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How much does it cost to convert a camper van?

Camper van conversion cost

The question on everyone’s lips when they’re considering converting a camper van is, “How much does it cost to convert a van?” As you might expect, the answer isn’t black and white. It’s hard to answer this question with a single figure, because everyone’s conversion is different. The cost of your van conversion will vary based on the size and finish of your van, as well as how much time you spend converting it. However, the data from our 2021 Ultimate Van Conversion Survey can give you a rough idea of how much it might cost to convert a camper van.

We’ll also share the costs of converting our own camper van. We converted a LWB Mercedes Sprinter into our little home on wheels. We kept track of every single cost as we converted our van, so we know to the penny how much our camper van conversion cost because we itemised and categorised every single item we bought within a spreadsheet.

How much does it cost to convert a camper van?

A camper van conversion could cost you anywhere from £500 to £25,000 for a self-built van conversion, or an eye-watering £40k for a professional fit out! The cost of your camper conversion will vary based on the spec and finish you are trying to achieve and ultimately how much of the build you’re willing to do yourselves. On average, it costs between £1,000 and £5,000 to convert a small camper van. In comparison, it costs between £2,000 and £10,000 to convert a large camper van.

The data we collected as part of our 2021 Ultimate Van Conversion Survey gives some more insight into estimated costs, shared in the above candlestick graph. The solid bar in the middle shows the range of the typical cost of a van conversion, and the lines that protrude from the top and bottom illustrate the minimum and maximum spent. So if you look at the large, high spec van, the average cost of a van conversion is between £5,000 and £10,000. The minimum spent to convert a van with those attributes was £4,500 and the maximum was £25,000.

Overall, the average cost of a camper van conversion is £4,600. This takes into account all sizes and functionalities of van. The average spent on a base vehicle for a camper van is £7,800 (at the time of writing).

If you factor in your time spent converting the van (on average this is around 445 hours) based on an hourly rate of £10/hr, the total cost of a camper van conversion including the vehicle, build and time spent is £16,850 all in.

High level camper van conversion costs

Below is a breakdown of the high level camper van conversion costs in each area of our build. As we knew we’d keep our van for many years, we spent more money in certain areas, such as the electrical system, to ensure we had high quality products that would last. As a result, the electrical system was the most expensive area of our build. We also ended up making some significant upgrades to the system after moving into the van as we realised they’d be worth it given we decided to make Ringo our full-time home for a number of years. However, if you plan to keep the use of your van for holidays, you’ll be able to spend much less than we did when it comes to electrics.

To counter that, there were a lot of areas where we actively tried to save as much money as possible on our camper van conversion cost. We’ll go into some more detail on the methods we used to save a lot of money on our build, while maintaining high quality and spec.

We also did everything in our van conversion ourselves, from fitting windows to electrics to the gas system. This is one of the biggest ways you can save money on your camper van conversion cost.

Windows, vents & other exterior items£611
Cladding & flooring£724
Kitchen & seating area£1,228
Electrical system£1,978
+ UPGRADES to electrical system£2,311
Water system£423
Gas & heating system£743
Decorating & furnishing£343
Total build cost£10,209
Total cost inc. van£19,009

We haven’t factored in the cost of any tools we bought, as we had most of them already. We knew we’d use any that we did need to pick up in the future for other projects, so we viewed these as an investment rather than part of the cost of the build.

Buying a base vehicle for your camper van conversion

Before we bought our van, we spent a long time deciding which make, model and size would be the right base vehicle for our camper van conversion. Once we’d decided this, we looked on quite a few websites for used vans, before going to speak to an ex-fleet dealer. These are dealers who deal specifically in vans which used to be part of a fleet, usually old delivery vehicles such as ex Royal Mail vans. The big benefit to an ex-fleet vehicle is that they are serviced regularly and are typically retired after 5 years. There’s a high cost impact to a courier if a van breaks down, so they are well maintained and looked after.

The main thing is to look at lots of different options and to make sure you test drive and inspect any potential vans thoroughly before you commit to buying.

We ended up paying £8,800 for our 2013 LWB Mercedes Sprinter which was on 110K miles back in January 2019.

If you’re not sure what van to base your camper conversion on, have a read of our article: What is the best van for a camper conversion?

