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#VANLIFE: Recon Campers’ Nissan NV200 sleeps four & fits in your garage

Recon Campers Nissan NC200 mini camper van with pop-top roof bed and fold flat bench seat bed offers great gas mileage for the vanlife
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Recon Campers founder Stephen Schank basically wanted something small enough to park downtown, but still be able to use for weekend adventures and getaways. Getaways that might involve road cycling, mountain biking, wind surfing, kayaking or some combination thereof. So he started with the tiny Nissan NV 200, which is smaller than your average minivan and is sold as a micro cargo van, and started upfitting it. He added sleeping arrangements, a pop-up roof, a kitchenette, ample storage, and more. The project turned out so good, Nissan should be offering these through their US dealerships as soon as Spring 2019!

Recon Campers Nissan NC200 mini camper van with pop-top roof bed and fold flat bench seat bed offers great gas mileage for the vanlife
Driver’s side sliding rear door is a bonus.

Schank chose the NV platform because it’s a true cargo van base, with flat floors all the way back and industrial level alternator and electronics system. This made it the perfect small-scale platform for customization because it could handle the extra loads.

Recon Camper nissan nv200 conversion makes the smallest camper van on the market that sleeps and seats four adults with a full water tank heater sink and fridge

Features and options include Wet Ocole seat covers, marine-grade stainless steel cabinet hardware, solar port plugs directly wired to the battery system (so you can easily add panels if you want them), 3-gallon alternator-powered water heater tank plus 10 gallon fresh water tank, shower hose port and 5-gallon gray water tank. About the only thing it’s missing is a toilet…though there are plenty of portable options you can add on your own and stow them behind the rear seat.

Recon Camper nissan nv200 conversion makes the smallest camper van on the market that sleeps and seats four adults
A fully digital control panel means no switches and buttons…and no physical fuses.

A simple touch-screen digital control panel manages the entire system.

Recon Camper nissan nv200 conversion makes the smallest camper van on the market that sleeps and seats four adults

The rear seating is simply brilliant with it’s adjustability and ability to turn into a perfectly flat bed, too! Seriously, check the video at the bottom to see how it works.

Recon Camper nissan nv200 conversion makes the smallest camper van on the market that sleeps and seats four adults

Perhaps the best part? Fully loaded it still gets about 24-25mpg! That, and the price tag. The top-level Envy upfit shown here starts at $28,500 plus the cost of the car, which is sold at dealer invoice as part of the deal (we checked, and it’s about $19,700 for the base vehicle). So, for under $50K, you’ve got a vehicle that can seat and sleep four and carry plenty of gear, gets great mileage and will fit in a standard garage.

There are options that can bump the price up, but there are also much lower priced options that give you some of the key features for a lot less. Just want the rear bench/bed? That’s $6,000 and includes extra sound insulation around the wheel wells, storage drawers underneath, and their industrial floor. The bench seat uses frame reinforcing at the mounts and meets all current U.S. safety standards with three point seat belts for both sides.

The pop top with its panel bed is $7,500. Between those and the Envy package are several other intermediate builds, some with and without the cabinetry if you just want more storage for big things (like a bike) inside.

smallest overland camper van is the recon camper built on a nissan NV200 cargo van

 

Bike friendly options include the rear mounted bike rack ($749), which sits above the tail lights and allows full access to the rear even with bikes on it…

internal bicycle workstand for a camper van from recon campers fits inside a nissan NV200 cargo van

 

…and this slot-in workstand ($199) mounted to the inside of the rear door.

This video from Fast Lane Truck has a great overview from Stephen and shows the mini-camper in action. This particular one has a few overlanding upgrades, particularly the wide-set wheels with Yokohama GeoLander tires. Wanna try before you buy? ScamperVan out of Atlanta rents them. You’re welcome.

whats the smallest overland camper van available

If you’ve heard the phrase “good things come in small packages”, this photo showing how the Recon Camper compares to a full overland truck shows just how small it is. And from the looks of it, pretty good, too.

ReconCampers.com

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Jason West
4 years ago

Cool! Thats pretty awesome but still too much moola for this guy even though its priced pretty good.

JBikes
JBikes
4 years ago

I think its insane that the some cabinetry, electrical, plumbing and tent work cost 50% more than the vehicle which has a a complex drivetrain, controls, and requires crash and fuel economy testing.
I know…economies of scale, but just take a step back and think about that price tag vs the components going in and the time required to fabricate it.

Dinger
Dinger
4 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

Economy of scale is really the beginning to end of it. Nissan will make 10’s of thousands of these vans per year. 10’s of them will include these options. Small volume, hand work is expensive.

FWIW, the Euro version of the VW California camper (ironically not available in Cali, or anywhere else in the US) starts @ $50k and goes up & over $80+k optioned out.

Padrote
Padrote
4 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

I don’t understand why you wouldn’t purchase a small RV, something that is already built for doing what all these fantasy van conversions want to do instead of spending $20,000 on cabinets and appliances. You can’t even put your bikes inside the thing when you’re sleeping.

onrhodes
4 years ago
Reply to  Padrote

100% agree. You can get a nice used class B or C for this price or for about 10-15K more you’re in the “new” category for a basic class C or low end B.

