Custom conversions in Europe?

Hey there! I just had my first camper van experience: we took a 10-day trip throughout Switzerland in a rented VW California and it was spectacular. My husband and I were so surprised at how cozy were were and how incredibly well we slept in the upper berth. We are now thinking about having a camper van as a second home.

We loved the upper berth sleeping of the California but don’t like the design, style, or other layout choices of it. So we’re interested in a custom camper van: one that keeps the upper berth but uses the rear area for a workspace, as my husband and I can both work remotely from our laptops. I’m also interested in timber clad, shower/toilet, induction instead of propane stovetop, wifi, and a vertically accessible fridge. Maybe even a kitty door in case we get a cat.

I’m American, but we live in Europe right now. Can anyone recommend a European conversion outfitter that could do something like this?



Seems nobody is answering this. Maybe because Europe covers a very large area. If you can get your vehicle to the U.K. (it doesn’t matter if it’s left hand drive) then there are quite a few small companies doing this type of work, a few show their work on YouTube. However, campervan conversions are going through a very busy period here so expect most small companies to have a waitlist. Alternatively it’s not too difficult to build one yourself. I hope this helps in some way.

Hey Gordon, thanks so much for responding! I’ve seen a few UK companies online and with videos. Building one ourselves seems out of our skillset entirely to be honest. We actually live in Ireland currently.

Nice to hear from you. We are also planning on visiting Switzerland after lockdown is lifted, hopefully it won’t be too long.

Considering your post, there are a few companies that I could mention. So much depends on your budget and also what a conversion company is willing to take on. It’s not easy to select a company without seeing or knowing something about who you are about to deal with. Perhaps this is were YouTube has some real benefits. I would suggest viewing two companies on YouTube, I’ve never dealt with either but both come across as being decent. Firstly see “dantheman 321” on YouTube and judge his work for yourself. He works for a company in the North West (near Manchester), has produced some quality work and knows what he is doing. They may not do budget builds or be as flexible as some companies, I may be wrong but that’s the impression I get. However, one that seems flexible is “HughTube” (South of England) he seems to take on more or less anything, he seems to enjoy the challenge of new ideas.

As regards not building it yourself then I understand but keep it in mind. I have never converted a camper-van before and I don’t have any related skills. Whilst I have a good size garage my van was too big to fit inside so I built it in front of my home using borrowed tools and a bench saw from Aldi (£80). The point I am making is that it’s worth keeping a DIY option open. Or how about getting someone to do the difficult bits and you finish it off yourself. It’s both economical and personal (as in custom). My van is viewable at but credit has to go to “Greg Virgo” on YouTube because in order to build my van I watched all his videos and couldn’t have done it without his help.

I hope this inspires you. Summer lies ahead, vaccines may give us our freedom, now is the time to “get cracking” as we say in the U.K. All the best.

Hey there! Thank you thank you so much for such a thoughtful response. Very kind. I’ve bookmarked both youtubers you mentioned as well as your own website.

Have you done the camper van thing in Switzerland before? If not I think you’ll find it to be pretty outstanding. Just in case you haven’t done it yet, I’d like to give you some thoughts of mine, since you were so generous with yours.

The forum won’t let me add links since I’m a new user so I’ll be a little creative.

I found the campsites to be very clean and Covid-safe. The campsites managed by TCS www . tcs . ch /fr/ camping-voyages/camping/ (the official Swiss touring club) are particularly well done, but we stayed at some cool private ones too, including these two:

www – spectacular view! Make sure to take a hike around the lake, and catch a boat that tours Lake Lucerne, maybe stop somewhere for a fondue or visit the cool art museum that’s right at the port when you arrive in Lucerne.

www .camping -morteratsch .ch/ – this one had a spectacular mountain view, plus a dry sauna that you could book privately! plus you could order from a bakery menu the night before and have your favorite fresh baked bread waiting for you in the morning. again, like pretty much all places in Switzerland, seemingly well prepared for covid – with washing-up sinks separated by plexiglas, etc. Make sure to try the local wine, which you can get from the shop in the campsite. The wine of that region (le Grison in French, Graubunden in German) we found to be spectacular, inexpensive, and almost impossible to find outside the region. We’ve scoured Zurich and Geneva for wine from the region and have only found one bottle, and we haven’t tried it yet.

Although it’s Covid-problematic, Switzerland has lots of thermal baths, some of which are out of this world little recreation parks. Just google-map “thermalbad” (German) or “bains thermaux” (French) and you’ll see they’re all over. Check out the one in Locarno for a good example Some might be closed for Covid, or you may not want to go for safety reasons, but if you do go, you’ll enjoy them.

Other cool surprises for us were the Lotschenberg and Vereina Tunnels – both are a train ferry that takes cars through a tunnel through the mountains. It’s incredible; in general Swiss infrastructure engineering is incredible. The roads, even super remote ones, are in amazing condition.

Anyway, I really spouted there. Thanks again, and hope your camping-car trip in Switzerland is a wonderful as ours was.

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Thanks for the tips on Switzerland pigeonsailor. I’ve been in and out of Switzerland a hundred times since the 1960s and have relatives there, but other than Lucerne and its lake have not experienced the other bits you describe. Maybe too much time visiting with family and not seeing the country. They’re on my list now!

That’s exactly been the case with me. My in-laws are Geneva-based and it’s all I ever knew. This trip changed all that. We visited or drove through each of the 26 cantons! It is one of the most spectacular trips I’ve ever taken, and I used to be an international travel writer, so I have a lot of context :wink:

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If you want a VW conversion, check out
It is quite popular UK based enthusiast site focused on Transporters in general and their conversions.

Thanks! I’ve bookmarked it and will take a look.