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What is the best van for a campervan conversion?

Home > Blog > What is the best van for a campervan conversion?

Whilst campervan or caravan holidays remain a popular choice for some, more and more people have begun to set themselves the challenge of converting their own van into a campervan. The first obstacle to overcome in this is what van is best. There are so many vans available to buy it can very quickly become tricky to know which one would be best to convert. 

The best van for a camper conversion will vary for everyone depending on what you want to use the campervan for. If you are planning to only do short weekend breaks then you won’t need a large van. 

Things to consider when choosing a van to convert

Budget

It is important to determine your budget for both purchasing the van and the conversion process. Consider what you are trying to achieve and be realistic with cost. If you want your van to be your second home with a high-end finish then you may need to set a high conversion budget so you can achieve this. 

Size and Space

Decide how much living space you think you will need along with storage space. If you are planning on solo travelling then you may not need a van as big as someone planning on a family-sized campervan. It’s also important to remember that whilst larger vans offer more space they can be harder to park and manoeuvre. 

Mechanical condition

Similar to buying a car take into consideration the mechanical history and mileage of the van. Ideally, look for a van that has a service history so you can be reassured the previous owner took care of the van. Also, consider the brand of the campervan, the more unique the brand the harder it will be to find parts if anything were to happen. 

Customisation potential

Evaluate how much potential the van has to be customised based on your specific preferences and needs. Look for features like removable seating, storage solutions, and options for adding amenities like solar panels or a roof rack. 

Top van models for campervan conversion

Larger campervans

If you are looking for a spacious van that you will regularly use for long periods, or if you are travelling as a family then the bigger the van the better. Larger vans offer more storage options, higher head height, and the ability to add features such as a big fixed bed. 

The Mercedes Sprinter 

This is the ultimate large van to convert, it is one of the largest vans we would recommend and is extremely adaptable. This reliable van offers so much room you could choose to have a fixed double bed, shower and toilet, bike storage and more. 

Ford Transit 

This van is a popular choice when looking to convert a van, combining versatility, practicality, and sturdiness. They are easy to drive, and not too costly to run so would be an ideal choice if this is your first conversion project. Thanks to their popularity if anything were to go wrong, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty in finding a quick fix as their parts are commonly available. 

Other options for large vans are the Fiat Ducato, VW Crafter, or the Iveco Daily. If you’re concerned about finding large vans difficult to drive or park then why now incorporate a rear parking camera this, in addition to mirrors, will give plenty of visibility making it easy to drive and park. 

Medium campervans

Medium vans offer the best of both worlds offering a good amount of space so that you can have almost everything you need, without the stress of driving such a big van. 

Vauxhall Vivaro

This van offers plenty of space allowing you to add your personal touches. It’s economical to run and easy to drive making it perfect if you aren’t used to driving a van.

Peugeot Boxer

This van is the widest van out of them all, offering the most consistent width from top to bottom when compared to other vans. With this in mind, the Peugeot Boxer could be considered a larger van. With its additional height, there is great space to create additional storage. 

Other options could be the Renault Master, Citroen Relat or the Vauxhall Movano.

Other common medium size vans are the Renault Master, the Vauxhall Movano, and the Citroen.

Small Vans

The perfect choice for weekend adventures, small vans offer enough size for everything you need for a few days. They can sometimes offer enough room to add a compact kitchen. 

VW Transporter

This is a very popular choice if you are after a small van, however, bear in mind that these are Volkswagen so come with a more expensive price tag. There are different generations to choose from ranging from 1-6. Whilst these vans do have a retro style, they are older so are more likely to need repair work etc and could become expensive. 

Citroen Berlingo

This is a more affordable option for both upfront costs and also running costs. There is also a lot of information available online about this van which is always useful when converting. This is an ideal choice for couples who are looking to convert their first van. 

Renault Kangoo

This is another favourite among campervan converters. This is a spacious choice for a small van offering ample storage space, perfect if you are looking to do slightly longer journeys. 

Other small van options are the Renault Trafic, the Peugeot Expert and the Ford Transit Custom.

How important is van mileage and age? 

Age

When it comes to picking a van for a conversion unfortunately the van’s age should be taken into consideration. Whilst newer ages vans tend to mean fewer repairs and modern amenities, the older models still come with their own advantages. 

Cost efficiency

When compared to the initial costs of a older model of course beats the newer vans, this then provides more room in the budget for customisation and upgrades meaning you can then tailor your van to meet your preferences. 

Mechanical Systems

Older vans often feature simpler mechanical systems, meaning they can be easier to work on. With fewer electronic complemented maintenance can be a lot more straightforward, and potentially save you both time and money. 

Mileage

Whilst the age of the van can offer some indication of the overall condition of the van, the mileage is just as important to consider. 

Engine health

High mileage does not mean that the van has poor engine performance. If regular maintenance and proper care have been put into the van then it will continue to run smoothly even after travelling countless miles. However, make sure to check for service history to ensure that the van has been maintained. 

Wear and tear

As a standard method, the higher the mileage the more wear and tear the van has endured. From suspension to transmission, higher mileage vans often require more frequent replacements and repairs. Make sure to factor in these potential costs when evaluating the overall value of a van. 

Types of mileage

Another key aspect to consider is the type of mileage the van has accumulated. Motorway miles are less strain on a vehicle than stop-and-go driving. A well-maintained van with a higher mileage mainly from motorway driving may be more reliable than a lower mileage van that has driven constant urban congestion. 

No matter what size you choose for your campervan the most important thing is having access to all the supplies you need to convert your van into your dream campervan. At Nomadic Leisure we supply all the products you may need whether it’s electrical kits, kitchen appliances or rooflights. Shop our product range today!

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