By João Falcão
As an outdoor guy and a nature photographer, this pandemic forced me to stay inside (something that I don’t usually do that much). So, especially after having 4 trips canceled, and maybe a year with the borders closed or semi-closed, I thought I had to do something different and maybe put into action some of my many plans that I had originally put off. So, one of those plans was to convert a van into a campervan. I already traveled a couple of times in a campervan and since then, I always dreamt of doing this kind of renovation, the lockdown was just the perfect excuse to do it.
The first step for this kind of renovation, and maybe the hardest, is to buy an old van. Luckily, my girlfriend’s father has an old van from his business, so I didn’t have to buy one. Although this came with an extra requirement, the van has to serve two purposes, van and campervan, in other words, you must be able to remove all equipment.
To start, I had to start sketching the campervan layout. I have to admit it took a while until I decided on the final version. It has to fit everything in a small amount of space and it has to be easy to use. After searching for inspiration, and having in mind what type of trips and destinations I want to travel to (weather permitting), I decided to build an L shaped couch/bed with the kitchen going outside of the van through drawers underneath the bed. After having all the pre-conditions required, I started doing the rest of the renovations in the evenings and on the weekends, in order to get it done before Summer.
It was been fun doing it, and I’ve been documenting the process so far through photos. The first day was cleaning day, I had to remove everything that was inside, clean it, and put it inside again. It was a hell of a day. Then, I moved onto one of the most underrated steps, insulation. I decided to put two layers of insulation, in order to reduce the temperature variations and make the campervan more comfortable for Winter and Summer. After having it done, I started covering the floor and walls with wood and wallpaper and building the couch/bed and drawers. At that point, the campervan started to get shape, and, for sure, it was the most exciting time because the campervan was coming to life.
After completing that, I’m now waiting to receive some products to continue the van renovation, solar panel for the electrical system, jerry cans, water pump, and the sink for the kitchen, and after putting them together, I’m ready to start traveling again.