Windows, vents & other exterior items

We decided to fit our windows and skylight ourselves to save money on our camper van conversion. This was actually very easy to do with only a drill and a jigsaw. The cost of having the windows fitted by a professional would have cost us roughly double compared to just buying the kit and doing it ourselves.

We also chose to make our own fans for air circulation with two computer fans, as this saved us money vs buying a skylight with an inbuilt fan.

Window fixing kit£444
Air vents & fans£29
Skylight£95Buy now


If you want to insulate your van well, the cost is essentially linear to how big your van is. You should aim to use insulation materials with a good cost to thermal resistivity ratio. If you look on Gumtree or eBay, you might be able to find people selling leftover insulation cheap, but ultimately insulation has a pretty fixed cost. Our camper van conversion costs in this area were split into four main components.

Thermal insulation board£147
Recycled bottle wool£72Buy now
Sound deadening strips£47Buy now
Bubble foil insulation£55Buy now

Cladding and flooring

When you convert a vancladding and flooring is an area where you can certainly save money. We know of a few people who have managed to clad their van from entirely reclaimed materials, which saves a lot on the cost of cladding or carpet, but can also add quite a lot of weight (and time restoring the materials). We were keen to cut weight where possible (to justify our sink!) so we bought our cladding from a local timber merchant.

We also bought all of our wood locally rather than at a big hardware chain like B&Q or Wickes. Not only is it about half the price, but we also found the quality to be much, much better.

You can cut costs in this area of your camper van conversion if you line your whole van in carpet or thin ply rather than cladding it, as well as sourcing cheap flooring. As the area you need to cover on a van floor is so small, it’s easy to find leftovers that people may have from doing up their house on Gumtree or eBay.

We managed to find quite a lot of oak flooring that someone was selling on Gumtree which saved us a lot of money. We ended up using some of the floorboards to make the slide out table in our van too. Although it was heavier than we would have liked, we only used it on the visible bits of floor to save weight.

Oak flooring (Gumtree)£40
Van lining carpet£48
Ply & wooden battens£291
Stair nosing for front step£24

Kitchen and seating area

The kitchen is an area of your camper van conversion which can end up costing you a lot or a little. We made a couple of our silliest purchases in the kitchen – our Belfast sink, and also a pretty expensive tap! As the kitchen is a really visual part of the build that we knew we’d spend a lot of time in, we were keen to make sure it looked really good.

Kitchen units

We balanced this out by making sure to save money where we could. Instead of buying big, bulky units from IKEA, which would be more expensive and also a lot more weight (which we couldn’t afford with our big sink!), we opted to make our kitchen out of single thickness 12mm ply, and just use drawers from IKEA.


We also set up eBay and Gumtree alerts for the most expensive items before we’d even bought our van, which included the fridge. There isn’t a huge amount of choice when it comes to camper van fridges – the cheap option is to get a 12V cool box, but as we planned to spend a lot of time in the van, we didn’t want the faff of a cool box and were keen to get a ‘proper’ fridge. However, these come with a very steep price tag – including the Dometic Waeco CRX50, which is the fridge you will see in most van conversions. We managed to get ours for less than half of its RRP, basically brand new.


We’d also recommend looking around for your worktop – similarly to flooring, you may be able to find an off-cut from someone doing up their house that will be the right size. As we have quite a large kitchen in the van we couldn’t find anything of the right size second hand, so we bought ours from Worktop Express, which is a great website for cheap but high quality worktops.

Camper van hobs

We also decided to fit a domestic hob in our van rather than a standard caravan/boat hob. The caravan hobs are quite expensive, and they generally aren’t as visually appealing as domestic hobs. The only difference between a domestic hob and a caravan hob is the nozzles and the fitting to attach to a gas outlet. Domestic hobs come with LPG nozzles which are very easy to swap over, and we just needed to buy an adapter to connect the hob to our gas pipe. It was super easy, and now we have a beautiful 4 ring hob in our van! You can see more about our kitchen in our Van tour: our camper van kitchen article.

Seating area

In our seating area, we cut up an old IKEA daybed mattress we had at home for the main cushions. Our friend who had finished converting a van recently gave us some leftover foam which we used for the backs of the seats, so this was a great little area to save some money! It’s worth keeping an eye out for people giving away foam, as it can be quite expensive to buy new. Climbing walls who are upgrading their matting often give away foam or sell it off very cheap!

