General Question

charcoalwasp's avatar

What sort of van should I buy to convert?

Asked by charcoalwasp (101 points ) July 15th, 2012

I am planning to buy a basic van, and convert it into a living space, like a camper van. Im moving out of my parents soon but I can’t afford a flat and don’t want to share with people (Im very unsociable).
I need a large van that would house the basic things, like a bed and some storage space, maybe a table and a place to put a cooker or TV, something like that. However, it needs to be of a reasonable size, so that I can drive it easily on an average licence and ideally, be able to be parked neatly in my College students parking lot.
Any advice of a particular make or model? Thanks

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8 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Why not just buy a used Campervan and save yourself the trouble and cost to convert a van into something worse?

charcoalwasp's avatar

It would be easier, and probably cheaper, but I want to do the whole project, and I’d like to be able to say ‘I did that’ It’s like eating a cake, if you buy it, its great. But if you make it yourself, then its even better.
Sort of like that.

jaytkay's avatar

For a little inspiration, check out this VW pop-top.

The rear telescopes out to form a 2nd room for sleeping.

Stretch VW campervan

dabbler's avatar

I’m with @ragingloli on this. If you have no experience living in a campervan already, you’ll know far less what choices to make when building one yourself.
Unless you are phenomenally brilliant or lucky you will be more likely to produce a satisfying “I did that” after living with a pro-built one first hand.

Otherwise I’d suggest go take a look at as many commercial conversions you can find, and check out what you like and don’t like about them. By the time you’ve done that you can probably answer the original question for yourself too, you’ll know what you want and what base van fits that best.

Cruiser's avatar

I had an Astro van that I like because it was a van style on a truck frame which made it pretty sturdy for its size. Ample room and a nice ride and you should be able to pick them up on the cheap. Astro Conversions came with the added roof line and extended length which should still fit snugly into the school parking spots.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

One that already has “FREE CANDY” painted on it.

Save yourself some time.

rooeytoo's avatar

Some friends bought an old horse trailer which they tow behind a pick up truck. It is fantastic and can be converted to a live in trailer fairly easily. I am with you on the project bit, it sounds great to me. If you don’t like the horse float idea, in Australia everyone buys up the old VW kombi vans and does them up. Something like this.

charcoalwasp's avatar

@Crashsequence2012 Im not really planning on swaying that way anytime soon…

@rooeytoo That sounds good actually, I considered the idea of buying one of those huge horse vans with the beds already built in, but they are hellishly expensive, especially for a girl with no job. I think I will have a look around, I know some friends who own horses they probably know of someone who is selling one.

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