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How to Convert a Minivan into a Camper?

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

Can a minivan be converted into a motorhome? Is it worth it? Read on to learn more.

minivan camper conversion

Campervans have recently grown in popularity. As the Coronavirus hit, many people have been looking to invest in a campervan that they can vacation in without having to stay at hotels, guest houses, or holiday cottages. But ready-done campervans can be really costly and not everyone is prepared to make such an investment.

This is where campervan conversions can help you live the #vanlife without breaking the bank. But can you convert just any minivan into a camper? and what will the conversion cost you? Read on to learn more about campervan conversion.

Can you Covert a Minivan into a Motorhome?

Yes, you can convert a minivan into a motorhome. However, if you're planning to DIY the conversion, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind before taking this project on. First, you can't convert just any kind of minivan. There isn't one best minivan for camper conversion but some come pretty close. For example, a Volkswagen Transporter is the most popular choice for no-build minivan camper conversion because it comes with easily foldable seats for campervan conversions. If you have a minivan that doesn't have foldable seats, you will have to remove them to make space for camper essentials like a sleeping area.

best minivan for camper conversion

Second, you can find ready-done campervans in the market as well. However, they are pretty expensive. But if you don't have any experience with renovating a vehicle, buying one off of the market might not be such a bad bargain. Whether you decide to DIY budget campervan conversion or buy a ready-done campervan, do your research well and find a durable, reliable vehicle.

How to DIY a Minivan Conversion?

Converting a van into a camper is a fun project that can help you build the motorhome of your dreams. Here are some steps you should follow to do the job well.

minivan rv conversion

Make a Plan

First things first, make a plan. Visualize what you want your campervan to look like and then work your way backward from that design. Do you want to install a new floor in your campervan? Are you looking for a formal bedframe or do you just want a foldable bed that can double as a seating area? How many shelves do you want in your camper? Is there space for a small kitchenette? What kind of campervan conversion accessories will you need?

Make a list of all the functional and design elements you would like to incorporate into your campervan and then prioritize them according to need, ease of installation, and budget.

Set a Budget

Once you have a plan in mind, it is time to talk some numbers. Setting a budget for your minivan conversion helps you finalize your plan. Prioritize the things you want to spend more money on. For example, a comfortable foldable bed can add both sleeping and storage space to your campervan. A floor conversion might cost more than simply using some comfy rugs. Allot a generous budget to electrical components like 240 volt electrical hook or solar panels if you're into renewable energy.

Once you set a budget, make sure you stay within it. You might be tempted to add-on many features to your campervan but pace yourself. Afterall, the initial costs of converting a campervan can run upwards of 5 figures if you're not careful.

Build a Model

Use cardboard and tape to bring your DIY campervan conversion plans to life. This may seem like an unnecessary step but being able to see your designs come to life gives you a better idea of what you can realistically accomplish. This will also help you get an idea of what your finished campervan will look like and if you need additional features like extra windows for ventilation, more shelves for storage, etc.

Get Affordable Gear

When you're in the market for campervan gear, it is easy to splurge. Van segments can get pretty expensive. To stay within budget, look for cheaper alternatives to the more expensive additions. Your DIY camper conversion kits don't have to break the bank. For example, instead of a water framework opt for a pressurised sun-powered shower. Choose a smaller portable stove instead of going for an expensive diesel one. If you have any carpentry experience then build the bed yourself instead of buying one, install the shelves and windows yourself too.

Trade Skills

While you can DIY a lot of the components of the camper, there are certain areas where getting professional help is advised. For example, get someone with experience to help you with electrical, wiring, and gas components. Don't try to install the water tanks or shower yourself if you don't have any experience with them. You can always ask someone who has worked on a conversion before or simply hire professional help.

What is the Cost of a Minivan Conversion?

The average cost of converting a minivan into a camper can vary depending on a number of factors. Basically, the more luxurious you want your camper to be,the more it will cost you. Generally, there are two main costs associated with minivan conversions; the cost of the van itself, and the cost of converting the interior into a camper van.

minivan conversion ideas

The cost of the van will depend on the type and model of van you purchase. A Mercedes Benz Sprinter van can cost anywhere between $36,355 - $57,450. The price will vary depending on whether you buy new or used. If you opt for a 4x4 drive that will cost you more.

The second biggest cost will be the cost of converting the van. This cost will include the cost of material, labor, and appliances and fixtures. Again, the more you add, the more you will have to pay. A typical campervan conversion can cost you anywhere from $30,000 to upwards of $200,000.

The Last Word

Minivan conversions are one of the most popular ways to get a taste of a life on the road. In many ways, it is also the least expensive (right behind renting an RV). Once you do make the leap, don't forget to install keyless door locks on your camper and carry road safety equipment wherever you go. Happy Camping!

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