loch ness

Wild Camping in a campervan: Scotland’s top 10 locations

Scotland’s untamed landscapes, rugged mountains, and pristine lochs make it a paradise for wild camping enthusiasts. With its legal right to roam, Scotland offers a wealth of breathtaking spots to park your campervan and immerse yourself in nature’s embrace.

In this blog post, we will guide you through the 10 best wild camping spots in Scotland, where you can experience the sheer beauty and tranquillity of the country while enjoying the comfort and freedom of your campervan


Glen Etive

Located in the Highlands, Glen Etive is a true gem for wild campers. With its winding single-track road and magnificent views of Ben Starav and Buachaille Etive Mor, it offers a picturesque setting for campervan adventurers.

Pitch your campervan along the banks of the River Etive and wake up to the sounds of rushing water and chirping birds. Be sure to explore the nearby hidden waterfalls and enjoy scenic hikes through the glen.


Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond and its surrounding Trossachs National Park are a paradise for nature lovers. The eastern shore of Loch Lomond offers several wild camping spots, such as Sallochy Bay and Cashel Campsite.

Park your campervan near the water’s edge and enjoy stunning sunsets, tranquil boat rides, and invigorating hikes along the loch.



Situated in the northwest Highlands, Assynt is famous for its dramatic mountain peaks, including Suilven and Quinag.

Campervan enthusiasts can find several wild camping spots along Loch Assynt, such as Ardvreck Castle and Clachtoll Beach. Immerse yourself in the remote and rugged beauty of the area, surrounded by ancient landscapes and breathtaking vistas.


Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye captivates visitors with its otherworldly landscapes and mystical charm. Wild campers in campervans will find enchanting spots like the Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle or the Quiraing, offering sweeping views of cliffs and rock formations.

Wake up to the Isle of Skye’s ethereal beauty and explore its many hiking trails, hidden waterfalls, and captivating fairy-tale scenery.


Glen Coe

Glen Coe is a glacial valley in the Highlands renowned for its dramatic peaks and stunning vistas. Campervan enthusiasts can find wild camping spots along the A82, with breathtaking views of Buachaille Etive Mor and the Three Sisters.

Witness the ever-changing light play on the rugged landscapes and explore the numerous hiking trails that meander through this iconic Scottish glen.


Sandwood Bay

For those seeking a remote and untouched coastal camping experience, Sandwood Bay in Sutherland is a must-visit.

Accessible via a four-mile hike from the nearest car park, this pristine beach rewards campervan adventurers with its vast stretches of golden sand and dramatic sea stacks.

Spend your day beachcombing, exploring the sea caves, and revelling in the tranquillity of this secluded paradise.


Loch Morlich

Nestled in the Cairngorms National Park, Loch Morlich is a stunning freshwater loch surrounded by pine forests and mountain peaks.

Campervan travellers can park near the loch and enjoy its pristine beauty, with opportunities for water sports, hiking, and simply basking in the tranquillity of nature.

The nearby Cairngorm Mountain offers breathtaking views and hiking trails for those seeking further adventure.


Loch Ness

Known worldwide for its mythical monster, Loch Ness also offers wild camping opportunities along its scenic shores.

Park your campervan near the loch and soak in the mystique of this famous waterbody. Explore the ruins of Urquhart Castle, take a boat tour to search for Nessie, and enjoy the peacefulness of the surrounding Scottish Highlands.


Glen Affric

Glen Affric, often referred to as the most beautiful glen in Scotland, is a haven for wild camping enthusiasts.

Campervans can park near the glen, surrounded by ancient Caledonian pine forests and pristine lochs.

Enjoy leisurely walks, hike the Affric Kintail Way, and revel in the serenity of this untouched wilderness.



Lochaber, also known as the Outdoor Capital of the UK, offers an abundance of wild camping opportunities.

From the iconic Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles, to the stunning Glencoe Valley, campervan adventurers will find breathtaking spots to park amidst the awe-inspiring scenery.

Explore the Jacobite Steam Train, hike along the West Highland Way, or simply enjoy the tranquillity of Lochaber’s natural wonders.


Pack up and embrace the freedom of Scotland

Scotland’s wild camping spots provide campervan adventurers with an unparalleled opportunity to immerse themselves in the country’s untamed beauty.

Whether it’s the majestic glens of Glen Coe and Glen Etive, the mystical allure of the Isle of Skye, or the remote coastal charm of Sandwood Bay, each destination offers its own unique experience.

As you embark on your wild camping journey, remember to respect the environment, follow local regulations, and leave no trace.

So, pack your campervan, embrace the freedom of the road, and discover the 10 best wild camping spots in Scotland that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

most reliable vans to convert into a campervan

10 campervan conversion mistakes to avoid

Converting a campervan is a massive job, especially if you don’t have any experience. While nothing compares to the feeling of accomplishment after converting a van yourself, there are plenty of mistakes you can make and problems you can encounter.

Mistakes and problems can set your build back months or even derail your conversion completely. In this blog, we look at some common campervan conversion mistakes and alternative van conversion options that can shorten your build time and help you avoid costly errors.


1. Assuming you can do everything yourself

The first campervan conversion mistake people make is thinking they can do everything themselves. Even the most experienced converters may rely on outsourcing some of the work. 

For example, gas and electricity are critical to the van’s operation, so getting them wrong can mean your vehicle doesn’t operate well enough to be on the road. Also, getting your gas and electrics wrong can be dangerous, and you don’t want to put yourself, your loved ones or potential renters in a treacherous situation.

Solution: think carefully about your skillset and what you can do yourself. And if you aren’t 100% sure you can execute the task to ensure the van’s operational use and safety, look for someone who can.

Campervan conversion specialist vs DIY conversion: which one should you pick?


2. Rushing your van purchase

If you rush into buying a van, you can buy the wrong one. While every converter is keen to get on the road, it’s always better to consider what van suits your lifestyle and budget.

If you rush into a purchase and spend £15,000 on a van you can’t use, you may have to knock some money off the resale price, diminishing your budget and putting your project on hold.

Solution: conduct extensive research into the van you require, and take someone along to get a second opinion when you view a van. If you don’t feel comfortable buying a van, converters like the team at Bhode Vans can help you get the right van for your conversion.

5 best large vans to convert into a campervan

10 most reliable vans to convert into a campervan


3. Not inspecting the van

If you’ve got the right van for your conversion, you want it to live up to your expectations. While we always advise reading reviews and asking other campers about their experience with a vehicle, every campervan is different, and reviews can only tell you so much.

Not inspecting the van can leave you open to faults you could have spotted earlier, meaning you may have to do more work to the vehicle before you can begin your conversion. 

Solution: If you know a mechanic, take one along to your viewing. A mechanic will have inside knowledge of potential faults, and they can check paperwork to ensure the van is in working order. If you don’t know a mechanic, consider using a converter to source your van.


4. Not addressing dampness

Like rust, dampness can ruin your conversion and leave you with a useless van or a hefty bill to make your van liveable. Much like rust, people tend to ignore dampness. Most people don’t want to deal with it in their homes!

Plus, having damp in your van will ruin the experience you sought when deciding to convert a van. Nobody wants to sit or sleep in a wet, cold van that can damage your experience and health.

Solution: consider the airflow in your van, and use air vents and other equipment like heaters to keep fresh air circulating and your van warm.


5. Missing or ignoring rust

Any vehicle owner will be aware that rust is a huge problem. Vans spend plenty of time on the road in various weather conditions, making them more prone to rust. Vans also travel on uneven ground more than cars, meaning they’re more likely to pick up unwanted debris. 

It’s also worth considering that most vans won’t have been the pride and joy of the owner’s life. They usually have a service purpose and won’t get the treatment of a classic car. Unless it’s part of a large company fleet, when do you ever see a pristine service van?

Checking and dealing with rust is even more vital when converting a van. You could do plenty of work to the vehicle only to find out you need to dismantle what you’ve done to deal with rust issues. Rust can even stop your project altogether if it’s serious, which is devastating.

Solution: check. And double-check. Ask someone else to check. If you’re unsure, hire a professional, as they know what to look for.


6. Mismanaging your budget

While it may seem simple, poor budgeting is one of the most common campervan conversion mistakes people make when converting a van. Converting a van for the first time can lead to numerous cost obstacles that could hinder your journey.

Mismanaging your budget can delay your time to get on the road or lead you to take out finance agreements or loans to cover any unexpected costs. While it’s hard to stick to an exact budget, ensure your costs don’t spiral and derail your project.

