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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We bought our 2020 Sienna at the end of late last year with the intention of using it to travel/camp when we retired this spring. After searching and reading about camper conversions. We decided we didn't want a time consuming build project. So we decided to start with something that would get us started. We have purchased a Riverleaf Arches camper conversion. We are expecting it to ship in a couple of weeks. We are starting with this because it doesn't require any vehicle mods and just the two of us can install or remove it easily. We ordered the Arches without the mattress since we already have a 6" memory foam tri-fold mattress. That gives us a stack up height of 16-1/2 inches from the floor to the top of the bed. We did not order the the Grand Teton camper conversion because it is is 6" taller which would put the top of the bed to close to the ceiling for our liking.

We would love to here from others using the Arches camper conversion.
What accessories are being used?
What modifications or things you have added?
What usage tips you may have?
Things that are missing or handy to have?
What is your impression?

I will start posting pictures and comments about it once we receive it.
 

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Subscribed! I am very interested to see pics and hear what you think of it. Version 2 of my homemade gen2 conversion will have some similarities to that design, so I am very interested in your thoughts and to hear what works and what doesn’t work so well. Please keep us posted!

Thanks,
Mike
 

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Subscribed as well. Would like to see how the quality and overall impressions are.
Do you have children? It seems that adults can’t really use that table shown in the video, unless you are a relatively “shorter” person.


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Looking forward to seeing your kit. I was looking to get a Freeway Camper Kit Nomad, but decided to build a simple kit to begin with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We had looked at Freeway Camper and RoadLoft. We really liked the Roadloft design but they do not ship to the U.S. You had to pick it up at the factory in Quebec, which is currently not possible. The Freeway camper kits were interesting but the height of the platform was too high for using a 6" memory foam mattress. Sitting up on the mattress we would hit our heads on the ceiling. Both Freeway and Roadloft were also 2x the cost the of the Riverleaf Arches. We do not have children. The pictures of the Arches we have seen are with children sitting at the table except for the one person that changed the table to be an outdoor table. Hopefully we will be receiving our Arches conversion soon and all our questions will be answered. We did purchase a TailVeil to go on the back of the Sienna. It fits the Sienna quite well and should let us cook without mosquitos.
 

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Our Arches camper conversion shipped today and should arrive next Thursday.
I am looking into the Arches too. I am a little hesitant because I can’t find many reviews and wasn’t sure they actually existed. Looking forward to seeing pictures and hearing more about you conversion!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
These are pictures of the TailVeil attached to the back of the Sienna. It came with tent stakes. I am using weights in the 4 corners. I do not know how well the 'rainfly' would actually work in the rain. We are not all the interested in trying to use the TailVeil in the rain anyway. The 'rainfly' does work nicely as a privacy screen and reduces the drafts significantly.


49987

49988
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The Arches conversion arrived and we installed it in our 2020 Sienna. Just had 2nd dose vac and not feeling great so I will post pictures once I start feeling better.
 

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It is a good sign that the immune systen reacts to the 2nd dose, thus the protection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
** 5/1/2021 edited after getting installation clarification from RIverLeaf

We ordered the Arches Conversion kit without the mattress (we already have a 6” memory foam tri-fold mattress). The kit arrived last Thursday and is now installed in our 2020 Sienna.

First impressions:

At around 100 lbs without the mattress it is easiest to have 2 people install this in the vehicle.

Overall finish is good. Most edges that’s you are likely to contact have been filleted (rounded). Material is mostly ½” finished birch plywood with a very nicely done clear varnish finish.

** Instructions are quite minimal. I added a PDF install guide in a later post.

** 5/1/2021
This was shipped FEDEX Freight. Fedex packed palletized the shipment. There was no protective packing between pallet and the kit. The kit was loose on the pallet. The result was bottom of the kit was scratched and gouged by the nails in the pallet as it slid around on the pallet during shipping. Since this is the bottom surface which you won’t see or ever likely to get wet it is not really an issue just disappointing because they did such a nice job with finishing it. Riverleaf has talked to their Fedex freight office about this so it does not happen again.

The table is shown on website with children sitting at it may work but it definitely doesn’t fit an adult. The distance from the seat without the mattress to the ceiling is 33” and ~10” from the floor to the seat. This was not really a surprise. We had always planned to using the table outside of the van.

