A young father trying to keep his five-year-old son busy in the UK’s third lockdown designed a camper car kit to take him on adventures – and he’s now sold ten to other families.
Jordan Boon, 32, from Portsmouth, designed Camper Cars Box so he and son George could go camping without having to buy a campervan or face the ‘hassle’ of trying to camp with young children.
He designed the Camper Cars Box to fit a wide range of cars and turn the family saloon into a bed and kitchen in a few minutes.
Jordan said: "January was so grim. We had George not able to go to school and the winter seemed to go on and on. The whole family was bored. Then I caught Covid and had to isolate, so I started designing the kit on my laptop."
"The idea of using my car as a micro camper really struck a chord with me. The simplicity of it is what I most love. It can turn almost any car into a safe place to sleep without having to fork out for an expensive motorhome or worry about booking weeks in advance to use a campsite. George and I can literally hop in and drive to the beach or the forest and sleep over if we need to."
Last summer, between lockdown one and two, we would fill the boot with stuff if we wanted to go out for a day. Now we have the camper car box, everything’s just always there ready when we are.
Jordan Boon, Dad
Jordan and his wife Natasha, whose second son, Theo, was born last summer, both studied at the University of Portsmouth and married not long after graduating.
Jordan started his first company, The T-Shirt Man, while a student and from that earned enough to pay his university fees and accommodation for three years and, later, to buy a house.
In his third and final year, he decided to remain at the University of Portsmouth for a two-year Learning at Work course. That gave him breathing room to grow his business with university support – free facilities and a mentor, Simon Brookes, now an Associate Dean in the Creative and Cultural Industries faculty.
Jordan said: "I spent four years in the University running my business from their offices and was a great foundation for my future enterprises all of which have had some level of success."
"The T-Shirt man has been a good company for us, but it doesn’t bring me joy. Being outdoors with my kids and wife is what brings me joy, so I thought why not try and find a way to make that affordable? I love sleeping under canvas, but it’s much harder with very young children. I wanted to try and make something inexpensive that made it very easy to get out and about and let my children see as much of the UK as possible, once Covid is over."
Jordan graduated in 2010 with a BSc in maths, finance and management from Portsmouth. Though he had set up his T-shirt business while a student, working from his small bedroom in student halls, he had no previous knowledge of design.
"In the first lockdown, people were baking or getting fit or trying to learn a new language, but by the third lockdown, from December 2020, everyone was so over it."
"Our whole family just felt tired and bored and January was so gloomy."
"My wife and I both got Covid and, luckily, we were fine, but not leaving the house for ten days meant I had to come up with new ways of filling my time."
"I worked long hours when George was born, I hardly ever saw him and was always on my phone or computer. Now we had a second child I thought I don’t want to be that absent, distracted dad, I want to be hands-on and take them on adventures."
A lot of entrepreneurs might say they are motivated by making millions, but my dream is to spend time with my kids and, ideally, to see other families out and about using the Camper Car Box having a fantastic time, too.
Jordan Boon, Dad
The Camper Car Box is designed and made in Portsmouth using 97 per cent UK products.
The kit costs £595 or £695, depending on finish. It weighs 25kg and fits into a box which can stay in the boot. It includes a rudimentary kitchen with a sink and storage for a gas cooker and food, and a bed measuring 1.8m x 1.1m.
Similar products which convert cars to campervans are sold in the US for about £3,000.