Forget rooftop tents – The Dacia Sleep Pack turns the Duster into a full-on camper van

Innovative design can be set up in minutes and transforms all-new Duster into the camper you never knew you needed

All-new Dacia Duster with the Dacia Sleep Pack
(Image credit: Adrien Cortesi)

The sun is rising over a distant Mont Blanc as the gentle tinkle of alpine cowbells starts to drift over a light morning breeze. Parked up alongside the deep azure waters of Lac de Saint-Guérin in the foothills of the mountains east of Lyon, the peace and tranquillity is otherworldly

A plush double mattress, complete with that alpine soundtrack, beckons another bout of sleep, but removing the sunshade fitted neatly to the rear window of the all-new Dacia Duster reveals a sight too stunning to ignore. Time to pull on boots and get exploring.

Rewind a few hours, and T3 was busy navigating the switchbacks and gravel paths leading up the side of a mountain towards our makeshift camp at Lac de Saint-Guérin. The mission is part exercise in testing a thoroughly revised version of Dacia’s most famous model and an opportunity to put the new Sleep Pack through its paces.

Formerly debuted on the Dacia Jogger, this purpose-built wooden box slides into the boot and then folds out to create palatial sleeping quarters for two without the need to wrestle with a tent.

Dacia isn’t claiming this is a long-term solution for that two-week camping trip but instead thinks it is a great option for those who want to be first in the surf when the swell charts light up or, in our case, the only fools on the sinewy mountain trails at 6 am.

All-new Dacia Duster with the Dacia Sleep Pack

(Image credit: Adrien Cortesi)

Kicking up Dust(er)

The Dacia Duster needs very little introduction, if at all. This small and affordable SUV, which historically sourced most of its parts from sister company Renault, has gone on to win numerous consumer awards since it rolled onto the scene in 2010.

However, this year introduces arguably some of the biggest revisions to date, with all-new exterior styling giving a more aggressive presence on the road, while all-wheel-drive and hybrid versions will be made available later.

Inside, Dacia has increased its “essential but cool” approach, with a large 10.1-inch touchscreen display taking care of infotainment duties and an innovative YouClip accessory system recently seen in the Spring EV. The latter allows owners to attach smartphone holsters, cup holders, and even removable night lights that can be positioned on fixing points dotted throughout the cabin.

The Sleep Pack is an altogether more serious optional accessory that has been specially designed to fit in the rear of the all-new Duster and takes the form of a large wooden box that neatly folds out when required.

All-new Dacia Duster with the Dacia Sleep Pack

(Image credit: Adrien Cortesi)

Bedding down

After a day spent enjoying some mild off-roading and the most jaw-dropping vistas in Europe, it was time to bed down beside the tranquil Lac de Saint-Guérin.

Our host, Dacia Product Performance Director, François Aupierre, kindly offers to give a quick demonstration and a brief background of the Sleep Pack set up over a bottle of ice cold local beer.

According to Aupierre, it was the brainchild of an engineer in Renault’s Qstomize team - a crew that is typically tasked with adapting vehicles for businesses or motability purposes - who just so happens to be a dab-hand at carpentry.

It shows, because the end result is a beautiful array of wooden slats and panels that fold out and are secured into place with legs and cross members that all neatly stash in the box like precision cut jigsaw puzzle pieces.

Although the original concept was crafted by hand, the production accessory is produced using ultra-precise CNC machinery and had been designed to sit snugly in the boot of the all-new Duster.

“Just unclip the latches and fold out the front,” Aupierre says as we begin tackling the set-up process. 

All-new Dacia Duster with the Dacia Sleep Pack

(Image credit: Adrien Cortesi)

Handily, that folding door to the front aperture also doubles-up as a shelf that can easily withstand 20 kgs worth of kit, making it perfect for camping stoves and more elaborate outdoor cookers. The hatchback rear door also offers decent protection from the rain. 

With the rear seats folded flat (a quick pull of a handle does that), we then unfold the main bed frame, which is beautifully hinged and proves a doddle to get into place. 

“There are two wooden legs that hold up the furthest ends of the bed frame, but these neatly clip into the box when you’re travelling, so you don’t lose them,” Aupierre says as the bed starts to take shape. 