Solution: Give yourself an emergency fund. If you have £20,000 to spend on your conversion, use £15,000 as your budget. If you incur any unexpected costs, you have a safety buffer. Alternatively, you can work with a converter who will understand how to utilise your budget and may have standardised packages with a fixed fee.

How much does a campervan conversion cost?


7. Using poor tools and materials

Buying and using poor tools can affect the quality of your build. If you use substandard materials, the life of your van could decline, and you may end up redoing the work you planned to do once.

Using poor tools and materials can also affect your budget, as buying cheap and expecting results can often lead to spending double what you originally planned.

Solution: While everyone wants a good deal on materials and tools, don’t cut corners and expect results. You’re using the van, so you want the experience to be as pleasurable as possible. And if you aren’t sure how to save money and get the best tools and materials, ask an experienced professional.


8. Not meeting DVLA criteria

The worst feeling in the world is getting your dream van to discover you can’t drive it! You’re left looking at the camper you’re supposed to enjoy while reversing the process and spending more time and money to make the van road-legal.

While nothing is stopping you from converting a van into a camper van, there are specific requirements your van must meet for it to be roadworthy, such as the van’s internal and external features.

Solution: always make any changes with DVLA criteria in mind, and if you aren’t sure if you can make the change, check with the DVLA or someone who has experience making campervans roadworthy.

DVLA requirements for van conversion: How to make your van road-legal


9. Not understanding the best layout

Many factors affect the best layout for a van, such as the type of van you choose, your sleeping arrangements, water and gas storage, general storage and seat and table positioning. 

And there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to determining your layout unless you have experience with a particular van. Even converters customise their standardised builds to suit a customer’s needs.

Picking the correct layout is one of the most stressful parts of converting your van, and you’ll probably change your mind a few times! The good thing about the format is that it can be changed if you make a mistake or have to reconsider something, but it will come at a cost. And if you’re on a budget, you’ll want to ensure you get it right the first time.

Determine your van layout by your lifestyle. What’s important to you may not be to another campervan owner. You’ll need to consider plenty of lifestyle factors, such as how you will use the van, how much you cook and the climate of the areas you’ll be travelling to.

Solution: Stick an airbed in your van and go travelling. Travelling in your van will give you an idea of what you need and what to leave out. You could also rent a pre-built version of the vehicle you intend to purchase and look at the strengths and weaknesses. You may end up buying a different van! And speak to people who have converted a van at gatherings, forums and Facebook groups.


10. Not considering alternatives

While you may have your heart set on a DIY campervan conversion, it might not be the best way to get the van of your dreams. As we’ve discussed, there are plenty of pitfalls when converting a van yourself, and it can be easier to take the stress away and choose a quicker alternative.

Buying a pre-built van is the quickest way to get on the road. You can buy a second-hand van conversion or buy a new van. Buying a new van is expensive, and you could spend upwards of £50,000. 

Buying a second-hand van is cheaper, with plenty of great deals on the market. You won’t have the sense of achievement you get with converting a van, but you can always use the van for a couple of years before you start a build.

You can also use a converter. A conversion is a happy medium between doing it yourself and buying a pre-built van. You still get to retain some creative control and add personal touches while taking away the stress and time of building the van yourself. Basic builds usually start at £15-20k and aren’t as expensive as buying a new van.

Solution: consider all your options and pick the one that suits you. Sometimes, what you want isn’t what you need, and converting a van yourself is never off the table.


Need more conversion advice? Get in touch!

Bhode Vans has been converting vans since 2019, so we know a thing or two about the best options. Plus, we’ll only recommend the build we think is right for you, whether converting a van yourself or using our van conversion service. Avoid these campervan conversion mistakes and see how we can help you build your dream van.

Devon & Cornwall Campervan Guide: 14 Day Itinerary

Roaming the South West: Planning a campervan adventure in Devon and Cornwall

Devon and Cornwall, nestled in the southwestern corner of England, are a treasure trove of breathtaking landscapes, rugged coastlines, and rich history. A campervan trip through these picturesque counties promises an unforgettable adventure.

In this itinerary, we’ll guide you through the must-visit destinations and activities for an incredible campervan holiday. Whether you have two weeks or two months, Devon and Cornwall await your exploration. So, rev up your campervan, pack your bags, and let’s embark on an epic journey through these stunning regions.


Devon and Cornwall Campervan Itinerary
Arrival in Exeter, Devon

Begin your adventure in Exeter, the capital of Devon. Explore the historic Exeter Cathedral and take a stroll along the picturesque Quayside. It’s also a great time to stock up on supplies for your campervan journey.


Dartmoor National Park

Head west to Dartmoor National Park, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Hike through the dramatic landscapes, visit ancient stone circles, and don’t forget to spot the famous Dartmoor ponies. Camping options are available within the park for an authentic campervan experience.


North Devon Coast

Drive north to the North Devon Coast and explore charming coastal towns like Ilfracombe and Woolacombe. Soak up the sun on the sandy beaches, try your hand at water sports, and savour a delicious seafood meal at a local seaside restaurant.


Cornwall’s North Coast

Cross the border into Cornwall and make your way to the stunning North Cornwall coast. Discover the iconic Tintagel Castle, perched on rugged cliffs, and explore the picturesque village of Port Isaac, famous for its appearance in the TV series “Doc Martin.”


Newquay and the Surfing Scene

Head to Newquay, known as the surf capital of the UK. Whether you’re an experienced surfer or a beginner, you can take lessons and ride the waves at one of Newquay’s beautiful beaches.


St. Ives and the Tate Gallery

Drive to St. Ives, a picturesque town known for its artistic heritage. Visit the Tate St. Ives art gallery, explore the narrow streets of galleries and boutiques, and relax on the stunning Porthmeor Beach.


Penzance and the South Coast

Travel to Penzance on Cornwall’s south coast. Explore the historic town, visit the enchanting St. Michael’s Mount (accessible by foot at low tide), and take a scenic coastal drive to Land’s End, the westernmost point of England.


The Lizard Peninsula

Discover the rugged beauty of the Lizard Peninsula. Hike along the South West Coast Path, visit the famous Lizard Point lighthouse, and explore picturesque fishing villages like Coverack and Cadgwith.


Falmouth and Maritime Heritage

Drive to Falmouth, a maritime town steeped in history. Explore the National Maritime Museum, take a boat trip along the Fal River, and enjoy a waterfront meal at one of the town’s excellent restaurants.


Return to Exeter and Farewell

Conclude your campervan journey by returning to Exeter. Spend your final day revisiting any favourite spots or discovering new ones in this charming city. Reflect on the incredible memories you’ve made during your Devon and Cornwall campervan holiday.


Discover the magic of Devon and Cornwall

A campervan trip through Devon and Cornwall offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, coastal adventures, and cultural exploration.

So, embark on this epic adventure, soak in the stunning scenery, and create lasting memories on your Devon and Cornwall campervan holiday. Your campervan is your ticket to a world of exploration, and these two counties have it all.


Build your dream campervan and get on the road to the South Coast!

If you’re thinking about converting a van into a campervan, we can help get you ready to hit the road. We can even help you source a van. If you’d like to learn more about campervan conversions visit our educational blog, and if you can’t wait to get going submit an enquiry today.

Wales Campervan Guide: 14 Day Itinerary

Are you planning a family campervan adventure? Look no further than Wales! This picturesque country is a treasure trove of stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture.

In this 14-day itinerary, we’ll guide you through the must-visit destinations and activities for an unforgettable family campervan trip around Wales.


Day 1: Cardiff – The Campervan Kickoff

Kickstart your journey in the heart of Wales’s capital, Cardiff. Explore historic Cardiff Castle, take a stroll along Cardiff Bay, and savour the local cuisine. Cardiff offers numerous family-friendly attractions to begin your adventure.

Day 2: Gower Peninsula – Beach Bliss

Embark on a westward journey to the Gower Peninsula, the first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Wales. Discover pristine beaches, hike along scenic coastal trails, and create family memories against the backdrop of Worm’s Head at Rhossili Bay.

Day 3: Pembrokeshire Coast National Park – Nature’s Playground

Drive to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Here, you can enjoy thrilling hikes, family-friendly surfing lessons, and wildlife watching in a breathtaking setting.

