Plan of attack – 11 simple steps to achieving your diy campervan

Right. These are the 11 simple steps needed to transform our maxi-taxi into a campervan so our 4-wheel adventures can take off in relative comfort. And style, obviously.

    1. Buy and fit laminate flooring. Involves removing upright bolts in floor that were used to secure the seats (and which I keep treading on), fitting chipboard, laying the underfloor insulation and then fitting the laminate on top. Having spent only 20 minutes in sauna-like conditions measuring up the van yesterday, we’re going to skip the underfloor heating at this stage.
    2. Order and fit toilet. The size of the toilet will dictate where the three surrounding ‘modesty’ screens will sit, and how much space we’ll then have for the kitchen. [note: The bathroom will also be accessible from the rear door of the van, which means we can empty the waste water from the sink and remove the cassette from the toilet. This also means we can get a bit of a through draft into the van when the door’s open. There will be a screen next to the toilet so it’s not visible through the back door, but fitting a wall next to the basin would reduce the bathroom width by about 10cm so we’ll just have a blind on the glass instead. One that’s dust-repellent, anti-static and easy to wash, of course. If such a thing exists?? (sorry, in-jokes are probably considered very poor blogging etiquette).]
    3. Order and fit fridge, freshwater tank (which will go under the kitchen sink) and waste tank (which will sit under the bathroom sink – we can then open the back door of the van and empty water from the valve at the back of the wastewater tank, just as we can remove the cassette from the toilet on the opposite side of the bathroom). Also order and fit smaller (2.5kg) gas bottle and casing, which will sit underneath the seating next to the stove.  Fitting the big ticket items early on lets us see how much space we have for everything else.
    4. Joinery – build cupboards / drawers which will go underneath the seating and underneath the stove and sink in the kitchen. And the sink in the bathroom. Also need to fit extra panel to the side of the seating which will slide out to form the bed, fit laminate onto wall between kitchen and bathroom, and incorporate the door.
    5. Order and fit water heater and water pump. Ideally these would go on the left-hand side of the van underneath the sink but that side is already heavy with both water tanks, so to distribute the weight a bit, we’ll put the water heater on the right-hand side under the stove, and run a pipe underneath the flooring to the freshwater tank.
    6. Finish bathroom – install basin, do tiling around toilet and basin.
    7. Figure out wiring and locate batteries – not sure if we’ll need one or two at this stage – but they’ll sit alongside the battery charger underneath the seating behind the driver’s seat.
    8. Electrics – fit and connect lighting, connect water heater, move speakers (currently providing piped music to the bathroom) to the middle of the van and install 3 ceiling vents.
    9. Fit work surfaces in kitchen, install sink and stove and connect to gas (will need help with this bit).
    10. Upholstery – fit seating in living area.
    11. Interior design – fit blinds and/or gingham curtains, commission surfer-chic artwork, casually scatter cushions around seating.


We’ve chosen the hottest day of the year so far to start on the flooring…

Paul resorting to desperate measures to find some shade


The hardboard layer and insulation went down well, and we’re ready to lay the laminate flooring next weekend. Again, let’s make it clear when I say ‘we’ – Paul is doing all the physical stuff here. I have joined in the shopping excursions, but otherwise have been taking photos from the sidelines and occasionally offering helpful advice at critical moments. Which is also an important role; we should all play to our strengths.


7 thoughts on “Plan of attack – 11 simple steps to achieving your diy campervan

  1. Hi there, I was wondering what insulation you used and if that was from Bunnings too? Also, in a later post about your ceiling, I think you used the same insulation in the ceiling as well? How cool does your van stay? I really don’t like the idea of a hot van, and I am about to buy my insulation and after as much advice as possible. Thanks 🙂

    • Hi – thanks for reading the blog! We didn’t insulate the walls because they’re mostly taken up with windows. We just insulated the floor and ceiling, and yes – used a laminate floor insulation from Bunnings for both. We’ve stayed in the van in the height of summer and middle of winter and the temperature has never been a problem. I was worried it might be too hot in summer because none of our back windows open, but we opened the vent in the roof and could turn the fan on to circulate some air, and it was absolutely fine. The fan’s really good actually, we’ve only used it on its lowest setting so still have scope to turn it up if we ever travel out west in the summer. Hope that helps – good luck with your conversion!

  2. Pingback: Au revoir, madame campervan | The Campervan Converts

  3. Rach – I have been scouring the internet for DIY camper conversions and I have to say, you win “Best of Class” award. Beautiful design, beautifully executed, and hilariously written up too. Thank you. Do you have any “blue prints” or sketches or layout dimensions you could share with me? If you had the vehicle I think you do, it’s about 4695L x 1695w x 1980h? If so, then our van (a sprinter 144″, with 349.0 cm (137.4 in) cargo length and 197.6 cm (77.8 in) height)) is actually larger and so should fit your concepts. That would be astonishingly wonderful. Drawings, dimensions, and after thoughts would all be most welcome.

    All the best to you there in rainy Britain. At least it’s warm this year, right? Thanks again!

    • Thanks so much for your comments – they made my day! I don’t have any blueprints unfortunately – if we still had the van I’d go and measure it all for you! This was the layout we used: and Paul measured out the frame like this: which sounds like it would work in a similar way in your Sprinter, but I don’t have the exact dimensions. Best of luck – send us some photos along the way!

      • Hi there! thanks for responding. couldn’t quite talk my honey into your layout – we’re going with the standard, bed in back style – but we do have a couple space saving ideas which we’ll post here or send to you after they get built and tested. What an amazing process. I have to say, your bold stripes have given me courage to think big for decorating, which I wasn’t keen on before. That’s months away though, so it will be fun to see what we come up with. Thanks again, and hope you start another project.

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