Camper Van Conversion: how to turn a van into a home

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If you haven’t yet found the perfect campervan or motorhome, maybe it’s time to consider converting a van yourself?

There are loads of suitable vehicles out there that can be transformed into your ideal campervan and 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…

From Van to Home - camper van conversion book

Camper van conversion made easy

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) 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 amazing 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 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)

That’s all well and good, 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 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 – Download ‘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 red button below to find out more about this amazing 3D software and get creating your own dream build on wheels!

van conversion interior - aerial view
Image: Vanspace

Tell us how you get on!

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 to you – the ebook or the 3D software.

And remember, if your converted van is pre-2000 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.

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