8 Amazing Pop-Top Campervan Conversions
Considering a Pop-Top Campervan Conversion for Van Life?
With their extra headroom, additional sleeping space, and compact design, pop-tops are great for van life.
But what about the cost & installation? And what kind of conversion can you build with a pop-top van?
In this post, we’ll find out.
Here’s everything you’ll learn:
Table of Contents
8 Amazing Pop-Top Camper Conversions
Pop-tops provide a great platform for designing a layout… but which is the best?
Here are 8 of the coolest pop-top campervan conversions ever:
#8: All-Electric Pop Top Ford Transit with Convertible Bed
- Highlights: This conversion is done on the brand new all-electric Ford Transit. It has a bench seat next to the kitchen unit that folds down into a bed. The pop-top roof has some extra sleeping room.
- Van: 2023 Ford E-Transit 350
- Owner: @gtrvvans
#7: Off-Road Pop-Top VW Conversion
- Highlights: This 4WD T3 Syncro Volkswagen campervan has a totally custom build. The rear has a long bench that converts into a bed. The kitchenette has a two-burner stove and a sink. The owners custom-made the pop-top that allows for standing room, and also has a small extra bed at the rear.
- Van: Volkswagen Campervan (T3 Syncro)
- Owner: @bus_piraten
#6: Pop-Top Toyota HiAce Campervan with Extra Bed and Standing Room
- Highlights: This gorgeous HiAce conversion has a cozy rear bed with some side storage pockets. The front has an L-shaped kitchenette with a fridge and sink. The pop top allows for standing room and also has a bed above the driver’s cab that can be used for storage.
- Van: 1991 Pop Top Toyota HiAce
- Owner: @carinacrowhurst
#5: Volkswagen Van Conversion with Large Couch and Wood Panelled Pop-Top Roof
- Highlights: This Volkswagen T4 pop top has been completely stripped and redone. It has a huge L-Shaped couch that converts into a bed across from the kitchen area. The kitchenette has a propane two-burner stove and a large sink. The gorgeous pop-top has wood paneling and recessed lighting installed inside
- Van: Volkswagen T4
- Owner: @vanclans
#4: Vintage Volkswagen Pop-Top Conversion with Original Interior
- Highlights: The owners of this vintage Volkwagen pop-top have kept its interior almost exactly as it was manufactured. The green leather booth seat folds down into a bed and sits in front of some rear storage. The small kitchen area has large, deep drawers and room for a camp stove.
- Van: 1976 Bay Window VW Campervan
- Owner: @idletheorybus
#3: Professional Pop-Top Conversion that Seats and Sleeps Four
- Highlights: This gorgeous conversion from Contravans packs a whole lot into a Ford Transit van. The AWD van seats two in the front, and two in the rear. The pop top can either be used to add a standing room above the one-wall kitchen or as an extra sleeping room. In total, the van seats four and sleeps four.
- Van: 2021 Ford Transit
- Owner: @contravans (more at contravans.com)
#2: Pop-Top Toyota HiAce Conversion with Hidden Toilet
- Highlights: This modern HiAce conversion is super functional, with a convertible bed across from a kitchenette with lots of storage. The pop-top provides tons of headroom in what would normally be a very short van. A Thetford cassette toilet is hidden under the booth seat, and the van is fitted with an outdoor shower.
- Van: Toyota HiACe
- Owner: @southcoastvanfitouts (more at southcoastvanfitouts.com)
#1: Pop-Top Toyota HiAce Camper with Large Windows
- Highlights: This professional pop top HiAce conversion has a large bench seat under wide windows that converts into a bed. The pop-top has a wood-paneled ceiling and extra campervan windows for more natural light. There are slide-outs in the rear and side door of the van for cooking and food prep.
- Van: 2021 Toyota HiAce
- Owner: @nomad.vans
10 Reasons Why Vanlifers Like Pop-Top Campervans
Pop-top campers are spacious, convenient, & readily available – but are they the best option for vanlife?
Here are 10 reasons why vanlifers like pop-top campervan conversions:
- Standing Room: Many vans don’t have room to comfortably stand up in. Adding a pop top to your van means you’ll easily be able to walk around your living area without crouching.
