You dream of just taking your van and driving off? To experience new adventures unbound and spontaneously and to let your soul dangle? Far away from mass tourism and everyday life?
Then get a minicamper and start the expansion!
Which vehicles are suitable for the expansion?
There are many different models for the mini camper conversion. Keeping track of all the vehicles is not so easy.
The most popular models for the extension is the panel van, a van or a transporter. Depending on the vehicle, there are different extension options for your camper.
If you want to start the project "self-development of your camper", you can get a lot of inspiration and tips on social media platforms.
A box car is a simple variant of a camper. The minicamper conversion is done quite quickly and is suitable even for beginners.
The box van is suitable as a minicamper for people for whom a simple, mobile sleeping accommodation is sufficient and who have no problem preparing meals on a camping stove.
The expansion possibilities are limited in this minicamper because of the limited space - so plan every centimeter into the expansion.
Only with the help of good planning can you create enough storage space for a relaxing vacation.
The advantage of the van is the low price. You can get popular models like the Opel Combo, VW Caddy or T5, Renault Trafic or the Ford Courier for a good entry price.
First hand vehicles are of course more expensive than second or third hand vehicles, but more often they are also better maintained.
Once you have found the perfect camper, the self-build of the mini camper can begin.
A minivan offers slightly more space than a panel van. In addition to a sleeping option, most models of the minicamper can also be fitted with additional seating.
Through a well-planned expansion, you can create additional storage space with the help of a high roof. Folding benches and a folding table top also create more space in the minicamper.
With its compact size, the minivan also offers a significant advantage over classic vans: mobility in city traffic is not restricted!
So you can not only discover the wild nature with your camper, but also go on city trips and park anywhere without any problems.
The most popular models include the Chrysler Voyager, VW Sharan and Renault Espace.
High-roof station wagons
When choosing high roof station wagons, such as the Dacia Dokker or Citroën Berlingo, you can get help from the dealer and try them out.
The advantage of the high roof station wagons is the good height of the vehicle. With a little skill you can make the best use of the storage space and on the trips it is possible to stand up in the vehicle due to the optimal standing height.
The high roof station wagon extension is also suitable for beginners.
The popular classic clearly offers the most space and is therefore ideally suited for camper expansion.
In addition to a cozy sleeping accommodation, the van also offers its user the option of installing a small built-in kitchen as well as expanding the storage space with cabinets and shelves.
Due to its size, the mini camper is somewhat more limited in its mobility than the other two variants.
The most popular models include the VW Bus such as the VW T5, Fiat Ducato, Renault Kangoo or Peugeot Boxer.
Mini camper conversion: the most important things summarized
Before the minicamper conversion can start, you should think about some aspects. How should the camper look later? How big should the lying area in the minicamper be? How much storage space do you need? Do you need a table and seating? And how many people should be able to travel in the minicamper?
All these questions have an influence on how the interior of your camper will look like and which minicamper you choose.
The Citroën Berlingo can accommodate a bed of 1.20 x 1.80 m, but this is not true for every car.
High-roof station wagons offer the possibility of standing and sitting upright inside, which can be very beneficial on longer trips.
When expanding, make sure to use the area under the bed for storage.
The right wood for the expansion
To find the right wood for the camper extension is not easy with the large selection and certainly depends on the account of the buyer. Who wants to take light wood, which fits from the price-performance ratio, should choose plywood.
Plywood is the hobby wood par excellence. It is light, easy to process and very stable. Especially poplar is well suited for finishing, because the wood is cheaper and lighter than all other plywood.
Many builders are pleasantly surprised by the results they can achieve with plywood. There are no limits to creativity and ideas when building a mini camper yourself.
However, plywood does have one disadvantage: it is only suitable for interior fittings in a camper because it is not water-resistant.
If you want to use your camper in wind and weather, you should go for somewhat more expensive wood such as screen-printed wood panels or multiplex panels. They are glued and more durable than plywood.
Screen-printed board has a durable brown coating and costs quite little. Otherwise, MDF (medium density fiberboard) panels are also suitable for implementing your DIY ideas. They cost little, but tend to deform in high humidity. For waterproof places in campers these boards are very suitable.
Sleep in the mini camper
Before you start the removal of your mini camper, you should ask yourself whether the driver's seat and passenger seat are enough for you as seating options, or whether you still need a second row of seats.
Because the removal of the bed depends on it. If you don't need the second row of seats, they can be removed, leaving room in the footwell for bulky items like a cooler. If you do want to use the second row of seats, you can use one of the folding conversion options and support the bed on it.
The rule of thumb for the lying surface is: body height + 30 centimeters. In short cars like the Renault Kangoo, you can only manage this by pushing the driver and passenger seats forward. Tall people should better buy a camper or larger camper, such as the Citroën Berlingo XL or VW Caddy Maxi, for self-remodeling. Because there the sleeping areas are larger and offer you and your partner enough space.
You will need plywood or silk-screen panels for the bed conversion. These are insensitive and can be cut free of charge in the hardware store. Both boards are suitable for mini-camper finishing, as they offer the best ratio of stability and weight.
There are different thickness categories of panels, it is best to take at least twelve-milimeter thick wood panels to have sufficient stability. You can conveniently use the space under the bed and the rear as storage space.
Tip: Only build the bed frame high enough so that your head does not touch the roof when you are sitting. A high-roof station wagon, for example, offers different possibilities than a panel van.
Hygiene when traveling with the mini camper
If you need to go to the toilet quickly during the trip, you first have to look for a suitable place or rest stop. If you have your own toilet with you in the minicamper, you clearly have an advantage.
With the inexpensive composting toilet from Boxio you can avoid such problems. The toilet in compact Eurobox format fits in any van and offers an optimal alternative to chemical toilets.
You don't have to worry about unpleasant odors in the minicamper when using it - the toilet is leak-proof! Storage space is no problem either, as the toilet fits under the bed frame in the rear, for example, or in another storage space. Every part of the toilet is easy to clean and is made of recycled plastic.
Thus, the project "hygiene on the road" is not only clean and conveniently solved, but also sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Step by step through the expansion of the camper
To be able to remove your camper without any problems, you should make an appointment at the workshop for a check-up after purchase. Once you have been given the green light, the camper conversion can begin.
To ensure that nothing goes wrong with the camper conversion, you can use these building instructions as an example.
In order to have a good basis to work from, you should measure your camper. The most important are the interior dimensions such as the distance from wall to wall, height, tailgate to backrests of the driver's seats, etc. You also need exact measurements of the vehicle for planning the furniture and lying area.
Transfer the dimensions to a floor plan. There are various apps and programs that can help you with the planning.
Draw the places for the planned furnishings true to size. So that nothing stands in the way of a relaxing tour, you should consider in advance which furnishings you need for a comfortable trip. New windows in the minicamper should also be drawn in the floor plan.
It is also important that you plan the storage space for your hobbies or your dog! Whether bikes, surfboards, fishing equipment, barbecue stuff or kayaks - everything must have its fixed place in the minicamper. Safety always comes first and is only given if all parts are fixed during the journey and cannot fall over.
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