With a campervan, you have complete control over where you go, where you stop, what and when you eat and drink, and where you stay the night. There are two ways to categorise all campervans: cosy and expensive.

Although campervans don’t cost much to operate, the bulk needs a significant upfront investment. Even very tiny versions can cost over £50,000 to purchase. A practical method to achieve precisely what you want is to DIY-convert an existing vehicle into a campervan.

The only thing you give up is your time, but it can typically be done for a small portion of the cost of purchasing from a primary dealer. However, not everyone will find it to be the best option. Before starting a conversion, there are many things to consider, investigate, and test. This practical guide has been put together to assist you in determining if the project is worthwhile starting.

Why Should a Van Be Turned Into a Campervan?

campervan conversion

It’s not the same as creating a brand-new car from scratch when you convert a campervan. Instead, it resembles furnishing an empty home. Even if you didn’t remove the roof of your family hatchback, you would get a convertible. Campervans aren’t built from the ground up in factories. However, there are a few exceptions. Third-party conversion businesses buy vans and customise the interiors on their own. This implies that you may decide to carry out the procedure yourself.

A DIY camper conversion has two key advantages: affordability and versatility.

It might be far less expensive to convert your camper than to purchase one from the conventional campervan market. You don’t have to pay anything other than your labour and materials to support the expenses of the factory that made it, the dealership that sold it to you, or anything else. This is particularly true for campervans that major automakers offer. Vans that ease the procedure, like the Volkswagen California, come at a price premium for added peace of mind.

You may also construct a used vehicle, saving you loads of money. Numerous parts may also be found for recycling or upcycling, thanks to the growing popularity of Facebook Marketplace, Freecycle, Freegle, and Trash Nothing.

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Second, the design and features of your van, such as your interior and campervan flooring, will depend entirely on what is offered unless you expressly buy a custom-built camper. Creating your trailer might be excellent if your demands are peculiar, such as if you have a big family and want a lot of travel seats or require a wheelchair-accessible van. With a campervan conversion, the sky is the limit.

Is Converting a Vehicle Into a Campervan Legal?

Absolutely. You may change the load area of your van to almost whatever you want as long as you don’t make any significant structural changes to the van’s chassis, engine, or cab.

You must choose to re-register your car as a campervan or a standard van with the DVLA. Higher speed restrictions on UK highways and the potential for cheaper insurance rates are advantages of the former (or those tailored to campers). Additionally, you could be qualified for reduced ferry or toll road charges.

However, the DVLA makes it difficult for DIY converters to alter their vehicle’s classification. A stringent set of requirements is necessary for campervans to ensure that your vehicle conforms to the definition of a campervan. This makes it simple for law enforcement officials to find it.

The DVLA website has a complete list of criteria. They consist of furniture like chairs and a table, campervan kitchen appliances, and storage cabinets, while the van’s exterior must have motorhome-style graphics, windows, and a habitation door.

The specifications are a little hazy, so if you’re working on the job yourself, we recommend getting advice from a professional to ensure your car is eligible. Any vehicle you purchase from a legitimate manufacturer should be delivered to you already registered with the DVLA as a campervan.

How Much Does It Cost to Convert a Van to a Camper?

How much does remodelling a motor home cost? The cost varies according to how vast, wealthy, and sophisticated the interior fittings are. Modifications may be inexpensive if you’re adding a simple bed and camp stove, but hiring pros to do a customised conversion can cost you a lot of money.

If you do practically all the work yourself, such as decorating your campervan ceiling and creating your overall layout, going DIY may cost as little as £500. But even someone who is quite handy could find this problematic. For the majority, we advise setting aside at least a few thousand pounds to do the task correctly.

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Plumbing, gas, and electrical systems should all be installed or inspected by professionals for safety reasons. You may also ask them to customise your campervan storage to maximise your space. Stretching the budget to incorporate better materials is worth it. They will endure longer. It will be much more pleasant to go in the van. Never cut corners on pillows.

Furthermore, a bill of £10,000 or more may be in your future if you turn over your car to a conversion company, but this is still far less than the cost of a brand-new camper.

What Are Some Considerations for Campervan Conversion?

When commencing on your campervan conversion, there are a plethora of factors to consider, and many variables influence these selections. Here are the most crucial items to think about when converting a campervan.

Electrical System

The design selections you make will have an impact on your van’s longevity. As a result, getting the campervan electrical system correct at this time is critical.

Determine how much power you need. List all of the devices you intend to use, how many hours per day they will be plugged in on average, and how many amps per hour each item consumes. You must also pick how to charge the batteries. You could use the engine to recharge the batteries using campervan solar panels, an electric connection, or an alternator at a campground.


One of the most critical camper conversion tips is ventilation. Living and breathing in a confined place creates moisture. This is something that you should avoid as much as possible. The key here is ventilation. Check that the design of your camper conversion provides for a clean path for air to move around it.

Heating and Gas

There are various alternatives for heating your camper conversion, including a propane heater, a diesel heater that connects to your van’s fuel tank, and a tiny log burning.

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Your campervan gas and heating systems will power your cooker, heat water, and keep you warm in the winter. There are several options available, ranging from diesel or LPG-powered heaters to cosy wood burning.


Nothing is more obvious than how much water is consumed on a daily basis while travelling in a camper conversion for extended periods of time! It may swiftly vanish when used for cleaning up, cooking, brushing teeth, washing your face, and so on. Hence, establishing a good campervan water system should be one of your priorities when you do your conversion.


Because everyone has to go, many individuals keep a campervan toilet, such as a porta potty, in their vehicle. Chemical toilets with cassettes that must be emptied by hand down a toilet or at an RV service station are the most frequent. These are inexpensive, easy to use, and take up little space; nonetheless, the chemicals are harmful to the environment. On the other hand, a composting toilet is another option for your camper conversion if you want to be more environmentally conscious.


A fixed bed or a bed that converts into a sitting area are the two most prevalent alternatives. If you’re living the van life full time, the option is entirely personal; there is no right or wrong solution. Remember that if you pick a bed that converts into a sitting area, you will also need a place to keep all of your stuff, including duvets, sheets, blankets, and pillows.

Showers and Sinks

In a campervan, we must store and transport a fresh water supply, pump it to the taps, and ensure that we can replenish when we run out. Consider installing a water filter to ensure that your drinking water is always pure.

It’s critical to plan ahead of time how you’ll meet your water demands in your campervan. An easy option is to keep two portable jerry cans beneath the sink, one for freshwater and one for greywater. You may also have a full system with a sink, shower, and hot and cold water.