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an alternative van conversion style

Being a keen mountain-biker of many years, having a van with space for a large amount of kit, getting changed in and the all-important snacks is a must in the modern day. However, creating additional capability for two to relax, or even camp overnight in a small (daily-driven) van was an ideal, but challenging notion.

There are many camper conversions on the market, but each one I had seen used standard units, fittings and components, meaning they seemed like white noise in an already overcrowded market.

those types of conversions werent for me.

Instead, I decided to carry out the conversion completely myself to get the best possible outcome I could create. Using as few standard, off-the-shelf components as possible, the conversion pushed every type of making skill, from upholstery to woodwork, and even to mechanism design.

everything in the conversion was custom built, allowing almost full freedom of layout and style.

build details

bench seat

The bench seat was designed to be a convertible L-shaped seat to provide comfortable seating when retracted, or full-width bed when extended. The extending operation is aided by linear rails for smooth and easy operation, with it being locked into place with locating dowels in both states. On top of the extending section, both sections of bed raise to provide large amounts of hidden storage, with smaller compartments at the rear for tools, water bottles and snacks.

leisure battery system

To house the leisure battery circuit, and store smaller/in-view items, a shelving unit was created along the smaller side panel, utilising what-would-be wasted space. It was created in two large pieces (structure and outer panel) to allow it to fit with the contours of the bodywork, and keep the finish as high as possible. The outer panel is wrapped using heavy-duty gloss grey sign vinyl for high durability and aesthetics, with 3D printed gloss black opening bezels for a clean look, and each open compartment is lit with ambient LED’s.

shelving unit

A switch panel housing light switches/dimmer, voltage meter and sockets is also included in the shelving unit. Created from layers of plywood and trimmed in tan coloured leather, with diffused LED’s creating a ‘floating’ effect. On top of this, a custom 3D printed dimmer knob was also produced to match the rest of the interior style.


Custom made, plywood roof with recessed aluminium LED profile for smooth, diffused lighting. Trimmed in soft touch suede, and fixed to metal structure with nice stainless hardware.

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