Larger RVs can be expensive, but a cheap camper van can work just as well. It’s not hard to find a camper van with a bathroom, decently sized kitchen, and space for a mattress or two. Some micro-camper vans even have unique personalities despite their small dimensions. For instance, the Quokka camper van, based on a Daihatsu Hijet, has a genuine woodgrain interior that exudes log cabin aesthetics.
A brief history of the Daihatsu Hijet
Daihatsu didn’t design the Hijet to be a camper van. It debuted as a kei truck and van in the 1960s, with the former offering a cab-over option. The third-gen Hijet, produced in the early ’70s, even had an available electric powertrain.
In 1972, the Hijet got a makeover to look like a pintsize version of other popular vans from this era. The truck versions were still popular, continuing to get more chassis and engine upgrades. The Hijet Jumbo appeared in the 1980s with a shorter bed but massive cab dimensions.
Last year, the Japanese automaker updated the Hijet microvan for the 13th generation. With a length of almost 134 inches and a width of 58 inches, it provides plenty of space for camper modifications. One Daihatsu dealership, Mishima Daihatsu, took advantage of that with the Hijet Quokka.
A quokka is a small Australian marsupial, so it’s a fitting moniker for this tiny van. Quokkas also live in trees, which might be why the van’s interior is crafted with cypress wood from Mt. Fuji. New Atlas reports the cabin has a delightful scent and antibacterial properties to encourage personal health.
The Quokka’s floorplan is also highly customizable with four removable wooden boxes. You can use them as dining tables inside the camper or take them outside for alfresco meals. Under each box lid, there are a few storage cubbies to stow your belongings. You can also leave them upright as shelving units.
The boxes serve as a flat floor when not in use. Any twin-sized mattress will fit nicely on top, but you might even be able to squeeze in a full-sized mattress.
Every Quokka has a few USB and DC outlets, drawing power from a 100-amp battery. The dealership offers a catalog of extras, including a microwave, refrigerator, air conditioning, and solar panels. According to Motor1, the Quokka costs only $22,351 to $25,113, depending on the options.
How you can create your own log cabin on wheels
Because the Quokka camper van is sold only at one dealership, it might be hard to purchase one for yourself. However, classic Hijet vans are cheaper and easier to obtain. In Car From Japan listings, the average Daihatsu Hijet sells for around $2,000.
While it won’t be sourced from Mt. Fuji, lumber is also relatively cheap if you do the work yourself. According to All Things With Purpose, new wood to renovate the average small camper costs only $500.
Americans can get a micro-camper van soon
Camper Report confirms that the Wingamm Oasi 540 will get a stateside release in November. It’s built with fiberglass and polyurethane PU. This allows the camper to stay at the ideal temperature and provides optimal insulation.
It already comes with a wooden drop-down bed with a memory foam mattress. The kitchen area has a refrigerator and two-burner stove; plus there’s a bathroom. The only downside: This luxury camper van carries a $145,000 price tag.