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Old 10th July 2021, 23:48   #1
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Default Indian cars modified for camping & overlanding

BHPians love to travel, and of course we want to do the travelling with our cars. Well, how about taking it a step further and spending the night with them, perhaps in a secluded location under the stars? Overlanding allows us to go to remote locations across the country, and camping in our cars allow us to pitch tent wherever we want to. All that we need is the right car, with some modifications to make it a lot more hospitable.

Here are some great examples of cars that have been suitably modified for overlanding + camping in India.

Mitsubishi Pajero
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One of India's most loved body-on-frame SUVs. Thanks to its rugged image and off-roading capabilities, the Pajero is a popular vehicle used for overlanding. If you want to dive deeper, check out BHPian Tejas@perioimpl's detailed thread documenting his Pajero conversion, shown in the 2nd picture above. Sad that Mitsubishi India is no longer selling cars in India.

Isuzu V-Cross
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Since its launch as a lifestyle vehicle, the V-Cross went on to become one of the most popular pick-ups in India. With a length of almost 5.3 meters it's a large car, and the vast cargo area adds a lot of versatility for modifications. This one has been done up by XS Overland and even comes with a 65 liter fridge.

Force Gurkha
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The Gurkha is one of the most capable off-roaders in the country and has quite a fan-club despite its shortcomings. This one has been modified by Bimbra 4X4 and gets a tent, a canopy and auxiliary lights. The BS6 Gurkha is expected to be launched sometime in 2021.

Force Matador
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Back in the late 90s, the Matador was the vehicle that took me to school and back. However, today, reliability with these aged vehicles can be an issue. That said, this Matador has travelled all the way from Kerala to Himachal Pradesh in a 100 days. Plentiful space available inside makes it a good camper.

Toyota Fortuner
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Thanks to its reliability and off-road capability, the Fortuner is another popular vehicle used for overlanding. With the facelift, Toyota has given the SUV even more power and torque, which will come in handy while exploring new terrain. The blue Fortuner pictured above belongs to BHPian rahultomahawk.

Mahindra Scorpio
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The Scorpio is sometimes known as the budget Fortuner. It has proven itself as a reliable workhorse and is abuse friendly. The brand itself has reached a cult status in India. The pick-up version of the Scorpio, the Getaway, offers some additional modification potential over the SUV. Oh, and the badass looking Scorpio in the last picture is a vehicle made specially for Gul Panag by BHPian Jaskirat.

Mahindra Thar
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The Thar is known for its off-roading capability thanks to 4X4 and a short wheelbase. It's one of the most affordable and best-selling off-roaders in the country. This modification gives 'soft top Thar' a whole new meaning.

Mahindra Bolero
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The Bolero has been the best-selling SUV in India for a long time, and is still extremely popular in rural areas. It is known for its no-nonsense ruggedness and durability. Pick the 4X4 variant, and it gives you the base for a great camping vehicle.

Mahindra CJ 500 DP
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BHPian wanderernomad drives a Mahindra CJ 500 with a custom built camping trailer. The perfect combination of an off-roader and camper letting you spend the night anywhere you want to. Check out his Habban travelogue.

Tata Xenon
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As you can probably tell, pick-ups are a popular option amongst campers due to the possibility of more tenting options. Modified Xenons like this are offered on rent by caravan rental companies.

Toyota Land Cruiser
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Land Cruisers are one of the most popular camping vehicles the world over, but only a handful of them are used for overlanding in India. Its reliability and the confidence it gives the owners to take it anywhere has made it popular for overlanding internationally. This one was owned by BHPian rahultomahawk at the time of these pictures being taken. Read the story of his baby LJ78 here.

Mahindra XUV500
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For those wanting a more polished Mahindra alternative to the Scorpios and Boleros, here's a kitted out XUV500.

Jeep Compass
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The Compass gets a strong diesel engine and a four-wheel drive system allowing it to get off the main road and into the wild. However, it is not very popular for camping as reliability is not exactly its strong point. Here's one with a roof tent.

Mahindra Imperio
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The Imperio pick-up is available as a commercial vehicle. A camping company is offering a modified version of the vehicle on rent with enough space for 2 passengers to sleep inside.

Tata Crew Cab 4X4
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This camper was designed by the owner himself and cost about 9.5 lakhs to build. The vehicle can accommodate four and comes with a fresh water tank, solar panels, a fridge, drawers, beds, waste water tank, a portable toilet, stove burner, a water purifier, and folding tables and chairs.

Tata 207
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BHPian DKG also built a standalone camper on a Tata 207 pick up. And you wouldn't believe it, but there's place in the camper for his motorbike, in case he feels like taking it along for the trip.

