Campervan Conversions - The Basics
This guide is for those looking to purchase a Campervan or create their own Conversion but don't know where to start. Choosing, designing and converting your Campervan can be a pretty overwhelming process.
We've put together this guide to break down the key elements of the conversion process. Flagging key questions to ask yourself along the way.
Campervan Conversions get used for loads of different reasons, from holidays to support vehicles for people that work in remote locations. But ultimately, the build basics are still the same.
Read our guide as we go through the most frequently asked questions about the build process and what Campervan Accessories you're looking for.
When we say Campervan, what do we mean?
Campervans come in loads of different shapes and sizes. So what's the difference between a campervan and a motorhome?
- Campervans are converted from panel vans usually by smaller, more bespoke companies
- Motorhomes are made from purpose built vehicles, using the chassis of another van (eg Fiat Ducato)
Campervans are most frequently converted from the Volkswagen Transporter. They offer all the motorhome features in a more compact and convenient package. They are perfect for exploring the wilds of Scotland and the coast of Cornwall.
A campervan conversion is an easy way of turning a panel van into a camper. This can be done by installing conversion parts and Campervan Accessories that will convert the back of your VW Transporter into a living space.
How to choose a Campervan Conversion company?
Choosing the company who will Convert your Campervan is really tricky. You need to ensure your getting fantastic build quality while also expecting great customer service to enable you to get the built campers that you're looking for.
Selecting the right campervan conversion company is an important decision when you’re looking to modify your vehicle. Before you make that commitment, it's important to research and compare companies to find one that meets your needs and budget.
Start by looking for an experienced company with a portfolio of completed projects that have received positive client feedback. Look for reviews on trusted websites like Google or Trustpilot, and use these to help gauge the quality of the company's conversions.
Quality craft and customer service should also be high on your list of criteria, as this will ensure peace of mind throughout the entire process! Once you’ve narrowed down your search, take time to visit different workshops and speak with existing customers in order to get a better understanding of the campervan conversion specialists’ capabilities before signing any contracts.
Campervan Conversions: Checklist
When deciding on a campervan conversion you need to think about the following elements:
- Choosing your campervan converter
- Do you want a Swamper or Overland Conversion?
- Your base vehicle
- Electric system (solar, inverters, plugs, 12v, leisure battery etc)
- Carpeting and Insulation
- Gas system
- Cooking facilities
- Water tanks
- Fridge and Freezer - Like the Dometic CXR50
- Campervan Table
- Pop top roof
- Diesel Heating Systems
- Camper Bed / Seat System
- Furniture and cabinetry
- Solar Panels
- External styling (spoilers, splitters, side bars, and alloy wheels)
- Awning Rails and Awnings
Although the different types of layouts might seem endless when you first start to look there is actually only really 1 key decision you need to make when choosing your conversion layout: Bed width.
In our Wildworx Campervan Conversions, we use the extra wide RIB bed.
This gives you more sleep space but does mean you have slightly less storage but a much wider bed. We do this because we think how well you sleep at night is the most important thing about your campervan! Check out our Campervan Conversions here.
From there you need to think about Camper Electrics...
You need to decide where you want to be using your vehicle. Are you only planning to head to campsites where you will have an electric hook-up? Or are you planning on heading off grid? Places you will need to be “off-grid” will include:
- Basic farmer's field accommodation
- CS / CL Club Sites
- Wild Camping (in Scotland etc)
Like most people, you’re probably planning on visiting one of these places. To make sure you can you can use your electrics you need to make sure you have a 12v leisure battery system. This will power:
- Cigarette sockets
- LED Lights
- Heating system (most require 12v to start)
- Tap and water pump
Do you need 240v electrics in your campervan?
Most people will want to use things like laptop chargers and hair dryers while in their campervan. To do so you will need to be plugged in using your electric hook-up cable. If you want to be totally off gird and use these things while not plugged into the mains you will need an inverter and most likely a solar panel set up.
You don't need a full electrical qualification to understand this. Just focus on understanding what devices you need to use and where you want to use them. This will answer what electrical set-up you need.
Choosing the right base vehicle for your Campervan Conversion
When you're looking to purchase a campervan, there are loads of things to consider. There are lots of different base vehicles to use for your van life conversion:
- Ford Transit
- Mercedes Sprinter
- Fiat Ducato
- Volkswagen Transporter
We primarily convert the Volkswagen Transporter. I think the key point to answer is whether you want an automatic (DSG) or manual van.
Automatic transmissions are easier to drive and can be found in most vans; manual transmissions are often cheaper but don’t tend to hold their value as well as the automatics. All our campers are built into Auto (DSG) Volkswagen Transporters.
