How great is camping? There’s something so refreshing about even the most uncomfortable camping trip… spending all that quality outdoor time, focusing on the important things like cooking, reading, walking, talking for hours with good company around a fire, and staring for hours at the stars.
Ezra and I love camping but historically we haven’t gone very often. It tends to be a lot of effort – load the car with all those specialty items that are only used for camping, buy groceries, drive several hours, having left early enough that you arrive in daylight with plenty of time to figure out (for the 20th time) how exactly to pitch your tent and get a fire going, before it gets dark and chilly and all you want to do is snuggle in your sleeping bag with a belly full of s’mores.
I like to call the car Ellie Camper, because it’s Element + Camper, and also Ellie Kemper of Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt fame. Ezra is less excited about this!
It was with dread of this huge effort in mind that we decided to purchase a Honda Element and get it converted into a mini camper. Theory being that if we had a vehicle that also served as our bed, perhaps we would go more often. Ezra researched and found Ursa Minor Vehicles, which converted our Element and turned it into our newest adventure vehicle. We’ve been waiting for the weather to get warmer so we could head out on our maiden voyage, and we finally had our opportunity 2 weeks ago. I’ll write more on that soon, but here are the initial thoughts on the Element as E-Camper itself:
- The boxy shape of the Element makes it relatively easy to pack, even with one of the back seats down. We’re hoping to get better at this, but for a first try, we were pretty pleased with how much room we had.
- It still seems like a regular car when you’re moving around – the e-camper only adds 6 inches of height to the car, so it doesn’t feel like you’re dragging around a whole RV or anything crazy like that.
- Oh-so-much easier than setting up a tent! All we had to do was park, pop the top up, and throw our sleeping bags and pillows up top. More time for setting up the fire, cooking a delicious alfresco meal and drinking allllll the box wine.
- The sides zip completely open, and I had romantic ideas about sleeping with only the night sky above me, but the first night was a little scary when I woke up with my whole head and shoulders hanging off the edge! The second night I zipped it closed, just leaving the mesh windows open. I felt way more secure and still had plenty of air circulation – it was a super comfy night’s sleep.
- Ezra bought insulated window panels for the Element, which kept the car temperate – not too hot during the sunny warm days and not too freezing at night, when the desert temperatures got low.
All in all, we were pretty happy with our first camping adventure (more on that soon)! Excited for it to keep getting warmer so we can go again!