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Mini glamping in a minivan

Minivan Glamping Makeover

Glamping doesn’t have to be a big extravaganza. Glamping can just be throwing some pretty things from home in the back of the minivan and heading out. That is just what my husband and I did back over spring break. Surprisingly enough and through no crafty planning on our part, we found ourselves kid free over most of the week. The month before we had a splendid time, despite the cold, at DeGray Lake State Park and decided we would go back again.

Just as we entered the state park, the weather turned absolutely lovely as we drove out of the rain and into the sunshine. Everything was glistening. Glistening makes for the perfect glamping scenario.

Sunrise through the trees at DeGray Lake State Park

Sense it was just the two of us we had not rented a yurt. We hadn’t even brought a tent! This is where the “stow and go” option on my Dodge Grand Caravan comes in super handy. We simply stowed all the seats in the back, loaded our supplies, and once unloaded turned the back into a cozy little sleeping area.

loaded up for glamping
Always a chandelier when glamping.


But what to do with all the windows? I needed something easy, cheap, and reusable should we ever decided to do this just-the-two-of-us-adventure again. My answer—PVC pipe! I created a circular (or square-like in this case) curtain rod system much like those for claw-foot tubs that would run around the ceiling of the van.

Using only two 12ft long ¾ inch pipes and four 90° elbow fixtures, the support system for the fabric cost less than $10. PCV pipe is very easy to cut with a handsaw if you don’t have a miter saw handy. I was able to get one length and one width measurement out of each 12ft pipe. I connected each of the pieces with the elbows but did not glue them together.

Now that I had a framework, I needed to secure it inside the van. I used the ceiling handles and clothing rod hooks for this purpose and simply tied some string around the frame and through the handles or over the hook.

Vintage sheets made great curtains. I just folded them in half and draped them over the rod. If you used actual curtains with a pocket, gently disconnect the elbow joints and slide them on. You may have to do some adjusting around your support strings though.

Inside of the minivan glamping makeover

Once the curtains were up I piled down layers of blankets and foam padding to make the sleeping spot comfy. Pillows from home, colorful quilts, and crocheted throws made the spot a nice place to lay down and relax with a good book as the breeze blew through the windows.

If you want more info about glamping check out these articles. And here’s an article I wrote for Only in Arkansas all about the yurts of our great state. Remember glamping or camping is about getting out and enjoying special times with others. Choose the level of comfort that agrees with you and get outside!

Campfire at sunrise in DeGray Lake State Park


      • S. says:

        I used a double height queen sized air bed, the kind you use for guests at home, in a tent and it was very high off the ground. It was nice.

        I prefer the minivan idea. This looks so cozy and easy to set up compared with all the carpentry you see involved in other builds. But where is the chandelier? Where did you use it?

        • Jeanetta Darley says:

          The chandelier is used as outside campsite lighting. We hang it from the pole that campers usually use for lanterns. It’s simple an old chandelier that you would use in your home that we fitted with an electrical plug where you would generally hard wire it into your house. We then bring a heavy duty electrical cord with us and BAM! we are the brightest spot around. And the fanciest. It’s definitely quite the conversation piece of the campgrounds.

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