How much does a micro campervan cost to convert (in 2023)?

Curious about converting a micro campervan in 2023? Discover the costs involved and budget smartly for your dream mobile home.
How much does a micro campervan cost to convert (in 2023)?

Micro Camper Conversion Cost

 

The average cost to convert a micro campervan is around £4,000, including the cost of the van.

This is broken down as follows:

 

Vehicle Cost£2,500
Materials + Insulation£250
Joinery£100
Electrics£500
Plumbing£200
Heating£150
Decor£150
Other£150
TOTAL£4,000

Use our FREE quick-buy micro campervan parts list to easily find and purchase all the necessary accessories to build your own micro campervan.

Of course, you can convert for cheaper or spend a lot more – but on average, £4,000 is a healthy total budget for a decent micro camper for the average person/couple.

This blog will explore the average cost of converting a micro campervan, where the money goes, and how you can save money (or spend more).

If you’re converting a cargo van or a high-top van, and you need help budgeting, we’ve done a blog on each for you to peruse.

fiat doblo van conversion

Cost of a Micro Campervan Vehicle

We’ve done a blog comparing the best micro vans for a camper conversion to compare the pros and cons of different van makes and models.

You can spend upwards of £25,000 on a brand new little micro camper or £500 on an old banger with dubious service history, but for a decent second-hand van, we would estimate around £2,500 for a budget-friendly vehicle.

This will get you a 5-year-old van, 50-100k miles, and you can find many with full-service histories, brand new MOT and in good condition all around.

5 years old is where most companies ditch vans to get new ones. There’s nothing wrong with them, but over 5 years or 100,000 miles, companies see them as having a higher risk of breaking down; hence you can get a great deal!

When buying a used van, make sure you know what to expect and be prepared. We have a FREE checklist and 5-part video series to help you with this daunting step!

Vehicle Cost: £2,500

micro campervan van conversion

Micro Campervan Building Cost

Once you have your good condition empty van, you now need to convert the whole thing. This includes many steps like insulation, furniture, electrics, plumbing, heating and more.

This is where you can seriously save money, depending on the materials you use, or spend a bit more for a more luxurious build.

We will split the build into sections, give you the average cost of each, and some tips on how to save money or when it might be a good time to spend a bit more.

Building Materials + Insulation

Materials + Insulation: £250

This section includes insulation for the build, all the wood, plywood and various other large building materials (like pre-made furniture pieces, countertops, and drawer units).

You may already have some scrap wood lying around that you can utilise, but if you’re starting from nothing and are going relatively basic, £250 is a good estimate.

 

Advice and money-saving tips for building materials and insulation

  • You can buy fluffy loft insulation, which is great for filling in the gaps in the wall
  • Reuse the plywood that often comes with vans, even if it isn’t for the walls/floor, instead of buying new
  • Buying thick pieces of timber and manually cutting them down often works out much cheaper
  • Pallets are often free and a great source of wood after a quick sand
  • Facebook marketplace, gumtree and charity stores are great places to find bargain furniture
  • Pre-measure before cutting to pre-fit shapes on sheets of ply to reduce waste

Screws and Joiners

Screws and Joiners: £100

Everything that holds everything together and upright. Screws, brackets, fasteners, glues and tape.

Although only £2 a box, you’ll need every single size of screw (I guarantee). You’d be surprised how many go into a micro campervan conversion.

 

Advice and money-saving tips for screws and joiners

  • A lot of furniture comes will small screws inside the box; utilise these
  • Buying a trade pack of screws (a big box with many sizes) is often cheaper than individual boxes

    Electrics

    Electrics: £500

    For a budget build, where you’ll just want to charge a phone, run a few lights, and maybe power a small fridge or water pump, then £500 is a good budget for all things electrical.

    To give you a good idea of how this £500 can be spent, here’s an example:

    This budget can easily double if you go for more batteries, add a solar panel kit, or add more plug sockets around your micro campervan. Still, the above list gives you the basics to complete a campervan electrical system, not forgetting our FREE Electrics 101 worksheet.

    Are all-in-one power systems any good?

    A note about power banks like the Jackery and Ecoflow. These are, in essence, an all-in-1 solution. Instead of wiring everything yourself, these have everything you need in 1 handy box.