ScottERob
ScottERob
4 years ago
Reply to  onrhodes

Let’s talk about “nice” used class B or C…they don’t appeal to me at all in terms of style, stealth, maneuverability and more. This van appeals to me. Get it now?

onrhodes
4 years ago
Reply to  ScottERob

nope, still don’t get it, but I can be slow sometimes……

Greg Tillery
Greg Tillery
4 years ago
Reply to  ScottERob

yes I totally get it and agree. At the very least new should be compared with new and I’d take this at 50K all day over a 60-65k class B with cheesy graphics and fiberglass everywhere.

Discerning
Discerning
4 years ago
Reply to  onrhodes

For those that live out-of-town and commute in to work, this is a great alternative for mid-week living. Rents in big cities run $2k+/mo for a studio, and hotels are $200/nt. Payments on this $50k conversion should be less than $1k/mo and that INCLUDES the “commuting car” payment. These can be parked inconspicuously around town, where an RV is an obvious overnighter. As a side use, these can then also be used for camping, etc. and don’t take up much room at home.

Poopyhead
Poopyhead
4 years ago
Reply to  Padrote

Because this van is smaller and more maneuverable, with better gas mileage, and can be used as a daily driver the same way people like my parents used to do with their VW camper vans. The real comparison isn’t the cost of this to a small RV but $50,000 for this or $50,000+ for a small RV and $30,000 for an additional car.

Padrote
Padrote
4 years ago
Reply to  Poopyhead

Everyone you and I know that has an conversion van also has a second vehicle though.

JBikes
JBikes
4 years ago
Reply to  Padrote

not Matt Foley!

i
i
4 years ago
Reply to  Padrote

But I could drive this to work if I couldn’t drive my daily driver, or wife needed a car for the day. No one you or I know that has a job has RV parking at that job. And everyone you or I know that lives in a city doesn’t have anywhere to keep an RV the rest of the time either. Parking for a car-sized vehicle is a lot easier to come by.

Also, everyone you or I know that’s ever been camping knows that RVs are often inconveniently large and hard to maneuver for that even. And making any length of road trip on RV gas mileage would suck.

Yeah, it’s a lot of money. No I won’t be getting one, but you people claiming no utility compared to an RV are deliberately being obtuse.

Crash Bandicoot
Crash Bandicoot
4 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

99% of these are just small volume luxury toys and carry a price tag of such. I remember trying to justify buying one at which point I realized that my wife and I could stay at 4 Seasons hotels or luxury homes for the entirety of multiple bike racing seasons and still come out ahead than buying one of these.

Matt
Matt
4 years ago

For 20k more I built a 2015 sprinter 4×4 (bought new) with a high roof and way more utility. Other than getting into a garage I don’t see the value.

DougB
DougB
4 years ago

Awesome, looks sweet.

King County
King County
4 years ago

One of the members of the Green Day band had his Dad convert a bread truck for one of their 1st tours, before they got successful. A car show refurbished it recently, and made upgrades, but seeing the early version made me wonder how a regular guy, with so-so skills, can do making a conversion.

Matt
Matt
4 years ago

That $199 work stand costs $35 on Amazon, I just bought one to use on the side of our house for washing bikes.

Charles
Charles
4 years ago

Now who put the bike in the stand like that?

ChknBreast
ChknBreast
4 years ago

Good point. Should have been installed on the passenger rear door to clear the bars.

Tak
Tak
4 years ago

I think its awesome; very well thought out and uses quality materials. Considering a high end road bike is $10K I don’t think the price on this is outrageous although I don;t need one. This would be successful in Europe and SE Asia where smaller cars are in demand due to narrow streets and traffic.

JBikes
JBikes
4 years ago
Reply to  Tak

If you used comparative prices across unrelated items, anything can seem like a bargain. Take that road bike at $10k…compared to that a $250 steak seems like a bargain and that Silca Superpista Ultimate Hiro is downright dirt cheap. Can’t afford not to buy one….heck, let’s make it two!

scooter
scooter
4 years ago
Clif
Clif
4 years ago

“Hey guys, we should make a video that showcases our van and encourages people to buy it.”

“Great idea! I think one of the first shots in the video should show it getting stuck and how stranded you’d be if you didn’t have 10 grown men helping you push it.”

“Brilliant!”

Julie Nelson
Julie Nelson
4 years ago

I’m super excited about this van! I’ve driven little Hyundai’s for over 25 yrs so gas mileage and stealthiness is important to me when thinking about going over the road!! I’m in the market for one right now…but wondering if there are any used ones out there yet?

Kris
Kris
4 years ago

The pop-top recon camper van is currently not in production. No idea when it will be back in production, FYI…

Huw
Huw
4 years ago

Are those factory wheels on the nv 200 ? if not, what size are they,if bigger size how do they fit and affect the drive,i dont like the factory wheels i’ve seen,thanks

Thomas Anderson
Thomas Anderson
4 years ago

Where can I look at them

Alan Koslowski
Alan Koslowski
3 years ago

It’s nice, but I don’t see the appeal of spending almost $30K for just a conversion when a simple, functional DIY conversion costs much less, around $500-1000 or so.

$45K total cost for a camper van seems ridiculous to me. To me the primary function of a camper van is to provide an affordable, comfortable place to sleep. To me spending almost 4-yrs rent on entirely defeats to purpose.

Shuang
Shuang
3 years ago

Can I camp at RV sites with this? Or does this have to be RVIA certified ?

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