Planning the Camper Conversion

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The first stage to a DIY van conversion is planning. In my experience, this takes nearly as long as the conversion itself!

However, as they say in war, ‘time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted’. The same is certainly true of planning, although there does come a time when you have to just start – even if you do still have a few loose ends to sort out.

In planning my conversions I have considered all sorts of layouts, debated whether to make the furniture myself or have a converter build the furniture unit and taken research trips to motorhome shows.

The result for my latest van was that my wife and I decided on the following:

Campervan side conversion

  • Basic electrics  – cold tap (eBay⇒)/water pump (eBay⇒), LED lights (eBay⇒) and an inverter (eBay⇒) to run mobile phone chargers and a 240V fridge (of which more later).
  • Sterling Battery-battery charger to charge the leisure battery while driving
    Since replaced with a simpler voltage-sensing relay as the fridge is no longer powered by the inverter, so charging requirements are more modest
  • Rock and roll bed (eBay⇒) without seatbelts – not designed or fitted as a travel seat, reducing the van to 2-seater capacity
  • Comprehensive insulation – floor, walls and roof
  • No heating or hot water
  • Two motorhome/caravan type windows (eBay⇒) – proper double-glazed, opening windows with built-in blinds and flyscreens, not single-glazed glass vehicle windows.

Once you’ve decided on your specification, it’s time to start buying supplies – here’s a list of suppliers I have used and would recommend as a starting point.

Next: Panelling & Insulating the van

Back to Conversion Guide Index

Disclaimer: All material is provided for information purposes and is my opinion only. I can take no responsibility for the accuracy, suitability, reliability or safety of the information in this guide.

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