For our seat materials, we spent some time perusing John Lewis to decide what material we’d like, but then looked for it on eBay instead of buying it direct. We managed to get 6m x 1.6m for just over £30 rather than £150!


We made our pull-out table from leftover floorboards. It’s good to get creative with things like this – another way to do this would be to make sure you have enough kitchen worktop left over for your table.

Belfast sink£177
Mixer tap£145
Domestic hob£182
IKEA drawers£91
Dometic fridge (Gumtree)£365
Hinges & latches£103
Foam for seatsFOC
Material for seats£31
Pull out tableFOC


The cost of our camper van bedroom was fairly low. We decided to use IKEA bed slats with the frame we built, as they are pretty good value for money, it saves a lot of time, and also means you don’t need as expensive a mattress as they have a bit of spring in them vs using battens of wood or ply with holes drilled in. Bed slats are also much lighter than using thick battens or ply, so it’s another good area to save a bit of weight.

As our bed size was a standard double bed, we were able to buy a memory foam mattress from IKEA. If your bed is going across your van, you could either modify a mattress or try and find some foam of the right size. We used bed sheets and blankets we already owned to save some money.

Double mattress£165
Bed slats£65
Duvet & pillows£65


Our camper van electrical system was the biggest single cost contributing to our camper van conversion. We felt it was really important to invest in this area. We initially installed flooded lead acid batteries as they have a good lifespan when you’re not using your van full-time, and they have a low upfront cost.

Once moving into our van for a couple of months, we realised we’d be living in our van for a lot longer than we initially anticipated. We also invested in a second fridge to give us more time off-grid, but this also increased our power requirements.

After spending time living in our van in the UK where it was much harder to recharge using solar (thanks Scotland!), we decided to invest in a lithium battery bank. The benefit of lithium is that you can access much more of the total battery capacity. Previously we could only access 180Ah of our 360Ah battery bank, but once we installed a 426Ah lithium battery bank, we could access a whopping 405Ah of power. Lithium also weighs a lot less than lead acid, so we were able to more than double our usable battery capacity whilst decreasing the weight of our battery bank by a staggering 50kg.

The downside to lithium is that it has a high upfront cost, however if you plan on living in your van full-time for a number of years, it’s definitely worth the investment.

We also invested in a good quality charge controller and battery monitor, to prolong the life of our batteries. It’s possible to get much cheaper versions than what we went for, but we felt like this was an area of the build we shouldn’t try and scrimp on and invested in high quality Victron products.

After moving into our van, we started a our camper van electrical system design business. Victron is one of the main suppliers that we partner with because of their high quality products and long warranties.

It’s amazing how quickly the cost of cables, connectors, and other miscellaneous items add up and contribute towards your total camper van conversion cost. If you know anyone who’s recently converted a van, it’s definitely worth asking around for any leftovers. Most connectors come in packs of 100s, so they could have a lot of spare bits left over which could save you money.

We opted to do all of the electrics ourselves, which is a good way to save some money. Read our article on How to wire a camper van electrical system for more info about our own system, or check out our electrical system guidebook pages.

If you want to tackle your camper van electrics yourself but would like a helping hand when things start to feel complicated, check out our free electrical design service. We provide a free bespoke wiring diagram and installation booklet when you order your components through us, so you don’t have to pay a professional for an expensive install, but you can still be confident that you have all of the right components and know how to install them safely.

Campervan electrics leaving you confused?

Our team of engineers will design your perfect system, bespoke to your needs 👌
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400Ah lithium batteries – UPGRADE £2,000Buy now
Victron charge controller£287Buy now
Victron battery monitor£208Buy now
Victron 500W inverter£150Buy now
Victron 30A B2B charger – UPGRADE£252Buy now
Blue Sea Systems 12V fuse box£62Buy now
Victron BatteryProtect – UPGRADE£59Buy now
3x 100W solar panels£246Buy now
Lights£28Buy now
Dowsing & Reynolds light switches£55Buy now
WiFi hotspot booster£63Buy now
Wires, connectors etc.£579Buy now

Water system

The cost of your camper van water system will depend on whether or not you install a toilet and shower. We opted for a fairly basic water system – we have a water tank which is connected to our sink and an outdoor shower via a pump and an accumulator.

