A group member was asking that I share some images of my campervan conversion, a job just about completed.

I started this in March 2019 and for this van it is the third and final version.

Now that it’s not needed as a live in vehicle, I lived in my van from September 2012 through to November 2018, and so set up to accommodate everything I owned, I could make a conversion that was all about utility and comfort. A van for living in but mostly for holidays… So I stripped out the IKEA and country cottage T&G interior and started again…

The key for me was a full sized and comfortable bed and so I worked in B&Q’s Culverhouse Cross car park building from battons the frame and the slats. Underneath the bed and accessible from the rear doors is a 6x5ft ‘garage’ which stores the fresh water tank, electric hook up point, a safe, bike storage area and now of course a kennel for the pooch 🙂 There is plenty of space left over for tools and adventure kit like body boards and wetsuits and kites and snorkels…

The mattress is a reasonably cheap memory foam slab that, in combination with the home made bed, is in actuality is the most comfortable bed I’ve slept in.

I then built the foundations for the ‘U’ shaped ‘sofa’. This I made to the dimensions of off the shelf garden furniture soft seating as having tailor made soft furnishings for a van can be expensive.

The walls I wanted to be solid and a little industrial rather than twee so I went for pressed wood chipboard and painted it. The ceiling is a vapour barrier head-lining material. The roof and sides of the van were stripped of the original insulation which was replaced by campervan specific foam/foil insulation.

Prior to fitting the lining I installed a new and larger and brighter roof light which sits above the cooker and towards the rear of the van installed a small marine circular daylight/vent. This item I am impressed by and got me to wondering why more home camper van conversions aren’t full of ideas from the sailing community. After all if it’s good for a yacht it’s definitely good for the open road 🙂

The electrics are dual, so 12v running from a large solar panel glued to the roof which feeds into a solar generator, easily enough power when sunny for all needs, and electric hook up for when on a site with allows for all standard household use of electricity. Lights are LED’s and there are four mains plug sockets and four mains usb points and two solar generator plug sockets and four usb charge points.

The sink/cooker is a black gas spinflo made unit and it looks great in the simple chipboard and painted worktop with a real stone tiled surround. The cooker is powered by LPG. I fitted a refillable gas bottle that I can fill for £6 at any petrol station that sells LPG. This is a saving of £20 for each refill which makes using the catalytic marine gas heater something that holds no financial fear… Also, the removal and refitting of gas bottles is always a bit of a pain (where’s the spanner!!!) and in fact in Europe UK connections are not compatible to gas bottles and so if away for a good few weeks it’s possible to run out of gas and be unable to get a refill. Not any more 🙂

The floor is a thick high polish flooring which looks great and is easy to clean. The left over sections I used to make the overhead storage which is just about the best innovation in my van interior design. I’ve never added these, having been put off by the complexity of the manufacture but I had the time in France last summer and so I went for the best interior I could envision, no matter the time needed in it’s manufacture. It worked well and now all regularly used items, cooking, food leisure and clothing can be stored in these easy to access open cupboards.

I left open access to the front cab so that in emergencies access to the drivers seat and front doors is easy. This is in the main covered by a curtain. I also covered the front seats with a mid range seat cover set and they look pretty amazing now!

Thats about it for the major works, the rest is just cosmetic. Here’s a rough price guide for my conversion and one that I think would serve you well if thinking of doing this yourself…

  • Van – The price is your’s to decide from a few hundred through to £30,000 or more…
  • Wood – I didn’t keep receipts for the wood but I am guessing at no more than about £300 and likely less…
  • Matress £70
  • Safe £30
  • Water Tank £70
  • Lining £30
  • Insulation £100
  • Roof Light £100
  • Marine Light/Vent £35
  • Solar Panel £100
  • Solar Generator £350
  • LPG Marine Heater £100
  • Electrics (sockets, lighting, cable etc) £75
  • Soft Furnishings £100
  • Cooker/Sink £220
  • Refillable LPG System £150
  • Seat Covers £50

Total spent – £1800 so say, including paint and bit’s and bobs £2000!

I would suggest you need NO carpentry experience but you would need a power drill (two make the job easier) and a jigsaw. Most of the work I did with one drill and an old school saw 🙂 Glutton for punishment!

This is my fifth campervan build and I love it. It’s easy to live with, tough and comfortable and will be the final version in this van 🙂 I now have many years of enjoying the beast 🙂

If you would like assistance with design or build of your camper then do contact me – welshlamb@me.com – I’d be happy to advise and perhaps help out if the money’s right 😉

Go get building!

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Walk leader @ Wales Outdoors, life model @ Cardiff Life Models and poet @ Self Published

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