    The positive of this is that you can spend about the same (£500) and have everything you need ready to go, and is a portable box, no less! The downside is that if something goes wrong, you lose your entire electrical system, and you have to replace the whole thing. Not to mention you still need something/somewhere to charge it back up.

     

    Advice and money-saving tips for electrics

    • If you’ll be staying at campsites, an AC electrical adaptor is great to plug into campsite power
    • You can sometimes find offcuts of electrical wire for free online
    • Place your batteries and fusebox close together, and keep wire lengths as short as possible to reduce the cost of extra wire
    • Only go for solar if you actually will need the extra recharging

    When the electrical system starts to get this large, it can become overwhelming to figure out what sized system you’d need. That’s why in the A-Z of Vanlife Bootcamp, we put together a module specifically on understanding campervan electrics. Combine this with our FREE Electrics 101 worksheet, which should help you understand your 12V campervan electrical needs.

      12v ELECTRICS INSTALLATION GUIDE ->

      Plumbing

      Plumbing System: £200

      For the most basic system, including a sink, portable mini shower and toilet, £200 should set you up nicely. This system includes:

      This system doesn’t include any hot water. For hot water, a more expensive system is required. But for the basics, it is enough to wash your face and teeth in the morning, do a quick dash of washing up and have an outdoor shower.

       

      Advice and money-saving tips for plumbing

      • Depending on your needs, a toilet and a shower might be unnecessary
      • Some people choose to buy water in bottles on their trips and just have a tank for dirty water only
      • Flexible gym memberships can be an easy way to take long showers whilst on the road, eliminating the need for a shower in your micro campervan
      • For easy hot water, a camping stove like a Jetboil is an excellent idea for teas, hot water bottles and washing up
      • Automated laundromats are easy to come by and are brilliant for washing your clothes on the go

        PLUMBING INSTALLATION GUIDE ->

        Heating

        Heating System: £150

        Although you can get away without any heating in a van, to be thorough, we’ve included the cost of a basic Chinese-branded diesel heater. This is mostly because they are very cheap, provide a lot of heat quickly and are beloved by many in the vanlife community.

        These heaters are around £150, and for that, you get every need included in the kit. It takes a few hours of work to install it, and you have easy heat fueled by diesel, and your whole van is toasty warm!

         

        Advice and money-saving tips for heating

        • To avoid an additional fuel tank, run your heaters fuel line into your van’s diesel fuel tank.
        • Hot water bottles, jumpers and a good bed are a cheap alternative to a heater.
        • You can use the vehicle’s heater whilst driving to pre-heat your van on road trips.

        HEATING INSTALLATION GUIDE ->

        Decoration + Homey Touches

        Decoration + Homey Touches: £150

        To make your micro camper really feel like a home, you have to make it look all cosy. This means adding wallpaper, paint, stick-on tiles, and everything that makes a place feel like home to you.

        Homey touches include rugs, pillows, curtains, a lamp, and other decorations. Whatever you fancy!

         

        Advice and money-saving tips for decoration and homey touches

        • A word to the wise, a campervan is a tiny home…do not go wild… pick your decor with intention… unlike this idiot

        MOVING INTO OUR VAN ->

        Appliances and Other

        Appliances + Other: £150

        Cutlery to fill your drawers, a picnic blanket for summer days, a portable gas cooktop, a coolbox, and maybe even a van window! This section is really up for interpretation and depends on your preferences.

        Plus, there are always a few unexpected build costs which this section can cover.

        12V FRIDGES ->

         

        Additional costs of owning a micro campervan

        £4,000 does not include costs for everything when it comes to owning a micro campervan. There are ‘hidden’ costs, the same as owning any vehicle, and it’s best to know these upfront.

        Extra costs of owning a micro campervan are:

        • Insurance. Specialist campervan insurance is usually needed, and this can be vastly different on your job, where you live, age, gender etc…
        • Road Tax. In the UK, you must pay road tax on every vehicle you own. A campervan is no exception.
        • MOT/Service. Ensuring your campervan is road legal and safe to drive is required by law, and has yearly costs.
        • Tools. You may need to buy extra tools to convert your campervan. These can range from £5 to hundreds.

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        September 1, 2023

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