How I Turned my Honda Fit into a Home and Drove Across the Country

Murphy Studebaker
4 min readDec 28, 2017

That’s me, at a rest-stop somewhere between Austin, Texas and South Carolina, eating ramen with a plastic spork as I lean against the car holding everything I need to live. I took this photo a quarter of the way through a cross-country road trip in a shoebox camper that I built myself. Here’s how I did it.


Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube were gold mines for researching car-dwelling set ups. I watched over a 100 hours on YouTube and scrolled through countless other photos of Priuses, Honda Elements, Jeeps, and more. I also found blueprints for a Honda Fit build deep in the forums of, and I used these as the starting point.

I also used YouTube to achieve a basic level of construction competence, such as how to use an electric saw without cutting off my hand.


Originally I planned to build the base out of PVC, because a friend had a ton left over that she graciously gifted to me. This plan turned out to not work so well.

Our PVC frame falling apart

So we found some scrap wood in the garage and built the frame out of that instead.

The wooden frame.
The frame with the bed panel on top, complete with our “garage” loaded up with gear!


The first design was nice and simple. We took it on the road trip and put a good 7500 miles of use on the home, filling it with (a lot) of sweat, and only a little blood and tears.