So, you’ve decided it is time to escape your life’s routine. You can feel the urge to venture out and nature up bubbling inside and although a tent and a lifestraw could suffice, you’re looking to make serious long-term changes. Or maybe you just want to have the option to disappear for a few days or months with more comfort. An RV can set you back quite a lot and that’s less money invested in the journey. It’s simple, you need to build your own camper van.


Where Do You Start?


Obviously, first thing, you need to get a van. There are companies out there that can build one for you for around, what, $100,000, but affordability is in the DIY market. There are many great vans out there such as the Nissan NV and the Ford Transit. We suggest a cargo van as the best van to convert into a camper. For one, having fewer windows gives you more space to create a layered area. You can look for used vans too but be sure to pay attention to miles and previous maintenance or you can end up spending more than the purchase of a new van.


Also, Start thinking about the space you envision inside by viewing headroom and length and if you are going to bring friends. What are your personal needs? What can you get at the thrift market? Are your plans long term or short term holidays? Just start brainstorming and get all those ideas in order first. This will help you narrow the search for the perfect van.


Whats Makes a Great Van Camper?


Need Ideas? Look up tutorials and search for others who invested in building a small camper van and see how their experiences can help you choose the best options for your budget. Grab that list and start narrowing down. Think about the space that you chose and what you plan to actually do with it. Use cutouts and mockups to measure your ideas before installing anything. You don’t want to waste time and energy, which equals money, on things that just won’t work.


Explore Your Design Options


You can reach out to companies like GCI Group to give a really affordable and custom look, like pop up tops and skylights for extra windows. GCI has state of the art laser cutting, which can virtually cut the most complex shapes and sizes needed to fit any type of camper design. They also offer other options for designing and fabricating your camper ideas.


There are copious amounts of self build campervan parts on the market. You can purchase or use their ideas as inspiration to navigate your space into a multi-functioning mobile home. However, remember this is a camper and the basic camping items like portable cookers should still be minimized and consumable energy items should be small and mobile. The idea is, “less is more”.


Energize Your Environment


Purchasing solar energy is going to be your best investment. This rids you of having to take up space with a bulky generator and fuel and is less stress on the environment you’re looking to enjoy. Companies like AM Solar and Lets Go Solar offer different solar kits to get you ready to hoard the sun. These are an investment and can save you a lot of money while saving the environment. They come in many styles, are easy to install, and are usually placed on the roof out of the way. Renewable energy is a must have when converting a van into a camper.


Don’t Get Lost Before You Want to Get Lost


Don’t allow yourself to get discouraged. Building what can be compared to a tiny home on wheels can take some grunt work. However, when you find yourself in a bind or a standstill reach out, ask questions, call a friend, bribe them with a “friend first” camping trip in the new rig. You can stay inspired and informed with forums and Pinterest

Don’t give up! You just spent your savings on this thing, now finish what you started and enjoy the fruits of your labor and start your retirement adventure early.

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