The Älgmobil – How a normal station wagon became a mobile home

Unser treuer Reisebegleiter ist ein Opel Vectra C Caravan 1.9CDTI (Z19DTH) mit Irmscher Paket. | Our travel companion is an Opel Vectra C Caravan 1.9CDTI (Z19DTH) with an Irmscher package
Unser treuer Reisebegleiter ist ein Opel Vectra C Caravan 1.9CDTI (Z19DTH) mit Irmscher Paket. | Our travel companion is an Opel Vectra C Caravan 1.9CDTI (Z19DTH) with an Irmscher package

From Å in Norway to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in Wales – our vehicle takes us everywhere.

Älgbert Elgson

Travel. A dream of many people, which unfortunately has a number of limits. Be it travel restrictions or personal barriers – there is always something that prevents you from getting to know new cultures or discovering breathtaking places.
For many, money is the limiting factor alongside time, so it’s understandable that camping is becoming more and more popular. It is accompanied by romantic ideas of a campfire under the starry sky and unlimited freedom – only to find out that „wild camping“ is not allowed in most regions and that you then have to pitch your tent again on a campsite.
But they still exist, the spots in this world where you are allowed to stay where you like. The Austrian Camping Club has created a very informative and simple map where you can quickly see what is allowed and what is not where. You can find these on the club’s homepage by clicking here (in German)-> Freies Stehen in Europa
On caravanya.com you can find further information in English.

Smålandet Älgsafari
Moose in the forests of Scandinavia

We want to be able to experience this feeling of freedom on our Scandinavian trips, but a suitable vehicle is necessary for this. Since many people do not want to miss out on this feeling of freedom, there has been an increase in the number of motorhome registrations in recent years. Unfortunately, this is also reflected in the prices. Older mobile homes are often for sale for sums that would be enough to stay in hotels for vacation for years. However, the financially logical step of starting a DIY project and start converting a delivery van offers a similar picture in terms of pricing. Even for vehicles that have obviously come to the end of their working lives, you still have to dig surprisingly deep into your pockets.

It is well known that money does not grow on trees. Therefore, we must work with what we have.
On the other hand, we also want to retain a little individuality and not get lost in the uniformity of always the same motorhomes. Making a virtue out of necessity – so to speak.

Photo by Alan Caldwell on Pexels.com

Our basis for the first expansion stage of our micro-motorhome is a standard Opel Vectra C Caravan, which we have also used on past adventures. A diesel engine with 110kW/150hp ensures comfortable progress. This means that the Vectra is definitely not as fast as a rocket, but it is motorized well enough to be able to climb even the highest mountains.
In daily life, it is mainly used for commuting. But why not expand the range of use?

  • Unser treuer Reisebegleiter ist ein Opel Vectra C Caravan 1.9CDTI (Z19DTH) mit Irmscher Paket. | Our travel companion is an Opel Vectra C Caravan 1.9CDTI (Z19DTH) with an Irmscher package
  • Opel Vectra C Caravan
  • Unser treuer Reisebegleiter ist ein Opel Vectra C Caravan | Our travel companion is an Opel Vectra C Caravan
  • Sonnenuntergang im Spiegelbild - Sunset in the mirror
  • Blick auf die österreichischen Alpen - View of the Austrian Alps

First of all, a concept has to be created, because after all there are different ways to sleep in a converted station wagon. Should we buy a rooftop tent? That would probably be the easiest way. But here, too, it quickly became apparent that the limited resource of money would not make this plan possible.
The cheapest option now seemed to be a self-made bed made of plywood.
Many other questions arise in the planning phase. How should the spatial concept be designed? kitchen, bathroom and living room? Maybe even a balcony?
Well, a balcony might be a bit of an exaggeration, but there has to be a bathroom and kitchen somehow.
The problem with such conversion plans, however, is always the very limited space. Because in addition to the bed, bathroom and kitchen, the luggage also has to be accommodated somewhere in the car. For aerodynamic and fuel efficiency reasons, we want to do without a roof box, which does not necessarily alleviate the space problem.

  • Ein Opel Vectra C Caravan ist ein Mittelklassewagen mit ungeahnten Möglichkeiten. Nach Ausbau der Rückbank ist genug Platz für einen Wohnmobilausbau. | An Opel Vectra C Caravan is a mid-range car with unimagined possibilities. After removing the back seat there is enough space for a mobile home extension.
  • Ein Opel Vectra C Caravan ist ein Mittelklassewagen mit ungeahnten Möglichkeiten. Nach Ausbau der Rückbank ist genug Platz für einen Wohnmobilausbau. | An Opel Vectra C Caravan is a mid-range car with unimagined possibilities. After removing the back seat there is enough space for a mobile home extension.
  • Bevor zur Tat geschritten werden konnte, musste ein Plan aufgestellt werden. - Before action could be taken, a plan had to be made.
  • Meister der Handkreissäge - Master of the circular saw

After the planning phase comes the execution phase. In any case, the rear seat had to give way to make room for the new luggage compartment. After expanding this, there was now enough space and the theoretical plans could be converted into practical solutions.
After measuring again, only the purchased roof battens had to be brought to the right length and covered with plywood. The concept envisaged that the bed should be divided into three compartments. This is the only way to ensure that the motorhome can be restored to its original condition and used as an everyday vehicle.

