There are plenty of remodeling supplies to choose from. From small Japanese Toyotas, Tansporters, Vitas to large Renaults, Ducatis or Sprinters. Some vans are even quads, which can come in handy quite often
It may also be that the van you end up choosing doesn’t actually suit you. It’s best to try out several vans, at least for a while. Rent a VW California or a Ducat camper van for the weekend. You’ll find out which one is actually for you.
The height of the van
As well as the roadworthiness, I’d also look at whether you want a van under two metres, so a VW Transporter, for example, or a taller van.
“Choosing a van is also about trade-offs”
A small two metre van is easier to fit in your garage or underground garage. It will also get less fuel consumption. Its downside is that if you don’t have a lifting roof, you’ll never be able to stand up in it. If you’re going somewhere for a week or traveling in the summer, it won’t be a problem. The problem arises if the weather is bad, it’s cold and you want to cook something.
Even with a low van, you can’t always fit in a garage or under a 210cm high ramp. If you put surfboards or a ski box on the roof of the van, it’s immediately 230cm.
In our experience, a van with a fixed high roof that you can stand in comfortably is preferable. It’s a luxury you’ll appreciate when travelling for long periods of time. Wherever you park, you can change your clothes or cook spaghetti and ketchup in comfort, even when it’s snowing outside.
A great compromise between a low roof and a high hardtop is a retractable roof like the VW California or Mercedes Marco Polo. When you’re driving, the campervan has standard dimensions, but when you park it, you raise the roof and you can stand up with peace of mind. For winter camping, there are external covers or internal insulation for the lifting roof. Check out Brandrup, for example.
Length of delivery
Personally, we have never experienced a problem with the height of the van. The only problem was with the length and width of the Knaus semi-integrated caravan. And that was only 6 metres in length. Parking a 6 metre van in the south of Europe is sometimes a problem. You might not be able to fit in one of the available parking spaces and have to go elsewhere. You won’t see interesting beaches or have trouble turning around.
“In some places it is forbidden to park a caravan or van across 2 parking spaces”
So if you don’t fit in one, you’ll get a ticket. Even if the parking is free. Think about that before you buy a Ducato L4H3.
Van weight and endorsement
What I wrote about the endorsement of caravans also applies to converted vans. Each van has its own maximum permissible gross weight. This must not be exceeded.
All commercially manufactured caravans are made from special, lightweight materials. You can’t usually buy that special wood in a DIY store and it is more expensive than conventional boards and plywood.
“So try counting your kilograms to make sure you fit within the allowable weight of the van”
Think about the fact that you’ll also need a reserve for food, water, passengers and sports junk.
A fully loaded converted van will be comfortably around three tonnes. So buying a van with a 50bhp engine won’t be the best idea. I’m a believer that the more available horsepower you have, the better. You don’t have to go 200, but you can ?