Day 4: St. Davids and Preseli Hills – History and Hikes

Explore St. Davids, the UK’s smallest city, and marvel at St. Davids Cathedral. Head to the Preseli Hills for family hikes and a visit to ancient bluestone quarries that may have supplied Stonehenge.

Day 5: Aberystwyth – Coastal Charm

Travel north to Aberystwyth, a coastal town offering the Vale of Rheidol Railway, seafront promenades, and the National Library of Wales. Ideal for a relaxing family day.

Day 6: Snowdonia National Park – Mountain Magic

Head to Snowdonia National Park, an outdoor playground. Hike up Mount Snowdon, explore charming villages like Beddgelert, and let your family immerse in the awe-inspiring mountain scenery.


Day 7: Portmeirion and Harlech Castle – Whimsy and History

Discover the whimsical village of Portmeirion and Harlech Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The family can enjoy stunning views of Snowdonia and the coast here.

Day 8: Conwy and Llandudno – Coastal Delights

Visit Conwy with its medieval castle and charming town walls, then head to Llandudno, a Victorian seaside resort. Stroll along the promenade and create lasting family memories.

Day 9: Anglesey – Island Adventure

Cross over to the Isle of Anglesey, known for its beautiful beaches and historic sites. Explore Beaumaris Castle, hike the Anglesey Coastal Path, and indulge in fresh seafood.

Day 10: North Wales Coast – Sandy Escapades

Drive along the North Wales Coast, exploring family-friendly towns like Rhyl and Prestatyn. Enjoy sandy beaches and seaside attractions along this scenic route.

Day 11: Llangollen – Scenic Serenity

Head to Llangollen in the Dee Valley. The family can relish a steam train ride on the Llangollen Railway and explore the awe-inspiring Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 12: Brecon Beacons National Park – Nature’s Playground

Travel south to the Brecon Beacons National Park. Hike in the rugged landscape, explore waterfalls like Sgwd yr Eira, and stargaze in one of the UK’s Dark Sky Reserves.

Day 13: Hay-on-Wye and Hereford – Literary and Cultural Exploration

Visit the town of books, Hay-on-Wye, famous for its bookshops and literary festivals. Cross the border to England to explore Hereford, a cathedral city, before returning to Wales.

Day 14: Return to Cardiff – Journey’s End

Wrap up your adventure in Cardiff. Take your time exploring any remaining attractions, shopping for souvenirs, or enjoying a delicious meal in one of the city’s family-friendly restaurants.

With this 14-day campervan itinerary, your family is set for a memorable adventure through Wales. From the stunning coasts of the Gower Peninsula to the majestic peaks of Snowdonia, Wales offers a rich tapestry of experiences.

Build your dream campervan and get on the road to Wales!

If you’re thinking about converting a van into a campervan, we can help get you ready to hit the road. We can even help you source a van. If you’d like to learn more about campervan conversions visit our educational blog, and if you can’t wait to get going submit an enquiry today.

bespoke campervan conversion

DVLA requirements for van conversion: How to make your van road legal

Van conversions are becoming more popular in the UK. As people seek to live alternative lifestyles, look for fun ways to travel or want to show off their superior DIY skills to other conversion fanatics.

Converting a van isn’t an easy task for most people, so you have to know your stuff when it comes to making a van road legal, even if you don’t perform the conversion yourself.

It is always good to know what questions to ask a converter. That way, you can get an idea if they know how to build a road-legal van. Here is our guide to the DVLA requirements for van conversions.

Is converting a van to a camper van legal?

The short answer here is yes. Nothing is stopping you from converting a van into a camper van in UK law. However, there are specific internal and external criteria that your van must meet if you intend to have it recognised as a motor caravan (home) by the DVLA.

What is the DVLA, and why is it important?

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has to record vehicle details for road safety and enforcement. The DVLA needs a clear external description of the vehicle to identify and pass on information to the police or other enforcement boards.

Check your VC5 Registration Certificate (logbook)

The DVLA will only consider changing your vehicle to a motor caravan (home) if the following body types are on your VC5 Registration Certificate (section D.5):

  • Ambulance
  • Box van
  • Goods
  • Insulated van
  • Light goods
  • Light van
  • Livestock carrier
  • Luton van
  • Minibus
  • MPV (multi-purpose vehicle)
  • Panel van
  • Specially fitted van
  • Special mobile unit
  • Van with side windows

Do I need to change the body type?

campervan conversion cost

Body type is only used to characterise the vehicle’s appearance in traffic. There are no insurance, legislative or speed limit requirements. With that in mind, if the van satisfies all the internal specifications for a motor home, you won’t need to apply to change the body type.

However, if you do wish to change the body type of your vehicle, the DVLA must be satisfied it meets all the external criteria for a motor home. In short, your vehicle’s body type will not be changed unless the exterior looks like a motor caravan in traffic.

Requirements for changing vehicle body type to motor caravan
The DVLA will only consider changing your vehicle body type to a motor caravan (home) if it meets the following criteria:

1. The body type shown in your VC5 logbook is one of the above
2. Your motor caravan meets all the exterior permanent features criteria
3. Your motor caravan meets all the interior features criteria

If the body type in the form isn’t the one listed above, the DVLA won’t process your application. If you intend on changing the body type, always check the body type on the VC5 logbook before you buy the vehicle, and if you don’t feel confident, your converter may be able to source a vehicle for you.

What are a motor caravan’s permanent external features criteria?

Here is a list of the criteria the DVLA uses to describe the external features of a motor caravan, which is what they will use to consider your application:

  • Two or more windows on at least one side of the main body (this does not include windows on the driver or passenger doors) to provide a reasonable amount of daylight into the living accommodation
  • A separate door provides access to the living accommodation of the vehicle (this excludes the driver and passenger doors); a window on this door counts as a separate window on the main body
  • Motor caravan-style graphics on both sides of the vehicle
  • An awning bar attached to either side of the vehicle
  • A high-top roof (this does not include a pop-top elevating roof)

The DVLA will also require photographic evidence of the completed conversion.

What are a motor caravan’s internal features criteria?

A motor caravan is a special M-category vehicle which is constructed with basic living equipment and is split into four categories. The vehicle must meet the criteria in all four categories

1. Seats and a table
2. Sleeping accommodation, which may be converted from the seats
3. Cooking facilities
4. Storage facilities

All equipment must be fixed except the table, which can be designed to be removed easily.

Category 1: Seats and table

The vehicle must meet the following criteria:

  • They shall be an integral part of the vehicle living accommodation area, mounted independently of other items
  • A table mounting arrangement shall be secured as a permanent feature, although the table top may be detachable
  • Permanent secure seating must be fixed to the floor or sidewall and available for use at the table

Category 2: Sleeping accommodation

The sleeping accommodation:

  • Shall be an integral part of the vehicle living accommodation area
  • Can be either beds or beds converted from seats
  • Must be secured as a permanent feature, either with the base structure of the vehicle floor or to the side wall, unless the sleeping accommodation is provided over the driver’s cab compartment

Category 3: Cooking facilities

Your conversion must have a minimum of a single-ring cooking facility or microwave, which shall be secured directly to the vehicle floor or side wall as a permanent feature.
If an on-board gas supply fuels the cooking facility:

  • The fuel reservoir must be secured in a storage cupboard, or the reservoir must be secured to the vehicle structure

If the cooking facility is fuelled by gas with a remote fuel supply:

  • The fuel supply pipe must be permanently secured to the vehicle structure

Category 4: Storage facilities

The storage facilities:

  • Can be a cupboard or locker
  • Form an integral part of the vehicle living accommodation, mounted independently of other items, unless incorporated below the seat, sleeping accommodation or cooker
  • Must be secured permanently to the vehicle floor or side wall except when the storage facility is over the driver’s cab compartment

While it isn’t necessary to submit a motor home conversion application if only making internal changes, it makes sense to follow the criteria set out by the DVLA.

It’s also worth speaking with The Vehicle and Driving Standards Agency and insurance companies to ensure your van is roadworthy and covered for any accidents.

There could also be benefits of registering your van as a leisure vehicle, such as reduced MOT and insurance costs.

How to keep your campervan safe

Do I need to fill out a motor caravan conversion application?

If you only plan on making internal changes to the van, don’t apply to reclassify the van as a motorhome. However, you should follow the DVLA guidelines for the internal features of a motorhome and speak to the appropriate bodies to ensure your van is safe and legal.

It may be worth sending an application to ensure all bases are covered. If you plan on making internal and external changes, consider you may have to apply to have your van reclassified as a motor home. Again, speak to appropriate bodies and professionals who can advise you on the best steps.