Finally, the vehicle must have enough power. We know many campers out there built into 101bhp base vehicles. We don’t think that’s adequate for most people.
You need a minimum of 150bhp Volkswagen Transporter to be able to handle driving with the vehicle's extra weight. It's also (probably) essential when the time comes to sell your campervan.
If you’re choosing your brand new vehicle from Volkswagen, we suggest the following vehicle specification and upgrades for your camper:
- Volkswagen T6.1 Highline 2.0 150bhp DSG
- Tailgate with window and wiper
- Captains chairs with factory swivel and armrests
- Bulkhead removed
- Heated seats
If you're looking to achieve the Transporter Swamper look, you might want to upgrade to 4motion. Read more about this in our Swamper blog.
Choosing your Pop-Top Roof for Your Campervan Conversion
Choosing the pop-top roof in your campervan conversion is another big decision. It’s one of the most important parts of your build (as well as being the most expensive). At Wildworx, we use Skyline and SCA. These are fantastic and durable and don’t take away from the vehicle's look from the outside. Going for a high-quality manufacturer for this crucial element of your build is important.
Take a look at our in-depth blog on how to choose a pop top roof for your campervan conversion.
Carpeting and Insulating your Campervan
Adding insulation and carpeting can be a great way of turning your camper into a home away from home. Carpeting provides extra warmth as it absorbs heat and helps insulate while installing insulation on walls and ceilings can help keep temperatures in the van steady throughout the night.
The added benefit of doing this is that it also reduces road noise, making for a more comfortable journey.
It's easy to do yourself but can be time-consuming. Take a look at our full guide on how to carpet line and insulate your Campervan Conversion.
Campervan Solar Panels
Solar panels are completely silent, require no maintenance or upkeep, and have the potential to generate more energy than you might need.
Installing them can be confusing and time-consuming but with a few helpful resources you should be fine getting connected to the grid in no time. With the right equipment and setup, you can be completely off-grid.
Solar panels are a reasonably in-depth topic. We've compiled this helpful Solar Panel guide to talk you through the entire process.
Campervan Diesel Heating Systems
From frigid winter nights to breezy summer days, campervan diesel heating systems can help you stay comfortable and cosy no matter the season. Investing in a reliable diesel heating system is imperative to keep your vehicle warm while on long mountain treks or looking to make a roomy flatbed conversion more inviting.
With cutting-edge features like low fuel consumption, silent operation and space-saving ducting, you can customize your climate control setup with ease. Plus, you won't have to worry about hauling a clunky propane tank around – enjoy the convenience of an efficient and easily monitorable supply of hot air!
Safety - What to keep in mind
Converting a campervan is a great way to maximise your outdoor trips. However, safety should always be your top priority when making any modifications. Ensuring electrical installations are done by professionals and using fire retardant materials in convenient areas can help prevent a fire from starting in the van.
For any parts that you buy to use in your campervan, ensure they are TUV Tested. This is important when you're choosing a pop top roof. If purchasing a bed or rear seat, ensure it has been sufficiently crash tested.
These accreditations are something the manufacturer has worked hard for and are usually shown very clearly on their website. You can see this on the Skyline pop-top roof website, for example.
Don't buy cheap knockoff parts for the key elements of your build. If you plan on using a Campervan Convertor, ensure they're professional. They should have accreditation from the NCC.
Wildworx Campervan Conversions
Over the last few months, we have focused on bringing you exclusive and limited edition Campervan Conversions. Making Wildworx a one-stop shop for all your campervan modification needs.
Campervan Conversions can be an array of different services. This can be anything from exterior styling to pop-top roof fitting to furniture and leisure battery systems for your campervan.
The VW Transporter is the base vehicle we like to work with. It offers the most versatile base model for a fantastic luxury van conversion. We have completed campervan and van conversions on VW T6, VW T5, Ford Transit and many more panel vans.
We have completed campervan conversions in which the customer participates in a specific sport, for example, surfing or golf. We can arrange a van conversion which will enable you to carry around the equipment for your hobby in a manageable way. While also using the van for the school run and work.
Van Conversions are an exciting way to stand out from the crowd wherever you are in the UK. Depending on your usage, you can go to town on your van conversion.
Do you go to the seaside with the kids at the weekend and need to use your van for work during the week? We can discuss all your needs when you come and take a look around our state-of-the-art workshop. Based in the Midlands, we are ideally located for van conversions all over the UK.
At Wildworx, we have refined the Wildworx T6.1 Campervan Conversion over many years of trial and error. This Limited Edition has every extra you can get and uses the best components on the market.
Get in touch to find out our availability to convert your vehicle into a camper. We also produce a limited edition range of campers and vans for sale each year.