Willys MB
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BHPian Richard_R did an overland conversion of his Willys. The vehicle gets a DI Turbo engine from a Bolero, a roof-top tent that he designed and built, a pressurisable 40-litre water tank, and an auxiliary inverter battery for a fan and 12V charging points. It has enough space to accommodate two people along with a foam mattress, blankets and pillows. It also has cooking utensils, cooking ingredients, gas cylinder, an icebox and tools.

Last edited by Rehaan : 10th July 2021 at 23:49.
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Old 10th July 2021, 23:48   #2
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Some car makers have realised that there is a market for such cars and have tried to offer models, variants and kits which make the car suitable for camping. Here are a few of them.

Mercedes Marco Polo V-Class
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Mercedes launched two variants of the Marco Polo in India in 2020. The vehicle has room for four people and comes equipped with a sofa-cum-bed, a fold-out table, an adjustable roof which creates a sleeping area for 2, folding chairs and tables, a side awning, a wardrobe and a kitchenette.

Tata Hexa Expedition
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Tata offered add-on accessories as part of the Expedition kit to the Hexa. The accessories included a canopy, waterproof luggage bag, a shovel, and a roof platform.

Tata Safari Tuff
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At the 2016 Auto Expo, Tata showcased the Tuff edition of the Safari Storme. The vehicle got metal front and rear bumpers, all-weather tent on the roof, a high lift jack, LED bar on the roof, and a winch. On the inside, it got a head-up display, tyre pressure monitoring system, and navigation. The ground clearance was increased as well. Hope Tata offers this kit with the new Safari.

Fiat Ducato Motorhome
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Back in 2013, Indian coach-building firm JCBL launched a luxury motorhome based on the Fiat Ducato. It came equipped with seating for 5 with beds for up to 7 people, a lounge, dining table, washroom, shower, refrigerator, triple gas burner stove, and even a television. You don't need to look for hotels while travelling anymore.


Some other noteworthy mentions:

Force Traveller
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The vast amount of space available inside a Traveller makes it ideal for camping and sleeping inside the vehicle. They can be converted to a motorhome equipped with a kitchenette as well as a shower. The blue Traveller seen here was used for a month-long road trip in Sikkim. Along with private companies, Madhya Pradesh Tourism is also offering a Traveller on rent for camping.

Tata Winger
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Another vehicle with loads of space on the inside. The high-roof variant adds even more space on the inside over the regular Winger. This one has been modified to accommodate 3 people.

Bed mods
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On a tight budget? The easiest and cheapest way to use your vehicle for camping is to convert the back of the car into a bed. BHPian 911er built a bed at the back of his Thar and a drawer below the bed to put in his luggage for overlanding. BHPian drbones added a bed at the back of his Gypsy without any major modifications.
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Old 10th July 2021, 23:51   #3
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Default Re: Indian cars modified for camping & overlanding

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!


Sharing 3 videos of what I thought were fantastic 'OEM' mods:





Last edited by Rehaan : 11th July 2021 at 00:00.
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Old 11th July 2021, 04:46   #4
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Default Re: Indian cars modified for camping & overlanding

Been a long time since I did some camping. Although tents and the call of the wild are alluring, I would prefer the comfort of the tempo traveler or a Tata winger in the caravan guise. Guess I have become too lazy over the years to even set up a tent.
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The Bolero has been the best-selling SUV in India for a long time, and is still extremely popular in rural areas.
Is that the Malayalam actor Amith Chakalakkal by any chance ?
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Old 11th July 2021, 07:38   #5
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That's an amazing compilation @ChiragM

Overlanding/Camping vehicles are yet to catch up in India. Post pandemic, I feel there would be many who must have started thinking on these lines(me included).The major cause of worry during a long drive is the risk of having to use toilets at bunks/restaurants.Guess these vehicles addresses such concerns to a large extent.

One of my friends has picked up a Tata Venture recently with the thoughts of making it a camping van. He's weighing up options now.

On a side note, How far are these modifications legal? Does one have to get RTO endorsement. The last thing you would want on a road/camping trip is harassment by MV law enforcement authorities.

Last edited by Bibendum90949 : 11th July 2021 at 07:49.
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Old 11th July 2021, 08:39   #6
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Lovely thread. It is exciting to see all these mods in one place. The Force Matador brought back so many memories. In the 80s all the movie villans had one. The door slid open, cigarette smoke drifted out and there was the villan,draped over the bench in all his glory.

I was happy to see Richard_R's modified Willys again. To this date, it remains one of my favourite mods as he has made the best use of the vehicle with practical innovative design.

Where most of the designs try to incorporate the camper inside the vehicle, wandernomad's thinking runs out of the box. Literally. Thanks for sharing the Habban travelogue. As soon as I fix my coffee I am going to dive right into it. Perfect way to start a Sunday morning.