  • Der Wohnmobilausbau wurde in drei Segmente unterteilt. Das erste Abteil beinhaltet Küche und Bad, das zweite Vorratskammer für Lebensmittel und Büro und im dritten Abteil gleich hinter den vorderen Sitzen befindet sich der Kleiderschrank, sowie die Möbel des Ess- und Wohnzimmers. - The mobile home conversion was divided into three segments. The first compartment contains the kitchen and bathroom, the second pantry and office and in the third compartment just behind the front seats there is a wardrobe and the furniture of the dining and living room.
  • Der Wohnmobilausbau wurde in drei Segmente unterteilt. Das erste Abteil beinhaltet Küche und Bad, das zweite Vorratskammer für Lebensmittel und Büro und im dritten Abteil gleich hinter den vorderen Sitzen befindet sich der Kleiderschrank, sowie die Möbel des Ess- und Wohnzimmers. - The mobile home conversion was divided into three segments. The first compartment contains the kitchen and bathroom, the second pantry and office and in the third compartment just behind the front seats there is a wardrobe and the furniture of the dining and living room.
  • Die Stützkonstruktion muss fachgerecht verschraubt sein um die spätere Last tragen zu können. - The support structure must be professionally screwed in order to be able to bear the subsequent load.
  • Die Stützkonstruktion muss fachgerecht verschraubt sein um die spätere Last tragen zu können. - The support structure must be professionally screwed in order to be able to bear the subsequent load.
  • Für den Wohnmobileinbau wurde zuerst mit Dachlatten eine Stützkonstruktion gefertigt die dann mit OSB-Platten verkleidet werden konnte. - For the mobile home conversion, a support structure was first made with roof battens, which could then be covered with OSB panels
  • Die Maße werden mit aufmerksamem Blick streng kontrolliert. Wenn auch nur eines der Maße nicht stimmt kann dies das Endresultat gefährden. Der Meister muss immer aufpassen, dass seine Auszubildenden keinen Mist produzieren. - The dimensions are strictly controlled with an attentive eye. If even one of the dimensions is wrong, this can jeopardize the end result. The master always has to be careful that his trainees don't produce crap.

The rear part of the vehicle is now intended for the kitchen and bathroom. Drawers were made for this, which contain all the necessary utensils, as well as the fresh water tank. The only downside to this solution is the vast amount of fresh air you are now exposed to when cooking- especially when it’s windy and raining. A solution must definitely be found for this.
In the middle and front part of the construction there is now space for all the luggage that you absolutely have to take with you on a trip. Nets have been attached to the side for the things we need most often, such as our chargers or Älgbert’s rain jacket, so that we can really use every little space available.

  • Fast) präzise Schnitte für ein (fast) perfektes Endergebnis - (Almost) precise cuts for an (almost) perfect end result.
  • Alles passt und findet seinen Platz wo es hingehört bevor es wieder ausgebaut und mit Stoff überzogen wird. - Everything fits and finds its place where it belongs before it is removed again and covered with fabric.
  • Um eine angenehme Liegeflächenlänge zu erreichen und gleichzeitig gemütlich beim Fahren sitzen zu können wurde ein komplizierter Klappmechanismus erdacht. Mit diesem war es möglich die Liegefläche auf eine Länge von 215cm zu verlängern. - A complicated folding mechanism was built to achieve a comfortable lying surface length and at the same time to be able to sit comfortably while driving. With this it was possible to extend the lying surface to a length of 215cm.
  • Wo gearbeitet wird, wird Mist produziert. - Where work is done, dust is produced.

Bare boards of plywood only invite you to feel at home to a limited extent. Therefore, the entire extension is covered with fabric and, to increase sleeping comfort, a mattress has been made. Commercial furniture fabric, which is easy to process, was used for this. Handles and useful small parts were made using a 3D printer to give the installation a personal touch with small details.
The entire installation has been planned and executed in such a way that no further conversion measures are necessary other than removing the rear seat to get more space. Due to the color selection, it also fits very well into the original beige interior and everything looks very harmonious.