This kit does not require removal of the 2nd or 3rd row seats. Most of the other kits we look at do. This may be a real advantage from those who will be traveling with more than 2 people which need the 2nd row seats.

Very little assembly is required (screw in 2 bolts).

At ½ the cost of the other kits we looked at we are very pleased with camper conversion.


Using the Arches Conversion in the 2020 Sienna:

Can be used with 2nd row seats in place.

Third row seats are not removed but in must be in the stowed position. There is no reason to remove the 3rd row seats since the Arches kit does not allow access to that space. Since there weren't any instructions these are the steps we took to to install the kit.
** 5/1/2021 updated after getting clarifications from Riverleaf
  • Retrieve instructions, 2 screws and 2 block from the drawers (box stabilizers?). You will need to unlatch them first since the are latched for shipment. Remember to re-latch them so that the drawers don’t accidentally slide open.
  • Slide the 2nd row seats into their stowed position, all the way forward, or remove the second row seat(s). See the Sienna owner’s manual.
  • ** See the install guide in a later post
  • ** Riverleaf does not recommend without anchoring the kit to the car. This is to prevent the kit from sliding forward in the while driving or moving side to side.
  • There are 3 sections of the kit each 2 feet long; the drawer section, middle section and front section. Unlatch the 2 drawers. The kit can then be unfolded. In order to unfold the front section with the 2nd row seated still installed, the seats need to be stowed in their most forward position. Since the front section is split you can unfold the left and right front sections separately.
  • Install the mattress.

Our usage:

Arches camper conversion. We do not plan to try to use the table inside as shown in the pictures. I will eventually make a base so that is can be used outside.

2nd row seats removed. Can not remove the second row seat trolleys. They are positioned at the most rearward position. 3rd row seats not removed but stowed in the floor.

6” memory foam mattress. From the top of the mattress to the ceiling is 27” and 24” to the top rear door molding.

TailVeil over the rear hatch so that we can cook without insects.

WeatherTech cargo/trunk liner, PN# 40552 . We moved it from the rear cargo area before putting the Arches camper conversion in place. Turned it around and putting it behind the front seats. This also covers the seats trolleys that are left after removing the 2nd row seats.

Shore battery to run small dual fan and led string lights independent from the car battery.

Large cat carrier with litter box.

Luggable Loo

Haul-Master 500lb Steel Cargo Carrier from Harbor Freight with Curt Cargo Bag, #18210. This for more for hauling when we are taking things to family. We are not planning on using this all the time. We will take the carrier off before using Tailveil and the Arches rear kitchen.


Clarifications needed from Riverleaf:

The only instructions that came with the kit are the Riverleaf Camper Conversion Precautionary Measures. Which says
  • Secure the camper box to your vehicles latch attachment. Refer to your manufacturer’s manual if necessary. Adjust the box stabilizers on both sides of the box to prevent from moving side to side while driving and when in use.
The latch attachments points reference in the Sienna manual are all for child seats which are only available if the seats in in their normal positions.

Which attachment points on the car are they referring to?

On the kit what and where are the attachment points that should be used?

Are the box stabilizers the 2 screws and wood blocks, if not what are?

I have asked Riverleaf for clarifications of these questions and will post their answers.

** They were very responsive. See later posts.

PICTURES
50002

As delivered by Fedex Freight

50003

The cardboard box removed.

50004

Note: The drawer latches on both sides.

50005


50006

I tilted the kit on the end after putting in the Sienna so that I could install the bolts

50008


50009

Note: drawers will not open without the 1x5 added.

50010

Note: with 1x5 underneath.
** 5/21/2021 See the install guide in a later post.

50011

The wood block goes underneath the bolt as shown. The bolt was screwed out 1-3/4".
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I heard from the Riverleaf people. They deliver the camper conversion to Fedex for packing for shipment. They were very disturbed to see how this one was packed by Fedex. It turns out that 2 bolt (side stabilizers) were also missing. They are sending them to me. I also have clarification on how they strap down box in the Sienna. I will post new photos showing how straps are installed and the side stabilizers. Riverleaf has been very responsive to questions both before we purchased and afterwards.
 

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Thanks for the update. This thorough review is super helpful. I’m still liking this setup. In my case I’d leave the 2nd row seats installed, as I’d be taking the kids.


