Ursa Minor Camper Interior Cabin Build Thread

campertramper

Active member
Last month I purchased this 2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with Ursa Minor top in Oregon and drove it home: https://expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/sold-ursa-minor-jeep-rubicon-camper-33-9k.229256/

Over the winter I'm working on some small interior modifications that I thought might be worth documenting and sharing. My intention is to pack as much interior storage as possible into the jeep so I can turn this into the most versatile camper for up to 3 people while keeping the rig as light weight as possible, which for me means using soft storage to the extent possible.

This first addition, which is off-topic from storage is simply a drivers side-passenger side/left-right level. I take inspiration from Dan Grec of of The Road Choose Me in this Video: Ultimate Jeep Camper - Ursa Minor J30 pop-up roof in depth review at 37:49-39:19.


In an attempt to find the perfect level I ended up ordering several from Amazon but none seemed to fit just right. The round 'spirit level' as Dan calls them were too short and wouldn't line up well with the footman's loop. I also tried a T-shaped level with a left-right, front-back level combination, but I couldn't find anywhere flat on the Ursa Minor roofline to mount it. Finally, I found this level and mounted it with some 3M tape:

High Precision Mini Level Bubble Small Horizontal Bubble Three Line Horizontal Pearl Level Magnetometer (52 * 20 * 15mm Green Magnetism 2PCS): https://amzn.to/3mU8iut
3M Command Bath Large Water-Resistant Adhesive Refill Strips, 4-Large Strips, Re-Hang Large Back Hooks or Caddies: https://amzn.to/3sVgI8T

Since the level is encased into a rectangular shape the flat surface mounts really well to the Ursa Minor roofline above the rear view mirror onto the base of the Ursa Minor camper. This was such an easy mod - thanks for the inspiration Dan!

Here's a pic of Dan's level:

Screen Shot 2022-01-02 at 10.51.20 AM.png

And here is my installation:

PXL_20211230_181226086.jpgPXL_20211230_181215022.jpgPXL_20211230_181203675.jpg

I found a place for the the front-to-back level - just at the top of the drivers door which I also adhered to the jeep with cut down 3M tape. When the door is open it is not level, but closed it is.

PXL_20220111_231321225.jpgPXL_20220111_231409016.jpg

Cost: About $18.49 USD.
 
Last edited:

campertramper

Active member
My next mod came from a desire to store small gear more conveniently in the Ursa Minor loft area above my head (phone, wallet, keys, tissues, earplugs, etc.). My original inspiration comes from @venture4wd who had something custom made by Blue Ridge Overland Gear (BROG) back in 2018:


I checked with BROG last month and unfortunately they don't do custom work anymore.

I was further inspired by this one from You, Me & The Parks from this post: https://www.youmeandtheparks.com/posts/ursa-minor-j30-buyers-guide who use an 'REI Topper Net' for their storage needs. I think it may be this: https://www.rei.com/product/829841/msr-universal-gear-loft which is currently out of stock.

REI Gear Loft.jpg

I loved this idea, however I wanted a larger solution that uses more of the ceiling real estate so that I can keep all of my necessities within reach above my head when sleeping. I've used similar solutions in the past when tent camping and I know how valuable it can be to know where exactly your stuff is when you open your eyes without having to scramble around for it in the bed. I found the Big Agnes Gear Loft Tent Accessory, Wall: https://amzn.to/3HH38Ky

There are 5 different loft storage products by Big Agnes, but after measuring the space the 'Wall' is the one that seemed like it would fit and it does, nearly perfectly!

Screen Shot 2022-01-06 at 8.13.33 PM.png

For my first installation, I ran the paracord underneath the washer. I attached it under the highest screw in the far rear of the jeep and then two more that are two screws forward (I'll add a wider photo in the future once I take it to provide full context.)

PXL_20220106_204229159.jpg

This worked, however I was concerned that the paracord would be damaged by being in direct contact with the screws. The more I thought about it the more I was sure that a product must exist that would make mounting easier. What I was looking for was a more permanent mounting solution with eyelets so that I can dynamically mount paracord and carabiners to the ceiling in the field with ease as needed.

