Have you always dreamed of traveling in your converted van and seeing new places and enjoying freedom and life?
Here you will learn how to expand your van and learn helpful tips and tricks for the interior of your dream car.
Camper conversion: step by step to the perfect camper
First step: the right camper for the expansion
Not every car is suitable for conversion to a campervan. In addition to various models of finished motorhomes, there are also numerous campers that are suitable for conversion.
Commercial vehicles, panel vans, minibuses or vans are suitable as base vehicles. Popular models include Mercedes Sprinter, VW Bullis T3 and T4, Ford Transit, Nissan Primastar, Opel Vivaro, Renault Trafic or a bus that can be converted into a camper.
Of course, you can also buy a ready-made motorhome and make individual extensions in it. Ready-made motorhomes are usually more expensive than vans that you convert yourself.
Second step: cleaning the van
If you want to remove your old van yourself, you need to take into account a few things. Before dismantling everything should be removed from the camper, so you can remove the rust and do a basic cleaning of the car.
If tinkering and crafts are part of your passion, you will have a lot of fun with the removal! If you are less talented at handicrafts, you can also leave the removal in professional hands. In the end, the quality must be right to have a great vacation.
Third step: isolation and planning
For a good quality during your trip, the insulation in the motorhome should not be missing. With good insulation, you reduce condensation and counteract the formation of mold and moist air in the camper.
Styrofoam, rock wool or Armaflex have proven themselves as insulation for the camper. If you want to use sustainable materials, you can also buy cork for insulation.
Insulation material differs in price and delivery time. If possible, make sure you have all materials and products before removal, otherwise the delivery time can unnecessarily delay removal.
Plan in advance where in your van new windows will go in and where which connections will run.
Prior planning is very important, especially for the power supply. Think about how many electronic devices will need to be powered during your vanlife, where these devices will be placed in the van, and what kind of power sources you prefer.
The most sustainable are flexible solar systems designed specifically for use in campers and RVs. They often have power storage and flexible solar panels that you can stick on the roof of your van. For the kitchen, many travelers use a gas generator.
Fourth step: the interior design
Before you can start installing the furniture in your camper, all surfaces such as the floor and walls in the bus should be clad.
Particularly popular is a wooden cladding, where the boards are simply plugged into each other. Saw the boards to the appropriate length and, if necessary, think about cutouts for sockets.
For the flooring, PVC flooring is suitable. PVC is not only inexpensive, but also very durable. You can find many different designs in stores.
Depending on the brand, the price varies. Get a customer advice in the specialty store and also note the delivery time here.
If you want to cook in the camper, you should consider in advance what utensils and inventory is desired.
Do you need an installed sink in your kitchenette or is a fold-in sink enough? What kind of gas stove do you want and what accessories should fit in the camper?
These questions are important to have enough storage for your utensils at the end of the build-out.
Camping utensils are a sensible purchase, as they require little storage space, can be had for a fairly low price and are convenient to use in the kitchen.
Hygiene in the van life is probably very important for everyone. To feel comfortable, you need the opportunity to perform your hygiene rituals in peace and quiet, and preferably with privacy.
So what to do if there is not enough space in the van for a wet room with shower, sink and toilet?
There are many options for expanding a wet cell in the camper. In addition to folding sinks and solar showers, there is also a convenient solution for the quiet toilet.
Dry toilets, such as the BOXIO - TOILET, are a discreet and practical solution for on the road. The toilet fits in any van and has a capacity of eight to ten toilets.
It has a hygienic separation tank with a lid and a leak-proof urine canister. The toilet is very leak-proof and does not spread unpleasant odors in the van.
It offers an environmentally friendly alternative to the chemical toilet.
Again, please note that especially at the beginning of summer, the delivery time can be several weeks. Products in the shopping cart you can not use on your trip - it pays to order quickly.
To be able to stow all utensils safely for travel, you need enough storage space. In the camper, the space is limited, which is why there can often be problems when packing.
If you have a bus, you have more options than in a van, but even here you have to make good use of every centimeter to be able to stow everything.
For example, use a rear pullout or rear garage in your van.
A rear pullout can usually hold up to 100 kilograms and will hold everything you want to stow. The advantage is that it is easy and quick to install. In addition, the order gives you a good overview of your things.
