Self Built Campervan

The Van

Needed to go from an ex-builders van to usable stealthy campervan fast (In under 2 months, with only a day at the weekend). It had to be quick as we were going to be travelling to visit family and friends a lot during the summer (Over 4000 miles). It also had to be 'subtle' because I do park it in some rather 'super sketchy locations'.

Finish won't wow, but the bed and cabinet are very usable! The most important thing was it had to look like a camper (For the ferry) but not be 'too' campy for when I need to be a bit subtle when overnighting or parking in cities.

Eww. Dirty

Pretty Dirty, mainly filled all the holes with zinc paint and caravan sealant. Screw holes everywhere!

Windows in. Looking legit.
Installed professionally, and a great job. Didn't want tints but black backed privacy curtains (So it looks camper van when on campsites, and more like a trades van at night with the curtains shut) The outside of the van has temporary campervan type decals on it but I like being reasonably anonymous so I am not showing you them :D

Dodo Matting

Helps with the rumble and insulation. Over this was solid polystyrene blocks (Again too hurried to take a photo, but fits well!). Plenty of examples on youtube. This van really needs a 'built with youtube and r/vandwellers' sticker. One thing I learnt after insulating is to CHANGE THE ROOF BULBS. I left the door open and the roof was so well insulated both bulbs blew and a light melted. Now they are LED.

Sides too

I am carpeting the entire inside, so wanted a good finish so used a lot of the Dodo matting (expensive). The van went clang to whomp overnight. All the factory card panels contain glass bottle insulation and bubble wrap along with extra dodo matting. Not shown is the flooring which is heavy ply with an underlay of fabric backed insulating foil and extra ply to level the floor.

I was proud of this edging. Its at a decent angle! (I am no carpenter). The grey on the edges is sealant as I sealed the whole floor. I often have mountain bikes in the van, and I want to be able to clean out water and mud without ruining the sides. I need to tidy that up and make it prettier :P

The Bed

This is the important part, I needed to have a bed that was wide enough as a double but then could take surfboards and mountain bikes when collapsed as a single (I am a terrible surfer and require a massive longboard). I didn't want them on the outside as it is more stealthy this way. I built three to get the fit good and it took me three weekends. Argh!

End table
For coffee and other delights. The cooker usually sits on it. The electrics run into tabletop sockets for school science labs. They are very practical.

Kitchen area

This was the other important part. A bare minimum kitchen area. Just enough for sink and small barrels. Leisure battery for lights and phone charging. Sink is a bowl with a hole cut in it and a drain attached.

Getting there.....

Bed is in, I built it mainly inside the van due to the weather. Not shown is that the electrics are run through the door frame. Above the door frame is a light strip so when the doors are open it floodlights the rear, perfect for repairing bikes late at night and when closed it is a downlighter.

Completed Kitchen Area

The top shelf is angled downwards to reduce movement (works really well!) and the solar panel charges a leisure battery that sits behind it (I just put the panel on top of the van). The second barrel is for a tap (when I find one I like). Sink has an Ikea chopping board on the top! The top is wipe clean tablecloth with plastic edge strips. I will be replacing it with a more tasteful one in the future which it is why it is not glued down. My poor eyes!

The Bed

How it works, it can form a bed and desk with the cabinet. You can also access the under bed storage (plenty!)

Double Bed

Or a full sized bed. It is very comfy. The mattress is an Ikea folding bed top cut to fit with the edges sewn up.

Rope Awning

Canvas tarp and two clothes lines props. Lasted two trips before going all mouldy (It was untreated canvas), good thing it was cheap!

Stealth Night Shot
Downlighter's on the door and fairy lights for ambience.


Needed to see in the cabinet (It is surprisingly spacious), so added RGB light strips. Its a little more exciting than I expected. Wine and cheese for scale.

Crappy Electrics (I should know better)

I used solar connectors and cables for the electrics. Cheap but functional. I will be ripping this out and doing it properly when I have more time. Note the disconnected cables! I wired everything up twice, just in case.

A little bit extra

I wallpapered the old roof card, but due to the van having a builders bulkhead in it previously the roof card was too small. I made a carpeted ply panel and attached it with car trim bolts on the old bulkhead screws. Works well. Looks furry.