What are the most important items needed in a campervan

jimjolli

Full Member
Hiya,

I'm about to embark on converting a LWB panel van (Fiat Ducato) into a motorhome.

All you experienced people must have things they wished they had done, or things they wished they hadn't. Maybe a fitted cooker was a waste of time when you can just buy a camping one and stow it away? Maybe a water heater wasn't needed? Maybe you wished you'd installed solar panels? More power outlets? A roof fan? etc?

Any hints, tips and advice would really help me in designing mine.

But I can say now I'm definitely not going to bother with a loo as the idea of s@!tting in my campervan and then having to empty it later is overwhelming, and also if my girlfriend used it, it would need an exclusion zone bigger than Chenobyl afterwards ;)

Jim
 

Asterix

Full Member
There's no one size fits all,it completely depends on how you use your camper,but for me a toilet is an absolute minimum requirement. You might change your mind after having to venture outside at stupid o'clock on a freezing night to do your business,and relying on public toilets can be hit and miss...in fact I'd rather book a holiday to Chernobyl than go without a loo.
 

delicagirl

Full Member
emptying a toilet cassette is nowhere near as awful as you imagine.....

for me - a great heater is essential........ :nicethread:
 

mark61

Full Member
I'd reconsider with the loo. Even if it's just a wee little cube porta potti. Otherwise you are cutting down your options, i.e. staying overnight in a town. You never know if you'll be ill, eaten something dodgy etc. Even if you hardly use it, it's nice to know you have one. The options can be far worse.
 

colinmd

Full Member
Make sure you have enough roof vents/skylights to allow airflow in hot weather, for us a twin hob and grill does all we want for cooking, as for water heater only really needed if you are fitting a shower, otherwise a kettle can supply all your hot water, but saying that we have a Truma combi which is great for keeping the van warm and as a by product produces hot water. We are relatively low power users with only lights, tv which is little used, and fan on heater, but a solar panel is handy (more in summer) for when parked up several days.
 

Obanboy666

Full Member
For me all the creature comforts of home or I wouldn’t bother.
My days of roughing it are long gone so although I only have a mwb Renault based van conversion it has a solar panel, refillable gas, hob, oven, shower, loo and last but not least a tv and satellite.
No way would I be without the loo especially the amount of times I have to go during the night lol !
 

Alf

Full Member
The main thing to consider and do to the best of your ability and expense is fit the most adequate and best insulation you can afford you will end up using the van in cold spells and inadequate insulation will cost you money in heating or by not using the van.
It's a difficult nye impossible job to try to fit insulation after units have been fitted.
Secondly consider fitting heating a Eberspacher will cost nearly a thousand pound but if you are to wild camp worth the extra money.

Alf
 

hairydog

Free Member
There are a few things that are required for it to be registered as a motor caravan. So they are on the "must have" list. Some converters struggle with the requirement of the length of bed, which is silly. The length can be measured corner to corner, like a TV screen, because 'length' is not defined on the rules.

The top priority I would add is a combination feature:
You need good insulation, but it MUST have an effective vapour barrier on the warm side of the insulation, or the bodywork will rot away.
You also need to make sure that cushions, bedding etc has ventilation on their cool side, so slatted (not board) bed bases, small panels to keep cushions off the walls.

After that, it is more a matter of choice. I would design in a toilet, because they make the van vastly more useful and hugely increase the number of places you can stop. But not everyone agrees.

I would install a gas tank, or at least a big refillable. Use gas wherever possible. It's cheaper and lighter than electrical power, Even "free" solar power costs more than autogas.
 
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Wooie1958

Full Member
For me all the creature comforts of home or I wouldn’t bother.
My days of roughing it are long gone so although I only have a mwb Renault based van conversion it has a solar panel, refillable gas, hob, oven, shower, loo and last but not least a tv and satellite.
No way would I be without the loo especially the amount of times I have to go during the night lol !


I`ll second that :wave: particularly the last sentence :scared: :lol-049: :lol-049:
 

phillybarbour

Full Member
There are certain features you have to have if you plan to re-register the vehicle as a campervan.

For example, you have to install a cooker, you cannot use a stowable camping stove.

Have a look at this link;

Converting a vehicle into a motorhome - GOV.UK
That’s a great link for you and very helpful. However you don’t need a cooker and many European vans don’t have them. A two burner hob meets the requirement for cooking.
 

phillybarbour

Full Member
For me, a proper camper needs, toilet, shower, heating and a hob. Without these your nearer to a day van. Given that, if you were going to mainly use sites it would change the requirements.
 
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Sharon the Cat

Full Member
I'd seriously reconsider the loo.
We downsized from a coachbuilt with fixed bed, bathroom & separate shower to a campervan with a rock&roll bed & a porta-potti.
The only place for the porta-potti was at the end of the bed. We coped.
 

REC

Full Member
Definitely reconsider loo for emergencies. We have a portable loo like this....
Sunncamp Lulu Tourlet Portable Compact Camping Festival Toilet | eBay
which was invaluable when I had an upset stomach and nowhere near toilets. Strong container to wee in at night with a she-wee for ladies has been important. Our next van we have decided that a loo will be a must! Shower we can do without but not the loo!
I also have a supply of stoma air freshener sprays which sort out the Chernobyl problem! Tbh we don't use the loo much except as a stool (!) But it is really essential.
 

jimjolli

Full Member
Thanks for all your tips so far. Looks like I may go back to the drawing board regarding the toilet - even if it's just a porta potti and not a whole bathroom.

The top priority I would add is a combination feature:
You need good insulation, but it MUST have an effective vapour barrier on the warm side of the insulation, or the bodywork will rot away.
You also need to make sure that cushions, bedding etc has ventilation on their cool side, so slatted (not board) bed bases, small panels to keep cushions off the walls.

hairydog, thanks for that. Yes, I definitely need to include a vapour barrier, but not sure exactly how much of one I need. I don't want to clog up this thread with vapour barrier questions so I'm going to start a new one and hopefully get some more help there.

Thank you.
 

Roger Haworth

Full Member
In relation to your comments about your girlfriend using the toilet, (which I hope you have shared with her), you can eliminate smells in your toilet compartment by fitting a SOG system. This also means that you do not have to use chemicals to stop the toilet smelling which is much better for the environment and cheaper in the long run. Some people on this forum have the in my view erroneous opinion that SOG systems suck smells to the outside of the van. So long as the appropriate filter is fitted and changed at the first sniff of external smells there should be no problem in this respect. Please see: What is a SOG ? - SOG Toilet Kits, SOG Systems
 

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