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From Minivan to Mighty Camper: Transforming the Kia Carnival Into Your Ultimate Campervan

A Step-by-Step Guide for Converting the Kia Carnival Into a Customized Campervan

Are you considering a campervan conversion for your Kia Carnival? Look no further because this article will provide the know-how and inspiration necessary to get you started on your van travel journey. The versatility of the Kia Carnival is undeniable, and with a few simple modifications, you can turn it into a custom, comfortable, and practical camper van.

Why Consider a Campervan Conversion?

A well-thought-out van conversion can enhance your road trip experiences, giving you the freedom to explore and enjoy the great outdoors without compromising your comfort. It can also save you a lot of money versus purchasing a ready-made campervan. 

You may be wondering why converting a Carnival into a campervan is a better idea than just buying an RV. One of the biggest reasons is price. If you already own this minivan, then you can start camping in it right away with just a few tweaks. 

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Another huge consideration is that the conversion of your Carnival will not typically result in further vehicle depreciation. In many cases, such as the added pop-up roof tent from Calèche Customs (discussed a bit later), you may be adding value to your vehicle. RVs depreciate right away, which can make a van conversion a good investment.

Many of the kits we are discussing today are removable. They are wooden or metal platform kits that slide in and install quickly using just a screwdriver. This also means that when it’s not camping season or if you need to go back to using all of the seats in the minivan again, you can remove the conversion kit and store it until you need it again. Talk about versatility!

The process of converting your Kia Carnival may seem daunting at first, but rest assured that there are plenty of incredible resources out there to guide you throughout the conversion. By researching thoroughly and choosing the appropriate conversion plan or kit, you will soon have a campervan that is ready to hit the road. So get ready to embark on the adventure of investing in your Kia Carnival as a campervan conversion.

The Kia Carnival: A Versatile Minivan

Why is the Kia Carnival such a popular minivan? The size, versatility, and technology features of the Carnival make it one of the most sold minivans on the market. 

This successor to the Kia Sedona since 2022 is considered a multi-purpose vehicle which is especially attractive to those looking at campervan conversions. Its roomy interior and increased headroom lend itself well to conversions.

What Kia Carnival Features Make It a Great Choice for Converting Into a Campervan?  

There are many features that make a Kia Carnival perfect for converting into a campervan:

  • Space: The Kia Carnival boasts a generous amount of room, with versatile seating configurations and plenty of storage options. This allows you to easily transform your minivan into a comfortable living space, complete with a mattress and other necessary amenities for your campervan.
  • Comfort: With premium seating materials, ergonomic design, and a quiet cabin, you’ll enjoy a comfortable ride and a peaceful rest when your Carnival is converted into a campervan. The second row of seats reclines or folds down into table space. It even comes with a built-in sunshade.
  • Technology: The 2023 Carnival comes equipped with advanced technology features, such as an infotainment system, an excellent sound system, and a smart key with a remote start. These features will come in handy during your trips, making navigating, staying connected, and controlling your vehicle’s functions easier.
  • Safety: Designed with safety in mind, the Kia Carnival offers a suite of advanced safety features, including autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot detection, lane-keep assist, and more. As a campervan, this ensures peace of mind for you and your loved ones during your travels.
  • Removable Seats: The easy-to-remove seats make configuring the Kia Carnival with additional room a breeze.
  • Price: The 2023 model starts at around $33,000, which leaves you plenty of budget wiggle room for the conversion. The entire project could offer significant savings over purchasing a new campervan.

What Is the Biggest Drawback of Using a Kia Carnival for Your Conversion?

There is one potential issue to consider before choosing the Carnival. Currently, there is no 4-wheel drive model available. Having a 4×4 is a handy feature when you are camping off-grid in your van. 

Sometimes things can get a little sketchy if you find yourself in sand or rough logging roads on BLM land. Without a 4-wheel drive, you could get stuck if you choose the wrong camping area. Keep this in mind when selecting the right vehicle for you.

Professional Conversion Options

Would you rather leave your conversion to the pros? Luckily you have some options for professional conversion that won’t break the bank, and you won’t even need to break a sweat.

Calèche Customs And Unicamp

When considering professional campervan conversion options for your Kia Carnival, check out Calèche Customs‘s partnership with Unicamp to add a pop-top roof to the Carnival. This company has experience working with the Kia Carnival and offers various conversion features tailored to meet your needs.

