It’s no big secret that one of the best ways to experience the world around us is to go on a self-drive vacation using an RV or campervan. Although it’s a slower way of travelling than flying, for example, it lets you take in more of the scenery around you.
You also have more control over where you visit and when. And the best part is that the campervan you travel in can be as luxurious and home-like as you want it to be! The only downside to campervan vacations is the cost of renting a vehicle.
If you wanted to buy a campervan, it can be quite an expensive affair. An RV like a Winnebago will cost even more! But did you know that there is a way of going on campervan vacations without paying a fortune to rent or buy one? I am, of course, talking about building your own DIY campervan!
I’m sure you realize this already, but you don’t need to start from scratch and build your own engine or anything like that! What you do is buy a standard panel cargo van and use that as the basis for your conversion.
Today’s handy guide will help you to get started turning your DIY campervan dream into a reality. Soon you will be able to drive your campervan and explore more of your home country than you ever could! Here is what you need to know.
Do you have some cash spare for this project?
As much as I would love to tell you that creating your own campervan will cost you nothing, I’m afraid you will have to cough up some cash. You will have to pay for the van itself and the tools and materials you need.
You will also need to account for any legal costs associated with the conversion. Those legal costs will vary depending on where you live in the world and what local laws you need to comply with.
I can’t tell you approximately how much you need to save up, as the money you spend will depend on many factors. For example, what cargo van will be using as the basis for your campervan? What furniture and equipment will you install during the conversion? Will you be using solar power?
As you go through this blog post, you can start to form a rough guess of how much money you will need to save up for this project.
Choosing the right cargo van
There are plenty of cargo vans on the market. Aside from budget constraints, you should think about the size of van that you get. If you plan to do a lot of solo travelling, a small van will suit your needs.
But what if you have a family in tow? You will need to consider a van big enough to house all your family members. It also needs to be big enough to accommodate luggage too.
Another important consideration is age and reliability. You might think the sensible option is to buy an older van to save on cost. The thing is; the older the van is, the more likely it will cost a lot to repair and maintain. Most cargo vans have a hard life, so it’s worth buying as new a van as possible.
Make sure that it has a service history you can verify, so that you know its former owners have maintained it well. Consider getting a Carfax check to make sure that everything is “above board” with your potential cargo van before you buy it.
Getting the right tools for the job
If you don’t want to make a hash of your DIY campervan conversion, you need to invest in the right tools for the job! You will need tools for drilling, cutting and even welding in some cases.
It’s also worth investing in good quality tools. After all, you know how the saying goes: you buy cheap, you buy twice! The advantage of buying better-quality tools is that you can use them for other projects at home or elsewhere once you’re done.
The good news is that you don’t have to pay a fortune for your tools. That’s because there’s plenty of online stores that sell them cheaper than bricks and mortar stores. And if you think you won’t use a tool after your conversion, you could always rent it instead!
You pretty much have a limitless choice when it comes to the modern conveniences that you can get for a campervan!
At a basic level, you should have some storage cupboards and an area for cooking and washing. You will also need a bed of some description to sleep on. Most people that build their own campervans fit fold-out beds. They are a great use of space and can get converted into a bench for sitting on when you don’t need to sleep.
LCD flat-screen TVs don’t take up much room and are great when the weather is not looking favorable outside. Some folks fit toilets and shower cubicles to their campervans. The only downside to doing that is you have to empty the waste on occasion.
When it gets cold at night, you need to make sure that the inside of your campervan stays warm. I recommend insulating the shell of your campervan before you start fitting furniture and equipment. Consider fitting a heater system like those used on boats.
The tech-savvy among you might wish to make sure the campervan is Internet-ready. There are plenty of products on the market that can get you online when you’re out and about. For instance, you can buy a 4G mobile broadband router. That way, you can build a high-speed wireless network inside your campervan.
You should also make sure that you have plenty of electrical sockets in your campervan. It will enable you to charge devices like smartphones, tablets and laptop computers.
I hope you have found today’s DIY campervan guide useful today. Thanks for reading it!