Forget the camping myths that say you need a full camper or RV to have a proper camping trip. Vans are a great camping option! However, some significant adjustments will be necessary before you can set out on your next adventure. Read on to explore what you need to know when converting a van into a camper for your next excursion.
Choosing the Right Van To Convert Into a Camper
You can always purchase a camper van and not make these changes yourself. That said, converting your van into a camper yourself is often the cheaper option.
You want your van to be a blank slate so that you can avoid making big construction alterations before adding your new camping features. There are many straightforward van options to choose from. Some vans to consider include the Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, and the RAM ProMaster. The long, boxy shape and design of these vans will give you space for your belongings and ample headroom as you move about the van. But you can also look into older models or pre-owned vans to suit your budget or aesthetic.
Remember to research each style before purchasing a van. The prices vary, and you need to keep your budget in mind as you work to renovate your vehicle.
Design Your Camper Van for Your Personal Wants and Needs
Before making any changes to your van, consider what you need and what features you want inside your new camper van. Having a plan will allow you to stay on budget and think clearly about the changes you are making.
In making this plan, determine what activities you want your camper to accommodate. Whether you are taking the vehicle on weekend camping trips or planning to stay in the van for extended periods, you want to base your renovation on your needs. Ask yourself, “What features will make this the best experience for myself and my loved ones?”
Determine Your Van’s Measurements
Once you have an idea of the features you want to incorporate into your new camper van, remember that this is still a construction project. Measure the length, width, and height of the van before purchasing items or beginning your renovations. Pay close attention to what items will or will not fit in the van.
Some products are only available in one size, which means you may be out of luck if you had your heart set on a specific item. When this happens, try thinking outside the box to find a unique solution that will be just as functional as your original idea.
Camper Van Essentials
Another thing you need to know when converting a van into a camper is that some items are true necessities. The design of your camper van is completely up to you, but there are some features you want to include.
One of the first things you think of when going on a trip is where you will sleep. Remember to consider the measurements of the van when buying a mattress or futon. You could also consider building your own bed frame, which allows you to designate space underneath for storage!
Insulation and Ventilation
Whether you camp in the winter or the summer months, having an insulated van is a must! This will help to protect you during the cold winter months. Once you insulate the van, you will need more options for ventilation so that you can camp in the summer. Remember to find ways to get fresh air through roof fans or windows. Purchasing a battery-operated or rechargeable fan is a practical option for increasing the airflow.
Staying organized and clutter-free will make your camper van experience much more enjoyable. With such a small space filled with essential items, you need to think of creative ways to store items. Consider purchasing small bins and placing them under the bed frame, hanging storage solutions, or installing a few shelves where needed.
The best option for lighting is to find battery-operated lights that you can turn on and off easily. This could be as simple as buying string lights or large battery-operated light bulbs. You could also consider buying a lantern or flashlight for when you need to step outside of the van at night.
You will need someplace to keep your perishable foods cold while you are on your trip. Coolers won’t last for too long, so you might want to consider purchasing a small fridge. 12-Volt fridges are a great option for camper vans because they require little maintenance and are energy efficient. You will need to use a battery to power this fridge, and it will typically last for up to 50 hours.
Keep in mind that while these necessities may appear as another expense, you are working to create another living space. When it comes to tent camping, you can expect to be more in touch with nature and sleep outside in a sleeping bag. When creating a camper van, these items are essential to crafting a comfortable and fun experience without the hassle of pitching a tent.
One must-have for transforming a van into a camper is an insect screen. Insect screens for vans are great additions to your camper because nothing is more frustrating than experiencing bugbites all vacation long. The Bug Wall has several easy-to-use insect screen options that will suit your vehicle.
When you’re in need of a quick reprieve from buzzing bugs, roll down the insect screen and breathe a sigh of relief. The screens are also just as easy to roll back up whenever they’re no longer needed. These screens are a great option to protect you from bugs while still allowing maximum airflow throughout the van.
Campers and RVs aren’t the only efficient way to go camping these days. It can be tricky to convert a van into a camper. That’s why it’s so important to stick to your renovation plan, budget carefully, and ask for help when you need it. Transforming your van into a camper is a rewarding way to make the perfect vacation vehicle for you and your loved ones. These tips for converting your van into a camper will set you on the right path toward having grand adventures outdoors.