The Kia Carnival rooftop tent is the first of its kind in the world. This pop-top rooftop tent sets up in less than 15 seconds and can be opened up with just a push of a button on the Car Smart Key or via an interior button.

The roof bed features a sleeping area for 2 and can hold almost 500 pounds. It is screened in and made with weather-resistant materials. The bed portion can also be moved for additional van headroom during the day.

Calèche Customs is located in Henderson, NV, which is something to consider when choosing this provider. Unicamp is a Calèche Customs subsidiary that produces the kit. The conversion cost starts at $16,000 – $18,000 for the electric pop-top tent and also includes the mattress.

For an additional $4,000, you can add a modular kitchen and bed kit. This adds a folding mattress van sleeping area for 2 more passengers, a storage box, and a small camp kitchen with a sink and two-burner stove. By combining both kits at Calèche Customs, your campervan conversion will comfortably sleep 4.

DIY Conversion Options

Prefer to do your van conversion yourself? You are in luck because DIY kits are available specifically to fit the Kia Carnival. 

One of the benefits of a DIY conversion is that you can customize it to fit your needs and preferences. You can choose from a range of conversion kits and accessories that will transform your vehicle into a functional and comfortable living space on wheels.

You will also save money versus having a company complete the work. Let’s dive into the options for DIY kits so you can choose one that works best for your budget and skills and one that will create the best functional living space for your travel needs.

Roadloft Conversion Kit

One option to consider is the Roadloft Camper Conversion Kit for Kia Carnival. Roadloft offers camper kits for minivans and SUVs. The SUV Camping Kit ranges from $1890 to $2390.

The Roadloft SUV conversion kit includes a bed that can configure into a single or double sleeping area, a kitchen area with room to add a fridge, a drawer with room to add a two-burner stove, a retractable sink, an integrated cutting board, and a shelf that swivels into place. 

The kit panels offer ventilation and storage along the entire length of the box. The materials are also treated with a non-toxic varnish for those that may be chemically sensitive. You can add an upgraded mattress that fits the bed platform and includes a washable waterproof cover.

One of the biggest draws to using a DIY kit like the one from Roadloft is the quick and easy installation. It can be installed in around 5 minutes and only requires a screwdriver.

Vanpackers Conversion Kit

Another great DIY kit is the one offered through Vanpackers. This kit turns the interior of your Kia Carnival into a living room with a single or double-bed sleeping area.

This option is just as easy to install as the last one in only 5 minutes. The wooden kit structure includes a 3″ mattress with a washable cover, a retractable sink with a 20L water tank, a 2 burner propane stove with room for a 5 lb propane cylinder, space to add a cooler, storage box, and a removable table that has 3 different positions. An add-on option adapts the kit to hold a portable toilet.

Even with all the great features of this add-on Vanpackers kit, your rearview remains unobstructed while driving. The base kit cost is $3,696. There are also additional add-on options to customize the kit to your needs.

Looking for simply a bed kit for your Kia Carnival? Check out Compass Camper, which sells a raised bed platform to provide a sleeping surface with storage underneath. 

This budget option costs just $739 and doesn’t include a mattress. Or you can choose to order the bed platform with built-in drawers underneath for storage starting at $1,249.

Gather Inspiration From These Custom Builds

By now, I hope you can see how your Kia Carnival can be transformed into an inviting, cozy, and functional campervan, including all the features you need for your next trip. 

Looking for more inspiration? Check out The Wayward Home, where you can find additional conversion ideas for your Kia Carnival. Here are some custom DIY conversions for further ideas.

This video shows a custom cabinet build for a Kia Carnival by Tiny Campers. I love how this space includes a small microwave which isn’t a feature I have seen yet in any of the DIY kits. It also has storage for the power system and batteries.

This video by Get Moving shows how to create a bed frame with storage and a battery box for a Kia Carnival. This is a great option if you don’t want to order a kit and prefer to do it yourself.

This video by Travels With Mum is a DIY family project Kia Carnival campervan conversion. This conversion is unique because the van still has enough seating for three people on travel days. This is helpful for traveling families.

The Kia Carnival has been gaining popularity as a campervan conversion option. With its spacious interior and advanced features, such as the Kia Smart Key, you’ll find that converting a minivan like the Carnival can provide a comfortable and practical travel experience. Would you consider a Kia Carnival for a campervan conversion?

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