Camper Van Conversion: 2 great resources to show you how to turn a van into a cosy home

Home » Van Life: answering the call to adventure and a new way of living » Camper Van Conversion: 2 great resources to show you how to turn a van into a cosy home

If you haven’t yet found your perfect campervan or motorhome, maybe it’s time to consider converting a van yourself? There are loads of suitable vehicles out there from smaller campers to large buses that can be transformed into your ideal home on wheels.

We’ve got two of the best resources to help you turn your vision into reality…

You’ll be able to design it to your exact specification, making the van unique and truly your own.

Let’s find out more about campervan conversion and how to turn a van into a cosy home…

Camper van conversion made easier

When you get into van life, you either hunt around like we did for about a year, waiting for the right campervan to show up, or you grab the bull by the horns and decide to do it yourself.

Camper van conversion wasn’t even on our radar when we started out back in 2017. We were so naive we weren’t even aware you could do such a thing! We thought the only choices were to search for second hand motorhomes and campervans, either from private sellers or dealers.

The idea of buying an empty shell and converting it ourselves didn’t even occur to us. Perhaps our lack of DIY skills had something to do with it?!

Whatever the excuses, if we had our time again we’d definitely consider converting a van because there are so many advantages to doing it yourself (or having a skilled friend help you!)

So, what are the advantages of converting a van yourself? Let’s look at the pros and cons…

The pros and cons of camper van conversion

The Pros of Campervan Conversion…

  • Buying an empty shell (a standard work-type van or bus) is usually a lot cheaper than a campervan or motorhome that’s already made
  • If you’re lucky you can buy a van for as little as £1000 (This Mercedes Sprinter was bought for just £350!)
  • You can design the interior lay-out to your exact wishes and requirements (See the amazing software you can use, below)
  • You’ll develop DIY skills you never thought you had!
  • When the conversion is finished you’ll have the immense satisfaction of having done the job yourself, a bit like building your own home
  • Converting an ordinary-looking van or bus means that your end product could be more suitable for ‘stealth’ camping, making off-grid, wild camping easier (it’s far easier to hunker down and remain inconspicuous in a converted van than it is in a motorhome)
campervan conversion: interior of a converted old American school bus
The inside of a converted American school bus. Image: Lauren Gardenbelle Fritts

Some of these conversions look amazing but what about the cons…

The Cons of Campervan Conversion…

  • Converting a van will take time. You will need patience and discipline. We suggest that if you’re wanting to get into van life straight away, buy a camper that’s already done
  • Converting a van means you’ll need the right tools and equipment (or know somebody that does) and the space in which to do it
  • You’ll have to get comfortable with taking some risks and trying new things (such as cutting the metal side panels to fit windows)
  • There’ll probably be some paperwork involved such as telling your insurance company and the DVLA that you’ve converted the van into a camper. (We’ve only put this in the ‘cons’ category because we hate paper work!)

Now that you know the pros and cons, let’s look at the first of our two campervan conversion options…

Option #1 – ‘From Van to Home’ Ebook

If you’re serious about converting a van yourself you’ll want the right help to bring your vision into reality.

There are loads of videos on YouTube showing off people’s amazing van conversions. But if you’re going to do this yourself, we think there’s nothing better than to have the best resources to hand.

Mike Hudson’s ebook is the ‘bible of van conversion’ and will help you every step of the way.

We downloaded the first edition of ‘From Van To Home‘ a couple of years ago. Hobo Gav bought it for his stepson who is now in the process of converting a small Ford Transit Connect van, following the instructions in the book.

The second edition (2021) is out now and contains…

  • Additions and modifications that Mike has made to his van since the first edition
  • Afterthoughts and comments from having had more experience on the road
  • Corrections – small mistakes in the first edition have been put right
  • Higher resolution photos and illustrations – many redone for more clarity – and some brand new ones
  • Chapter summaries for easier navigation
  • Any ambiguities cleared up making the instructions even easier to follow

Just tap on the book cover to find out more…

From Van to Home - campervan conversion ebook

Option #2 – Design your van interior with Vanspace 3D

if you’re more of a visual type – rather than a reader – using 3D software might be the option to go for.

Van conversion experts ‘Vanspace3D‘ have the most amazing software you can use which puts your ideas onto the screen in front of you in 3D.

If you’ve seen any of the episodes of Dream Builds On Wheels you’ll know what we’re getting at; unlimited creative freedom to see what your vision looks like before you actually start working on your van.

And you can keep changing it on the screen until your van conversion looks exactly how you want it to be. You then have a 3D template from which to build your perfect van.

If only we’d have known about this before we bought our old motorhome!

The truth is that if we were to do this all over again, we’d probably get something like a Mercedes Sprinter and create a ‘stealth’ campervan.

Hit the screen image or the red button below to find out more about this amazing 3D software and get creating your own dream build on wheels!

Screen shot of Vanspace3D software: how to design the interior of your converted campervan
Image: Vanspace

Get your converted van in our gallery!

We’d love to hear how you get on with your van conversion, especially so if you work with either of the 2 options we’ve highlighted on this page.

And if you go for both options, we’d love to know which was most useful – the ebook or the 3D software. Let us know via email

And remember, if your converted van is 20 years old or more it’ll qualify for our Vintage Vans and Motorhomes gallery.

We’d love to show it off for you! Just send us a picture or two when you’re done.

* Please note that we’re affiliated to both Mike Hudson (Van Dog Traveller) and Vanspace3D. This means that if you purchase either Mike’s ebook or Vanspace’s 3-D design software via the links on this page we’ll earn a small commission – at no extra cost to yourself. Our full affiliate disclosure document can be read here. We thank you in advance for any purchase you make. No copyright infringement is intended by the use of any media content on this page. If you see an issue please contact us and we will put it right asap.

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