Been Reading Issue 16

As this issue is a bit of a van special, I thought I’d add this title to the mix to give you some ideas. Turning a van into a camper, dayvan or race van is hardly a new idea, but there certainly seem to be a lot more of them about these days. Perhaps it’s thanks to these guys, and this cool book, Build Your Own Dream Camper Van For Less Than £1000… including the purchase price of the van.

It’s a simple premise: buy an old van, buy an old caravan, fit the guts of the latter to the inside of the former and presto! You have a camper. That’s exactly what these brothers did, and they chronicle the process here. It’s not a dry, clinical step one, step two etc procedure, and it couldn’t be, unless you want to build an exact replica of their van. It does, however, flow nicely in a sensible order, and they keep it simple, aimed at the guy working on his driveway rather than in a huge, surgically clean and fully equipped workshop.

They also keep track of the cost, including buying some second-hand parts for the van and flogging leftover caravan bits on eBay. There are chapters on gas plumbing and electrical wiring, and a chapter at the end about rules, regulations, and getting your van re-registered as a ‘motor caravan’. Just a footnote, though – this book was first published in 2012, and recently reprinted but not necessarily updated, so double check the rules and regs bit in case anything’s changed.

The two brothers who wrote this aren’t authors, or even photographers, so don’t expect a literary masterpiece. What you should expect is a pretty handy guide, written and photographed by enthusiastic amateurs who keep it real. And, perhaps most important of all, they seem to be having fun! I would question a few things; for instance, I don’t think an LDV Pilot features high on many folks’ “dream camper” lists, and their estimate that the finished product is worth over £6,000 might be a touch optimistic, but you feel that they enjoyed the whole job. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Build Your Own Dream Camper For Less Than £1000, by Matthew and Stuart Ball, is published in softback by Veloce Publishing Ltd, with a RRP of £25. See www.veloce.co.uk.