2013 ford transit connect or "our minimalist camper"


rfross,let me give some more insight on regards to transit.

1 it will never access the trails you could take a small 2wd truck on not enough clearance.

2 with front wheel drive it will pull good on hills weight over drive wheels add to traction.

3 i can compare to chevy astro with locking diff (2wd) as i have had one it will go where a 2wd truck will go,many trips to saline
hot springs,lots of people consider this a 4x4 trip,not always.
and will get decent mileage, mine a 1999 always got around 18-19 mpg overall.transit is averaging 28 mpg now.
i had it set up about the same as transit as it was a little longer there was a small increase of inside room.
4 i also have had a 2008 ford 150 van standard length,small v/8 locker in rear again set up like transit except
i installed a pop top so could stand up,again had many back road trips death valley,saline,etc,17/18 mpg.

i built the transit as a excuse to see how a really small van would work,as i stated the reason i did it was as a "week ender"
short trip rig if i was planning on really long trips i would go back to a full size van or astro and would pass on a awd astro unless
i lived in snow country,you can still find great astro's at good prices they are in my opinion bullet proof if set up right and taken care of.

any one who thinks a transit would work for them should do the home work and you might end up with one.

as some one who changes rigs often it does not mean there was a problem with the last one.

hope this answers more of your questions.i also write about the short comings when needed.



"Minimalist" continues

since building van a couple of additions.

we travel with cat (bella) and she likes to be part of group at all times
so when we do not have her on a leash we keep her inside.i sewed up a screen that hooks on with velcro
keeps her in and bugs out,duel purpose!

after a couple of times dealing with wet inflatable kayaks i added receivers on to after market hitch
this allows me to add a strong carrier that holds the kayaks in a storage box,no more mess and is easy to remove
if not needed.

we also use the carrier for longer trips when we want to carry more stuff,barbecue,fire pan,etc.

a couple of pictures of our last trip to Kofa wildlife refuge in Arizona.

Transit is working great,no problems.




This is an awesome build! I love all the simple refinements you've made to such a neat vehicle. I'm so glad Ford took the chance on this one :elkgrin:


Learning as I go
Awesome build! Have you thought about some strut spacers though to allow just a slightly bigger height? If nothing else to keep the essentials underneath more safe from the ground on an unpaved road.


thanks for remarks.

in regards to ground clearance i do not worry to much about it as
i feel that i have gained enough experience over the years to be able
to judge where and what i can expose the van to in regards to damaging it.

if you look under a transit there is not really to much that is exposed,i feel that
this is due to the fact that the transit is built,(and maybe designed) in Turkey
which might have rougher,more basic roads then in US,just my thought could be way off!

when i went with the transit we did not build it for off road use if this was to be the use
i would of kept one of my other rigs.

i tend to change rigs (toys) often and that is what the transit is,who knows what is next,
but for now we are having a ball with it,and no problems of any kind.




thanks for your request,nothing much to report,no problems with transit
loving the great milage!

since we live in the Palm Springs area of So. Calif. and the weather is PERFECT there
is no reason to wander to far,so have been limiting trips to the close desert area's
that we love to explore (borrego springs, Kofa wildlife area Arz,).

come summer we are going to do an extended trip through the back roads of Nevada,Idaho,Utah,Etc.
(lived in Idaho for 10 years so know of some great back roads to explore) and will try and post
how the transit handles such a trip.

have been doing some research on the chance of some after market suspension lift,but have not
had any luck,maybe if i wear the tires out i might be able to gain a inch or so with tire selection,Ha,Ha!



New member
I have been looking at picking up a used Transit Connect to convert over to a small camper / basecamp-mobile. This thread is super helpful! Thought I was the only crazy one that thought the conversation could work!

Do you still own, and have you been happy? How has it performed in the heat and/or cold? Does it become an Icebox or Sauna?




New member
Bump this to the top.

Ive seen a handful of these done up but barely any. I think these are great platforms for a DD/weekend warrior.


Seems to me, the way the doors are, this could have slides or pop out, add an RTT!

Those rear doors look like sufficient support to fit a fold out RTT floor, it could fit in the channel and lock in place, this may add 3 or 4 feet to the top bed over the rear.

What I like too is that the rear door opening looks like it can be sealed off easily, with a better fit than the SUV tent add ons.

There is the option too of doing a rear slide like the new VW camper, I'd not try a hard shell but a good canvas would work.

This thing could expand up, out on both sides and out the back!

Pull a small trailer with the motorcycle and canoe/kayak over it, you'd be set.

Concerns are getting stuck in sand, mud and GC.

My brother has one for work and it's probably overloaded at times, his complaint is it's slow acceleration on the highway, side winds and mileage isn't near 28, more like 18, but he's loaded too.

Even with that, it seems the Transit has good possibilities for overlanding, I like it! :)


New member
I borrowed a friends transit for a few months recently and fell in love with the thing. Been perusing many forums, pics, youtube videos of people converting them into mini campers.A friend of mine even had an article for Motortrend or C&D because he uses his as a motorcycle track day vehicle. The truck has just enough room for a small sport or vintage bike. Sometime the front wheel needs to be up in between the two front seats but that's ok.I was thinking of using it for the same purpose with a fold up bed on the drivers side and a shallow shelf\cabinet\cook area on the passenger side.I see a number of wheelchair vans pop up for sale in the area, old taxi and ambulette transits. With all the extra space and ground clearance some of them drop a good 6-9 inches below the floor area. A short person could stand up in it and using it for bikes would be dead simple and roomy.Anyway, I looked at a few used NYC taxi models recently, taxi models are XLT package cars with heavy duty vinyl interiors and is the only way to get full surround opening glass. Not many XLT transits were sold, 90% of transits were work vans so either all panel or partial panel. Even the standard XLT models, none of the windows open.


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