Two further cross members extend and then clip in to create extra rigidity before we finally throw a plush mattress over the whole thing and attach a couple of side bolster cushions to give the bed its full width.

All-new Dacia Duster with the Dacia Sleep Pack

(Image credit: Adrien Cortesi)

A quick look down at the stopwatch on my phone and the entire exercise took us just over a minute. That’s an absolute lifesaver if it is tipping it down or blowing a gale outside when you pull up to the campsite.

Better still, the wooden box structure in the boot has a hinged lid that grants access to additional stowage space. It’s enough for sleeping bags, blankets, a cooker, and other camping kit.

“We didn’t want to offer the full built-in kitchen experience because that would have seen the prices go through the roof, and we know a lot of Dacia customers already have their own camping kit,” Aupierre says.

Instead, Dacia provides the basics and it’s then up to you how serious you get with the kit. However, investing in a roof rack or trailer is wise if you want to pack much more than a weekend bag and some essential equipment.

All-new Dacia Duster with the Dacia Sleep Pack

(Image credit: Adrien Cortesi)

Sleep tight

Although the Sleep Pack bed measures 1.90 metres long and up to 1.30 metres wide, it is understandably snug inside (especially for two adults), particularly when it comes to headroom. 

Attempting to slide out of clothes and into a sleeping bag is tricky, and I smashed my head on the roof liner a handful of times when trying to get comfortable at night. 

But it’s amazing how well the inside of new Duster transforms into a comfortable place to get some rest. The YouClip accessory points are everywhere, so it’s easy to set up a nice lighting rig that works, while space in the front footwells and on the front seats provides an easy-to-reach area to keep shoes, clothes and whatnot.

It’s even possible to option a YouClip cup holder and hooks that can also be removed and placed wherever you might need them, keeping that bottle of water or head torch close to hand at night. 

The mattress is plush and comfortable, while Dacia also offers a set of precision-fit interior blinds that neatly clip into the windows and block out most natural light. We left the window ajar slightly to increase ventilation, but we were plenty warm enough considering the temperature plummets at night in the Alps, even in the summer months.

Granted, there’s no option for an auxiliary heater and other such mod cons, but that’s sort of defeating the point. This is a neat, ad hoc way of enjoying nature without having to spend a small fortune.

On that subject, the current InNature Sleep Pack, including mattress and window blinds, retails at around £1,800 for the Jogger model, so we expect similar pricing for the all-new Duster when it is officially announced.

In addition to this, customers will also be able to specify things like Dacia-branded roof racks and carriers - handy when the boot space is eaten up by the Sleep Pack - as well a tailgate tent that attaches to the rear and offers a more traditional and spacious camping experience.

All-new Dacia Duster with the Dacia Sleep Pack

(Image credit: Adrien Cortesi)


Sleeping in the back of a Duster might sound a bit mad, but it strangely makes sense, particularly when you are sharing that experience with members of the team behind the vehicles and their outdoor accessories.

Many brands claim to offer that “outdoor lifestyle”, but very few live it quite like Dacia. Most of the crew involved in the project snowboard in the winter and hike up French mountains in the summer. Proper outdoorsy folk who need a simple, no-fuss vehicle to facilitate adventures.

Up until this point, the brand has absolutely thrived on its “Eco-Smart” mantra, stripping everything back to the essentials but making sure the remaining parts work harder for the money. 

The all-new Duster is arguably the best yet, offering more creature comforts without the price spiralling out of control. All in all, it’s a loveable little thing, made even better by the fact it can be optioned with a full-blown bed in the back. 

Now available as an official accessory on the all-new Duster (retailer link), which will go on sale in the UK in the coming months, the Sleep Pack aims to riff on the Duster’s MO of being fun and affordable (prices start around £20,000 for the diminutive SUV) by offering something simple and effective to sleep on when nature calls.

Leon Poultney

Leon has been writing about automotive and consumer tech for longer than he cares to divulge. When he’s not testing the latest fitness wearable and action camera, he’s out in a shed fawning over his motorcycles or trying not to kill himself on a mountain bike/surfboard/other extreme thing. He's also a man who knows his tools, and he's provided much of T3's drills coverage over the years, all without injuring himself.