We decided on an outdoor shower to save on the space of taking up a large portion of the van with a toilet and shower room, and because we plan on spending a lot of time in southern Europe in the van which will be warm and not very rainy, so fine for showering outside.

We have a good little setup where we hook an IKEA shower rail and curtain between our back doors, to give us some privacy. We then have a tankless instant water heater shower which is connected to our water tank and our LPG tank. This meant that we didn’t have to drill another hole in the van for a flue, because we only use it when the back doors of the van are open.

If you decide you want an indoor shower, or hot water coming from your tap, you will need to install a boiler inside the van which has a flue to vent, and this will add a decent chunk to the cost of your water system.

We also have a composting toilet in our camper van. We were lucky to be gifted the parts for this by Kildwick so it was FOC, but building a DIY composting toilet can be a good way to save money, as the pre-built ones can be quite expensive.

Alternatively, chemical portaloos are quite cheap, but they also don’t smell very nice and can be difficult to empty. If you can’t decide whether or not to include a toilet, read our blog post Should you have a toilet in your camper van?

Fiamma 70L water tank£69Buy now
Pipe & connectors£86
Tankless LPG water heater shower£170Buy now
Shurflo water pump£50Buy now
Fiamma accumulator£28Buy now
Shower accessories (curtain, deck etc)£21


Gas and heating system

Gas and heating is one of the areas of your camper van conversion that can end up costing a lot of money. It’s also the part of the build that people are most reluctant to do themselves. We definitely found it very scary, and were absolutely petrified of having a gas leak the first time we filled up. Saying that, it is expensive to pay someone else to do this for you – we were quoted £800 to have the system installed, excluding any parts. Because of this, we opted to do it ourselves.

We also decided to make a mounting bracket for the tank out of some leftover flex link we had, which saved us some money. The main reason we decided to do this was because the mounting frames sold by GAS IT require you to drill through the floor, and we had already installed our kitchen by this point.

camper van heater can also be an expensive part of a conversion. This was another one of our lucky Gumtree finds. We managed to pay £220 for the Propex LPG heater, which usually costs around £500 new. Before we found this, we were considering buying one of the Chinese diesel heaters, as they get quite good reviews and there is a Facebook group you can join for help installing them. We were pleased we managed to find the Propex heater heavily discounted, as we didn’t fancy drilling into our fuel tank! It was very easy to install and in really good condition despite being second hand.

If you decide to have your gas system installed by a professional, the cost can become a big contributor to your total camper van conversion cost.

25L GAS IT LPG tank£228
LPG tank mounting bracketFOC
LPG accessories (fill point, manifold etc)£119
Hose, ducting & connectors£144
Propex 2000 Space Heater (Gumtree)£220Buy now
Other (drop out vents, CO2 alarm etc)£32

Decorating and furnishing

Decorating and furnishing can make up a very tiny or a very large portion of your total camper conversion cost. We made sure to use lots of things we already owned, such as blankets, cushions and little wall decorations like our dream catcher, as well as old curtain material to make some of the curtains for our van.

It’s worth having a look in places like IKEA for curtains which you can cut up and use to make your van curtains, as we found this was a lot cheaper than buying material from a haberdashery. They had a nicer choice of materials too!

One of the great things about a van is that your kitchen is small, which means you don’t need to buy many tiles to cover the area. This meant we could buy some quite fancy tiles, but it didn’t cost much as we didn’t need very many of them. Tiles are also the kind of thing it might be quite easy to find on Gumtree or eBay. You could also consider an alternative to tiles, such as waterproof wallpaper or wooden panels.

Our biggest expense in this area was the curtain tracks, as we bought tracks made especially for vans. You could definitely make your own using doweling or copper pipe, which is what we did at the back of the van, but in the main body of the van where the walls taper, it’s useful to have curtain tracks which hold the curtains in place and stop them from flapping around.

