I’m in love. We have just returned from a long weekend exploring the California desert in a JUCY campervan and it was amazing! Ever since I first saw these crazy looking green and purple vans on the road during our Arizona-Utah road trip a few years ago I have been dying to check one out. Being national park junkies, we were dying to check off one of our last national park service parks in Southern California, the Mojave Preserve. However, I am not super into roughing it, especially in a place that is in the middle of nowhere, so it continued to sink to the bottom of our to do list. That is until we got the opportunity to rent a JUCY, which was just what we needed for this adventure.
JUCY Mini RVs
JUCY started in New Zealand, the land of campervans, in 2001 with the vision to aid travelers in their unique road trip adventures. JUCY is most known for bright green and purple mini RVs. The mini RV is basically a standard minivan (Dodge Caravan or Chrysler Town & Country) that has been converted into the perfect road trip companion. The Champ, as it is called, has been designed to include everything you need for life on the road. Seats that fold down into a bed, a pop up ‘penthouse’ that acts as a second bedroom, under-the-seat storage and a rear trunk area housing a mini kitchen providing everything you need to camp in style. The only thing not included is a bathroom, so you'll have to make sure to camp in areas with public restrooms!
JUCY has thought of almost everything for the mini RV, making spur of the moment weekend camping trips so much easier. It also means that winter camping is now more of an option. With room to sleep four comfortably, this is the perfect addition for most families. What makes JUCY even more accessible is that it drives like a car, since it is a minivan! If you can drive your own vehicle or SUV, the JUCY will feel pretty much the same.
JUCY is even more wonderful because of all of the well thought out details packed inside each van. From the outside, it looks just like a regular (albeit very colorful) minivan. Inside it is a whole different ball game.
Standard features include:
- A kitchen sink with 5 gallons of water included
- Two single burner butane stoves
- Mini fridge drawer
- Cutting board, silverware drawer, storage for pots/pans
- Two full-size beds, one inside the car and one on the top (not accessible from inside the van)
- Deep storage for your belongings under the seat
- Inside table for cold mornings
Some of the awesome features that we didn’t even realize until we got on the road were:
- Curtains for each of the windows for sleeping
- Automatic open/close buttons for the back doors (which I will warn you now the kids will become obsessed with!)
- 2 USB and 1 car charger for use even when the vehicle is off! This was a huge bonus. I was wondering how I would manage an entire weekend without charging my phone or camera at night.
- DVD player for those long cold nights with nothing to do outside (OK that isn’t often really, but still it’s awesome to have)
- Tons of little storage places (Which means it’s easy to leave things behind in the doors like we did, so take note!)
There were some things that were surprising for us on the inside when traveling with a child. Contrary to your regular vehicle the back seats of the JUCY are really far back. If you have a minivan already, you might already know about this, but the only seats available in a JUCY during driving are the ‘3rd-row’ seats. This is good and bad. Great because the grown-ups in the front actually get a little time to have conversations on their own and the kids can be noisy in the back without causing too much of a fuss up front. The bad news is, it is difficult to reach your child or give your kid anything during the drive. This means it’s imperative to pack wisely, situating everything the kids need within their reach unless you want to stop constantly!
Additionally, there are three seat belts in the back row, however, for most car seats, only the side two seat belts will be what you need. For car seats that use the LATCH system, only one side of the back seat has the clips needed to latch onto. As far as we could see, the van did not have any behind the seat points for the additional latch. We found our car seat fit snug using just the seatbelt option.
What it's like to travel in a JUCY mini RV
We really loved the JUCY and thought it was the ideal solution for families who want to get out into nature, but not deal with setting up a tent and cooking over a fire. It’s great to not have to worry about the little details of camping or setting up a tent every night since it includes so much of what you need. The price makes it not quite as affordable to as many families as regular car camping, however, the ease it provides does make up for it in my opinion. It is also a highly functional road trip companion; driving like a car with economical gas mileage as an added bonus.
I especially love JUCY vans as they provide more accessibility for me to adventure with my son on my own. Often times my husband is unable to join on our weekend adventures and I do not have the strength (mental, physical or emotional!) to manage driving all day somewhere, hiking around, setting up a tent, cooking over a stove, packing it all up the next day, adventuring around more and then driving back by myself. With JUCY I feel more confident in my ability to go on quick, off the beaten path adventures on my own. With JUCY you can adventure until you are tired and quickly set up camp for the night. JUCY is perfect for non-campers who want to add a little more nature into their lives. I am definitely sold. Now, I’m trying to figure out how to purchase one for myself!