Portable vs Fitted Appliances for Cheap First time Build?

Hey, new here!

I’m looking simple options to get started with a first time campervan

As a single person I dont need much space and it will be my first vehicle too so I’ve opted for something like a cheap, older Citroen Berlingo which will be easier to drive and I can get one of those ready made conversion modules to go in the back.

Then add to this with cheap portable appliances that are also ready to use like, a camping toilet, camping stove, a USB shower and bucket, a pop up tent for the shower and toilet, a 12v cooler box and a decent portable power station - like the jackery 500 or 1000 and possibly a solar panel or 2 to go with it. Also might need to get a diesel heater fitted by someone if I cant find a suitable portable heater. Ill probably have to boil water for my showers since I wont have a gas system fitted meaning ill also have to be creative with my meals as I wont have gas to run the cooler box 24/7.

I do like this idea though because I dont need to mess about with DIY installing things, learning etc and can get on the road enjoying my travels and moving from campsite to campsite working where ever I have internet connection. Thats the other thing I need - a decent 4g/5g router/roof booster


The other part of me is really attracted to the idea of designing a larger build, something like a Ford Transit, and spending more time and money, obviously learning all the DIY thats needed along the way and just building the ultimate home on wheels thats going to be much nicer to live in in the long run.

To help me decide, I was wondering if anyone out there can share their experiences living in a smaller van/car conversion getting by with just the essential portable equipment rather than fully fitted electrics/gas etc, whether that has worked for you while full time touring or whether it led to regret later on and needing to upgrade? If so what was it that became bothersome?

I suppose I could do both, starting with option 1 while I figure out my needs and save up for the bigger project. But, lets say the Citroen Berlingo, conversion module + all the portable gear costs a total of £4000 - how would this compare to kind of build I could expect if I spend that £4000 on a Ford Transit, electric/gas system, other materials and fitting it all myself?

Or spending the £4000 on an older prebuilt camper or caravan?

I guess I want the best bang for buck really, and I dont mind spending more, I just want to avoid wasting money if you think Ill only end up wanting to upgrade later anyway

Thanks for reading, I look forward to hearing about your setups, whats worked and whats not and what you think would be the best way in for me :slight_smile:

Cheers, Dave