Rear extensions can be pulled out and while driving you can lock the rails.
If you have a camper or bus with good height, you can install a roof storage box. You can store clothes, blankets and pillows there, for example.
Roof storage boxes are usually made of aluminum and are therefore very light and sturdy. They can be easily installed and removed and do not block your view when driving.
Get a quote to compare and also note the delivery time of the products here.
The most important thing in the expansion of your van is the bed. Good and restful sleep and good comfort are the essence of a successful trip in the van or bus.
For sleeping, a mattress that lies crosswise in the van and stands on a module that provides additional storage space under the bed is suitable.
Many build a fold-out bed in their van, which can be used as a bench during the day and converted into a bed at night.
Consider which option appeals to you the most and which option fits your van.
Make sure you can stretch out on the mattress in your bed, otherwise you may experience back pain.
Comfort in van life
Everyone likes to be comfortable in their home. This also applies to living in a van.
With a little decoration and light, a van immediately looks much more homey and cozy.
There are endless ways to decorate a van. The only question here is what you like.
Are you more of a surfer type who prefers a surfboard and a maritime climate, or can it be a bit cozier and warmer?
Rugs, pillows, curtains and a tablecloth will make your van shine in a cozy glow.
What is the difference in the van conversion?
If you look on the Internet, you can buy vans at very different prices. Some have already been fitted out, while others are yet to be fitted out. But where exactly is the difference between all the offers?
If you buy a van where the conversion is already finished, there are differences in the modules.
The basic module
The Basic module is suitable for a short trip with the van for two to three days. The van has a side window, a skylight, a kitchenette with a wooden worktop and fresh and waste water canisters.
You also get a cool box, a two-burner mobile gas stove and a built-in bed and toilet.
The van has TÜV approval as a motorhome.
The premium module
The Premium module is suitable for people who want to travel a little longer with their van.
In addition to the features of the Basic module, there is also a ceiling fan, larger fresh and waste water canisters, a hanging locker, a refrigerator, a fixed two-burner gas stove, a dry composting toilet, a flexible bed solution and also the TÜV approval as a motorhome.
The deluxe module
The Deluxe module is suitable for those who want to really enjoy the vanlife.
In addition to the features of the Premium module, the Deluxe van has two side windows, a kitchenette with a high-quality countertop, a hot water heater, two power outlets and a lithium battery. There is also an integrated rear garage.
This van also has TÜV approval as a motorhome.
Frequently asked questions about vanlife interior design
Which car can be easily converted into a camper?
If you are looking for a used base vehicle for an expansion, you should keep an eye out for a panel van, minibus or transporter. These are well suited for expansion and offer the opportunity to enjoy the vanlife.
The most popular models include Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, Nissan Primastar, Opel Vivaro, Renault Trafic and the VW Bullis T3, T4 and T5. A truck or bus can also be converted into a camper.
Which wood is suitable for the interior paneling in the camper?
For the interior lining is suitable light and splinter-resistant wood such as poplar, beech or birch. If you need to pay attention to the weight of the cladding, you can use plywood.
Spruce is the most suitable wood for construction. It is very elastic and at the same time strong, has a low weight and is easy to process. The raw material spruce is comparatively cheap and, above all, sustainable, because it grows back relatively quickly.
Why van life?
Even though the advantages and disadvantages are very individual, many people choose a vanlife to feel free and unbound. With your own van, you are independent of hotels, popular travel times and tourist locations.
You can camp in the great outdoors and have adventures you probably wouldn't have in a hotel. Whether it's a spontaneous weekend trip or a trip to Europe, with your own camper you can spontaneously pack your bags and go.
What are the costs for the expansion?
The cost of finishing, of course, varies depending on the materials, the cost of acquisition of the car and furniture. People often underestimate hidden costs. On average, you can expect just under 15,000 euros for the removal of a van. In your calculation, consider costs for tools, electronics, heating, water supply, building materials, add-on parts, insulation, rust removal and the car itself.
How long does the expansion take?
Depending on how much time you can invest in the conversion, you should plan on months to years. People who have a full-time job and do the conversion as a hobby on the side on weekends naturally need much longer than people who can take care of their van all day.
The delivery time of the materials also affects the build-out time. Order the material in time and calculate the delivery time for all utensils into your removal.