How to register a campervan conversion with the DVLA

If you need to apply to have your vehicle reclassified as a motor caravan, here’s how to get started. Collect the following evidence to support your application:

  • A completed motor caravan conversion checklist
  • A VC5 showing one of the applicable body types
  • Interior photos of each one of the required features with the bed and table in the use position (see ‘Motorcaravan internal features’ below); the photographs must show that there are two or more windows providing daylight into the primary living accommodation on at least one side of the main body
  • Exterior photos from the front, both sides and rear with the registration plates visible
  • A photo showing the vehicle identification number (VIN) or the chassis number stamped on the plate attached to the original chassis or vehicle bodyshell

Write the date, vehicle registration number and description of what is in the photograph on the back, and if you want the photos returned make sure you request it in your application.

If you have the new VC5 with multi-coloured blocks on the front, fill out section 1. If you have the old-style VC5, fill out section 7.

You can then send your VC5 application and evidence to the DVLA, who will determine the body type based on how the vehicle looks in traffic. If the van needs a DVLA inspection, the costs of the inspection will be covered, but the cost of transportation to the inspection won’t be covered.

How to ensure your van fits the criteria

The DVLA guidance isn’t easy to interpret. In November 2022, they were advised to compensate customers and change their criteria after two of their applicants were rejected several times. However, don’t let this put you off converting a van. As long as you get the right advice, you’ll be able to get a roadworthy campervan. If you lack the skills to do it by yourself, consider the following:

Option 1: Use a professional

buying van vs conversion

The easiest way to ensure your van meets the DVLA criteria is to use a professional converter with previous conversions. Even better if they have an example of the vehicle you intend to use.

A converter will have knowledge of all the requirements you need to make your van fit for purpose and can guide and advise you throughout the conversion process.

Option 2: Use the Vehicle Standards Team

If you’re a DIY converter or plan on doing bits of the conversion yourself, you can check in with the Vehicle Standards Team throughout your build if you have any queries. You can reach them in the following ways:

International Vehicle Standards
Department for Transport
Zone 1/34, Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR

Or email them: ivs.enquiries@dft.gov.uk

Need more advice? Contact us today!

Bhode Vans has been converting vans since 2019, so we know a thing or two about roadworthy vans. Submit an enquiry today, and we can discuss how to get your dream van on the road without complications.

How to keep your campervan safe

When you’re converting a van into a campervan, security usually isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. You’re more likely to think about the fun aspects of a van conversion, like getting the perfect layout or the furnishings you want to make your van look amazing.

And the numbers would appear to back this up. In 2021, it was reported that only 6% of campervans have trackers installed, and 45% of vehicles don’t have alarms fitted, which compromises the van’s safety and leaves it vulnerable to thieves.

If you’re spending your hard-earned cash on a conversion, it would be devastating to see your pride and joy stolen. And it would be even worse if your insurance didn’t cover your claim because you don’t have the required security features.

That’s why we’ve created this guide, so you can learn how to keep your campervan safe. It’s much better to consider your security options before you commission a build; that way you can build the features as you go and get an idea of costs.


Keep your campervan safe at home

While it’s essential to keep your vehicle safe on the road, good security starts at home. With two-thirds to three-quarters of vehicle thefts happening at the victim’s home, it’s the best place to start. Some of these recommendations might seem obvious, but it’s often forgetting the basics that lead to thefts. Be vigilant and see security as the number one priority at home.


1. Keep your keys out of sight

Never leave your keys in your van – even if you’re de-icing it or warming the engine up. Insurers often won’t pay out if the key is left in the van.

If the van isn’t your primary vehicle, keep the van keys separate from your regular car or van keys, ideally in a safe or safe location.

Never leave your keys next to a window, and try to lock your front door when you’re in the house, as opportunistic thieves may take a chance.

2. Keyless fob pouches

If your van operates on a keyless fob, get a signal-blocking pouch or box to stop thieves using signal amplifiers to gain access to your van. If you have a standard key fob that you press to unlock your vehicle, you aren’t at risk.

3. Lock all doors and windows

Again, this is a simple mistake that leads to many vehicle thefts, with many owners not realising the impact. Get into the habit of checking your doors and windows as you exit the van, and don’t leave anything to chance.

4. Store or remove all valuables

Store all your valuables in a locked cupboard or safe, or remove them from the van. Even something like an expensive clothing item can be valuable to a thief.

5. Close all curtains and blinds

A thief will often scope out your van before they decide whether it’s worth breaking into. Following all the previous steps should ensure a thief doesn’t try to steal your van or anything in it, but making sure they can’t see into the vehicle in the first place is a good deterrent. You can even block out the windscreen and side windows.

6. Swivel your seat

If you have a swivel seat, turn it around so any potential van thief can’t sit in the driver’s position. For extra security, you can pick up a seat lock.


Use your environment to deter criminals

Doing the basics will reduce the chance of theft, but adding environmental deterrents will make a thief think twice before trying to steal your van. While it’s ideal to have a secure car park or storage facility for your van, sometimes it isn’t possible. Here are our recommendations:

1. Use a physical barrier

There are numerous ways you can create a physical barrier to ensure your van isn’t accessible to a thief. If your van is parked on the street, you could use cars to block your van in (but there could be times when it’s exposed). If you have a driveway, you can install barrier posts or a security gate. A thief is less likely to attempt to steal your van if there are obstacles.

2. Install security lights

If there’s one thing thieves hate, it’s visibility. Motion-sensitive lighting will surprise a thief if they step onto your property, which can cause them to panic and leave. Alternatively, dusk-to-dawn lighting provides a more obvious deterrent when paired with other security measures.

3. Security cameras

Security cameras are useful as they provide a potential threat to a thief, getting caught! It also gives you an idea of when someone tried to steal your van, how many people there were, what they were wearing and all sorts of evidence that could help the police solve a crime and prevent others.

4. Driveway design and use

We appreciate that most people do not get their driveways designed with potential camper van thefts in mind. But if you are redoing your drive, it’s something to consider.

For example, gravel driveways make a lot of noise when people move on them, which could inadvertently notify you or a neighbour of foul play. Also, you could use other vehicles or objects to block your van at night so a thief can’t get to it.


How to keep your campervan safe with anti-theft devices

There are some excellent pieces of technology on the market today, and van owners are spoiled for choice. That’s not a bad thing when it comes to security, and it means you can keep your van more secure.

You should check with your insurer before you buy any security equipment, as they may have specific requirements for the type or brand of security device you use.

1. Campervan alarms and immobilisers

As an absolute minimum, you should ensure your van has a Thatcham-accredited, industry-standard alarm system and immobiliser. If a thief does attempt to steal your vehicle, the alarm should either scare them off or notify someone that the vehicle is being tampered with.

An immobiliser stops the car from being hot-wired (starting the engine without having the key in the ignition) and is activated when the key is removed from the ignition.
If your van was made after 1988, it will have an alarm and immobiliser.

However, it’s worth checking the effectiveness and upgrading if necessary. Speak to your converter who will be able to advise you. If your van doesn’t have an alarm or immobiliser, we’d advise you to get one fitted.

2. Install a ghost immobiliser

As its name suggests, a ghost immobiliser is invisible to a thief. Ghost immobilisers require the driver to enter a ‘pin code’ using the steering wheel buttons. For example, it could be a sequence of your volume buttons. The thief won’t even notice the immobiliser most of the time and can’t drive away even if they have the key.

3. Get a vehicle tracker

If the worst-case scenario should happen and your van does get stolen, you’ll want to give yourself the best chance of getting it back. A tracker is the best way to do this. Trackers do come with various levels of security. Some trackers will send an alert if the vehicle is being moved without the engine running, and some can completely immobilise the engine. Do your research before you get a tracker installed.

4. Use a dashcam

A dashcam doesn’t have features that prevent someone from stealing a van, but it can act as a deterrent. Thieves don’t want to be on camera, which could put them off. You can also get dual-aspect dashcams, which can record inside and outside the vehicle.


Use an old-fashioned mechanical security device

While we strongly advocate technology, sometimes you can’t beat a big piece of bright yellow metal to scare a thief away. They’re big, inconvenient and require a lot of noise and time to get them off. Even as technology improves, there’s still room for the tried and tested methods.