- Extra Sleeping Space: Lots of pop-tops come with the option of an extra bed. If you’re traveling with more than two people, this is a huge plus.
- Simple to Set-Up and Take Down: While having a pop-top might seem like a hassle, most are relatively easy to pop up and take down.
- Built-in Ventilation: If you have a pop-top, you may not need a ventilation fan to extract air. When you’re cooking, you can open the pop-top for built-in insulation.
- Extra Natural Light: Windows in a pop-top can help add some natural light to the space without taking away privacy.
- Pretty Easy to Find: There are more pop-top vans on the market than you’d expect, and many companies will do aftermarket conversions on common vans.
- Easy to Drive: As opposed to an extra-long, double-wide RV trailer, pop-up campers are pretty easy to drive.
- Fits in Any Parking Spot: Most campervans that come with a pop-top are small enough to fit in a regular parking spot, so you don’t have to sacrifice being able to park anywhere for that extra height.
- Cheaper Than Buying a Larger Vehicle: Buying a pop-top or converting your van to a pop-top is less expensive than buying an RV, but it can feel almost as spacious inside.
- Lots of Professional Conversions Available: If you already have a van and want to convert it to a pop-top, there are many professional conversion companies out there that will do it for you. (If you’re willing to get your hands dirty, you can also do it yourself!)
6 Reasons Why Vanlifers Dislike Pop-Top Conversions
As with every vehicle, there are downsides to pop-top campers.
Here are 6 reasons why vanlifers dislike pop-top campervans:
- Can Let Wind In: If you’re sleeping somewhere windy with the pop-top up, it can get pretty noisy.
- Need to Take Down Before Driving: Having a pop-top adds one extra step to setting up and taking down a campsite, which might seem inconvenient.
- Poor Insulation: Pop tops are usually made of some blend of cotton, polyester, or canvas and don’t do a great job at insulating. Pop-tops can make it more difficult to keep your van warm in the winter, so if you plan to travel in cold climates, using your pop-top frequently can be difficult.
- Small Interior: While pop-tops have a lot of height, their interior is usually still pretty small, and can lack space for some essential amenities like an indoor kitchen or bathroom.
- Issues With the Pop-Top Mechanism: You usually can’t drive with your pop-top up, so if it gets stuck, it can be a hassle to try to fix before you get on the road.
- Expensive to Add a Pop-Top: Adding a pop top to your van can cost you $10,000 or more.
Cost, Dimensions, & Fuel Economy
Now that you know a little more about pop-tops, let’s see how they compare.
Pop-Top Conversion Cost
Converting a van to a pop-top can cost between $5,000-$15,000
|Toyota HiAce (pop-top not included)||$45,000||$16,000||Check price|
|Volkswagen Van (pop-top included)||$84,000||$25,000||Check price|
|Ford Transit (pop-top not included)||$50,000||$30,000||Check price|
Dimensions: Toyota HiAce Pop-Top vs Ford Transit Pop-Top vs Volkswagen T6 Pop-Top
|Model||Approximate Interior Height with Pop-Top||Interior Length (cargo)||Interior Width||Ext Length|
|Toyota HiAce||81 inches||92 inches||61 inches||186 inches|
|Ford Transit||95 inches||126 inches||69 inches||218 inches|
|Volkswagen T6 Van||78 inches||101 inches||67 inches||209 inches|
Pop-Top Fuel Economy
Fuel Economy: Toyota HiAce Pop-Top vs Ford Transit Pop-Top vs Volkswagen T6 Pop-Top
|Toyota HiAce||17 MPG||20 MPG||18.5 MPG|
|Ford Transit||15 MPG||19 MPG||17 MPG|
|Volkswagen T6 Van||25 MPG||30 MPG||27.5 MPG|
Conclusion: Is a Pop-Top Campervan Right for you?
There are a lot of reasons to like pop-tops they’re compact without sacrificing sleeping space or headroom – but they may not be for you.
- Interior standing room
- Additional sleeping space
- Pricey to install
- Poor insulation
So should you get one?
Yes! Pop-tops are supremely cool and offer a great way to increase the interior living space of your build without the added challenges of owning a high-roof vehicle.
Have questions about pop-top van conversions? Comment below ✍️