If there’s one thing the U.S. camper market is missing, it’s a compact camper that fits in your garage, can function as a daily driver, and still sleep a family for short weekend camping trips. We need a modern-day Volkswagen Westfalia or possibly for Volkswagen to bring its coveted California camper van stateside.
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Fortunately, new camper companies have recognized the gap in the market. Recon Campers uses the Nissan NV200 commercial grade van to create campers that give you #VanLife at a fraction of the cost of many larger builds. Their Envy camper features seven feet of standing room thanks to a pop top that contains an 88 inch by 40 inch upper bed. Three upper screened windows allow for airflow or the pretty views all adventurers crave.
Down below, the Envy boasts a custom rear bench seat—made with breathable multi-density foam—that folds flat into a 42 inch by 72 inch lower bed, perfect for a couple. A galley kitchen isn’t large but houses most of the basics, like a stainless steel fridge, sink, and pantry area with a bit of room for storage. All models come with a portable stove so that you can cook inside or out. A larger closet area is reminiscent of a similar one found in the VW California van, and two drawers under the bench seat provide more space for clothes or gear.
The Envy also has a 10-gallon freshwater tank, a 5-gallon grey water tank, water heater, and an outdoor shower to rinse off. That’s not a ton of water compared to most campers, but it’s certainly helpful for washing hands and staying clean. The camper’s lights, fridge, DC outlets, and water pump are powered by a 110Ah AGM+ battery which can go about two days before recharging. And the whole system is controlled by a sophisticated 7-inch LCD touch screen that displays all of your temperatures, levels, and light information to keep you informed.
All Envy campers come prewired for solar, and a portable 100-watt solar system is available at an additional cost. Other upgrades include an awning, bike rack, exterior graphics, roof crossbars, bug screens, and a rear door bike work stand.
The base Envy package—excluding the cost of the vehicle—starts at $28,500, while the Nissan NV200 van starts around $21,900. Depending on the features you choose, this means you can have a nicely built out camper for less than $60,000, which makes the Envy downright affordable compared to pricier vans. Recon sells the Envy direct to buyers at the moment, but plans are in the works for the camper to be sold in the future at Nissan dealerships.
Most important, the Envy also gets about 25 mpg on the highway and can fit in your garage. The van’s front-wheel-drive and lower clearance might put off some buyers, but the price point, drivability, and smart design makes it the perfect choice for people who want something that can be a daily driver and a weekend camper.