Made ones are expensive, custom ones more so. Why not invest in a van and convert it to a campervan, saving – hopefully – thousands in the process. Let’s take a look at what is needed and how much you should be prepared to budget for your camper conversion.
Costs of Campervans
Run of the mill basic campervans that sleep two people and offer little in the way of recreational space for those rainy camping days can cost £30,000 or more, and the high-end luxury models easily cost anywhere from £60,000 to £100,000 – the price of a small house or flat. Of course, these vehicles are designed from the ground up with your comfort and ease in mind, with fully functioning toilets, kitchenettes, double beds and plenty of cunning storage options that mean that you are barely aware of the limited floorspace. Check out this detailed Ford Nugget camper van review to see exactly how much home can be packed into a smallish space!
When you convert your van into a camper, you must tell the DVLA that you have done so. This will not cost you any more – in fact, it can save you money as some insurances are halved for campervans compared with vans – and can offer you extra benefits: for example, you can drive at 70mph on the motorways, rather than 60mph which is the legal limit for vans. There is a form to fill in, and you will have to provide photographic proof that the conversion is properly done – simply throwing a mattress in the back of your van does not count! See below for the type of thing that the DVLA is looking for before they grant the ‘change of type’ to motorhome.
What is Required for a Conversion?
In order for a vehicle to be converted into a legal motor home or campervan, there are certain features – some inside the camper and others on the outside – that must be included in order for the conversion to be recognised by the DVLA. From the outside, two or more windows into the body of the van must be present – not your driving windows; a separate door into the body of the converted van; motorhome graphics; an elevated roof (not necessarily a pop-up one, just one that allows a person to stand relatively upright); and awning fixtures to both sides of the van. Interior features include the things that set your campervan apart from its origins: such as table and chairs, beds, adequate storage, and cooking facilities, no matter how basic. These items must be fixed in place in the campervan. Without these things present and clearly visible in the photographs you include, the DVLA will deny your application to change the classification of your vehicle.
The Bottom Line
First of all, these conversions can take a long time to complete, so make sure you haven’t made time-sensitive plans for your camper in the next six months or so. While you can do most of the work yourself, it is highly recommended that you get a professional electrician and gas-safe engineer to work on the gas and electrics – any issues with these can be catastrophic at worst and illegal at best. The cheapest conversion is likely to start at around £5,000 for a thorough conversion, and can run up to around £30,000 for a more high-end, luxurious result.