The DIY Self Build Camper Van Conversion Blog

The thought of taking to the road to explore in a Motor Home or RV can be a very appealing one but the high costs of many factory built camper vans can stop a lot of us from experiencing this unique way of travelling.

But there is another way! with some basic DIY skills and some creative thinking, it's possible to build a campervan for just a few hundred pounds. That's exactly what I did with my van conversion.

If you want to know how to build a Motorhome / CamperVan very cheaply, without compromising on quality, then you've come to the right place. I'll show you how I converted a tired old Ford Transit Minibus, into a very stylish and comfortable Motor Home, for under £500!

A Beginner's Guide to Motorhomes

A Beginner's Guide to Motorhomes
By Roland Head

Are you just starting out in motorhoming? Attracted to the idea but not sure what type of motorhome will suit you?

A good starting point is to understand the different types of motorhome - there are three main types of design.

1. Hightop Van Conversions

Often referred to as campervans, van conversions are generally the smallest and cheapest type of motorhome - which can be an advantage.

Based on so-called panel vans, such as the Ford Transit and the Fiat Ducato, they are generally only a little larger than a family car and are relatively easy to drive, manoeuvre and park - unlike some of their bigger cousins.

Modern conversions are usually very well specified - with heating, toilet, kitchen, running water and often a shower. The only catch is that all of these things are packed into a relatively small space - great for driving but sometimes a little cramped for living in.

Van conversion motorhomes are ideal for the more adventurous or for short breaks, but not necessarily the best choice for luxury or for families.

2. C-Class or Coachbuilt Motorhomes

Coachbuilt motorhomes (sometimes known as Class-C motorhomes) are effectively caravans built onto the back of a van cab and chassis - it may sound a bit Heath Robinson, but these are extremely well made, cleverly-designed and comfortable. They also offer surprising amounts of space, especially when it comes to sleeping berths.

A coachbuilt is probably the best choice for a family, with the overcab area providing ideal sleeping accommodation for children, and the larger interiors giving enough room for 4-6 people to sit and eat.

These motorhomes also tend to have larger kitchens and bathrooms - their extra width helps create more spacious layouts.

3. A-Class or Integrated Motorhomes

The luxury liners of the motorhome world, A-Class motorhomes are purpose-built from the chassis up - apart from the driving controls, there is no trace of "van" about these vehicles - instead they are luxury motorised homes. They are usually a similar size to C-Class motorhomes, but often have only two or three berths - designed for adults to travel in considerable comfort, rather than for fitting large families.

Of course, there are exceptions and A-class motorhomes offering 4-6 berths can also be found. Historically not so popular in the UK, they are becoming more common and have always been so in Europe.

I Almost Forgot…RVs

In principle, American RVs (Recreational Vehicles) are the same as A-Class motorhomes. The difference is in their scale and in the base vehicles used. RVs are built on lorry or coach chassis' and have extremely luxurious interiors, with every facility built in (normally including an on-board generator).

They are extremely large, expensive and luxurious - don't expect to go exploring on European backroads in one of these, as it won't fit. Road tax, fuel costs and insurance will also be considerably higher, as will road tolls.

Making the Choice

Whatever you choose, don't rush into it and make sure you understand the true cost of ownership - including storage (if it is too big for your driveway), insurance, breakdown cover and servicing.

Consider renting a motorhome for a holiday first to see if you like it - a week or two can teach you a lot about what type of motorhome suits you and enables you to try before you buy.

Motorhoming is a great way to travel around the UK and Europe - I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


myLocalMotorhomeHire.co.uk provides independent information on motorhome hire in the UK and Europe.

It is especially aimed at first-time renters and those who are not experienced with motorhomes and is completely free.

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