How To Convert A Van

Learning how to convert a van can be a unique and frugal way to camp or even to live. A van, with proper preparation, can make a very comfortable alternative to an RV. The van conversion does require a basic knowledge of carpentry and wiring. The conversion also works better on larger van models such as a Caravan or commercial van. However, the basics of converting the van do apply to smaller vans with the proper measurements applied.

To convert a van you will need:

  • A working van of your choice.

  • Wood

  • Saw

  • Screwdriver

  • Drill

  • Heavy Black Fabric

  • Small camp style appliances.

  • Large stainless steel bowl

  • PVC pipe


  1. Remove the seats from the back area of the van. Depending on your van choice you will have four seats or possibly two seats with a long two seater in the back. You will need all the space you can get for your cabinets and sleeping area. A screwdriver and wrench set should be enough to remove the seats.

  2. Measure for your cabinets and sleeping area. Be sure to include spacing on either side of the cabinet and to include measurements on the cabinet area for a sink and room for any small camp appliances and camp stove. It is always best to measure out legs for the bed that will allow for storage under your sleeping area.

  3. Build your sleeping area and cabinet. The bed in your converted van should allow for the mattress to be dropped in. This will keep things safe for travel purposes. You don't want the mattress sliding off during a hard stop or turn. Since this is a converted van you need to keep driving environmental factors in mind. All your items should be secured for travel in your converted van.

  4. Assemble your sink. When converting a van you need to keep in mind that daily living items such as running water are necessary. Measure an area for your sink. The hole should be slightly smaller than the stainless steel mixing bowl so that the bowl can be dropped in securely. A hole should also be drilled into the stainless steep bowl for drainage and connection to the PVC pipe for proper draining into a bucket. Any waste can be disposed off at stops along your trip.

  5. Assemble the remaining parts of the converted Van. Now you will simply need to place the remaining appliances, bedding, and living materials in your van. Remember that you can use solar showers, portable camping toilets, and other camping supplies that can be stored under the bed to allow for more room.

This guide for how to convert a van is based on simple conversion. Of course you can make adjustments and additions when needed. The basic idea of converting a van is for weekend camping and that was kept in mind here. Sites such as can give you ideas for making this conversion of a van into a more durable and longer lasting conversation for week long or longer vacations.

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