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4 Things to Consider When Converting a Van Into a Camper

Camper van conversions provide a practical solution when you need transportation and sleeping accommodations. What's more, turning a van into a camper is moderately easy with the right planning, tools and a bit of elbow grease. Before starting your project, it's important to consider a few things so that you can get the best results. Here four things to consider when you're converting a van into a camper.

Choosing a Base Van

One of the many important decisions you'll make during your van conversion project is your base vehicle. The good news is nearly any van can be converted into a camper. However, some are more suitable than others. Panel vans are the most popular choice for camper conversions because they offer flexibility and many choices for customization.

If this is your first conversion project, choosing a panel van as your base vehicle is a safe bet. If you plan on traveling a lot and want to start with a van that has the most flexibility, you can't go wrong with a classic VW transporter van.

For those with off-roading needs, an expedition van can handle rugged terrain. Remember, the ideal van for your conversion depends on your unique needs and how you plan to use it, so make sure to give the base van you choose careful thought. 

Bathroom Space

Bathroom fixtures are essential for your conversion project. While campgrounds and RV parks provide bathhouses, you may not always find yourself near one. Depending on your budget, you have various options to consider.

The most common option for vans and motor homes is called a cassette toilet. These toilets house the waste in a removable cassette and come with either a manual or electric flush mechanism. To dispose of waste you simply detach the cassette and empty it in a dump station, or a campsite disposal facility.

Kitchen Space

Many campers prefer to spend most of their time outdoors, which makes their kitchen requirements minimal. However, sometimes rainy weather and other environmental issues will prevent you from cooking outside, so you may want to consider designing some kitchen space for your camper van.

What's great about camper van conversions is that you can design something that suits you, whether it be minimal or luxurious. If your needs are light, consider a mini refrigerator, camp stove and a few plywood shelves. For campers who have greater kitchen needs and a larger budget, you have the option of installing a full galley with sinks and everything you need. Some camper vans even feature dishwashers.

Sleeping Space        

Sleeping space is one of the most crucial components to consider. After all, the purpose of converting a van into a camper is to have sleeping accommodations while you travel. Comfort should be high on your priority list because if your sleeping space is uncomfortable, you'll have a miserable time on the road.

The best way to save space is to install your bed vertically along the back wall of the van. However, this type of setup will only work if you're about 5'9, or shorter. If you're taller than that, a horizontal setup along one of the side walls would probably work best. If you build a platform that elevates the bed, you can create a storage space underneath. 

There's nothing like the freedom of the open road, and with a suitable base van, you can design a camper that offers comfort, convenience and functionality. This is not an exhaustive list of what you need to consider, but it should get you off to a strong start and when you need accessories, the professionals at Leer Truck Accessory Center are here to help.