1. Buy a steering wheel lock

A thief will notice a steering wheel lock very quickly, even in the dark. They dominate most of the steering wheel and are usually bright yellow. Steering wheel locks come in various designs and can often connect to other interior parts, so shop around and look for the option that suits you. Always store your steering wheel lock key separately from your car keys so the thief can’t get the lock off if they steal the keys.

2. Get a clutch clamp

Much like the steering wheel lock, the clutch or pedal lock is designed to stop the vehicle from moving even if the thief has the keys. Some modern vehicles require the brake pedal to depress to start the engine, which a pedal clamp will prevent.

The only downside to the pedal lock compared to the steering wheel lock is that it isn’t as visible, so a thief could break in before realising they can’t drive the van.

3. Use a gear stick lock

A gear stick lock connects to the handbrake, so the car can’t be driven or moved without the key. Gear stick locks are smaller and easier to store when you aren’t using them. Again, these locks require a lot of effort to remove, so they should put any potential thieves off.

4. Connect wheel clamps

Wheel clamps prevent your vehicle from being moved. It’s like being a parking warden, except you use it on your van, and you have the key. Wheel clamps are great for use on campsites and at home. The only minor downside is that they’re on the exterior, meaning a thief can tamper with them without getting inside the vehicle.


Other ways to keep your campervan safe

There are other practical and creative ways to deter thieves from your van. Here are our favourites:

1. Use your dog

If you have a guard dog, great. But even if you don’t, you can use signs to warn people you have a dog (and even if you don’t). A strategically placed dog bowl can give the impression there’s a canine lurking around somewhere, which is off-putting to a thief.

2. Secure your spare wheel

There are no boundaries to what a thief will take, so it makes sense to look after every part of your van. You can get special locks that keep your wheels safe (presuming they’re in an accessible position).

3. Get a safe

With most campervan thefts, the thief is looking for possessions more than anything. You might be playing with your kids on a campsite or doing some work around the front of the van. Preferably, you’d have a built-in safe, but that’s not always an option. Get a reputable safe, one that’s easy to hide or difficult to move. That way, a thief is less likely to bother.

4. Use a cab door security bar

A cab door security bar connects both windows and prevents the van doors from being opened. You would need to be in your van for this to work, and you wouldn’t be able to exit through the driver or passenger door. It’s a great safety tool if you plan on sleeping in your van and want some extra peace of mind.

5. Install window safety tools

The side windows on the panel area of a van can be vulnerable to break-ins, but there are several steps you can take to maximise security. Catch locks are particularly vulnerable, but there are various locks you can use to prevent them from being breached.

You can also get window restrictors to limit how far the window opens or security film to prevent glass shattering. And if you want to take it to the next level (which could be appealing if you live in your van), you can get window security alarms.

DVLA requirements van conversion: How to make your van road legal


Any questions? Ask your converter!

If you have any questions about van security, you should ask your converter. It should be as important to them as it is to you. So ensure they’re in the same mindset, and remember your safety is paramount.

Consider what you’ll be using the van for, where you’ll be storing it and what security features a van already has. And if you need any advice, give us a call or submit an enquiry, and we’ll give you our expert opinion.

buying van vs conversion

How to choose the right campervan conversion company: 17 tips

Deciding to convert a van into a campervan is an exciting time! There are so many benefits to converting a van, including exercising your freedom, meeting like-minded campers along the way and having a vehicle that suits your lifestyle.

But picking a converter isn’t a decision you should take lightly; you need to ensure you get a converter that can deliver the van of your dreams.

Fortunately, we have plenty of experience converting vans over the years, so we’re in a pretty good place to advise you what to look for. Here are our top tips for picking a campervan converter:


1. Check their reviews

When browsing for a converter, we stress that you always check their reviews. There’s nothing more concrete than customer reviews. After all, you’re hearing from people who have used the service.

Try to read between the lines and have legitimacy in mind. If a company’s last review was four years ago that would ring alarm bells. Likewise, having ten five-star reviews with no written feedback or images would raise suspicion. You’ll usually be able to tell who’s legitimate and who isn’t.


2. Look at their previous work

Any campervan converter worth considering will have a portfolio of work you can look at to get an idea of how well-presented their conversions are. You can usually find it on their website, but if they don’t have a site, you can have a look on their social media or Quirky Converters page. We have a gallery with some of our latest conversions.


3. Visit their social media pages

While you probably won’t find anything significant on a company’s social media page, it’s good to know they’re active. It at least shows you that they’re a legitimate business, and you can usually see reviews on Facebook pages, as well as any work they’ve done or content they like to post. See what the company has been posting recently and get to know the brand.


4. Are they Quirky registered?

Another way to check whether a converter is legitimate is to check the Quirky Campers converters directory. The converters directory shows companies that either have a listing on the site or are Quirky-approved.

Being Quirky Approved is a paid service, so you can be certain that these converters are trustworthy and legitimate. You’ll also find details about the price and be able to view the converter’s work. You can view our Quirky Converters page to find out more.


5. Understand what you want from the build

Before you commission any van build, you need to know what you want to achieve. You don’t necessarily have to know exactly what you want when you reach out to a converter as they can help you decide.

But you need to know before they start to do any work on your van. If you and your converter aren’t clear, then you could end up with something you don’t want, and an unwanted bill on top. It’s best to get everything in writing and signed off, then nobody is going to end up disappointed.


6. Check if their service offering matches what you want

All converters aren’t the same. Each converter will have a particular set of skills that makes their vans unique. Whether that’s experience in a particular field like design, or a diverse set of packages.

For example, our Bhode One and Bhode Two builds give you the option to keep costs down as we standardise the parts while giving you creative freedom with styling and finishes. Contrast that to our bespoke builds, that give you complete creative control.

Some converters specialise in certain tasks, like pop-top roofs or working with specific vans like the Volkswagen T3. Check that what you want matches up with their service offering, so you can get the best converter for your project.


7. Look for prices in advance

If you don’t have a budget in mind, we’d advise you to do your best to get a figure. Even if money isn’t a problem for you, it’s still good to have an idea. The last thing you want is to get a proposal that doesn’t match the price you want to pay.

Once you have a budget in mind, you can start to look for a converter that can work with it. It’s always better if a converter can give a ballpark figure, so keep an eye out. It can be difficult for converters to give a price if your project is bespoke, so consider the complexity of your project.

Blog: How much does it cost to convert a campervan?


8. Ask them how they communicate

A good converter will be open to using your style of communication. Some people are happy with a few photos every now and again, while other people prefer email updates or weekly phone calls.

Either way, communication should be a priority for your converter, and if they try to dodge questions about communication, that’s a bad sign. You could even ask for some examples of how they communicate, a trustworthy converter will be happy to oblige.


9. Get a clear idea of the process

Getting a solid understanding of the process is one of the key considerations when undertaking a van conversion. If you don’t know what’s happening over the duration of the conversion, you’re going to end up confused and stressed. A converter having a good line of communication will help to alleviate the stress, but you still need to know what the process is before the build.

This will involve things like the timeline, duration of the build, any input needed from you, communication frequency, deposits, paperwork, guarantees and warranties, and final bills. Anything you feel you need to know that will happen over the course of your build. A good converter will be able to explain the process with ease.


10. Evaluate their qualifications and experience

The more qualifications, the better! Our key considerations would be anything to do with gas and electricity, as any problems with them could cause serious damage to you and your van. But you can also look out for other skills like plumbing, joinery or mechanics.

Pay attention to what they did in their previous job as well. For example, someone who’s worked in the creative industry as a designer will probably have a flair for the interior design of your van.


11. Ask yourself if location matters

While it’s more convenient to have a converter that’s close to where you live, it’s not always the best option. If you don’t have the right feeling about that converter, it’s probably best not to go with them and look further afield.

With the introduction of WhatsApp, email, and video calling, it’s easy to keep track of what’s happening with your conversion. You’ll need to ensure you get a converter that’s a good communicator, you don’t want to be left wondering what’s happening for weeks. Reviews will usually give some indication of communication.


12. Check your timelines match

There’s nothing worse than finding a converter you love, only to discover that they can’t carry out the work on your timeline. If you check a converter’s Quirky Converter page, they’ll usually give you an indication of when they’re available. Always make sure you ask about timelines early on, that way you won’t end up disappointed.


13. Ensure your converter is budget-conscious

There’s nothing worse than commissioning a build on a budget only to find out your converter hasn’t priced things properly, which results in additional costs. Most people are working to a particular budget, and you need a converter that can stick to it. That’s why we offer our signature package at £21,999 – so you don’t get any unwanted extra costs.


