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Camper Van Conversion on a Budget: Tips and Tricks

Even though the entire van life concept was already popular before COVID-19, people’s attraction to it resulted from the pandemic’s travel restrictions and social separation measures.

You may assume that the van-life fad has peaked now that the plague has subsided, and people can travel once again, yet people are still hitting the open road. Whatever term you choose to describe it by, overlanding or “van life” is a fantastic means to explore a country.

It is always challenging working on a camper van conversion on a budget, especially on a low budget. However, to transform a van into a camper that is cozy enough for extended periods spent traveling requires funds. It takes a well-built modification and the right equipment to accomplish this. Consequently, here are some helpful campervan conversion tips to help you build a good van.

How to Convert Camper Van?

There is no one way to convert your camper van, especially if you are on a low budget. Therefore, in this section, we will provide a simple process for converting your camper van. Remember, there are other features you can add to your van that are not included in this post.

Removing all corrosion and stripping the vehicle

The initial step after selecting and transporting your van should be to remove and check for any concealed corrosion. If you remove anything from the vehicle, save it in case you need it for the conversion in the future.

If you discover large areas of rust that you were unaware of when selecting the van, you might require additional expert assistance for welding; however, if the patches are small, you can paint over them using Hammerite. Whenever it comes to rust treatment and prevention, this product is unmatched.

Fitting Windows

The dangerous part is about determining whether to add windows, what number to add, and where to put, they will require cutting some enormous holes in the van! To prevent future corrosion, paint any edges you cut, wrap them with window trim, and then brace yourself for the frightening process of attaching the windows. After priming and preparing the van metal and windows, seal the margins of the cut holes so that they line up with the locations of the windows.

Fitting Windows

When you are ready to secure the windows to the vehicle, make sure you have some non-stretch tape handy. Additionally, once the glass is in position, give it a firm squeeze to ensure it is securely fastened. Several hours later, your newly installed windows ought to be ready for you to take off the sticker and drive out into the sunset!

Shielding and Attenuating Sounds

Insulation and sound deadening are now two of the most crucial components of van conversions and the parts that will be covered entirely. You must take this step to keep your camper cool in the summertime and cozy in the winter, as well as have less noise and vibration from the van itself.

The sound-absorbing matting ought to be placed down first. When driving, the rumbling of the van’s metal panels should be alleviated; therefore, you should grab this whenever you can. If you intend to have the rear end of the van and the cab open to each other, this is extremely helpful because you can hear everything else.

Installing Electrical components

When you are camping and want to have lights on or even charge your phone or camera, you must get power. Power of some form is required for all your appliances, including your fridge, water pump, lights, plugs, and USB ports.

You need a leisure battery to provide electricity to your living area. Other methods exist, such as using a diesel generator, but nobody uses them because they may be quite costly and space hungry. A leisure battery is available everywhere; just make sure the one you choose can power the items you need.

Van Finishing

Another significant stage in the camper conversion is the final finish. Once everything is finished, you want it to be both aesthetically pleasing and manageable enough for you to live with!

Although these aren’t required to get the van in livable shape, finishing touches like a rug and some lovely seat cushions draw the entire area together.

Tips for Camper Van Conversion on a Budget

Tips for Camper Van Conversion on a Budget

Having your camper van built out can be very satisfying because it shows that you put in the time and effort to create the precise camper van you’ve always wanted. It can also be very physically and mentally draining. However, here are the best van conversion tips to make the process seamless.

Find the van you want

The first tip for a camper van conversion on a low budget is knowing the van you want. For camper conversions, an empty panel van is the most purchased base vehicle. Upon determining the desired functionality of your conversion, you may start your hunt for the ideal van.

What to look for in the van?

Do you already have a vision of your ideal car? Finding the closest thing to match your price range is essential. Remember that the phrase “closest to perfect” needs to be the main emphasis. Because each vehicle, unless you are purchasing brand-new, will usually have some peculiarities that you must be conscious of before making a purchase. In this case, you must examine the bodywork, MOT history, mileage, previous owner, service history, tires, and VAT.

Set up a budget

The most important part of a camper van conversion on a budget is setting up a budget. Money is a necessary topic of conversation when discussing van builds. For this reason, setting up a budget for the van build is among the most crucial van conversion advice. It takes money and effort to outfit a campervan fully. It can be simple to assume that you are aware of the expense of a build and then discover midway through the job that you are out of money. Make sure you have a budget in your van. Determine which is best for you by comparing the prices of new and used vans.

Invest in the right tools

It is crucial to have the appropriate equipment for the job while working with odd curves and angles. Things like circular saws, table saws, power drills, and a pair of saws. Saving money by trying to get by with the bare minimum could be alluring, but if you must redo the project, you’ll probably end up sacrificing resources and time.

Create a deadline for your Camper Van Conversion

Create a deadline for your Camper Van Conversion

You might stay the sanest if you follow this van build tip. Now is the moment to be honest with yourself. You should allow ample time if you intend to construct your van and vacate your current residence within a specific timeframe. It takes time to build a DIY camper van.

Don’t rush any measurement

Vans need peculiar measurements and particular cutting. Be sure to take exact measurements when taking them. Measure once more after that. Make sure to take many measurements of the object you intend to cut. Wood can be costly, and ruining a whole piece of wood can be annoying. Not to mention, a whole afternoon was lost because you took the wrong measurement. A rule of thumb is to measure at least twice before cutting any piece on your van.

Invest in Propane

One of the best camper van conversion tips to cut costs is to invest in propane. The expense of those 1-pound propane canisters mounts up rapidly if you intend to prepare meals on a propane burner. Get a 5–20-pound propane tank; it will quickly pay for itself and spare you the hassle of buying propane regularly!

Anticipate modifications

Speaking of patience, be ready for ongoing adjustments while designing a campervan. You have a concept about how you want a given area to appear and work, but halfway through, you find it won’t work. Even if you cannot achieve the precise build you had hoped for, have the flexibility to alter your plans.

Skip Solar

A solid battery, an inverter, and a smart isolator can all be purchased for a few hundred dollars; if you decide to add solar panels later, this will make the process much easier. Purchasing a portable generator might be worthwhile if you have little devices that require electricity or if you are utterly clueless about DIY electrical systems.

Although they are usually less inexpensive, these are quite easy to use, and you can take them anyplace, including coffee shops and the beach, because the electricity isn’t attached to your van.

Be ready to make mistakes

Be ready to make mistakes

Lastly, regarding camper van conversion on a budget, you shouldn’t expect a perfect work. When designing a campervan conversion, it’s important to expect mistakes rather than strive for perfection. It’s simple to think that campervan constructions on Instagram are flawless and free of flaws after seeing their photos.

You need to know that nobody has a perfect van. Most vehicles you find on the road have mistakes. Most vehicles are full of errors that nobody else will see. Because you created it and invested a lot of time and effort into it, you will still love it.


Do you want to build a camper van conversion on a budget you feel impossible? Yes, it is possible if you keep everything minimal. Nowadays, people tend to work on a tight budget for their camper van conversion. You don’t need to have a standard kitchen, upholstery, and other sophisticated items in your van.

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