I wanted to share with you some handy info about my van conversion. I have gathered the information that I am most often asked about such as how much it cost and how long it took. I hope you get some good value from this page and share it with others that may be interested! Thanks, enjoy 🙂
This is Joyce, she is a 2010 Mercedes Sprinter 313, Long Wheel Base
This was when she first arrived before we had started any of the van conversion.
It took some hunting to find a decent van at the right price!
It took blood, sweat and tears converting her into an off-grid campervan, but soon enough she would finally look like this:
For the design process, I used SketchUp – https://www.sketchup.com/
It’s free, easy to learn and very useful! It’s perfect for designing your van conversion.
A 3D design can really help you see any flaws in your design and fix them before it becomes a costly mistake. You can use the “tape measure” in SketchUp to measure any part of the design you like. This is so cool!
If you would like full access to my van conversion design with all the scale measurements and details then please See Here!
One of the first major decisions with a van conversion is “do I remove the bulkhead?” To help you decide I have listed the main considerations here:
It is, of course, going to come down to personal preference and whatever best suits your needs.
I completed this van conversion from start to finish in 5 months, but not working on it all the time as I had a business to run and some holidays to enjoy.
In total, I totted up 500 hours of labour, not including research, design and shopping for parts. 500 hours works out at about 3 months if it were a normal 5 days per week 9-5 kind of job. This could be done faster, but I was learning as I went.
Speaking of the good old 9-5, one of the reasons I did this build was that I always wanted my freedom. Freedom from having to work most of my life at something I didn’t like… I think it’s a human thing?
My plan was always to make enough money or to build a pretty much self-sustaining business that would allow me to spend the majority of my life doing just what I wanted. I basically failed at that so I decided to force myself to do something I had wanted to do for years. To earn money remotely!
Anyway, this isn’t my life story it is about building a home from a van, I just wanted you to know ONE of the reasons why I took this giant step in lifestyle change.
This was the first time I had ever attempted anything like this. So I made a lot of mistakes, but it all worked out well in the end! Of course, this gave me plenty of material to pass on to people taking on a similar challenge. “You don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.”
The total cost of the van conversion including the van, parts and materials was £16,847. It could be done cheaper and it could certainly be done more expensively!
I believe this cost to be somewhere in the bottom/middle of what people spend, but like I say it can be done cheaper. We were on a tight schedule so didn’t take much advantage of salvaging wood and parts for very cheap or even free as many people do. This build has everything we need to live off-grid pretty much anywhere we want 🙂 all for the price of renting a flat and paying bills for about 12-18 months! That’s the reality here.
I’m always asked where I bought stuff so I have included links to pretty much every tool, material and product that I used!
You can see all costs and product links here UK & US:
Below I have detailed some of my favourite and most effective features of the build. I highly recommend these designs and products:
The ventilation set up works an absolute dream! On the left below is the Fan-Tastic Fan and on the right is the Roof Vent. The fan is situated at the front of the van and the vent is above our bed at the rear. With the fan extracting it pulls so much air down through the vent above us that we can stay cool even in the hottest of climates. It was 40°C in Savilla and we were cool at night in bed with the fan only set to 2/3!
If you ride mountain bikes, kitesurf, surf, walk, rock climb, sunbathe then the quick disconnect rear shower is for you! Handy in so many situations and of course is great to shower with in the summer.
Our seat lid shower design that Marcela is sitting on here keeps the space in the van open, bright and airy. We actually don’t use the curtain anymore as it’s easy to just sit or crouch in the base and wash.
You know what I was saying about bills earlier on, well here is one being eliminated! In summer all of our electrical power comes from here and in winter it is shared between solar and split charging.
The diesel heater is so efficient, effective and controllable thanks to the 7-day timer. Being in the Alps at the moment it’s great to hear the heater start up automatically half an hour before it’s time to get out of bed 🙂
Simply so cosy, comfy and relaxing.
Check out the eBook detailing everything involved in this build!
* Easy step by step how to guide
* Gas, Electric, Water & Solar
* Links to all parts, materials and tools
* All costs broken down to help you budget for success
* How to save money
* Common, costly mistakes to avoid
* How to plan your conversion to get your dream built quickly and safely!
Risk-free with the 30-day money back guarantee
10% of sales go to the homeless
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Learn more about what’s in the ebook here