mind that it's bloody cold here and my motivation was on a down slope.

BenjaminS62 (author)dtextor2016-03-14

Awesome! Thank you very very much.

dtextor (author)BenjaminS622016-08-17

Hi Benjamin. Should you be in the process of building it, be aware that there was a faulty measurement in the blueprint I provided. An updated version with the correct measurement is now online.

sylfest.muldal (author)dtextor2016-04-11

Thanks for the measurements!

I'm hoping to build this thing and take my first microcamper tour to France in the late summer.

By then I expect to see fleets of Betis all over Europe!

dtextor (author)sylfest.muldal2016-04-12

It is somehow customary to lead the Bertas to France for their maiden voyage. Have you started already?

sylfest.muldal (author)dtextor2016-04-12

Started? Not sure - but so far for £355 I've got the roof bars, roof box (Thule Ranger 80 foldable), Waeco 21-l peltier cooler, the spider bag (came with the Yeti?), the battery guard, the tunnel tent, the foam double mattress, the upholstery fabric and zips, the neodymium magnets, the thermal foil, the magnetic roll, the cupboard lift hinges, the adjustable feet, the buckle tethering straps, the backflap hinges, wood for legs, some metal brackets, and some of the hardware. I'm not sure about the bolt gauges and T-nut usage yet, and I won't buy the plywood until I'm ready to saw.

I won't be free from work and a charity commitment until mid-June.

Then I'll build it. You'll see.

K VanderbiltS (author)2016-08-07

You are a clever and resourceful man, Mr dtextor (as said by that infamous Swiss!). I have seen lots of SUV Camper conversions, including the Welsh Amdro conversions and I thought that it had all been done. But if I might venture to say, you have added some ingenious and nicely made developments to our world!

I saw on one of your earlier instructions, a large dog next to the first vehicle when parked in a field. Does your design accommodate the dog too? I travel with a large dog, but never with my wife in our Berlingo and wondered if you had any advice on pets?

My approach is more minimal but does well for occasional use. I have an adjustable camp bed designed for carp fishermen and sold by Carpzone in the UK. It is more comfortable than beds at home. That fits in the berlingo and also works as a lounger in the day.

My only small contribution to the field is on insulated windows. I use a similar material to you but thicker than the sun blinds. Camping sleeping mats with a silver foil backing and made from 5mm foam are very easy to work with. When covered with black microfibre fleece fabric and secured against the glass, these make the windows look as though they are obscure black tinted and so sleeping even in town is possible. They can be reversed to show silver to the outside if there is bright sun in the day.

Many thanks for a very enjoyable and thought provoking series of instructables.

dtextor (author)K VanderbiltS2016-08-09

Thank you for your kind words! Which infamous Swiss would that be?

The Amdro setup is quite ingenious. My first build with the Kangoo was heavily inspired by it. The dog wasn't ours. While he did have a tendency to want to come along, he belonged to the landlord of the place we stayed. In my first design (Kangoo) you could maybe change the design that the dog sleeps in the footwell of the second seat row under the fold-over extension. There's quite some space but it depends on the size of your dog. And if you want your dog in a box while driving one could think of a foldable dog kennel box that could be stored outside/flat under the car while not in use.

The camping sleeping mat is a clever and more sturdy idea. Thanks.

K VanderbiltS (author)dtextor2016-08-14

Goldfinger! ... to James Bond ...

Our dog seems to go just where he wants and I arrange thngs around him. In our set up, the front seats and footwell is available and he is comforable there ... for a whiile!

I may try an inner tent and I am looking at a cheap dark grey pop up tent which might be adjusted to fit. However, our Berlingo camping s only fair weather and condensation has not been too much of a problem. An innerr tent could extend the season.

Thanks and best wishes,

dtextor (author)K VanderbiltS2016-08-17

:D Thanks for the explanation!

I doubt a bit if the inner tent helps in terms of condensation and warmth. In our Kangoo we did it primarily for mosquito and privacy reasons.

Best of luck with your setup.

Jérémie SRN (author)2016-07-19

Really impressed !

Simple, efficient, very well documented ... for sure it will be my next project for my Yeti :)

dtextor (author)Jérémie SRN2016-07-20

Thanks for the praise! :) If you build something like it, please post some pictures!

dark13sider (author)2016-05-29

looks like what I'm about to do to my mini van

tedlabete (author)2016-04-03

Just to let you know (if you have more money/less time or you are just lazy),
for my skoda yeti I bought these to replace the "mosquitoes screen".

You can also find the rain deflectors (I didn't buy them for now, still hestitating if it is usefull or not):

I guess you can also find these stuff in a skoda concession.

Have fun!

dtextor (author)tedlabete2016-04-12

Have you already go them? I thought about buying them but time was critical and I only needed two and didn't wanted to spend so much money for the whole set. But they do look nice!

CamperLoving (author)2016-04-10

Pretty cool mate. At first I thought you had a sleeping tent on the roof that opens up but it makes more sense to use the back section of the vehicle as a more comfortable place to sleep.

Have you thought about putting a fridge in it?

dtextor (author)CamperLoving2016-04-12

Thank you.

The fridge you can see in step 16...

tedlabete (author)2016-04-03


dtextor (author)2016-03-13

Salut Ted

Since you live close enough to pester me directly, I just went out and took the dimensions. :D (It's a crappy handwritten pdf in the measuring step) My family originates from the french part of Switzerland but I'm afraid we would have to resort to english. It's still a bit too cold to make an overnight trip and sleep in the Yeti but maybe when it's warmer. However, I live in Winterthur and you're always welcome for a visit and a look at my car. I'm a tiny bit busy the next week but we can stay in touch. To your questions (most of them should be answered in the pdf...):

All top panels are 12mm plywood (stable enough to walk on but both me and my girlfriend are in the featherweight class.. And some sections are "reinforced" with hardwood bars. You can see it in the pictures..)

All side panels (except kitchen box) are 18mm solid wood (just because I had some leftover wood). The kitchen box uses 16mm plywood which would be fine for all the side panels. Bear in mind that you have to adjust the dimension in the pdf slightly if you change other thicknesses of the panels. Since all the panels "slide" together you will not have to work extremely accurately.

I'm happy with it altogether. However, you could merge the two middle sections since the front section is rather smallish (if the resulting flip panel will not be too long to open in the car). But I would advise you to still integrate the accident/sliding mechanism.

Beer and patisserie are always welcome and it will indeed be interesting to finally meet another yeti camper. Good luck with your build and feel free to ask should you run into any trouble. Should the need arise, a skype conference call can always be arranged. :)



KVSBUNNY (author)2016-02-29

after mooning about for at least a day over truck campers on the internet, worrying about the cost and coul we ever afford it, I reread this instructable my current car is a sedan, so not good for this project, but a mini van would be a possibility . . . Even a rental . . . Oh those wheels in my noggin are a turnin' thanks and have fun !

dtextor (author)KVSBUNNY2016-03-01

:D You're very welcome!

warriorethos2 (author)2016-02-14

dtextor, your SUV MicroCamper idea is great. On step 13 you said to, "Now, cover the passenger door with a liberal amount of cling film / plastic wrap", then you go and say "foil", is this a type "O" or did you mean to say "cling film/plastic wrap"? Other than that your instructions were very clear along with your pictures and small videos showing how the lids open and close. This would be good not only for trips and vacation but for a natural disaster and can go with a survival kit or emergency kit. I like this idea very much and will add it to my favorites and collection of projects in the future.

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Bio: applied simplicity
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