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Originally Posted by Bibendum90949 View Post
On a side note, How far are these modifications legal? Does one have to get RTO endorsement. The last thing you would want on a road/camping trip is harassment by MV law enforcement authorities.
I think it can be argued that majority of these mods are not very dissimilar to putting luggage on the luggage rack on the roof, but then Indian authorities are know to think different. Considering the (most of the times) valid restrictions by the law, I think the capsule type campers, which fit inside the vehicle and can be extended out, should be no issue.
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Old 11th July 2021, 15:52   #7
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Nice thread! Looks super luxurious compared to our camping attempt in the college days. Left side mounted on the wheels, and towels for bed:

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Old 11th July 2021, 16:13   #8
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Excellent write-up. I can only imagine the hard work that went into it.

The growth of camping grounds in many parts of the country augurs well. I have seen videos on YT of people converting the Maruti van and its various avatars for camping.

But off-road car camping is a different game altogether. Homologation rules simply make car camping too messy for newbies/wannabes to even venture there. Can only register a modified-for-camping pick-up as a commercial vehicle that comes with its own hassles.

For now, can only dream of off-road car camping. Till then, off to a camping ground in a regular city car.

Last edited by suhaas307 : 13th July 2021 at 19:47. Reason: spacing for improved readability
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Old 11th July 2021, 21:32   #9
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Very interesting thread! The pic of the Tata Xenon with a roof tent - it seems to be supported by a jugaad frame attached to the truck-bed body. What is a proper way to do this? I want to build a frame on my flat softtop Gypsy to mount a roof rack to carry up stuff like a ground tent, sand-tracks, a mini gas cylinder and also mount an awning etc for a total weight of up to 50-60 kg approx. I want use the Gypsy flatbed only for regular luggage items. If the frame is not bolted to the chassis directly - will it be abe to support such loads safely at speed?

Edit : found a close-up pic. Can such a frame built on the Gypsy and attached only to the body side panels support 50kg and be safe at high-speed? Assuming that the equivalent forces at 100kmph may translate to 300kg or more?
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Last edited by Ragul : 11th July 2021 at 21:56.
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Old 12th July 2021, 09:54   #10
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Thanks for the compilation. Gives me some ideas!

My pick out of all would be Tata crew cab 4x4. It looks very polished and attention to detail is great. We'll done!
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Old 12th July 2021, 22:15   #11
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Great stuff...but wait... NO M&M MARSHAL???!!!


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Our (rather quiet) member Vikrant in 2016 at Batal, Spiti. Since then he's added a larger, folding tent platform, done a (second) complete repaint and a DI Turbo conversion, and built a camper trailer to pull behind it, among other things I suppose. He already had done A/C and P/S and fitted 35" tall 9.00x16 8-ply tyres, big alternator, solar charging setup, bucket seats, bit more posh Bolero door panels, etc, etc - Suffice it to say, this is a very rugged, reliable, serviceable, versatile machine - and a proven all-India tourer owned and built by a very talented and meticulous engineer.

-Eric

Last edited by ringoism : 12th July 2021 at 22:18.
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Old 13th July 2021, 10:06   #12
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Here's an oddball example.

A Bangalore-based man converted a Bajaj RE Autorickshaw into a Campervan.

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Images and story from Rushlane

Few more examples that I found on the internet:

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MTDC's Mahindra Marazzo

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A Nissan Evalia

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Previous Generation Ford Endeavour

Images and story from Overdrive
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Old 13th July 2021, 12:10   #13
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I see where this is heading and I for one would like to have do something like this with my Endeavour. However, the only thing that is deterring me from going down this route is the lack of clarity from the Government and the Motor Vehicles Act. Like @Bibendum90949 mentioned in his response to the OP, the last thing that we would want after spending time and effort, not to mention the money, to do up our vehicles, we be harassed by the RTOs and MVD of various states.
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Old 13th July 2021, 14:04   #14
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Many of these look like a Decathlon tent strapped on to the top of the vehicle. In theory, this could work on sedans too if not for the height.
The matador and Force traveler have good potential. If they can slap an AT on force traveler and charge 2 lakhs extra, it would still be less than the price of a mid-level Seltos/Creta
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Old 13th July 2021, 15:27   #15
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An acquaintance I knew by the name of Mr. Rahul Gavand from Thane who unfortunately passed away this April due to COVID was very much into overlanding. He earlier had a Toyota Landcruiser and Fortuner modded for overlanding. He had then gone a step further by starting an overlanding project on a Bharat Benz chassis, not aware of the current status of the vehicle, may his soul rest in peace.

Below are a few images from Facebook and a Youtube link.

EDIT: Just realised from the below posts that he was a member here as well by the name 'rahultomahawk' and few of his cars are featured in the first post.

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Last edited by Maverick5490 : 13th July 2021 at 15:32.
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