How to Turn a Van Into an RV

Written by eric cedric
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How to Turn a Van Into an RV
Turn a van into a modified camper with some alterations. (van fano Denmark image by david harding from

If your budget does not allow for the purchase of a large and expensive recreational vehicle, try converting a van into a small sleeper camper. The conversion turns a passenger van into a self-contained camper van, with mattress, external solar shower and a small cooler powered off the cigarette lighter plug. Take a day or two to modify your van to turn it into a rolling backcountry changing room.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Ratchet and socket set
  • All-seasons carpet
  • Utility knife
  • Twin size futon mattress or memory foam mattress
  • Small curtain rods and curtains
  • DC powered cooler
  • Plastic storage bins
  • Battery powered fan
  • Battery powered lanterns
  • Solar shower with awning

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  1. 1

    Unscrew all retaining bolts for the bench seats in the van using the ratchet and sockets. Pull the seats out once the bolts are removed. Place the bolts in a zip-lock bag and tape them to the seats to prevent frustrations in locating them should you turn the van back into the original passenger style.

  2. 2

    Measure the floor of the van and cut an appropriate sized piece of the all-seasons carpet to fit on the floor. Push the carpet onto the floor. Slide the futon or memory foam mattress into the back of the van.

  3. 3

    Attach the battery powered fan or fans to the sides of the van so the air is pushed toward the sleeping area. Attach the battery-powered lantern to the side of the van for use when camping. Alternately, store it in a bin and bring it back out when needed.

  4. 4

    Store the camping gear in plastic bins such as those found in home hardware or department stores. Keep a solar-powered shower and awning on one to rig up for showers when camping. Slide the DC-powered cooler toward the front of the camping area and run the power cord to the cigarette plug.

  5. 5

    Attach the curtain rods to the side of the van windows, or use the hooks on the van sides to hang privacy curtains. Use the curtains when sleeping or when privacy is needed.

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