I found several metal solutions that I liked but I was concerned they might rattle and make noise in the wind. I found these interesting mounts for kayak's made of nylon with no moving parts that I decided to try: 10 Pack Kayak Eyelet Tie Down Loop Deck Fitting Bungee Cord Kit Rigging outfitting Pad Eye - https://www.walmart.com/ip/10-Pack-Kayak-Eyelet-Tie-Down-Loop-Deck-Fitting-Bungee-Cord-Kit-Rigging-Outfitting-Pad-Eye/678999539.

They arrived today, but unfortunately they were too tall for the screw protruding from the roof of the Ursa Minor into the loft area. I decided to try sanding the hardware down using a vice and a rotary sander (a fixed belt sander would have been better):

vice sander.jpg

The sanding worked!

Screen Shot 2022-01-08 at 6.14.19 PM.jpg

The one on the right is before and the one on the left after I sanded it. This reduced the thickness of the mounts enough to fit over the screws with enough room for the nut to fit onto them - after sanding they mounted easily.
Screen Shot 2022-01-07 at 1.42.34 PM.png

Overall I'm very happy with the result - it took 2.5 hours to sand down and install them all (10 came in this package). Most of the work was taken up from the labor of all the sanding. I have another slightly different product on order from Amazon (Jili Online 6X Black Kayak D ring Single Eyelet Tie Down Loop Deck Fitting Rigging Kits - https://amzn.to/3JRba5i) that I am hoping will be more turn-key (updated from 1/12/2022 - this product didn't work. The hole was too small and the depth too thick. I'm going to send them back and order another of the Walmart product for the passenger side).

If one wanted to install these on every screw, there are 29 total (I'm not sure that I'll go that far, but time will tell). Overall, I'm thrilled with the utility and would love to have these in place for all of the screws from my waist upwards in the loft area. With the second batch of 10 from Wallmart, I should be able to complete this vision.

I also just received a second product, the Big Agnes Gear Loft Tent, Triangle https://amzn.to/3t9RaVK) that I've installed on the drivers side to increase ceiling utility even further. The wide part of the triangle fits well between the two screws. the upper part of the triangle mounted to a border mounting, but to me it is not perfect - ideally there would be a mounting point right in the middle.

Screen Shot 2022-01-08 at 6.08.46 PM.jpg

Cost (so far): About $60 USD - $40 for the two gear lofts, $11 for the 10 mounts and I'm guessing about $9 for sandpaper. I've already ordered a second triangle gear loft for the passenger side and 10 more mounts, so now the cost is ticking up to about $100.

I should also mention that Big Agnes has an all black version of these gear lofts (https://www.campman.com/activities/camping-hiking/big-agnes-tents-gear-loft-2019/) that I think have been discontinued and is currently on sale - I personally opted for the orange ones at full price because I think they will be easier to see when dark, but if you are attempting to recreate this project you may prefer the black, more discrete lofts. I don't think that the paracord needs to be visible though and I may end up switching it out for black paracord in the future so that it disappears.

Stay tuned as this is a mod in progress...

OTHER ATTICS I DIDN"T TRY: (if you do, please share your experiences)
 
Last edited:

Red_shift

New member
I'm very interested in following your progress, as I have a J30 on order for a JLU Willys.

Would it make sense to superglue the other bubble level to the end of your existing one, at right angles, or would that be in the way of something?

Could Velcro be used to attach a shallow bag to the tent loft?
 

campertramper

Active member
I'm very interested in following your progress, as I have a J30 on order for a JLU Willys.

Would it make sense to superglue the other bubble level to the end of your existing one, at right angles, or would that be in the way of something?

Could Velcro be used to attach a shallow bag to the tent loft?
Wonderful - you're going to love your camper - when is your delivery date?

I like your superglue idea - I hadn't thought of that (one of the reasons I decided to publish this build thread was to crowdsource good ideas) - that would probably work although it might look a little funky. I'll try holding it in place to get a sense for it and report back.

