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Campervan Conversion Base Vehicles – What suits you best?

So, which vans are best suited to converting to a campervan? Well in truth almost all vans can be fitted out to provide leisure facilities for an adventure away from home. Over the years we’ve seen them all come through our workshop; small mini vans, jumbo lwb delivery vans, old ambulances, land rovers, buses, even a couple of Unimogs.  From a more practical points here’s a list of the most popular vans that are easy to convert and have products like elevating roofs readily available.

Campervan Convertions: Small Vans

• Mazda Bongo
• Honda Stepwagon
• Nissan NV200
• VW Caddy
• Peugeot Partner

One of the challenges with the smaller vans is the rear seating and bed area. There are relatively few belted seating systems available that will fit these smaller vans. As such the vans are often converted without travelling seats in the back, perfect for a couple but not so good for a family. Generally, there are fewer conversion kits or furniture for these vans so you’ll most likely have to build your own furniture. The advantage of this is you can end up with the layout that is exactly what you want.

Here’s a link to our light weight furniture board options.

The limited space of mini vans will require some thoughtful planning to end up with a useable design. Your facilities will most likely be limited to:

Campervan Convertions: Medium Sized Vans

· VW Transporter
· Ford Custom
· Renault Trafic
· Nissan NV300
· Vauxhall Vivaro
· Toyota Hiace

This size of van is often chosen because of it’s versatility. The vans are large enough to accommodate a family of 4-5 for a camping trip while also a practical size to use day to day for the school or grocery run. It isn’t practical to fit full motorhome type facilities into these vans so you can pretty much forget hot water and a steaming shower. However, an external shower is an option, there is also usually enough room to fit a small portaloo.

There are a wide range of campervan seating systems ( and pre-built furniture kits ( for these popular mid sized vans.

The vans can also be converted into a 4 berth with the addition of an elevating roof and hightop variants can be fitted with upper bunks for children. Vehicles like the VW Transporter and Ford Custom have proven particularly popular with families due to their practical size.

Most designs incorporate M1 tested seating for save transit of passengers, there will be enough room in the van for the following.

· Hob and Sink with 12v pump. ( )
· Small Oven or Grill – Only recommended for lwb models. (
· 50l 12v Compressor fridge ( )
· 12v/240v electrical system. ( )
· 215 watts of solar power ( )
· Gas or Diesel air blown heating ( )
· Side mounted awning or owning attachment ( )

Campervan Convertions: Larger Vans

• Ford Transit
• Peogeot Boxer
• Fiat Ducato
• VW Crafter
• Mercedes Sprinter
• Vauxhall Movano
• Renault Master

Larger van conversions are undertaken for a number of reasons. Obviously the larger size allows for more room inside the van. This means that more facilities can be fitted into the van for longer trips. Motorhome type facilities such as hot water systems, cubicle toilets and shower are a practical installation on mwb and lwb models. The vans can be fitted out for a larger family of 5-6 berth. Vanlifers and those wishing to tour for longer periods of 2 months and more will often choose a larger van for more comfort and to accommodate their travelling possessions.

The other design type commonly instated into larger vans is a rear garage section, commonly fitted with a built over fixed bed. This layout is great for facilitating a whole myriad of out door pursuits, sailing, mountain biking, motocross and surfing to name a few. The rear garage is often completely sealed from the main living quarters. The disadvantage of larger vans is their extra length and this can present some challenges when navigating inner cities or tight country lanes. For taller people there is also an issue with bed size. The vans are not generally wide enough to sleep across the van if you are approaching 6 foot and the compromise of sleeping down the length of the van will significantly impact the remaining lounge/kitchen space.

A large van conversion can accommodate fully loaded touring facilities that just aren’t possible to fit to smaller vans:

· Combined triple hob, oven and grill. ( )
· Larger 85l+ 12v compressor fridge ( )
· Power management system. ( )
· 400 watt + solar installation ( )
· Hot water systems. ( )
· Pressurised water system. ( )
· Gas or diesel air blow heating. ( )
· Large side awning. ( )

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