Van conversion guide
We hope our van conversion blog can be a step-by-step guide on how to convert a campervan, giving you ideas and advice for your own DIY campervan conversion and answering any questions you may have. After struggling to find a reliable source of information in one place throughout our build, we wanted to share we learnt throughout our build. As a result we’ve distilled all of the information we learnt to create a resource for others looking to do the same.
However, it’s tricky to convey everything you need to know to convert a campervan in a cohesive and logical way online. That’s why we decided to write our book, The Van Conversion Bible. It’s meant as a definitive guidebook for anyone converting a campervan. So we’d suggest that as well as reading through our online resources, you check out the book, as it contains loads of extra detailed information.
If you want to read a summary of how to convert a campervan, check out our article below. It includes some data and illustrations from The Van Conversion Bible so you can get a taste of what’s included!
As there’s a lot of information to share, we’ve provided a contents below to help you navigate your way through this page. The information on our website is a mixture of articles, guidebook pages and resources that are all free to use. So read on, swot up, and get psyched to begin the adventure of converting your own campervan!
Van conversion guide: Contents
Planning your van conversion
Before you start converting your own campervan, it’s important to do some research. There are many considerations to bear in mind before you commit to a converting a campervan, from the van that you should use as your base vehicle to how much it might cost you. So we’ve written a series of blog posts aiming to help you plan your van build and give you the confidence to start building.
Designing a campervan
It can be hard to come up with van layout ideas off the top of your head. There are many considerations when designing your campervan layout, from how you plan on using your campervan to how many people it’s for and how much gear you have to store. So we’ve built a campervan layout configurator to help you decide on a layout for your van.
Van layout configurator
Not sure what layout to pick for your van? Use our automated van configurator to help you decide. Simply fill in your requirements and it will suggest a van layout based on exactly what you need.
Shopping for your van conversion
If you’re ready to start shopping for your campervan conversion, it can be hard to know exactly what you need to buy. Our van conversion shopping list tool will help you figure out exactly what you need to start your van build. Input your budget and track your spending with some useful graphs. Our van build spreadsheet is completely configurable to your own conversion using a series of filters, and contains useful tips and links suggesting where to purchase everything online.
We now have a webshop selling components for your electrical system. Our backgrounds are in engineering and physics and we have spent hundreds of hours researching electrical systems, so be safe in the knowledge that you are purchasing products from engineers, not salesmen. If you have a question about any of the products on our webshop, drop us a message via our chat in the bottom right-hand corner and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
Building a campervan
We’ve broken the build section of our van conversion blog down into several categories focusing on different areas of the build. Under each category is a series of blog posts to help you with all of the different aspects of your van build, from installing windows to building a campervan kitchen.
The exterior phase of your van conversion encompasses all of the external changes you need to make to your camper: installing windows and skylights, and attaching solar panels, roof racks, awnings and any other inlets. We’d recommend starting with this phase, as it’s much easier chopping holes in your van before you’ve covered it with insulation and cladding!
Once you’ve finished your exterior modifications, you can start to insulate your campervan. There are lots of opinions online as to the best way to tackle campervan insulation, so we’ve used a scientific approach to identify the insulation materials with the best insulative properties. This has allowed us to confirm for sure the best method of insulating your campervan.
The electrical system is likely the most expensive phase of your van conversion, and for many it’s the most daunting too. There are a lot of considerations to take into account, but we’ve tried to break everything down into a clear and easy to digest way in our electrical system guidebook pages. We also have a detailed article about how to wire a campervan electrical system, as well as a number of other useful electrical system articles.
Since writing our book, we have launched Nomadic Energy, our free electrical system design service. Along with our team of engineers, we can understand your needs and requirements and design your perfect campervan electrical system. We will provide a free bespoke wiring diagram, detailed installation booklet, and send you every single component required to install your system.
Confused about electrics?
of people failed to correctly calculate their electrical system
In the past year, our team of engineers have designed over 1,000 systems – that’s more than anyone else in the industry. We can help you make off-grid energy simple.
Our series of water system articles will help you undesrtand exactly how to install a campervan water system. We also provide information about campervan toilet options, and how to install an outdoor shower in your van.
In the layout construction phase of a van conversion, you will build all of your physical structures, from beds to kitchens and bench seating. Our series of van tour articles aim to cover each ‘room’ in a campervan, providing information on how to construct certain components and the considerations you should make when designing your layout.
Gas & heating
The gas and heating systems in your van conversion will power your cooker, heat water and keep your van toasty in the winter. There a lot of choices to make, from diesel or LPG powered heaters to cosy wood burners. Our series of van conversion gas and heating articles will help make these choices simple.
Preparing for van life
Once you’ve finished your van conversion, there’s still a few tasks you need to complete before you’re ready to hit the road. Read our series of articles about ‘preparing for van life’ to make sure your campervan is adventure-ready.