van life UK

Camper van conversion: We joined Van Life!

Undertaking a camper van conversion and joining van life is MEGA. Our new life plan is one of the most exciting and challenging projects ever.

The idea of a tiny home on wheels started back when we lived in Australia. We used to borrow our friend’s converted van and head off on mini weekend adventures down under. We loved the lifestyle.

It’s always been something we talked about. But, since arriving home and getting life started again in London, the idea of having our own camper had taken a back seat. Until Covid-19 that is.

Why did we decide to embark on a camper van conversion?

During the UK lockdown we spent more time watching endless amounts of You Tube. We came across the likes of Sailing Uma and Sailing La Vagabond and were glued to their life sailing across the world.

Hitting the open seas wasn’t quite what we had in mind, but it was inspiring to watch and definitely reignited our passion for van life and travel.

We made the decision to cancel our wedding, un-invite over 100 people and scale back the big day to just us and parents. This had freed up cash and we decided to spend our time and money on something we’d always wanted to do…

Enter, Sydney the Sprinter Van!

Camper van conversion

About our van

It was early June and with the wedding cancelled we turned to Gumtree in search for a Mercedes Sprinter van. As luck would have it we stumbled across a van being sold by a family 20 minutes from where we live.

The van had a super low mileage and was in good condition. It did have a few dents in the side but nothing that can’t be beaten out.

We went for a long wheel base as this was a slightly bigger version of the Sprinter van range. We wanted to capitalise on as much space as we could so the van was as liveable as possible.

This was the beginning of one of our biggest projects yet!

First steps when it comes to a camper van conversion

First things first is insurance.

There wasn’t a huge amount of information on how to do this. We initially just insured the van for one month. It’s not a cheap way to do it but as it’s still a commercial vehicle, we couldn’t insure it any other way.

Once the build had taken place and the month long insurance was up, we called Adrian Flux and insured the van with them.

We now have 3 months to complete the build before advising them that the van is now fully converted into a camper.

DVLA is also something you need to look at. You can find all the requirements needed to convert your van correctly by DVLA standards HERE.

We then started an excel spreadsheet to begin collating everything we needed for the camper van conversion. We broke the spreadsheet down into the areas of the van. Kitchen, loo, shower, bedroom, garage etc…

This way we could keep up to date with what we were spending with an aim to control the budget. Although, once the build was underway, we suddenly realised how hard it was going to be to stick to a tight budget. It’s not the type of project you can scrimp and save on. Annoyingly.

We also researched endless van build resources, some of our favourites include Greg Virgoe, Scott & Jen and Van Clan.

What’s the plan with our camper van conversion?

Our initial plan was to convert the van into a camper so we can head off and explore the UK at weekends. We also plan to travel over to Europe in her for our honeymoon.

There’s also talk of living in her full time at some point next year so we’re able to spend less on rent and bills and save hard for a mortgage.

Having our own tiny home on wheels not only serves as the perfect holiday/adventure vehicle but also as somewhere to live if we decide to for a short while.

This is just an initial van life blog post, and it’s probably best to mention that we are definitely not experts in this area. Our van life posts regarding the build are merely a diary documenting our experience and something fun to look back on in years to come.

Ultimately, in regards to van life content, that will properly kick off when we’re on the road. So expect plenty of UK travel content; campsites, wild camping and exploring all ends of the UK throughout the seasons.

Until then, we’re relying on Matt’s dad (and You Tube!) to help navigate us through this van build. It’s complicated and challenging but boy, will it be worth it.

Follow our van life journey over on Instagram @vanlifebymattandabbie

One thought on “Camper van conversion: We joined Van Life!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.