It’s Possible to Create a Homemade Camper Van with The Right Amount of Patience
As the idea of van life gains popularity, we’ve found that the internet and social media channels are packed with beautiful photos of DIY camper van conversions. When you see the before and after pictures from these projects, it’s easy to get frustrated or overwhelmed by the process of gutting a van, renovating it for full-time use, and decorating it with a picture-perfect design.
That’s why we want to spotlight a pair of travelers who created a beautiful and unique DIY camper van with no experience! They had passion, a great idea, and enough time to create their ideal van. We’ll be following the journey of Crystal and Brian, the operators of the vanhalla adventures™ YouTube channel.
The full video of their renovation/walkthrough is posted below, and we’ll also provide details about this impressive DIY project. Crystal and Brian’s work can be emulated by anyone who dreams of packing up their old life and hitting the road! Plus, you can take inspiration from their unique decorations and style as you dream up your own ideal van design. Let’s get started!
Van Basics and Renovation Overview
The van that is featured in this renovation is a 2019 Dodge Ram Promaster that is lovingly nicknamed “Beatrice the White Whale.” It’s a fitting title because this large white van stretched the patience of Crystal and Brian while they worked on her!
The goal was to complete the renovation in 3 months, but instead, it took 9 months. But finally, they were able to catch their white whale and pursue their dream of a life on the road.
The owners were able to secure this vehicle when it was basically new. It had only been driven for 10 miles when they bought it, and it was a new model from that same year. As such, there was very little wear and tear.
This van has enough space for 33 gallons of fresh water and a 7-gallon water heater. This comes in handy for showers, cooking, cleaning, and much more.
The cab on this DIY camper van is pretty basic. They didn’t need to change much to keep it functional. Some solar panel batteries, heaters, and other utilities are installed in the cab.
There is a fabric curtain that hangs behind the driver and passenger seats. This helps the owners focus while they drive, so they’re not distracted by anything in their living space. In addition, when they’re in the van’s living space, they don’t have to look at the steering wheel and dashboard.
The passenger seat was retrofitted so that it could swivel. This lets it act as another place to sit whether you’re driving or parked for the night. The curtain can be adjusted so that the passenger’s seat is out in the open, while the rest of the cab is still obscured.
There’s a small cubby behind the driver’s seat that is used to store extra shoes and cleaning supplies. Tall items like brooms and mops tuck neatly into this space.
The kitchen is a very fun feature of this van. It’s fairly compact and multi-functional, which is perfect for camper vans. The countertop consists of a single slab of wood, and the outer edge maintains the raw, organic look. Where the countertop meets the window is a small trough that is used to store hand soap, produce, and some fresh plants.
The sink includes two faucets. One is outfitted with extra filtration, so it’s mainly used for drinking water. The other is more general and can be used for dishwashing, cleaning, etc. A thick cutting board insert covers the sink opening most of the time, but it can be removed as needed. Real subway tile backsplash brings the whole space together!
The cabinets below the sink store a custom-made trash can and a cooler-style fridge and freezer. Another drawer contains a small propane/butane stove that can be used without taking it out of the cabinet.
The storage solutions above the kitchen space are clever. There’s a hanging net that is used to store produce, while magnetized spices hang underneath the main cabinet. Across from the kitchen are more cabinets that contain dishes and shelf-stable ingredients.
The bedroom is big enough to accommodate a queen bed (albeit one that was cut slightly to fit the space). There’s a nook on both sides of the bed. These spaces include cupholders, hooks for hanging electronics, charging stations, shelves, and a small cabinet for jewelry. The bed faces a pair of upper cabinets that contain clothes.
The bedroom is accessible through the living room, or through the rear doors of the van. If you want an open-air bedroom for the evening, this is entirely possible! Suspended shoe storage space is also installed on the rear doors. There’s a large storage space under the bed as well. Additional utilities are installed in this space.
The living room in this DIY camper van is one of the coolest parts! It’s a multi-functional space that can change according to the needs of the passengers. This space had to be a lot of things at once, including a workspace for two people, a dining area, a couch, a bed, and a makeup station.
This is possible because of the modular design. There are two permanent padded seats with backrests. These face a small table that’s big enough to fit two opposite-facing laptops. This table has a flip-up top that contains a mirror, lights, and an entire makeup kit.
The table can also be lowered and connected to the benches. Once you place a cushion on top, the piece transforms into a couch. Once you lower the backrest of one bench, it can also be used as a second bed. In addition, the benches are hollow so that they can be used for extra storage. It’s a perfect all-in-one design!
The bathroom is small but surprisingly efficient for a DIY camper van! Figuring out plumbing can be difficult, especially if you have no experience. This van features a shower with a detachable nozzle. There are built-in shelves in the wall that contain soaps, shampoos, and other bathroom essentials.
When the shower is not being used, this space is also home to a compostable toilet. These toilets help van lifers conserve water and recycle waste into something useful. The toilet has to be removed before you can take a shower, but it’s a decent tradeoff for a van bathroom that’s this nice!
There’s so much more to this DIY van camper than we can fit in one post. We encourage you to watch the full video so you can get an idea of the ins and outs of this great design. There are a few additional features that are worth mentioning, though.
First of all, there are powerful exterior LED lights on the front, back, and sides of this van. These help illuminate the area if you need to work when it’s dark outside. The lights are controlled with buttons that are accessible from the driver’s seat.
A fan is installed above the kitchen to prevent fumes and smoke from building up. This helps push air out and draw air in, depending on your needs.
This DIY camp van is also equipped with solar panels on the roof. This helps the whole setup be more self-sustaining. As a fun decorative touch, there are also lots of nooks for plants and decorations. After all, what’s the point of having a van if you can’t make it fun?
Do You Have Van Build Already?
This awesome build just goes to show what a little determination and a lot of planning and patience can accomplish. Has seeing @vanhalla_adventures van inspired you to start your own DIY camper van? Or do you already have a great build setup? Let us know in the comments.