Curtain tracks£96
Curtain material£25
Kitchen tiles£16
Coat hooks£17
Cupboard handles£16
Doweling for book case£9


Camper van security is incredibly important in keeping your new home on wheels safe. We were lucky enough to already have deadlocks and an immobiliser in our van because it was an ex delivery vehicle. This meant we didn’t need to spend too much on security, however this is definitely not an area to try and scrimp on!

If you have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of pounds converting your van, you definitely want it protected. In addition to the security we already had, we bought a steering wheel lock, a motion sensor that works much like a burglar alarm in a house, and visual deterrents too. We have also had a Thatcham approved GPS tracker installed by Smartrack.

Motion sensor alarms£57Buy now
Steering wheel lock£120
GPS trackerFOC

How to save on your camper van conversion cost

There are a couple of key ways we saved money on our camper van conversion cost, and a couple more that we didn’t personally do, but are definitely good ways to save cash on your conversion.

Buy from Gumtree & eBay

We badger on about this a lot, but that’s because we definitely saved well over £1,500 in buying things second hand from eBay and Gumtree! These will typically fall into two categories. The first is leftovers from people renovating houses, such as surplus flooring, tiles or worktop. Because you are trying to cover such a small area within your van, leftovers can usually cover the area you need. The second is second-hand appliances, such as a fridge or heater – this is definitely where we saved hundreds.

We would suggest setting up Gumtree and eBay alerts for any appliances you know you will need to buy. This is what we did, meaning we ended up buying some items before we’d even bought our van!

Do everything yourself

This is a bit of a no brainer, but if you do everything yourself, you will save on the expensive fees of paying professionals to do certain jobs for you. Of course there may be some jobs that you would rather pay someone else to do, such as the gas system. It’s all about weighing up the benefits vs the cost.

Use reclaimed materials / use a local timber merchant

We know a few people who have saved quite a bit of money in their build by using reclaimed materials such as pallet wood, copper bowls as sinks etc, which can be a great way to cut costs on materials.

If you are using reclaimed materials like this, you will need to be careful of the extra weight that may be associated with them. Cladding your van with pallet wood rather than tongue and groove cladding would add quite a bit of extra weight, so you will need to account for this in other areas of your build.

The other option, which we did do, was to use a local timber merchant rather than buying materials from a big hardware chain such as B&Q or Wickes, as we found for a similar product the timber merchant was usually around half the price, and the quality is also far better. You will get much better value and a much better product going to a local timber merchant!

Camper van conversion cost FAQs

Buying and converting a camper van is much cheaper than buying a pre-built camper or a motorhome. The average cost of a large camper van conversion is £2,000-£10,000. Whereas the cost of a pre-built camper could be anywhere from £5,000 to upwards of £30,000, and a brand new motorhome could cost you £50,000-£150,000!

We spent £321 insulating our van, which is a LWB Sprinter. However if you have a smaller van, this cost will be lower, as the cost of insulating a van is linear to the size of your camper.

Putting windows in your van could cost anywhere from £100 to over £1,000. If you install the windows yourself, the cost will simply be the cost of the window itself. A bonded window pane will cost around £100-£200 per window. Motorhome-style windows are more expensive, costing around £450-£600 each, depending on the size and style.

The cost of a Sprinter camper van will depend on the standard it’s been converted to inside. A pre-built Sprinter camper van could cost anywhere from £5,000 to more than £30,000 depending on the functionality of the conversion and the age and mileage of the vehicle.

Purchasing a Sprinter as a base vehicle for your camper van conversion will cost at least £10,000 if you’re looking for a van that’s less than 6 years old with around 100,000 miles. You will then need to add the cost of the conversion process on top of this.

You could spend as little as £500 to make a van liveable. This would include some insulation, a basic 12V camper van electrical system, a bed and jerry can for storing water. However, for most people, you will need to spend at least £2,000-£5,000 to make a van liveable. It all depends on what your definition of liveable is!

How to convert a camper van

Want to know exactly how to convert a camper van? Our 331 page bestselling book, The Van Conversion Bible, covers all aspect of a van conversion, from planning your layout to a step-by-step build guide.

The ultimate guide to converting a campervan

The award-winning bestseller ✨


  1. Hi there, MegaCool blog mate, I really loved this page. I’ll be sure to talk about this to my cousin who would, odds are, love to check out this post too. Found this sites post through the Bing search engine by the way, incase you were curious. Many thanks for the wonderful read!