14. Talk to a few converters before you commit

As with any purchase, it’s worth shopping around before you commit to anything. You wouldn’t walk into the first car dealership you see and buy the first car they offer you, and van conversions are no different.

Get a feel for the company and whether you think they can deliver what you require. It’s more than likely you’ll get a feel for the right place, but make sure you have answers to all the questions you need to ask before you commission your build.


15. Ask about any guarantees or warranties

When you’re spending such a large amount of money on a conversion, it helps to have some peace of mind should something go wrong after you receive your van. You don’t want to be left thousands out of pocket and must have more work done to your van.

When it comes to warranties and guarantees, the more protection the better! Be sure to read the fine print and get as much information from your converter as possible.


16. Get a converter that knows the law

When converting a van, you need to ensure it meets the requirements set out by the DVLA. Now, if a converter’s reviews are good this would indicate that they know how to convert a van that’s roadworthy. But it’s always worth asking the question. There’s nothing worse than receiving your van, only to find out you can’t drive it!


17. And finally… Trust your intuition!

As with most things, we always advise people to trust their intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably best not to go with it. If you do all the relevant research and get a good feeling about a converter, go for it!


Are you ready to start your conversion?

There’s only so much research you can do before you have to take the plunge. And if you follow this list, we think you’ll be able to pick a suitable converter for your dream van. Submit an enquiry below and we’ll kickstart your journey!



converted campervan sheffield

17 benefits of converting a van into a campervan

Are you thinking of converting a van into a campervan? Whether you’re using it for weekend getaways or living out of your van full-time, it’s an exciting yet daunting idea. And it takes bravery and commitment to see it through.

If you’re considering converting a van and you’re wondering what the benefits are, look no further. We’ve got 17 benefits of converting a van into a campervan. Here’s the list:


1. Converting is cheaper than buying a motorhome

Motorhomes and purpose-built campervans don’t come cheap, with a new one setting you back at least £50,000. Of course, you can pick an older model up for cheaper if you shop around. The question you should ask yourself is do you want something ready-made? Or do you want something you can put your stamp on?

Our conversions start at £21,999 (not including the van), meaning you’ve already saved yourself 20-30k – which is a lot of money! It all depends on whether you want to pay for convenience and a quick sale at a premium, or save money by contributing to the conversion and waiting a little longer to get your van.

Blog: How much does it cost to convert a campervan?


2. You can choose the size of your van

The great thing about vans is that they come in all shapes and sizes, from the small Citroen Berlingo to the large Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. And this means you can choose a van that best suits your lifestyle. If you’re a solo camper, you probably don’t need the space a Mercedes Sprinter offers, but if you’re living out of your van full-time you might like the extra space.

For example, if we look at the Sprinter there are so many different options to choose from, including:

  • Three wheelbases
  • Three transmission layouts
  • Seven load volumes
  • Three load heights
  • Four load lengths
  • Four van door height

You’ll need to do your research into the van, its dimensions and how it translates into a conversion. Use your converter as a sounding board and ask people on forums and Facebook groups to get more information.

Blog: Best large vans to convert into a campervan


3. You can roam wherever you choose!

The beauty of having a campervan is you can travel wherever you want, hitch up and enjoy the scenery. There’s nothing quite like packing up your van and driving off into the sunset knowing you’ve always got somewhere to rest your head and enjoy your travels.

There are so many beautiful spots in the UK, but if you’re more adventurous you can take ferries over to mainland Europe or Ireland.


4. You have a valuable asset

The price you can sell your vehicle for depends on many factors, such as the make and model, mileage, age of the vehicle and its overall condition. But if you look after your van and ensure you keep its service history and MOT up-to-date, there’s no reason why you won’t be able to get some cash for it – perfect for your next conversion! Vans often hold their value better than cars, too.


5. You can adapt the van to suit your lifestyle

Every van owner has a unique lifestyle that they want their van to serve. Some people want a comfortable seating area where they can soak in the view, others need storage for outdoor activities or their family belongings, and some people just need somewhere to rest their heads at the end of a long hike.

Whatever purpose you need your van to serve, converting a van means you’re more likely to achieve your goals. You can work with your converter to get a layout that’s tailored to your needs, and you won’t have to compromise too much to get your dream campervan.

You can also build the van to serve multiple purposes, like taking the kids to school on a weekday, going to work in your van and then using it to get away for the weekend.


6. You can personalise the van to your taste

One of the main benefits of converting a van is the ability to personalise it so it reflects your style. Whether you’re into something more contemporary, something more shabby chic or you’re into your nautical décor – using a converter means you can stamp your style on your van and create something unique.

If you’ve ever decorated your house, you’ll remember the feeling of accomplishment and comfort at creating an environment that’s an extension of yourself – and it’s the same with your campervan.


7. You can make the van your home

Many people convert a van to make it their home. It offers a more unconventional way of life that has many benefits. Firstly, it’s cheaper to convert a van than it is to pay a mortgage electricity, gas and other bills. A van also gives you the freedom to move location, so many people that work remotely can get the best of both worlds, as long as there’s an internet connection nearby.

There’s also the benefit to the environment as you’re forced to live with less. We accumulate so much stuff we don’t need throughout our lives, and living out of campervan forces you to decide what matters to you. You’ll also meet like-minded people on your journey, so there’s the social element of living in an RV. And one more thing, no annoying neighbours!


8. Vans tend to have good mileage

While we can’t speak for every van, as vans do have problems like other motor vehicles – vans do tend to have good mileage. Let’s remember that vans are the workhorse of society. They need to be able to travel short, medium, and long distances often bearing heavy loads and carrying specialist equipment.

There’s a reason vans are used by public services like the NHS for their ambulances, they’re reliable and customisable. It’s common to find vans with over 150,000 miles on the clock that still perform well, so you know that when you’re buying a van to convert, you’re getting something that has longevity.

Blog: Most reliable vans to convert


9. There are plenty of converters in the UK

Van conversions are becoming more popular as people seek to live simpler lives, holiday in different ways and avoid the large costs of motorhomes. As a result, there are plenty of campervan converters all over the UK, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one within a reachable distance.

Living in a digital age allows you to reach out further as well, with many converters offering UK-wide services where you can communicate over a video call, email, or messaging services. Some converters will deliver to source a van for you, meaning you won’t have to travel to drop the van off.

You can use the Quirky Campers directory to find a reputable converter. And of course, Bhode Vans is on there.


10. Cater to individual requirements

Just because you have a physical disability or you aren’t as mobile as you once were, it doesn’t mean you can’t convert a van. While it may be more difficult to find a converter who can work with your needs, it isn’t impossible. Converters will know van dimensions and their customisable capabilities, so if you need a van that has a low access level, they should be able to recommend a van for you.


11. Have as much creative control as you desire

When converting your van, you can have as little or as much creative control as you need. Many converters will offer different packages. At Bhode Vans we have two signature builds called Bhode One and Bhode Two, where we standardise parts of the process to reduce time and cost while giving you creative freedom with the décor and interior finishes. We also offer support with DIY conversions and complete creative control to people who want something bespoke.

Blog: Campervan conversion specialist vs DIY conversion: What should you choose?


12. Rent your van out to make extra cash

Providing your van meets the DVLA requirements and you have the correct insurance in place, you could use your van to make a little extra cash on the side when you aren’t using it. With people looking to take alternative holidays, especially since COVID hit, campervan rental is a quirky holiday that gives people a chance to connect to nature and a simpler way of life. Who knows, you might even convert a few people on the way!

You can also use the Quirky Camper site to register your van for rentals.


13. Create deeper bonds with your family

We all remember those trips in the car to various holiday destinations around the UK. “Mum, she’s on my side of the car” for three hours straight. But they were also very rewarding, and fun. I think most of us would love to go back to those times. A campervan lets you relive it all again! Except it’s like being on a permanent holiday because the journey is a part of it. If you have a dog, you can take it with you in your campervan as well, which saves booking any kennels or pestering family members before you leave.


14. You have everything you need to survive on the road

If you get a full conversion, you’ll have all the amenities you need to survive on the road. Such as a toilet, kitchen and sleeping area. Reducing your dependence on third parties means you don’t have to worry about finding somewhere to stay as much, and you can often find a secluded spot and sleep there (just be careful not to break any laws in the process).