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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I have received clarifications from Riverleaf on the installation and attachment to the Sienna. I made a PDF document for installing the Arches camper conversion using this updated information and have attached it to this post.
* edit 4/30/2021, updated attached documents
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
We took our Arches camper conversion out for its first camping trip.
50192

We used our plastics totes rather than tent stakes or rocks to hold the four corners of the TailVeil. We did not level the car which did not affect the drawers on the Arches kit. Though we will be using leveling blocks in the future to make sleeping more comfortable. There are latches so that the drawers won't accidentally close while you are using them. The tri-fold mattress very easily folded forward so we had more space for food prep.
The Sienna does look puny next to the Winnebago Revel 44E.
50193

We are also going to be trying out a small fridge/freezer that should fit in the space in the middle back where the table is stand is on the kit. It arrives today. It will run off a separate house battery when we aren't driving and the car 12V when we are driving. If it works I will post details.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
We received our freezer fridge today. The fit is pretty good. It is a SetPower FC12 13.5 Qt. You can order it with an AC adapter ($4 extra) that will let you cool the unit before connecting it the house battery. It is 9.3" high which means it can fit in the center space where the table is in the Arches Camper Conversion. You have to remove the pipe stands for the table. I will be putting a couple of LDPE foam blocks on each side of the fridge so it doesn't shift side to side when driving. I am adding (bolting) a wood block across the inside end at the top so that it won't slide forward if I hit the brakes and so it won't block the vents on the fridge. To open the fridge in place you need to remove foam blocks so you can move the fridge a little to fully open it. I am still using the table as a cover for the center space.
50202


50203


50204
 

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After reading this chain with great interest, I recently ordered an Arches conversion kit. It's expected to arrive within the week (mid-Sept). I'm super pleased to find this model, which is exactly what I hoped for but seemed to only be available in Europe.

The company has been very responsive and helpful during the ordering process and keep me updated about shipping progress.

They now include the outdoor table platform as part of the kit and gave me the option of a longer pedestal if I preferred to use the table outdoors exclusively. They are also sending a piece of wood to ensure ease of fit with the Sienna back door lip, so the drawers don't get caught there.

Many thanks to all who contributed to this thread, especially the originators... I wouldn't have found Arches without the discussion. The guidelines have been invaluable.
 

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Delivery day for the River Leaf Arches conversion kit could not have been more exciting. I picked it up at the FedEx shipping center just a few miles away, so there was no delivery charge. It was well packaged and protected in shipping and the Fed Ex folks loaded it into my van.

Set up was easy and fun, but I was grateful for a neighbor's help since I'm unable to lift or turn the unit by myself. There were a couple of installation points where lifting was needed, such as for the leveling bolts.

I installed a Toyota cargo mat, which protects the van floor from the back door to the back of the 2nd row seats and also elevated the box sufficiently so the drawers open easily without the need for additional wood support at the back door lip. They have a nice clearance margin.

Since I don't have additional passengers, I will likely remove both 2nd row seats when camping to minimize weight and maximize storage space, especially because I'll be using a Dometic fridge with Jackery battery and solar panels. Removing the 2nd row seats is a cinch (with neighbor's help).

The wood is beautiful and strong. Drawer hardware is high quality and effective, with a useful locking function. Upholstery of the 3" cushions is much nicer than pictured on the website. They used neutral colored, high quality fabric, very harmonious with the Sienna van interior. The cushion is both dense and comfy - I won't need any additional cushions for a comfortable sleep. River Leaf included a note stating that the cushions had been sanitized and were ready for use.

River Leaf folks attached other hand-written notes to a couple of wood pieces, clarifying their function. It was especially nice to see their personal touches. As promised, they included a wood foundation so the pedestal table could be used outside, as well as an extra table insert for the bed, so it could be made even even while an outside table remained set up. Impressive!

The anchoring straps are good quality and an extra strap was included to secure the box pieces while driving.

My head almost touches the ceiling while seated at the table (I'm 5'4 1/2" tall), but I'm very happy to have the dinette option.

Like the previous owner/writer, I ordered a Trail Veil, which has not yet arrived, a Skeeter Beater screen for the sun roof and two side windows, and insulated privacy shades all around.

Happy camping seems on the near horizon...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I am so glad to hear that the Riverleaf folks have been so responsive. We are going on our 3rd road trip with it next week. We did find that having an additional ground tarp under the TailVeil really helped particulary when it rained or snowed. We could then stow the dirty ground tarp in a spearate bag. This has kept the TailVeil much cleaner.
 
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