DIY Van Camper Conversion

DIY Van Camper Conversion
With so many wonderful national and state parks that offer camp sites, camping has witnessed a renewed popularity. People are looking for budget friendly alternatives for vacations, and although camping offers a savings over conventional accommodations, buying a camper can be out of many people's budgets. However, converting a van into a camper can save thousands and give you the amenities that you want. When beginning this project, keep several things in mind: don't plan a design beyond your ability and tools and make careful plans. With this project, it pays to keep it simple.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Preparing the Interior

Things You’ll Need:
  • One 2x2 foot plank 2 pieces of 1/2" plywood Wood screws-5/8" Bolts Eye bolts Silicone sealer Polyurethane sealer Plastic storage cubes with drawers Foam mattress Bungee cords Plastic dish pan with lip Table saw Electric drill Screw driver Socket wrench Optional: attic insulation and paneling
  • One 2x2 foot plank
  • 2 pieces of 1/2" plywood
  • Wood screws-5/8"
  • Bolts
  • Eye bolts
  • Silicone sealer
  • Polyurethane sealer
  • Plastic storage cubes with drawers
  • Foam mattress
  • Bungee cords
  • Plastic dish pan with lip
  • Table saw
  • Electric drill
  • Screw driver
  • Socket wrench
  • Optional: attic insulation and paneling
Step 1
Remove the seats, seat belts and arm rests in the back of the van. Although makes and models will vary slightly, you will probably need a socket wrench and screwdriver.
Step 2
Clean the dust and debris from the interior of the van.
Step 3
If the interior of the van isn't insulated or has panels over the metal frame--as in a cargo van--use attic insulation and paneling to make it more comfortable and attractive.

Building the Bed

Step 1
Cut six pieces of 2x2 foot equal length for the bed legs. The height of the bed is determined by the height of the storage cubes that you will put underneath the bed, but don't exceed 24 inches.
Step 2
Cut a piece of plywood to the dimensions you want for the bed. This in part will be dictated by the size of the interior of the van, but it should be a comfortable fit for you too.
Step 3
Attach the legs on the bottom of the plywood on the for corners and at the mid point of the bed with wood screws. To make the legs more secure, cut 3 inch pieces of 2x2 foot planks and screw them in on either side of each leg as braces.
Step 4
Screw two eye bolts on opposite front legs for the bungee cords. They will hold the plastic drawers under the bed secure when moving.
Step 5
Secure the bed to the van with bolts and seal with silicone sealer. Put the mattress on the bed.

Building the Kitchen

Step 1
Cut 6 legs for the kitchen counter out of the 2x2's. The height and length of the counter is determined by the size of the interior of the van and your comfort level.
Step 2
Cut the counter to a size that will be appropriate for the van leaving yourself room to maneuver in the center of the van. Round the edges, and it and seal it with polyurethane.
Step 3
Cut a hole in the counter the size of the dish pan. The pan should fit in the counter suspended by the lip.
Step 4
Screw eye bolts in the legs of the counter for bungee cords as you did for the bed.
Step 5
Secure the counter to the van with the bolts.

Tips & Warnings

 
For a quick table, pull out two of the plastic drawer cubes from the counter and set a piece of plywood on top. Use the bed as seating.
 
Vans will vary as far as interior space and ways to secure the bed and counter. Modify your plans and materials for your individual needs.

Resources

Article Written By Catherine Rayburn-Trobaug

Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh has been a writer and college writing professor since 1992. She has written for international companies, published numerous feature articles in the "Wilmington News-Journal," and won writing contests for her poetry and fiction. Rayburn-Trobaugh earned a Master of Arts in English from Wright State University.

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