Getting your car camping kit dialed is a rewarding (and often time-consuming) project. You have your camp kitchen, a table, maybe a camp couch, a sleeping pad or air mattress, pull-out drawers for storage, lighting, and whatever other crafty van life features you might incorporate.
Once you’ve got your setup, almost any campground, pull-off, BLM dirt road, or parking lot becomes an overnight option. Who needs Airbnbs, hotels, or vacation rentals? The world is your camping oyster.
The problem: If you want to take a road trip abroad, you probably aren’t going to pack your whole car camping set-set up. Checking all that as luggage at the airport would be an ordeal. And you’d have to rent a specific kind of car that would fit it all the way you want it. You could do it. But most people wouldn’t dare.
The solution: miniB by 123camp — the first camp kit you can fly with.
The cleverly designed kit is like a 3D puzzle with multiple configurations. It fits into most vehicles to create a sleeping platform with a high-quality mattress. It can be set up like a little camp couch. Or break it down and reconfigure it into a camp table with two camp chairs. It even has a slide-out cooking countertop.
And, of course, all of that packs down into a relatively small bundle that’s easy to check on a plane and travel with abroad. So you can conceivably use any car as a van life camper vehicle — no rooftop tent or Sprinter van required.
miniB: ‘The First Camper That Can Fly’
Calling this kit a “camper” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s really more of a camper converter. The miniB will fit in any small or hybrid SUVs, station wagons, and minivans, the brand claims. Basically, if your car is bigger than a Fiat 500, the miniB will fit right into the back. Simply fold down the seats and unfurl the miniB.
Configurations at Camp
The slatted pieces of the miniB are made from highly durable, semi-lightweight, and waterproof plywood. They fit together and lock in place, in several arrangements to make completely different pieces of camp furniture.
The first, and most useful is that of a full-sized camping mattress platform. With a nylon strap, the top is fastened to the headrests of the front two seats. Two legs at the back hold the platform aloft, creating a level area to lay the mattress and get some shuteye.
It also creates a small storage space underneath, complete with a hinging panel for easy access. And an extendable shelf creates a small space at the back of the car for cooking and preparing meals.
In a similar way, the plywood pieces can be fit together to create two small camp stools and a table. Or, much like a futon, it can transform into a couch, with the mattress doubling as a seat cushion. (There’s a 420-pound weight capacity in bed mode, and a 200-pound weight limit on the stools/chairs.)
The miniB Kickstarter page claims that these conversions can be set up in under a minute. But don’t expect to be that fast on your first few tries. Likely, it takes a bit of practice and a lot of time spent watching the step-by-step video tutorials.
Traveling With the miniB
Because the whole thing packs down into a travel bag that’s roughly 43″ x 10″ x 25″ (110 cm x 25 cm x 65 cm), you can check it on a plane just like any other luggage.
You’ll still have to bring your camp cookware, stove, sleeping bag, in addition to clothes and the rest of your travel items. But you won’t need a tent or a sleeping pad, or any of your camp furniture. And you won’t have to pay for hotels or Airbnbs anywhere along your travels.
When completely packed down, the miniB easily fits in the trunk of a car. And the travel bag should make transportation and storage a cinch. However, it does weigh 62 pounds, so don’t plan on carrying this thing too far into the “wilderness.”
Kickstart the miniB!
As of this writing, there are still 14 days left on the miniB’s Kickstarter campaign. It’s raised $42,867 so far, surpassing its goal of $21,977 by more than double. If you want to support miniB, there is an option to donate 1 euro (as it’s a European company). Or, you can pledge $960 and you’ll get 35% off the very first round of miniBs shipped out.
Now, here’s the kicker: the MSRP on one of these bad boys is $1,447. Getting 35% off of that is still going to cost you $940 plus shipping (for a 63-pound package coming from Europe). That’s on top of your $960 Kickstarter pledge, mind you.
But apparently, that’s the price of bringing the van life with you anywhere you go.
And, judging by the amount of money the miniB has already raised, there are clearly a lot of camp-happy world travelers out there ready to pony up. Check out the miniB’s Kickstarter page for even more info on this slick little camping kit. According to the campaign, they plan on starting production in May 2023, and they’ll start shipping miniBs out in June and July.