How to Transform a Van Into a Camper


A large enough van can be transformed into your own camping vehicle. Some dealers even transform such vans into campers for sale. Even if you can't build one into a luxurious RV yourself, it is possible to turn it into a simple camper. Converting a vehicle like this into a full-time camper is not an easy task and will require the craftsman skills needed to fully install some furniture pieces in the vehicle.

Things You'll Need

  • Carpeting
  • Bolts and fasteners
  • Staple gun
  • Wood
  • Power tools
  • Sleeping bag
  • Foam cushions
  • Tables
  • Camping stove with propane tank
  • Stainless steel bowl
  • Deep cycle batteries
  • Remove all the seats from the back of the van, unless you know that you can leave one bucket seat in the middle without it getting in the way of anything else. Staple down new carpeting on the floor with a staple gun so it covers up any holes from the removed seats.

  • Place an air mattress or sleeping bag in the van for a bed. Place foam cushions below a sleeping bag to add comfort. Place this bed behind and alongside the front seats or in one of the back corners alongside the side wall.

  • Build the kitchen in the other rear corner with a table, a small camping stove on top of the table and a toaster oven or microwave underneath. Attach the table to the wall with screws/bolts and brackets (you'll need a power drill to drill holes in the walls). Glue or drill plywood sides to its legs to safely store the oven and the stove's propane canister under the table.

  • Make a sink by cutting a hole with a jigsaw into another smaller table big enough to fit a stainless steel bowl. Mount this table next to the kitchen table using the same types of screws and brackets and insert the bowl. Store jugs of water under the table to use with the bowl.

  • Stock the vehicle with any extra amenities you want. Store a foldaway table and chairs that can be used outside. Include a portable or compact stereo, TV set and/or video player.

  • Include deep-cycle batteries to power any electronic devices within the vehicle. Get storage boxes to keep the batteries in, or build them from plywood and nails, measuring the batteries so you can cut the wood to the right dimensions with a saw. Connect the batteries to power inverters that you can plug the devices into.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always keep the rear doors open when using the camping stove for ventilation. Or use it outside if possible.

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