Social protocol states that you must go to school, you must do well, you must earn lots of money, get yourself into debt for the flash car and big house….then die!!! THAT is not how we are meant to live!! Experiences like the van life, the travel, the different cultures, the food…..they are priceless and cannot be bought!! Imagine the stories to tell your kids one day!! Awesome way to actually live.
This short article will go through all the things that I think you really need to know before you start a van conversion.
It takes around 17 days to convert a van into a camper. Most people think it’s really fast but it’s equal to 300 hours during those 17 days. Therefore if you’re doing it while you have a job, you have to think about splitting that 300 hours out over many days.
Doing that will give you an idea how long it takes. It also give you the overview volume of working 300 hours.
You also need to know what you want vs what you need. Building a van can suddenly get out of control. Take for example , you may think about having all sorts of things inside your van like a shower or a fridge or freezer or a hot tub but do you really need them ?
For me you must have the following facilities:
- A solar system
- A power supply system using lead acid batteries. Buying brand new batteries could cost a lot of money but you can use old dead batteries and recover them which costs you much less.
- A LPG gas system: for those novice to camper, cooking inside sounds convenient, yet unless ventilation, it would leave a permanent stench in your vehicle, thus reduce its value for resale in the long run.
- A Fancy Sink And Tap
- A Heater system
You will try to find cool pictures of van to get inspiration . You need to come up with a design of what you like ASAP or you will get lost in hundreds of designs and never get started.
The overall design is just the beginning. The real job is what you need to do to turn your dream into reality.
You’re going to spend a lot of time researching online and finding materials. You also need to find the best components, try to find out what you want to do and how it’s got to fit together.
You can be easily get lost by random searchings. You need to discipline yourself. What i would suggest you is to have an exactly conversion plan and follow your plan from the top down to the bottom.
Camper conversions are not going to be as cheap as you hope but it can be really great value compared to buying a new camper van which could cost you from 50 to 60 thousand pounds.
By doing it yourself , you can get a really good van for maybe 13 000 USD or 14 000 USD. In terms of where the money goes, take for examples, my solar system of 350 pounds, my batteries cost 300 pounds, LPG gas system added 300 pounds, fancy Sink and tap cost 220 pounds, heater system about 450 pounds, Syrian in all that’s about 1,650 pounds (about $2,100).
Obviously you could kind of make a lot of cheaper so you could have a cheaper sink or you can have a simpler battery system. You didn’t have to have Sailor. Those will bring the cost down a lot.
The rest of the cost comes in from your materials and and other kind of components …a little bits and pieces. It’s amazing how much it can add up. It’s probably like 30 percent of the cost comes from things that you don’t think of when you start thinking about our van conversion.
The other thing worth trying to figure out is do you have the skills you need to do a van conversion ?
For now, you may not have but the reality is you can learn pretty much everything as you go and in the planning process.
They involve all the basic electronic principles. You’re going to need to know it’s kind of how solar systems work, where I can have the batteries charged and discharge.
You also need to learn basic skills about woodwork. Mostly it’s just like measuring, making things square. Just work it out and make some simple joints.
You can learnt to use brackets or just screw stuff together put panels on the side. It’s just not complicated to do. In the worst case, you may screw something up and you have to take it apart and rework.
That would probably feel really frustrating while you’re doing it but you just got to accept that. A redoing a woodworking job may cost $50 for the materials but you just spend that $50 on your education. It’s not a big deal. It’s a part of your learning process.
The other thing you need to know is if you’re better off just buying a premade camper van . Many people do vans and they sell them.
Maybe if it’s something that you’re just completely impractical or you’re just do not have the time, then just buy one second hand and that might actually be the best way for you to do it.
The other thing you need to understand is what is it like to live in a van and do the whole van life ?
Depending on your personality and the things you like to do, you need to understand if living a van life is for you or not. One thing you could consider is to rent a van and doing a mini van trip for few days or one week.
If you have anything to add, feel free to leave your ideas and thoughts in the comment below.