Since I started this blog about my vanlife adventures, I have gotten many questions about my Renault Trafic Campervan Conversion. As I would like to help as many people as possible, I made a list of the top 10 questions I get about the campervan conversion 🙂 If you have any other questions, feel free to post them in a comment below!
Questions about my Renault Trafic Campervan Conversion
1. Why did you go for a converted van instead of a “real” camper?
This had a couple of reasons. First of all, I didn’t like the huge RV-like campers. Too big for me without any driving experience. And too expensive! Second, I didn’t like the (often Westfalia) lay-out of smaller campervans. Because I work online as a digital nomad, I wanted to have a proper seating area / table and that was often not the case with these vans. Third, I wanted a pretty new car so I didn’t have to spend thousands of euro’s on maintenance every year.
After the conversion, I had my van registered as a proper camping car / camper, because of the reduced road taxes. I had to go the RDW (Dutch road/car authorities) and register as a campervan. This was a bit of a hassle but worked out fine after all.
2. What did you consider when buying the van?
I think there are a couple of things that are important.
Automat or manual: I wanted an automat, as I didn’t have much driving experience. But I found them to be quite hard to find in the Netherlands, so I ended up with a manual car.
Size: I couldn’t handle a van that was too big, as I had barely driven a regular car before. So for me the van had to be of good size, but not too big!
Kilometers on the clock: in my case only 50.000km. The more kilometers, the cheaper the car. But also the more likely it is that you will have to do maintenance soon. On the o there hand, driving
How old: 5 years. My car was pretty young and I liked it that way. It would mean no major issues in the upcoming couple of years, no issues with unavailable parts etc. On the other hand, if you get an older car you will run into fewer issues when driving to developing countries. In some countries, it is hard to find mechanics that know how the electronic equipment used in cars these days works.
Where does it come from / how has it been stored: My car was used by the army for 5 years to bring military personnel to exercises and to bring food around. That also meant the car was not used much (see the mileage) and it was stored in a garage. I know other people that bought their car from a granny that drove in it once a week. Check how it has been used, whether it has been driving in salty/rainy conditions and if there is rust.
Love: a van has to be love on first sight 😉 Some people want a really photogenic car, others want a yellow one etc
3. How much did you spend on the car and the conversion
I am (still!) in the process of writing an extensive blogpost on this. You can also find some indications in the general blog about my van conversion. But here are some key figures. My Renault Trafic campervan conversion cost about 22K in total. This is also the insured value.
The van: €15.000
The conversion: €7.000 amongst which:
Solar / electrical installation: €700
New and turning chairs: €600
Cushions for the couch & bed: €800
Kitchen and cupboard pre-made: €1200
Wood, tools, nails, drills, decoration, curtains – the rest
I built a modern van from the inside that I could really live in for multiple months. This meant for me a good fridge, good ventilation, good cushions and some luxury items. This also adds to the value of the van in case I want to rent it out later.
For an overview of how much I spent every month on the road, see the FAQ on vanlife here.
4. How long did the conversion take?
The conversion took 3,5 months. This was 3 days a week for me, every week for 12 weeks, and a lot more hours of my family that helped me out. My mum helped me a lot with ordering items, returning them if they were faulty, doing research, bringing cups of tea etc. My mums partner and a key figure in the van conversion put in so many hours for the finishing touches!
I was working 4 days a week during the conversion. This was very tiring. Every Thursday night I would go to my mums place and work there untill Sunday evening and then go back home to work again. Not recommended 🙂
5. Did you outsource any tasks of the conversion?
I was pretty intimidated by this Renault Trafic campervan conversion project. In the beginning I was thinking about outsourcing things as the insulation, the ventilation including hole in the roof and the electrical installation. In the end, this was not necessary. After a lot of research and also talking to one professional camper builder, we decided to give it a shot ourselves.
I tried to buy from professional (smaller) parties that would have the time to properly explain me things. For example, I purchased my solar installation for my campervan from a smaller company and the guy really look the time to explain me things. This way I felt confident I made the right choice and that I could aways come back with questions.
Also, as you can see in the picture below, I bought a kitchenette and my cupboard that includes the fridge from a camper building company to speed up the process. If I would have been able to do this project full-time I would have built everything myself, but this was an efficient option (kitchen one weekend, cupboard one day).
6. What would you have done differently next time?
I love my van and I wouldn’t trade it for the world 🙂 Still, if I could do the whole project again with the same budget and constraints I would change a couple of things:
4×4 van > I would look at buying 4×4 van – this gives just a little bit more flexibility in where you park.
Full-time > I would be available full-time instead of having to cram it in the weekends. I was so exhausted after the 3,5 months of the van conversion!
Size > I would look for a slightly bigger van – for one person this van is perfect. Now I am travelling with my boyfriend it can get crowded 🙂
Storage > I would use one of the walls without window to build more storage space.
Window > I would look at a van with a window that can open above the kitchen for ventilation while cooking
7. Where did you find your floor?
8. Where did you find your foldable table?
Short answer! 🙂 Check this article on building a folding campervan table here.
Questions about my Renault Trafic Campervan Conversion?
Post them in the comments below and I will answer them in this list 🙂