diy camper van girl

DIY Camper Van in 5 Easy Steps

By Kyle & Olivia Brady | Founders of Drivin' & Vibin' | We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

DIY Camper Van in 5 Easy Steps

Do you want to build a camper van but are short on time? A DIY camper van build can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be. There’s no reason to spend months building out your van.

If you’re raring to go, you can build a low-cost DIY camper van in just one day with these five easy steps! 

Let’s dive in.

girl in camper van

1. Get a Mattress

First things first: you need a mattress. The size of your van will determine the size of your bed – and how much extra space you want. 

You should be okay with a twin, but if you want to splurge for a full or queen, go for it! 

Now, sleep is super essential… so an air mattress probably isn’t going to cut it. An air mattress can be useful for a short period of time, but for the long-term (or camping in colder temps), a foam mattress will be your best bet. 

Foam mattresses are extremely popular with van-lifers for three main reasons: 

  1. They’re super comfy! 
  2. They’re inexpensive – most are under $200.
  3. They can be easily cut-to-size to fit any size or shape of the van. 

Hop on Amazon and order a foam mattress – 6″ of thickness is a good, comfy place to start. Online shopping is extra helpful during your DIY camper van conversion – you can work during the day and shop at night!

dog in camper van bed

2. Get a Propane Cooktop

Now that you’ve got sleeping taken care of let’s focus on the cooking. 

You don’t need anything super fancy here! A simple propane cooktop will do. There are many different types of propane cooktops, including cooktops with a built-in grill top. 

It’s up to you and your personal cooking preferences, but it’s always nice to be able to make toast or steaks on the grill!

cooking outside camper van

3. Get a Portable Water Jug (for Drinking and Outdoor Showers)

Next, you’ll need a portable water jug or two for drinking water, cooking water, washing dishes, and getting yourself clean. 

You can pick up a portable water jug at Wal-Mart in the camping section or order one off of Amazon. 

To be prepared, travel with two jugs to have extra water on hand, or use the extra jug to dispose of your dirty water responsibly. It’s never a bad idea to have an extra water jug!

Keep in mind; there are many shower hacks for DIY camper van dwellers that help you conserve water. You can even take truck stop showers.

4. Get a Cell Booster

The most technical piece of this super simple DIY camper van build is the cell booster. A cell booster will help boost your cell service when you venture into remote areas with bad signals. The booster will allow you to get work done and stay connected. 

A cell booster is essential for many people, and if you rely on the internet or a cell connection for work or communication, it’s a must-have! 

Since you’re traveling in a van, the WeBoost Drive Sleek is your best bet. Not only is it the most affordable booster, but it also works great for cell phones and mobile hot spots.

5. Get Some Gas and Hit The Road

Once you’ve got your mattress, cooking, water, and connection needs taken care of… it’s time to get some gas and hit the road!

A DIY camper van build doesn’t have to be complicated or take forever – especially if you’re itching to get out there. Take care of the most important things:

  • Sleeping
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Cleaning
  • Showering 
  • Working/Connection

You can always adjust once you’re on the road, add extra amenities, or change things around. You’re never going to know what you want or need until you try, so just do it and get out there!

Save Money in your DIY Camper Van with Free Camping

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

“Where can I sleep legally in my RV?”

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