  2. I stumbled on this through facebook but what a great looking van. We’ve traveled the world in various vans / cars and are still thinking about building one ourselves so I’m going to keep this website as reference 🙂
    Enjoy the trips!

  3. Hi both – great article and really helpful. I’m in the every early stages of the process and do not have any design or specific van in mind. The section on choosing a van was quite brief. Apart from sourcing an ex-fleet vehicle, do you have any other advice? Is there anything else to look out for, any features of a van, that would prove particularly useful? Were the windows easy enough to fit that it doesn’t warrant sourcing a van with windows (apart from the obvious ones!)?
    Do you have any advice on how to approach the design? Location of bedroom v kitchen, fitting a family of four in a van etc?

    1. Avatar photo

      Hi Glyn, glad you found the post useful! We have a couple more blog posts that you might find useful, What is the best van for a camper conversion? and How to: install campervan windows. We also write quite a lot about how buy the right van in our new book, The Van Conversion Bible. You might also want to check out our van layout configurator to help with the design! Hope that helps, thanks!

  4. Hi.
    You mention about doing the electrics and the heating installation yourself. How did this work out for your insurance and certification for road worthiness.
    I would imagine insurance companies are very wary of anyone doing this kind of thing themselves and would insist on some sort of professional certification before allowing the van on the road or providing insurance cover. I would consider myself handy enough at DIY and being hands on when getting things done but would always be somewhat nervous of the potential fire hazard of even simple mistakes, and the dangers of a gas leak that could occur.
    Having a great read of your blog, it’s very interesting and informative and has convinced me that I should purchase your book. Thanks for all your advice and sharing your experiences.

    1. Avatar photo

      Hi David, I’m not sure what country you’re based in, but in the UK we don’t have a ‘certification of road worthiness’, when you convert a campervan yourself you simply tell your insurer that it’s been converted. Of course, we’d always recommend getting the electrics or gas checked and signed off by a professional when installing things yourself for extra peace of mind. Hope you find the book useful!

  5. Hi

    Thank you for sharing your experience and costs, its helped me makethe decision to convert rather than buy outright but waht about a shower and toilet???

    1. Avatar photo

      Hi Nick, glad you found the article useful! We have an outdoor shower setup and hidden toilet below our bench seating 🙂 The beauty of a self-build is you can do whatever you want so if you want an indoor toilet and shower cubicle you can.

  6. Hi love the van !

    I’m looking to do this my self in the not so near future and wondered

    Do have to get any thing signed off to get a valuation for insurance

    I hear new rules you have to get water gas and electricity signed off before hand

    Thank you look forward to hearing from you 🤘

    1. Avatar photo

      Hi Harry, this will depend on which insurer you use. Most insurers will just require you to provide some photographs of the finished build, and an estimated valuation. We haven’t heard of any rules requiring systems to be signed off, although some insurers may require this. Thanks

  7. Brilliant article, thinking of sprinter conversion but I am 6ft, does the H2 have enough height to stand up in, and thinking about 4×4 version, what’s your thoughts. Thanks.

    1. Hi Derek, the sprinters do have enough room to stand up in – it’s just important to think strategically about how much insulation/cladding you will use on the floor and ceiling so you don’t loose too much height! We do slightly touch on this here.

      As for the 4×4 version the answer would likely depend on how you intend to use your van and if it would justify the extra cost of a 4×4 version. Personally we haven’t felt restricted not having a 4×4 and can still reach some lovely park ups. I hope that helps!

  8. Hi,
    We’ve got your book and using your electrical service too, you’ve been a massive help in planning our van conversion, so thank you!
    Can you give any more information/resources on how to build our own fan? We are planning on buying 2 MAxxfans especially because we’re travelling with 2 cats and a dog who might need to stay in the van alone at times, but if the result in ventilation and temperature control is similar then £600 vs the £30 you spent is a massive difference.

    Thank you 🙂
    Diana and Matt

    1. Hi Diana and Matt,

      We’re so glad you’ve found all of our resources useful! In hindsight we would actually just buy a pre built one, unless you build the fans perfectly you end up with a lot of air loss so instead we would recommend something such as this instead: Dometic roof ventilator with motor. We hope this helps 😊

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