New Builder looking for advice

Hi there, My partner and I are looking to start seeing more of the great outdoor by converting our 1st van as a simple camper. As a newbie, we want to start small. I’m looking into a 2006 Vauxhall Combo van, for a sleeper/lounger build. I want to start planning but dont know where to start. Would love any guidance anyone could give on where to start :slight_smile: Many Thanks :slight_smile:

This could be long… but here are some ideas:)

Create a list of wants and needs. Do a lot of research on price and functionality of products based on your own idea of van life- full-time van lifer, weekender, summertime instavaner,etc.

Set a budget and see what fits in your plans.
Draw and design a layout based on what you perceive as necessary living needs. Modify as you go to adapt to your style. Find or come up with alternatives to what others are doing to become more budget friendly or cost affective alternatives, apply to your needs things that will work sufficiently to preserve the the budget for “ must have items.”
Resources are plentiful, opinions on what works or doesn’t work are plentiful. One design, one heat source, one fridge, one type of insulation, water pump, etc., is not the only choice there are usually a 5-10 different ways of accomplishing the same result. Where will you be parked? How far will you travel? Highway or off road? Will you have sun light or shade? Will you have access to shore power? Battery storage consumption/ usage. Are you working in it does it function for this purpose? Solo or a couple/ dogs? How does the van feel the day to day needs or just the weekend trips?

Understand and know that an expensive price doesn’t necessarily translate into comfort, enjoyment or satisfaction… Make decisions that are informed, read other van lifers experiences people share about success and failures of things they have tried or products used. The more information you gather the better informed you will be to prevent costly mistakes. Judging by the size of your van you will need a heavy dose of priority. A lot of the these vans are 172” WB extended Sprinter…basically a small single wide trailer haha. But also trust your own design and comfort ideas.
The one thing I didn’t do is spend a lot of time combing through other van lifers photos to copy there layout because I wanted to use my own inspiration and ideas for a design. A drew up and created something to scale that I could see put together before installing it that actually gave me a good idea of what I could fit based on space and then filled it in with the accessories for living.
Have a good time building something that is 100% yours - that YOU created and built, design a living experience that will allow you to sit back and relax and say this is everything I wanted it to be:)

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