What to Consider When Converting a Van

vanHave you ever considered packing your life into a van and go off travelling; destination wherever? This may be easier than you think. Many people go into retirement just to have an old van lying dormant on their driveway, but why not make the most it? Don't be deceived into thinking that converting a van is a walk in the park; it is a tough venture. However with a lot of hard work and the right knowledge at hand, you can truly reap the rewards. This article highlights key points to consider when undertaking the task of converting a van.

Why Choose Vandwelling?

Vandwelling as a concept dates back to the early 19th century, where the term was used to describe travellers who lived and moved from place to place in their vans. Nowadays vandwelling serves many purposes, be it for vacation, rapid evacuation vehicles (bug out vehicles) or simply as a permanent residence.

If you are considering making a campervan your permanent residence, there is no shame in that. Many people who engage in vandwelling are not homeless, but actually have full time jobs and permanent addresses -vandwelling is seen as a great way of saving money to pay off accumulated debts.

Inside the Campervan

There are more to campervans than simply having a bed to sleep in on the inside. A campervan must be seen as a fully kitted out miniature home; allowing people to keep as much as possible of their daily routine. Have a think about all the essential things you may need in your van that which you will use day-in-day-out. All these essentials must be somehow be installed in some way in your van. This alone should give you an understanding of how large the project is that you are about to undertake.

The common converted campervan will have most of these essential items inside:

  • A bed/surface to sleep on.
  • A place to store water and food (refrigeration).
  • A miniature toilet.
  • Downscaled showering facilities.
  • Storage for everyday objects.
  • Sink.
  • An electronic hub so that TV, cooking, computers, general charging can all be powered from.
  • Battery centre.
  • Privacy curtains or blinds (stop those outsiders peeking in!)

Of course these are just the basics; every campervan should have all of the above in order to make the most out of their experience in the van. However, many people pimp their own creations out with freezing capabilities, air conditioning and more-if money is not an issue, the sky is the limit!

It is easy to get carried away with decking out your campervan, but at the same time make sure you are taking car of the basics. Maintaining your engine, keeping your van insurance renewed and making sure those tyres are inflated are all mundane but essential tasks for any vandweller!

Van Specifics

There are many logistics to consider before you start hacking away at your old van. Pretty much any van can be converted, but you must remember that every van is different. It is this fact which makes converting vans sometimes irksome; advice may not be available to guide you in shaping your specific model of van. If this is the case, peruse the internet to find out what other people have done with their own vans and then shape it to suit your own needs. Sites such as Cheaper Living are great starting points to get an idea of how other people have gone about converting their own vans.


An important aspect of vandwelling is stealth; you want to be discreet as possible. From the outside, you want people to think your van is just a regular parked van, not a place of residence. Being stealthy as a vandweller does not mean you are ashamed of your situation; just that you want to be hassled as little as possible. Unfortunately some people do not understand or agree with vandwelling, so to avoid confrontation it is always best to stick to stealth.

Whether you are converting a van as a family project or by yourself as a place to live, you should always set out a budget, specific goals and above all have an idea of what you want from the van. Take pride in your van and make it individual to yourself. At the end of the day you will be spending a lot of time in it!

If you have any questions, please ask below!