You may have caught on that we are a bit campervan obsessed. We built out first van on a shoestring budget in less than one week! Our second campervan was a much bigger undertaking as we planned and prepared for months, took our time learning everything we could find on the Internet about campervan builds and recorded our entire process to share with our readers.
Here is where you will find all of the camper van supplies we used to build out every part of our van. We’ve organized this page by the different stages of our build. If you know which stage you’re looking for, click the link to jump down to that section, or just keep browsing…
Get on the road faster!
After building two campervans completely from scratch, we decided to create the resources we wish we would’ve had along the way. We spent the better part of a year creating Van Conversion Academy.
No more headaches or hours of research… Click below to learn more about Van Conversion Academy and get on the road faster!
We love being able to charge our computers, phones and all our other travel gear using the electrical system in our van. Having LED lights, a water pump for our sink and an electric fridge really make our van a comfortable living space. This was one of the more complex portions of our build, so be sure to plan accordingly.
Note: This information below is for reference only. I am not a certified electrician and I’d recommend getting your electrical set up checked over by a electrician before you hook everything up. If your electrical is set up incorrectly, it can lead to dangerous situation.
I got my system looked over by a electrician and that gave me peace of mind knowing that my van is safe from electrical problems.
Below are the major components that are in our electrical system:
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Adding solar panels to our van really took Pearl (yes, our van has a name 🙂 to the next level! Renogy is a great brand for vanlifers who want quality solar products, but are still on a budget. We bought this kit with a solar charge controller, four 100W panels, mounting brackets and a Bluetooth module.
Insulation & Temperature Control
Putting up insulation was one of the first steps we took when building out our campervan. When choosing insulation, you’ll want to think about moisture control, temperature control, sound dampening, and the quality of the product you will be putting in such a small space. We chose Havelock Wool for insulation, and we could not be more happy.
Other products we used in our van at this stage included:
Condensation is inevitable in a van and wool is able to absorb the moisture and release it back into the air. Wool also has great insulating properties which aid in regulating the temperature of your van (R-value of 3.6 per-inch) and sound dampening. Havelock Wool is safe to breathe and chemical free, which is a huge plus in such a small space. Plus it’s eco-friendly! It is a renewable, naturally grown resource.
We could not be more happy with our small campervan kitchen. We designed it to have plenty of storage and extendable countertop space. The butcher block countertop looks really nice, but it does require a little maintenance with oil and wax once in a while. We also love cooking in our van, and our two burner gas stove is the perfect size.
Our Big Berkey is such a nice addition to our campervan kitchen.
Often, the water at fill up stations tastes like metallic well water or other chemicals, which certainly isn’t the best for drinking. The Big Berkey water filter removes all those toxins and chemicals and allows us to drink fresh purified water while on the road. We have the Travel Size Berkey (1.5 gallons), so it doesn’t take up much countertop space (clutch in a van!).
Bed & Benches
We designed our van so that the table drops down and the bench cushions slide into place to create our (nearly) queen sized bed. The benches/bed were made out of a 6-inch Zinus Memory Foam Mattress that we cut into sections.
Camper van supplies for our bed/benches setup:
Adding a composting toilet was one of the biggest improvements from our previous van build. We no longer have to park near a trailhead or public park to use the bathroom. Deciding which kind of toilet to put in your campervan can seem like a challenging endeavor as there are lots of options out there. But for us, the Nature’s Head was a no-brainer. I wouldn’t choose any other toilet for a campervan.
The best part of the Nature’s Head composting toilet is that it does not smell at all… and I mean AT. ALL. The toilet is designed to separate liquid and solid waste. There is a little fan that circulates the air in the solid container and vents outside the van.
We put the compressed coco fiber in the solid’s container to help with the composing process.
Having running water in our van is such a convenient luxury! And it’s surprisingly easy to install.
With our 16-gallon fresh water tank, we typically can go about 4 days between fill ups.
Having a shower hookup out the back of our van is a nice addition when you’re deep in the woods and need to get clean!
These are the components of our water system:
Cooking with propane is nice because we can control the flame, and it doesn’t drain our batteries like an induction cooker would.
However there are many safety precautions you need to consider before installing a propane system inside your van. These are the components of our propane system.
Our van didn’t come with windows on the sides so we had to install them ourselves. We purchased our windows from VanWindowsDirect.com and followed the instructions on their website. The first cut through your van’s wall is the scariest, but it is totally doable. And it makes the second window a breeze!
Here is everything we used:
This is all a lot, where should I start?
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These items just really didn’t fit into another category… so they are here 🙂
These are the major tools we used for our build.
While this is not the most exhaustive list of all the tools we used, this will get you started. Of course you could have more tools and machines for your build, but these are the main tools we used.