15. A conversion van is more like driving a car than a motorhome

To put it simply, motorhomes aren’t built for driving urban driving, they’re long-distance vehicles that travel on motorways to various holiday destinations. As a result, they can feel quite clunky and can be difficult to drive even if you have experience. On the other hand, even large vans are designed for busy city driving and compact roads, meaning you can jump in a van much like a car, so it’s a convenient way of getting around.


16. Great fuel mileage

While a van won’t have as good fuel mileage as most cars, it will have better mileage than a motorhome. It’s smaller, lighter, and more compact – and because they’re often used for business purposes low fuel mileage is a priority for business owners. While it’s not going to save you thousands, it’ll bring down the price of your trip, and you can save some cash.


17. Easy to access maintenance and repairs

If you have a motorhome, you’ll need to find a specialist who can service or repair your vehicle. However, with vans, there will be plenty of mechanics in or close to your area that can service and repair vans. Making repairs and servicing more accessible means you won’t have to worry as much about keeping your van in top condition and can spend more time driving it.


Ready to build your dream campervan?

If you’re convinced you want to convert a van into a campervan, we can help get you started. All you need to do is fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch to discuss your project.

Campervan conversion specialist vs DIY conversion: what should you choose?

Converting a campervan is a big project and there are several routes you can travel down to get your dream vehicle.

Making the wrong choice could leave you unhappy with your van, and you don’t want to spend your money on something you don’t like – especially when campervans aren’t cheap.

There are three routes you can take when converting your van, which are:

  1. Buying a new campervan
  2. Renovating an old camper or converting a van yourself
  3. Using a campervan conversion specialist to renovate a van or old campervan

In this article, we’re going to compare renovating a campervan yourself and using a specialist to convert your van.

You can also read our article comparing buying a new campervan vs using a campervan conversion specialist.

We’ll look at the key factors throughout, including:

  • Cost
  • Time frame
  • Quality
  • Length of use
  • Type of use
  • Laws & regulations
  • Pros and cons


Campervan conversion specialist vs DIY conversion: factors to consider

Let’s get started! We’re going to list all the key factors to consider when converting a campervan. We’ll take a deeper look at each factor, summarise the pros and cons and give you an alternative solution at the end.



Cost is one of the most important factors when converting a campervan. While you can convert a campervan on a budget, you don’t want to cut corners as it can make your costs spiral. To ensure you work within your budget, it’s important to determine the rough cost of each method.

How much does a professional campervan conversion cost?

As a rule, most quality campervan conversions start around £7000. While it’s possible to get a cheaper conversion, you need to ensure your camper meets regulations and offers you the experience you want.

Visit websites like Quirky Campers, which has a van conversion directory with listings, prices and services from various campervan conversion companies in the UK, including us.

There are usually three service options converters offer:

  1. Stock conversions – ‘stock models’ allow converters to keep the cost of parts down and production times quick by creating similar vans like our Bhode One and Bhode Two builds.
  2. Bespoke conversions – the sky is the limit with a bespoke conversion, and it’s more about giving you the van of your dreams, like our Bhode Bespoke build. Make sure you choose a converter to help you determine the budget to avoid any nasty surprises.
  3. DIY support – some converters will offer you a basic package of support for tasks you can’t complete yourself, like our Bhode Artisan build. They can help with jobs like electrics, cladding or solar panels, which allow you to keep costs down. You can also find tradespeople with specific skill sets if you only need one or two jobs.

Read our blog for a comprehensive look at how much it costs to convert a campervan, which includes a breakdown of pre-build costs, build costs and post-build costs.

How much does it cost to convert a van yourself?

It’s difficult to say, as it depends on the state of the van when you buy it. If it’s partly converted, you could save yourself some cash. If you’re starting from scratch, then it’ll be more expensive.

You also need to consider your skill level and what tools and materials you have at your disposal. If you have to buy tools and or get professional help for certain jobs, you might think about outsourcing the whole job.

If you’re able to budget accordingly, perform most or all jobs yourself to a high standard and get the correct tools and materials to build your van, you could save money (we’d estimate you could convert a van yourself in the region of £1500-3000.

As you can see above, we offer a DIY support service which allows you to outsource jobs you can’t or don’t want to do. So you get the best of both worlds.


Time frame

Another important factor is the time frame. When do you plan to hit the open road in your van? Is it a matter of urgency or do you have time to plan?

While it can be urgent, you still need to do your research. If you rush your decision you could end up making the wrong one.

Use the converter or an expert to bounce your ideas off, it’ll help you come to the best decision.

If you’re looking to get on the road quickly, a DIY conversion isn’t the best choice. Most people work and have financial and family commitments.

Converting a van is a project that is going to take over a part of your life, so you need to ensure you have time to do it.

Most converters have space within a few months, and some immediately. So if you want to get on the road fast, a converter is your best bet.

If you’re looking for a long-term project where you can learn on the job and invest bits of time and money over a long period, a DIY conversion could be for you.

Think about when you’d like to get on the road and go at your own pace. Making rash decisions won’t do you any favours.



The quality of the build will depend on two things. The reputation and skills of the converter and the skills and abilities of yourself.

If you find a converter that has plenty of work examples and positive reviews, you can rest assured that the quality will be there if you commission the build. Although, it’s still worth asking questions. Have they worked on your van model before? Have they got any warranty or guarantee?

If you’re considering a DIY conversion, you need to consider your own skills and abilities. And it’s better to be realistic when it comes to this. Saying you can fit a full insulation system when you never have could leave you in a pickle.

Conversely, if you already work in a trade or you’re a confident DIY person you may find it easier to transfer your skills into other areas of a van conversion.

If you’re honest with your abilities, you’ll make the right choice. As we’ve mentioned before, you can use a converter for jobs you aren’t comfortable doing while still being involved in the build.


Length of use

Length of use relates more to the age of the van as opposed to the conversion, but it still plays a role in your decision. If you’re planning on travelling through Europe with your campervan, it wouldn’t make much sense to get an old campervan with 150,000 miles on the clock.

However, if you’re new to converting vans, it probably wouldn’t be your best idea to buy a brand-new Mercedes Sprinter to hone your skills. You’d be better with an older van that you don’t mind making a few mistakes on. The cheaper the van the older it is, and older vans don’t tend to outlast newer vans.

On the other hand, if you’re using a converter, you can use whatever van you like, new or old. If you want to get the most out of your van and retain some of its value, you’re better off with a new van.


Type of use

Think about what you want to use your van for, and whether you or a professional converter is best suited to creating your dream space.

If you want a bespoke build to store outdoor equipment in, can you create that yourself? If you want a microvan with a simple bed frame for one-night stays, is that out of your skill set?

What you use your van for will depend on the complexity of the build. If you plan to live in your van full-time, you’ll want to make sure every aspect of your build is suitable for your lifestyle. You then must ask yourself if you can create that space.

If you’re renting out your van, you need to make sure that it meets your expectations. If you cut corners and don’t do a proper job, you could end up handing a lot of refunds out or be on the end of some scathing reviews.

There’s no right or wrong answer here, it depends on what works best for you, your time frame and your budget.

One thing that most converters focus on whether they commission a build or do it themselves is the personality, style and uniqueness that a conversion offers as opposed to a build. It’s almost an extension of their personality. So think about what you want your van to represent.

Once you’ve figured this out, you’ll be better placed to make the right decision.


Laws and regulations

You’ll need to ensure your campervan meets all the necessary rules and regulations whether you decide to convert the van yourself or get someone to do it for you.

It’s also worth checking if your van has had any previous work done to it that could compromise its road legality. So ensure you speak to the current owner and ask how many owners the van has had previously.

If your van doesn’t meet regulations, you could end up having to make expensive modifications and could even end up in trouble with the law depending on the severity of the offence.

If the van isn’t road-legal, you’ll have to find a safe place to store it as your road tax will be void. Not what you want when you’re trying to enjoy your new vehicle.

If you’re confident you can meet the criteria you can go ahead and make the modifications. However, if you aren’t it’s worth getting a professional with experience to make sure the van meets the relevant criteria.

You’ll need to let the DVLA know about your conversion and ensure it meets their criteria.


