One of the most important factors on the route to building your own campervan
As well as choosing a vehicle of sufficient size for you and all of your selected equipment, there are many factors to consider and further choices to make. You will sometimes have to sacrifice in some areas to get the best overall vehicle to suit all of your needs.
Are you looking for something traditional, an expedition vehicle or perhaps something quite unique?
Prior to considering a vehicle you will need to carry out your own research. There are many websites and other sources of information to assist you.
There will be pros and cons with a number of vehicles you may be considering. If you are unsure see what conversions have been done on a particular van to see the possibilities available to you.
Engine type, Size and Performance
In this area it is usually a balance between performance and economy, however, the engine in your selected vehicle must be of sufficient power to pull your laden campervan. Some panel vans have petrol engines but most tend to be diesel.
Diesel engines are more efficient, and so, use less fuel for a given mileage, however diesel is more expensive than petrol in general. Diesel engines have more pulling power (torque) in low revs which is a good feature for a campervan.
LPG conversions for petrol vehicles are a good way to save on the cost of fuel. LPG converted vehicles are subject to reduced taxation and are exempt from some congestion charges. LPG conversions cost in the region of £2000. One downside is that the LPG tank will take up precious space that could have been used for something else
Layout & Size
Does the vehicle you have selected suit your design requirements? Can you fit your washroom in and still have space for your bed? Does the door configuration suit the design of the van? Can you fit a window where you want to?
Also, quite importantly, larger vans can be difficult to manoeuvre on smaller streets and be hard to park in town centres. You will also need sufficient space to park your Camper at home without annoying the neighbours!
Measure the dimensions of any potential van and simply draw a plan to scale on squared paper (unless you are a CAD designer by profession). Separately draw all of your vans components: bed, toilet cabinets etc., and lay them on your van plan to see if it all fits.
The height of the van is also important. Some van models have a variety of roof heights to suit your needs. High roof conversions and elevating roofs can also be an option, but can be expensive. The height of the vehicle will also restrict where you go, mostly this will restrict entry to some car parks and remember this is before you have added any skylights or roof vents, satellite dishes or storage units.