I’m always amazed at the enthusiastic reactions I get from people when I tell them about our campervan, Trev-the-Prev. Mostly I get a big smile followed by “Oh I’d love to do that!” and I realise that so many people secretly want to ‘live the (campervan) dream’. It was the same for Glyn and I when we hired a campervan on a Groupon three years ago and got bitten by the bug but just didn’t have a hope of affording any van that we’d seen. So now my mission is to create a modern campervan from a panel van for £7000 (all in) and I hope that this will inspire people without a £30k+ budget to get their own and live their dream, too. Here’s how I plan to do it…
After Glyn and I got bitten by the campervan bug in 2014 we started to look around for a van of our own and went to a few of the campervan shows but were dismayed at the prices of these things – £30,000 plus was not unusual. We didn’t need to have a brand new one but still we just couldn’t find anything that we could afford.
Then the magic happened and I came across Bumble Campers who rent out and sell converted Toyota Previas. We tried out one of their campers for a weekend and loved it and was able to buy one for £2,500. Although the camper is a small one, James Kelly’s clever conversion makes it a comfortable van and its footprint is not far off that of a VW Transporter anyway.
Fussy About My Kitchen
But now campervans play a bigger part in my life as I write cookbooks as ‘The Camper Cookie’, so we are feeling the need for something a bit more substantial. As I am so fussy about my kitchen (and having a comfortable bed) we have decided we want to convert our own panel van. We still don’t have a huge budget (Glyn is still supporting 2 families and my business is still in the early stages) so I have set myself a challenge to create our new van for £7000 to include the price of the van, all alterations and interior fittings. I hope that this shows other people that they can do it too and not to sigh and feel it’s hopeless when they see a sexy VW on sale for the price of a deposit for a house.
Simple But Clever Design
Naturally at this price tag the van is not going to be brand new, have oak cabinets or be dripping in chrome but this is not our style anyway. I’m still researching campervan interior designs (yes I am now addicted to Pinterest!) so the van will be fairly simple but use lots of clever little ideas to make it functional and comfortable.
I think I know what sort of kitchen I want now (although this keeps evolving). I prefer to cook outside although after a wet weekend in Yorkshire back in March I now feel that it is important to be able to cook inside if it’s wet and its quite nice to be able to put the kettle on for a morning cuppa while you are still in bed anyway (don’t you just love campervan mornings!). So we are going to have an induction hob inside.
We have one in Trev at the moment and they are brilliant especially as, in my opinion, you may as well make the most of the hook-up if you are paying for it and save the gas for when you really need it. My gas cooker I want to be at the back and portable so we can take it away from the van if we want to but I haven’t quite decided on which one yet.
As for the internal layout I am going to be speaking to some professional van converters to get their opinion and maybe to get them to help us with some of the conversion as neither Glyn or I are DIYers. I’ll be writing up what we find in future blogs.
Vivaro or Trafic
We think that we are pretty much settled on the type of van now and have decided on a Vauxhall Vivaro/ Renault Trafic SWB. These are essentially the same van but with different badges. The tricky bit will be in finding a good one that hasn’t been thrashed as a workhorse but we have found a really knowledgeable husband and wife team (he is an ex-mechanic) who now sell vans who can help us find one. It’s funny isn’t it, when you set your intention and put it out there all the right people just seem to turn up to help you!
So, I’ll keep you updated on our progress and share any of the good ideas, products and designs that come along the way and fingers-crossed we can make the magic happen for £7000 and then you can too.