Pros and cons

When you’re converting a van, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each option. Here are a few to consider:


Using a converter pros

  • Saves time and gets you on the road quicker
  • Converters will work with you to deliver your brief
  • Converters can source a van for you
  • You get access to expertise in various areas
  • Converters can source the best materials for the job
  • Less room for error
  • May get a warranty or guarantee

Cons of using a converter

  • It will be more expensive than a DIY project
  • If you don’t pick the right converter you could be disappointed
  • You won’t have that feeling of self-accomplishment


Pros of converting a van yourself

  • There’s nothing like completing a project yourself
  • You have complete creative control
  • You can go at your own pace
  • Less expensive (if you know what you’re doing)

Cons of converting a van yourself

  • Mistakes can be expensive and damaging to the vehicle
  • It can take over your life and become a burden
  • If your life changes you may have to put your project on hold
  • You may not have the skills required to complete the job
  • Could be a steep learning curve


Alternative solution: buy a second-hand van

diy campervan conversion

If converting a van sounds too daunting for you, you could explore buying a second-hand van. Plenty are on the market, but you must be diligent and ensure you ask the right questions and do the proper checks.


Campervan conversion specialist vs DIY conversion: what should you choose?

We hope you have all the relevant information to make a decision, but if you need any advice Bhode Vans are here to help. We offer various conversion options, which include a DIY support package. Visit our enquiry page to submit any questions you have.

large van campervan conversion

5 best large vans to convert to a camper

When converting a campervan, your needs will determine what type of van you need – and size is one of the most critical deciding factors.

There are three types of vans you can convert – a small or microvan, a medium-sized van or a large van.

For a solo traveller on a tight budget wanting to spend the odd night or two in a camper, a small or microvan would be ideal.

For someone spending a lot of time in their van or wanting to live in it full time, a large van may be most suitable. There will be more room to create a space that compliments that lifestyle.

A medium-sized van offers the best of both worlds, with plenty of space to create the van of your dreams. The van will be more budget-friendly, but you may have to make a few compromises with space and design.

Before we look at the best vans to convert to a camper, let’s look at some potential considerations.


Key considerations

Before you make a choice, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why are you converting a van? Do you want to live off-grid? Drive into the wilderness and be at one with nature? Ditch your car and use your van for everyday life and weekends away?
  • How much time will I spend in your van? If you’re using the van for the odd weekend away, it might not be a good idea to spend your cash on a top-of-the-range Mercedes Sprinter conversion. You could find yourself with an unused depreciating asset.
  • Who will use your van? If you’re a couple with a small child, a small van could cause some practical problems, and you may need an upgrade before you’ve got the most out of your van.
  • Where will you drive your van? If you do a lot of off-road camping, you need a van with 4×4 capabilities. You wouldn’t want to spend your trip looking for a farmer to pull you out of the dirt!
  • What will you use your van for? If you’re an avid cyclist, rock climber or kayaker, you’ll need plenty of space for storage and a decent shower facility to get clean after you’ve been out.
  • What’s your budget? Even with a small budget, you may be able to convert a large van. But you may have to compromise, such as buying an older van.

Learn more about costs in our blog how much does a campervan conversion cost?

Determining these factors will lead you to the type of van you require and the size of the van. If that deliberation has led you to a large van, we’ve listed some of the best large vans to convert to a camper.


Advantages and disadvantages of converting a large van

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages you may encounter when converting a large van:

Advantages of converting a large van

  • Easier to live out of a large van than a small van
  • More space to fit furniture and other amenities
  • More customisable than small vans
  • Closer to a motorhome than smaller vans
  • Better suited to off-road driving

 Disadvantages of converting a large van

  • Running costs will be higher
  • More difficult to drive and park
  • Conversion will be more expensive
  • May struggle to enter areas with restricted access


5 best large vans to convert to a camper

Large vans offer the most space, which gives you plenty of possibilities to be creative and get everything you need to suit your lifestyle, such as fixed beds, a shower room and plenty of storage.

With that in mind, we’ll focus on load space (back of the van) as that’s where you’ll create your living space. However, remember you can change the seats and the roof of a van to create more space.

There are also other factors you may want to consider, such as running costs, driveability, aesthetics, reliability and safety.

Here are our top five large vans for campervan conversions, we hope it helps you decide what large van to pick for your project!


1. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

We’re huge fans of the Mercedes Sprinter, as you’ll see in our blog post 10 most reliable vans to convert into a campervan.

The Sprinter is simply a great van. You’ll find vans with over 100,000 miles that are in great condition, and there’s a reason these vans are popular courier vans and are even used by ambulance services.

The main downside is the cost, as quality comes at a price. And if you do have any problems with your vehicle, parts and repairs will be more expensive than lower-end vans. However, if you look after the van and get it serviced, you shouldn’t have too many problems.

If you want a cheaper van but your heart is set on the Sprinter, you could buy a smaller model, although you’ll have to compromise on space. The Sprinter is also more accessible on the used market than the Crafter, the next van on our list.

Maximum load space dimensions

Load area length: 4.81m

Load area height: 2.24m

Load area width: 1.78m


2. VW Crafter

The VW Crafter also appeared on our most reliable vans list, making it one of the go-to large vans for a camper conversion. Its body is like the Sprinter (as you can see in the dimensions), meaning these two vans are exchangeable when you’re converting a van.

The Volkswagen has a more practical feel than the Sprinter, with Mercedes going for the classy, premium look that’s synonymous with the brand.

The Crafter is also known for its driveability and doesn’t feel like driving a large van around, so it won’t feel that much different from the smaller vans on the list.

Like the Sprinter, the Crafter is made by a reputable, high-end van manufacturer. As a result, the parts and performance are superior to other vans, but repairs and parts will cost more.

The Crafter has plenty of space and is the most spacious van on this list with the Sprinter. If you’re looking for a van with a maximum amount of space, the Crafter or the Sprinter are ideal.

Maximum load space dimensions

Load area length: 4.85m

Load area height: 2.19m

Load area width: 1.83m


3. Peugeot Boxer

peugeot boxer

At Bhode Vans, the Peugeot Boxer is one of our most popular conversions, and it’s easy to see why. While it isn’t as long as the other vans on this list, it has the greatest width. The enhanced width gives it a ‘boxy’ feel, which makes it feel more like a functional room.

Its height nearly matches the Crafter as well, so most people can stand up in the van without any trouble. And while it may not be as long, it adds more to the ‘boxy’ feel that many of our converters love.

The Boxer is also lightweight, which makes it ideal and flexible when making adaptations to the body and installing equipment inside the van.

While the Boxer isn’t the most easy-on-the-eye van, it’s ideal for those more focused on interior design than the exterior.

There will be plenty of affordable, second-hand Boxers on the market, so it’ll be easy to pick one up. Repair and parts won’t cost as much as premium models either.

Maximum load space dimensions

Load area length: 4.07m

Load area height: 2.17m

Load area width: 1.87m


4. Renault Master

renault trafic

The next three vans are a little smaller than the Sprinter and the Crafter but still offer plenty of space. And if the larger Sprinter or Crafter is out of your budget, these vans are a perfect option if you need to downsize while saving money.

While the space isn’t as large as the Sprinter or Crafter, there’s still plenty of room to make a liveable space with all the storage and amenities you need.

The Master hits the spot in terms of performance, practicality and value, noted for its strong diesel engine, cost and practical cab.

As one of the older vans on this list, the Renault Master lacks the technology and safety features you get with other vans. However, it doesn’t mean it isn’t worth considering.

Maximum load space dimensions

Load area length: 4.38m*

Load area height: 2.04m*

Load area width: 1.76m

*max length and height for the van, but aren’t found on the same model.


5. Ford Transit

Like the Master, the Ford Transit comes with the lowest load height space on this list, so if you’re tall it might be worth considering another option.

However, a van is a compact space anyway, and it isn’t like you’ll get another metre in height added on top, so don’t discount it.

The Ford Transit sits in the middle ground, a versatile van that provides an excellent driving experience while being affordable. It’s no wonder you see so many of them on the road.

And because there are so many Ford Transits, repairs and parts won’t be hard to come by and shouldn’t be too expensive. So, if you’re on a budget, this van could be ideal. The Transit has been in production since 1965 as well, setting the benchmark for large vans in the UK.

Maximum load space dimensions

Load area length: 4.21m

Load area height: 2.02m

Load area width: 1.78m


Want us to source a large van for you?

Not only do we convert campers, but we can also source the van ourselves. If you’re worried about picking the wrong campervan or don’t have the time to find your van, we can work with you to ensure you get the right van.

We’ve got plenty of experience helping our customers find vans, and go ahead when you’re happy. If you’ve already got a large van, what are you waiting for? Head over to our enquiries page and tell us about your project.