Camper Van Ideas

by Jamie Wilson

For families and anyone who prefers not to rough it too much, a camper van is the way to go when going out to commune with nature. But most manufactured camper vans and RVs are out of the average family's price range. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways you can create your own camper van with a vehicle you can afford or may even own already.

Truck Toppers and Camper Shells

If you already own a good medium-to-heavy-duty truck, a truck topper conversion van is a great option. You can remove the topper when your truck is not being used to camp, then replace it and hook it up to electricity when you are ready for your hunting, fishing and hiking excursions. There are two basic ways to go with the truck topper camper shell. You can build your own--a good choice for an old truck and a do-it-yourself person--or you can purchase a nice-looking prefabricated shell, designed specifically for your truck and with your choice of components, from storage area designed for your sporting goods to cooled compartments for your fresh catch, to interior or exterior bathing facilities.

Conversion Van

Most people looking to create a camper van go for the conversion van. With a raised roof and many kits available online to add components, converted vans provide a lot of options. Though vans have very little area, you'd be surprised at how many necessities can be incorporated--even bathroom and shower areas. In addition, converted vans are inexpensive to heat and cool and much easier on gas than even the smallest standard RV. If you have a very small number of people planning to share this space, this sort of camper van will work out very well for most.

Converted School Bus

If you have a large group to haul around or if you want to live in your camper van, an old converted school bus is inexpensive and spacious. There's plenty of room in one to create multiple areas--a kitchen, bedrooms, dining area, even storage for motorcycles or a small car. In most cases, old school buses were well-maintained and should be in reasonably good shape. The size, however, is a serious drawback. You may not be able to park it anywhere you need to go, and it can be difficult and expensive to do maintenance on it. In addition, you'll have to retrofit it with your own wiring, and you may have to add air conditioning to it as well.

Decommissioned Ambulance

If you can get your hands on one, the decommissioned ambulance camper van conversion is one of the simplest. The ceiling is already raised, the interior is spacious, and there are plenty of wires and electrical outlets in the back that can quickly and effectively be converted to your use. In addition, the chassis and auto components in the van were designed to take serious punishment. A decommissioned ambulance comes in several body styles from the Type II conversion van to the much larger Type III box-truck style. A quick search online turns up plenty of old ambulances for sale, and they are surprisingly affordable. It's not a bad idea, however, to take some homemade cookies or a big box of donuts to a fire department before you purchase one. Emergency drivers during their down time are friendly and bored, and they are certain to have good advice for you about what to look for.

About the Author

Jamie Wilson has written online content for over a decade on a wide variety of subjects. Currently, she is the Augusta Military Lifestyles expert for a prominent website. She is also a published fiction writer and experienced Web designer working on a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing.

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