  • Wer einen normalen Kombi zu einem Micro-Wohnmobil umbauen möchte wird schnell feststellen, dass es kaum etwas fertig zu kaufen gibt. Wer jedoch handwerklich begabt ist, kann auch vieles selbst machen, wie etwa den Überzug der Matratze zu nähen. | If you want to convert a normal station wagon into a micro motorhome, you will quickly find that there is hardly anything that can be bought ready-made. However, if you are handy, you can do a lot yourself, such as sewing the cover of the mattress
  • Wer einen normalen Kombi zu einem Micro-Wohnmobil umbauen möchte wird schnell feststellen, dass es kaum etwas fertig zu kaufen gibt. Wer jedoch handwerklich begabt ist, kann auch vieles selbst machen, wie etwa den Überzug der Matratze zu nähen. | If you want to convert a normal station wagon into a micro motorhome, you will quickly find that there is hardly anything that can be bought ready-made. However, if you are handy, you can do a lot yourself, such as sewing the cover of the mattress
  • Beim Ein- beziehungsweise Zusammenbau kann schon mal was kaputt gehen. Doch wenn man die richtigen Werkzeuge zur Hand hat ist es kein Problem wieder etwas neu zu verleimen oder zu verkleben. | Something can break during installation or assembly. But if you have the right tools at hand, it is no problem to glue something together again.

The implementation phase is followed by the testing phase to see whether the practical solutions can also be used in reality.
We decided on Iceland for the first test drive, where our micro camper should show its advantages and disadvantages.
You have to start small 😉

The advantages of such a conversion are clearly the low-cost implementation and compact design. Due to the small external dimensions of the Opel, we didn’t have to pay as much on the ferry from Denmark to Iceland as we would have had to pay for a full-size mobile home. Finding a parking space in metropolises such as Reykjavik or Tórshavn is also absolutely no problem. An average cruising speed of 160km/h on German autobahns is no problem, nor are short journeys over unpaved and narrow roads.
The most serious and obvious disadvantage is the small space inside the vehicle. When the weather is nice, this is not a big problem, but when the weather is bad you are forced to make ends meet in the little space available.
For us, however, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and we will use our micro camper for many more adventures.

  • Egal wohin und für wie lange man in den Urlaub fährt, am Anfang muss immer zuerst das Problem des Kofferpackens gelöst werden. Auch Älgs müssen sehr viele Sachen mitnehmen. Meistens sind es zu viele, als dass alles in einen Koffer passen würde. | No matter where and for how long you go on vacation, at the beginning you always have to solve the problem of packing your suitcase. Älgs also have to take a lot of things with them. Usually there are too many to fit in one suitcase.
  • Älgbert versucht sich als Koch und testet so die Fähigkeiten der Bordküche des Älg-Reisemobils. Das Endresultat ließ keine Wünsche offen und hätte sich bestimmt mehrere Auszeichnungen verdient. | Älgbert tries his hand at cooking and thus tests the skills of the self-built motorhome's on-board kitchen. The end result left nothing to be desired and certainly deserved several awards.
  • Älgbert hat es sich schon im großen Bett gemütlich gemacht. - Älgbert has already made himself comfortable in the big bed.
  • Eine süße Versuchung - Something to please the sweet tooth
  • Nach Fertigstellung ging es auch schon auf große Reise. Das erste Abenteuer, dass wir mit unserem Micro-Camper in Angriff genommen haben, führte uns nach Island. - After completion, it was ready for a long journey. The first adventure that we tackled with our micro camper took us to Iceland.
  • Unser treuer Reisebegleiter ist ein Opel Vectra C Caravan 1.9CDTI (Z19DTH) mit Irmscher Paket. | Our travel companion is an Opel Vectra C Caravan 1.9CDTI (Z19DTH) with an Irmscher package
Monaco | Port Hercule

Côte d’Azur – Where the rich and beautiful live!

On this journey we hiked on unknown paths. Usually we are always drawn to the north. We should have taken the wrong turn somewhere, because we ended up in the south – more precisely in the south of France!
On our trip we immersed ourselves in the world of fragrances, hiked in the mountains of Andorra, visited the palace of Prince Albert II in Monaco, discovered the cities along the Côte d’Azur and tasted the culinary highlights of France. But let’s start at the beginning: Here comes our travel report from our adventure in the south of France.

Weihnachten in Schönbrunn | Christmas in Schönbrunn

Schönbrunn Christmas market

The Christmas market in front of Schönbrunn Palace has been in existence for more than 25 years. So it was more than just time for us to visit it. Traditional but also surprising moments awaited us at the largest Christmas market in Vienna.
Here you can learn more about what we have experienced here.

Wird geladen…

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