Saturday, April 5, 2008

Our new Honda Element Camper: hot or not?

We flew down to San Diego on Friday to pick up our freshly converted Honda Element from Ursa Minor Vehicles. They had the car for the last few weeks to install their ECAMPER, converting it to a camper top vehicle.

We flew down from San Francisco on the new Virgin America Airlines. Getting on the plane feels more like stepping into a trendy San Francisco bar. Pink and purple mood lighting fill the plane and trendy music beats play as you settle into your white leather seats. Virgin Atlantic planes must also be the the coolest ones at the party - our plane arrived a fashionable two hours late.

We woke up excited Saturday morning to meet up with the Ursa Minor folks to get the car. We had yet to see a picture of how the white top would look on top of our car, so we were anxious to see what it looked like. You can paint the top the same color as the car, but we kept the top white to keep it from getting hot inside. SparkleGirl3348 loved they way it looked the moment she saw it, and I keep swaying between thinking it looks cool to thinking it looks strange. It is a moot point anyways, as this car is for function, not fashion. Ursa Minor showed us how to operate the camper, and answered the few remaining questions we had. The camper is so easy to use, it takes seconds to setup and bring down. After breakfast in Old Town, a family stood around staring at us while we put the top up to show our friends and take pictures.

We left San Diego after breakfast, heading up the coast back to San Francisco. We will be testing out the camper tonight at San Simeon State Park, halfway between San Francisco and LA, and we can't wait to try sleeping in it!


19 comments:

  1. Very nice, I've been considering picking up a new element with the conversion myself. The idea of maintaining a Syncros Westie is just too much.

    Please continue to post on your experiences with the pop top... Has it effected the driving of your element at all (top heavy)? Any nitpicks on the quality of the poptop or installation?

    Thanks!

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  2. Hi -
    Thanks for the comment. So far we love the pop top, and your comment has prompted us to work on a more detailed post about the ins and outs of the conversion. We should be posting soon.

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  3. does the element come with two hot chicks? sign me up!

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  4. i desperately wish i was in that picture. once chris gets around to sending those thailand pics maybe he can photoshop me in?

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  5. Laurie - meet us somewhere in South America and we'll get a picture of you!

    Also, when we're swinging by Boston this summer, we'll sure to get a picture of you in it then. Maybe we should see how many people it sleeps? I think we could easily fit 4 - two upstairs, 2 downstairs.

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  6. I ran across your post while looking for more information about the Ursa Minor conversion. I currently drive a 2001 VW Eurovan and am considering buying something newer that gets better mileage. I'd bee interested in hearing more about your experiences with the conversion, especially whether or not it would impact the Element's gas mileage. Also, since I live in Seattle where it rains quite a a bit, I'm a little concerned as to whether or not the seals might leak. Any information you could provide would be appreciated.

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  7. Hi David - check out our review of the Ecamper mod at http://www.thedarienplan.com/2008/04/review-of-honda-ecamper-modification.html - it answers all of your questions I hope.

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  8. The E-camper is frickin sick, and Kristin is hella gangster.

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  11. After reading your response to my June 8 post, I flew down to San Diego and visited Ursa Minor myself. They walked me through everything and showed me their E-camper. I'm sold! I bought the Element (happens also to be blue)here in Seattle and I'll be setting the time for the conversion ASAP. Thanks for your review.

    davidr0186

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  12. I am glad you found our review helpful! We bought our camper online without first seeing it, so we thought it would be helpful to put some info up for people who were going through the same process. One other bit of info you may like: We rode out some serious rainstorms in the ECamper without any problems! We did have a few drips come in one of the nights along one of the seams, so we emailed Ursa Minor. They said that a seam sealer would take care of it. I do remember now that I had to use a seam sealer on my North Face tent when I bought it too.

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  13. I own 5 VW buses, of the 5, three are pop tops. As far as new cars go, I love that there is a conversion available for the Element. I am disappointed to find that the 2009 Element does not offer a sunroof option at all. As far as I can see this is the next best thing to the old Bus Campers. Rock on girls.

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  15. That is awesome! Got any more pics? Still like it?

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  16. We love it - took if for a 25,000 mile road trip through the Americas for 18 months and had a blast. There are quite a few pictures of it throughout this blog, and you can also look through our flickr pictures (organized by country)

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  17. Can the orginal roof be eliminated completely to provide standing room throughout and a bed that flips in half similar to that of a vw westfalia camper. That would be nice. Have seen the one installed on a Honda Element and there seems to be no standing room increase other than the sunroof hole. Can anything be done? I am very interested but need standing room in the interior.

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  18. I don't know about that - the sunroof is quite large though, so there is room for two people to stand (close together) when the top is up and the camper is deployed.

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