My J30 (#40?) Is a newer one delivered in 2020 I believe and the headliner in the loft doesn't take velcro very well. My understanding from reading this entire thread last month is that earlier J30s had a stickier fabric for Velcro in the loft. With mine it really doesn't work in the loft but it does adhere to the ceiling downstairs very well. I wish it did because a velcro solution would have been so much easier!
 

Red_shift

New member
Looking like April/May timeframe on the Ursa. Still waiting on the Jeep, too LOL which will hopefully be here by Feb. What else are you thinking about for interior storage?
 

campertramper

Active member
Would it make sense to superglue the other bubble level to the end of your existing one, at right angles, or would that be in the way of something?
I looked into placement of the second level superglued to the first and while I think it would work I thought that the placement would look wonky. I found a place on my drivers door and just added the pics to my original post. What do you think?
 

Red_shift

New member
Yeah, I figured my suggestion might not look the best. I was just thinking that looking in one place would be easier than looking in two. Your solution will work though. I like the fact that it's simple.
 

campertramper

Active member
My next mod is a simple one - the Ursa Minor didn't come with the 'pole mount base', but it is usually available here: https://ursaminorparts.com/products/jk-30-and-jl-30-safety-pole-base-mount (it's possible I ordered the last one).

PXL_20220112_020053488.jpg

Unfortunately, it didn't come with the promised 'one-inch self tapping screws' which are necessary for it to screw in with the greater height, but this was easily remedied from a trip to home depot (I'm sure that it was just a minor Ursa Minor oversight).

PXL_20220112_232027251.jpg Screen Shot 2022-01-12 at 6.32.37 PM.png

Overall, I like this mod. I really just pursued it because it was inexpensive and seemed like a smart idea. I know that Dan Grec almost never used his pole support and that Chris Shontz from @venture4wd uses his all the time (although I noticed in one video that he didn't seem to have this base and the roof never collapsed on him to my knowledge). Has anyone else out there used this? If so, what do you think?

Cost: $10 for the pole base mount and $15 for shipping (ouch - more for shipping than the item?), $5 for the screws and washers from Home Depot - let us call it $30.
 
Last edited:

shays4me

Adventurer
I seen the pole mount base on the website and I might order it if ordering something else just to satisfy my ocd, but I’ve never had an issue with my support pole. It is a nice addition though for a problem that probably doesn’t exist.
 

campertramper

Active member
I seen the pole mount base on the website and I might order it if ordering something else just to satisfy my ocd, but I’ve never had an issue with my support pole. It is a nice addition though for a problem that probably doesn’t exist.
I'm sure that my own OCD is in play here. It seems like the pole could theoretically be pushed inward from a strong blast of wind to the rear. Anyway, you are probably right which is likely why this isn't standard equipment. Does anyone out there know the history of this mod?
 

campertramper

Active member
I don't think that the paracord needs to be visible though and I may end up switching it out for black paracord in the future so that it disappears.
My black paracord arrived today and I did end up switching out the red reflective cordage on the loft for black. I really like it much better than the cordage that came with the Big Agnes Tent Lofts, now it looks like the tent lofts are just floating. Also for the upper part of the triangle I'm now attaching it differently with the cord attached to nearby eyelets but running through the top of the triangle - this configuration sits much more naturally, probably closer to how the triangle loft was intended.

So, this little project is a step closer to completion. I'm now only waiting on another set of Kayak Eyelets so that I can hang a second triangle loft which I have already received to the passenger side.

Black 550 paracord (4mm): https://www.paracordplanet.com/black-paracord-550/
Cord locks: https://www.paracordplanet.com/two-hole-cord-locks-multiple-colors/
 

Attachments

Last edited:

shays4me

Adventurer
I'm sure that my own OCD is in play here. It seems like the pole could theoretically be pushed inward from a strong blast of wind to the rear. Anyway, you are probably right which is likely why this isn't standard equipment. Does anyone out there know the history of this mod?
It would be interesting to know when they started adding them to the tops. Mine it two years old, number 408 and doesn't have one. It does give it more of a finished look.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
179,204
Messages
2,793,419
Members
214,212
Latest member
JordanW
Top