As a small manufacturing company, we asses our products regulary for improvements, growth prospects and profitability. Since launching the ECamper, we have seen unit sales climb every year as word spreads. In 2012 we did not convert as many new Elements, but overall sales exceeded 2011 and again stretched our capacity. With that sort of response,we expect to keep building ECampers for quite a while.
A couple other items of interest:
We also launched a new Jeep camper in 2012 that shares many key parts with the ECamper. This standarization across the line will help us to offer any parts or service that may be required in the future.
Now that the last brand new 2011 Elements have vanished from dealerships, everyone considering an Ecamper asks us which year would be the best to convert. There’s no specific “perfect” Element for the ECamper, but here’s our opinion:
Other years may be found at cheaper prices, or with fewer miles, but what’s really important when buying a used Element is how it was treated – a well maintained, highway-driven 2003 DX may well be a better choice than a salvage title 2009 EX! We’ve converted Elements with 10 miles on them, and one with over 160,000!
With that in mind, if you like the color, mileage, features or looks of a specific Element – go for it! We’re quite happy to turn any of them into an ECamper.
Where can I buy a Honda Element® ECamper™?
Optional Honda spoilers must be removed for conversion into an ECamper due to interference with the camper top.
The Ecamper™ design is specific to the Honda Element. It will not fit other Honda models like the Odyssey or Pilot, or other manufacturer's vehicles. It's like trying to fit an Element fender on another car!
We now can convert a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited into a pop-up camper - but that's the only other vehicle we are working with at this time. As we develop other pop-up camper conversions, don't worry - it'll be big news on our website!
Can I remove the camper easily, if I sell my Element or won't use it for a while?
While some customers are quite talented with automotive customization and would be capable of returning the Element to the original condition, there would likely be considerable time and expense involved that would exceed the value of the original conversion.
You'd be surprised how much room we squeezed out of the Element. The sleeping area is 7 feet long and is 4 feet wide at the widest point. Due to the sloping roof, the height of the sleeping area changes over the length of the car. At the front of the car where your feet go, the height is 18". At the back of the car where your head goes, the height is 31". With the top raised, standing room in the access way is about 6’6”.
Will I collapse the roof when I climb up into the bed?
The ECamper™ conversion lowers the cargo capacity of the Element by 130 lbs.
Calculation of load rating is:
(GVWR - Curb Weight) = Load Capacity
Depending on year and options, the Honda Element appears to have between 789 and 982 pounds capacity for you, your friends, and cargo.
Honda however states a load capacity of 650 to 675 in the service and owners manuals for the various years. It’s not clear why the Honda stated load capacity differs from the calculated load capacity. Curiously, the Element increased in weight over the years with the addition of side airbags, ABS and other options, and the load rating increased 25 lbs but the GVRW remained the same.
The ECamper™ conversion adds about 130 lbs net, leaving decent capacity for two campers and their gear, though we also recommend removing the rear seats on big trips, which takes 86 pounds out of the car, as they weigh about 43 lbs each.
The Honda Element (unconverted) is 70.4” tall (1.788 mm/(5’-10.4”)) tall, not including the antenna stalk. The conversion will increase the height by at least 6" depending on options selected:
As there are a large number of attachments offered by Thule & Yakima, the best resource for total height of rack + attachments is Thule and Yakima websites. For a rough idea,
Most modern suburban garages are 7’-6” or more, leaving sufficient room for the ECamper™, but you may need to remove the racks depending on your choice of accessories.
No. Ursa Minor Vehicles does not have any additional options or plans at this time for adding RV features to the ECamper™. The Element is a mid-size SUV, and does not really have the load rating or volume to contain a kitchen or bath. If one considers these features essential, it is recommended that consideration be given to a much larger full-featured Recreational Vehicle rather than the ECamper™.
The ECamper™ is an exciting product filling a market need for a small fuel-efficient camper vehicle. There are two factors that impact how fast we can build an ECamper.
1. As one can imagine, the backlog changes based on the season, but typically ranges from 3 to 4 weeks. In other words, we'll be able to get you in the shop about 3 or 4 weeks from the date the deposit is made.
2. Once your installatoin appointment date arrives, we will need your car on-site for 5 days to complete the conversion.
The tent fabric is a highly durable and water resistant marine canvas called Sunbrella®. Much thicker than traditional tent fabric and definitely overkill for this application. You may find much more information specific to Sunbrella® on the manufacturer's website
No, the inside, including the headliner of the car, looks the same after conversion. The hardware securing the camper assembly to the car is not visible from the inside of the car. However, the skylight glass is permanently removed to allow access into the camper assembly. The glass is replaced with two removable composite panels. These panels allow you to lie down over the skylight hole, or to close off the camper assembly while the cap is down for a clean internal appearance.
For models without a sunroof, an access way is fitted in the same location as the original sunroof, and we use Honda parts.
No. C'mon, seriously guys....
MPG estimates for the various Honda Element® models may be found on the Honda website. The biggest determinant of MPG is actually your own driving habits. Did you know that reducing your highway speed to 65mph and eliminating aggressive starts and heavy braking can also help increase your MPG by up to 20%? That's pretty significant with rising fuel costs.
That being said, in our ECamper™ demo fleet we get an estimated 23 MPG with roof racks if sticking to sane driving habits. This figure is right in spec with the Honda estimates, however your mileage may vary according to your own driving style.
No. We do not offer ECamper parts or the assembly as a kit.
Honda Element is a trademark of the Honda Motor Corporation, and is used only to ensure correct application of parts and services. Ursa Minor Vehicles is not affiliated or associated with Honda Automobiles, links are included for ease of reference. Pricing and specifications subject to change without notice.