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Van Life Guide: How To Build A DIY Camper Van Conversion

A DIY van conversion can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands. Knowing what’s possible to put in your camper will help give you an idea of what you want vs what you need. There is no right way to convert a van to a camper. It does not take an expert or a skilled carpenter to build a van.

We’ve created this guide to help you decide how to build your camper. We’ve spent over two years living in a converted camper van and conversed with hundreds of other vanlife experts to give you the best van life ideas. Below you’ll find the most up to date information about how to build a DIY camper conversion.

DIY Camper Electrical System

This topic is so big it deserves it’s own section. On our Electricity Main Page we go over everything you need to know about a DIY electric systems. You’ll find detailed posts on all parts of the system.

Use the solar calculator to find how much power you need to build your own solar system. Complete with parts recommendations and wiring diagrams. 



Living In A Van

Van life isn’t for everyone. Whether you’ve come here looking for adventure – or life circumstances led you to this website – there are a number of ways to make your van life journey more enjoyable. Mindset is the #1 factor in having a great time when living in a van.

You’ll quickly find that minimalism is essential. Proper planning will get you far. And the journey is the destination. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, meet with other van lifers and make adjusts to your van or lifestyle while you’re on the go.

Van Life Gear: At A Glance

These are some of the most common components you’ll find in a DIY camper van conversion. This is not an inclusive, or comprehensive list. It should be used as a resource to get the wheels spinning on what type of van you want to build.

We have product reviews and build guides to help you install nearly everything listed below.

Heating & Cooling

12v Refrigerators & Coolers


Toilet Solutions

Shower Ideas

Water Containers

Plumbing Components


Solar Panels & Charge Controllers


Inverters & Inverter/Chargers

Electric Accessories

Interior Extras

Recommended Van Life Essentials Packing List

What do you need to live in a van? We have years of experience living in a diy camper and have put together a packing list to give you an idea of what to bring along. You’ll find everything from what to wear, safety equipment, van maintenance supplies and things to keep you more comfortable on the road. We hope this will help you get an idea of what it’s like living in a van.


Van Life Product Reviews

We’ve reviewed the most popular products made specifically for do it yourself camper van conversions. Everything on our list packs down small, runs off 12v DC power, and is energy efficient – keeping solar power in mind.


About Us Your Guide To #vanlife, Camping And RV Living

Hello! We are Kate, Ian and Harper. We spent over two years living in a DIY camper van and visiting 48 US states. Along the way, we've met with other van lifers, checked out their rigs, and learned a lot about adventure travel. We hope this site can help you plan your next road trip.

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