5 Things You Should Know Before You Begin a Camper Conversion

conversion van

It seems like everyone just breaking into the RV world and lifestyle starts out by converting a van or some cargo trailer into the picture-perfect camper of their dreams. The Instagram-worthy pictures of the custom interiors and layouts seem to confirm this. While converting a van or cargo trailer into a camper can be an incredibly rewarding and successful experience for many people, it’s not a project that everyone should undertake. Here are 5 important things to consider before starting such a project that will help you determine which group you fall into.


A conversion job always starts off being appealing. I mean, who wouldn’t want to create the RV that meets their specific needs and tastes? The problem is converting a van or cargo trailer into a camper is going to take more time than you may realize. It’s an intensive undertaking and to complete the job, you’ll likely need to give up nights, weekends, and even time with family and friends.


While most people opt for a conversion project because buying an RV outright seems expensive, it’s important to know that the conversion you have in mind may not be as cost effective as you think. The costs of buying the shell, materials, supplies, appliances, and other fixtures to outfit the camper can add up quickly, and if you’re not careful, you could spend just as much on your conversion as you might buying a manufactured rig. 


Don’t forget that you’ll need to consider the overall weight of your converted rig, especially if it will be towed by a tow vehicle. You may have grand plans to use lots of high-grade materials and fixtures, but those could end up adding excessive weight to your rig in the end. Do your research on lightweight products to buy and do your calculations carefully any time you decide to add something else to your rig. Keep in mind that the overall weight will also change when you, any of your travel companions, food, clothes, gear, and other supplies are added to the vehicle.


You’ll run into snags. You’ll get tired of working on the conversion. You’ll hate the new flooring even after you spent umpteen hours researching, choosing, and installing the product. Just remember that you’ll need to have patience during a conversion project. If things get too intense for you to handle, step away from the project for a day or two to collect your thoughts and regroup. If you’re serious about creating the converted camper of your dreams, be sure to allow patience to flow freely in your life.

Higher-Than-Average DIY Skills

Patience aside, you should be adept in certain trades, including carpentry, plumbing, and electrical, just to name a few. A conversion project isn’t something you can just hope into fruition – it will take a lot of work to design and lay out the interior, build the pieces you need to build, install plumbing and electric, and so on to make it livable.

Converting a van or cargo trailer is not for the faint of heart. If you have the knowledge, time, patience, and mental and financial wherewithal, and are truly passionate about living the RV lifestyle on your terms, this could be right up your alley.

Have you ever attempted a conversion project? How did it turn out? Let us know in the comments or contact us today!

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