To Build a Campervan for VanLife
Part of the appeal of living in a van is buying a blank slate and making it your own. If that sounds like you and you really want to build a campervan, there is no lack of inspiration and ideas found on social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest. A quick search for “VanLife” will give you an endless supply. Nevertheless, this a very fast summary of how I built mine.
Start by filling the walls with spray foam and fiberglass. Be careful you don’t compress the fiberglass. Thin it out before installing if you need to.
Then cover it in Reflectix and add furring strips.
**UPDATE!! I NO LONGER BELIEVE REFLECTIX IS USEFUL AND IS NOW JUST A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY IF YOU APPLY IT LIKE THIS. READ HOW I WOULD INSULATE MY VAN IF I COULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN.**
Make sure to keep it dry with a vapor barrier.
And to see it all done in a video:
There are many different materials you can use on the ceiling. We chose 1/8″ sheeting.
Simply attach the sheets to the furring strips you created on the ceiling with wood screws. Just don’t strip out the wood or screw the screw through the sheeting.
The same can be said for walls.
Use cardboard templates to ensure precise curves and fit.
First, insulate with Reflectix.
Then lay down the subfloor. We chose 3/4″ pressure treated. Use templates for curves and corners again.
After the rest of the furniture and storage was installed, I finished it off with adhesive vinyl tiles.
We bought full-sized, second hand cabinets, cut them down, and retrofitted them to the exact contour of the van.
Then built a custom drawer in a bathroom vanity that usually just has wasted, empty space.
A lot to consider here — storage, height, 1-person, 2-person, dimensions, parallel to van or going across the back….
Ultimately, I chose parallel with the van because I wanted to be able to completely stretch out at night. No way I’m going to sleep every single night of my life with my head smashed against a wall or curled in the fetal position.
We also had to make it 28″ high to go over the existing HVAC.
And lastly, we found pictures of someone else that had made an expandable bed with storage underneath. It’s now 25″ when pushed in and 50″ wide when expanded.
Storage under the bed is accessible when it’s pushed in.
And a 500lb. gear drawer that pulls out the back.
You’ll need a place to hang some clothes, gear, and store your extra batteries. Might as well build a closet.
And you’ll need a way to keep your beer cold. It runs off AC and DC electrical power as well as propane.
Fantastic Vent Fan
Because sleeping with windows cracked is unsafe, and you’ll need venting for the refrigerator and while cooking.
Finished DIY Campervan
The only thing that’s left is to paint and add trim. And then you have a completed DIY Campervan.
Now Go Live
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