Which Van is Best for a Van Campervan Conversion?
The first thing you need to convert a van is…well a van!
This sounds like the easy bit - but trust me its not. You will need to spend many hours researching the type of van which will suit you best. Cash will be a major factor but so will how you intend to use it.
The type of van you go for will very much depend on what you will be doing in it. Will you be living full time, going away for a 6 month adventure or simply just using it for the odd holiday here and there?
For us the van was going to be lived in full time and be our home. After spending many days reading online articles and reviews we decided on a Mercedes Sprinter. The main reason for this was the sexy badge! No seriously- it was for reliability, premium brand (thinking about future resale) and a good engine!
It's worth reading Quirky Campers blog on choosing a base vehicle and they also have a specific workshop which you can buy from Northern Campers which is well worth the investment if you can't make your mind up.
Long Wheel Base or Medium Wheel Base Sprinter for a conversion?
This is a much debated topic and to be honest for the first conversion we were really undecided so ended up looking at both. As it turned out when we were looking for the first one there seemed to be a shortage of MWB so we ended up going for a LWB.
This was not without trepidation as we were really worried about it being restrictive in terms of parking. As it turned out it's not a problem that often but you just have to preplan things more. If you plan to go into cities you need to check if there is parking for larger vehicles and it's probably best to avoid supermarkets and retail parks at busy periods because it can be difficult.
Medium wheel base vans are much more flexible as you can park in normal car sized spaces in them, however you do have to sacrifice the living space a little or compromise in other areas. If you don't plan to live in your van then this really shouldn't be an issue, but if you are then you need to either be ruthless with your belongings or design a very well thought out interior in terms of storage.
Our second van is a medium wheel base and we have designed a layout which means we shouldn't have to sacrifice anything other than our bike storage in the garage (which have barley been used in the last 12 months anyway!) Time will tell if we are as happy with the medium as we have been with the long wheel base.
Where Do you Do a Campervan Conversion?
This can be a stumbling block for some people without a house. You obviously do need somewhere to park it and work on it- this needs to be preferably off-road and flat with access to electric. If you don’t have a house then try friends and family- you can always trade driveway use for another skill! We were lucky and had family with a large driveway and a garage with electric.
Do you need to be a DIY Expert to do a Campervan Conversion?
You will also need tools and an ability to perform some basic DIY - pretty much everything else can be learnt off YouTube! It also helps if you have a capable family member or friend who can turn their hand and help with the build. Luckily we had access to a garage full of tools too which was a great help.
Having a talented tool maker brother was also very handy and he helped us install quite a lot of the pipework for the heater and hob. We did get the gas tank fitted professionally though as this looks quite a tricky job to do!
Even if you have no DIY skills whatsoever - you will be amazed at what you can do and learn.
As always - please do contact us if you have any questions.