Planning your first camper van
It’s amazing how good VW T5 and T6 transporters are in the snow, especially the 4 Motion of course. It’s a good job too, as the weather recently has reminded us that it’s still winter.
However spring is on its way and thoughts are turning to days away exploring, picnics on the coast and of course the big family holiday.
Recently we’ve seen a steady stream of excited customers working out the exact specifications they want for their van. Cupboard colours, trim colours, flooring colours, RIB seat options, solar panels, diesel heater, under worktop LED lighting, extra windows, USB charge points, Loc8 Table System, valuables safe, bespoke leather trimming, Reimo rail, rear speakers etc etc. The list can become daunting. So where do you start?
Here is our recommendation as to what to do and in which order. And it all starts with getting the van right first.
No matter how many times we warn against it, people sometimes buy the first van they see as they are so excited at the prospect of planning their conversion. They then spend a lot of money getting it converted and live with it day in and day out, constantly irritated because it wasn’t the right van in the first place.
1. Size matters
Decide whether you want a SWB or LWB. SWB remains the most popular amongst customers, as these vans are easier to drive and park. But the LWB will give you 28% more usable floor area inside and allow you to have a longer bed if you need it.
2. Doors matter
Do you want a tailgate, which will give you a bit of protection from the weather when around the back of the van, or do you want barn doors which are easier to open when in a car park for example?
3. Specification matters
If you want A/C, or cruise control, or a heated windscreen etc get a base van that has it already. These are not things that can be easily added later.
4. Some things don’t matter
If you want colour coded bumpers they can be done later, so too can you easily change the wheels or the stereo. You can add aftermarket features at almost any stage too, so don’t worry too much about those things.
Whatever the weight classification (T26, T28, T30 or T32) a conversion will work fine, although T28s and T30s are the most popular. Genuine VW lowering kits are available and can be fitted at any time.
Whether the van has a bulkhead or not makes little difference to the conversion and is not something you should get hung up about (although if you have the choice, no bulkhead is better for us thanks!).
And windows? We can fit them easily, so don’t pay extra for a van simply because it already has windows fitted. But if it already comes with windows, no problem.
And now the real fun can begin….planning the actual conversion!