Tips For Turning A Standard Van Into A Camper Van

Whether you have a full size passenger van or a smaller minivan, kitting it out for camping can make it even more useful. Passenger vans are usually large enough for a small family, while a minivan makes a good small camper for one or two people. The following tips can help you make your van more camping friendly.

Tip #1: Remove the seats

In most cases, you will need to remove the seats so that you can open up the center for living and sleeping. In many larger passenger vans, as well as some minivans, the very rear row of seats actually folds flat so that it can be used as a bed. Alternatively, the seats may fold down and tuck into the floor boards so that they are out of the way. It's important that you figure this out before your trip, since you don't want to store the seats outside of the van where they could be stolen or exposed to weather.

Tip #2: Develop a sleep system

As detailed above, some vans feature seats that fold into beds. For those that don't, a sleep system is a must. If you are relatively young and sleep easily, you may need nothing more than a sleeping bag and perhaps a roll-up pad. If you crave more comfort, then an air mattress works well, plus you can deflate and stow it when you need more space. Keep a plastic storage tote reserved for your deflated mattress and bedding so it doesn't get underfoot or dirty when you are in the van during the day.

Tip #3: Add storage

The thing with van camping is that most of your living takes place outside. This includes cooking, dining, and much of your entertainment. Still, you will need to store things inside the van. Plastic tubs work best since they protect items and you don't have to worry about drawers sliding open. Consider divided tubs with snap on lids for organizing your clothing and your kitchen pantry. An extra tub can store cookware and serving items. If you cook on a grill, you may want to have a way to chain it to your van or you may want a smaller one you can stow in the front seat at night so theft isn't a concern. Don't cook in the van, as this can be a hazard to your health.

Tip #4: Don't overlook privacy

Your final concern is likely privacy. The best option is to have the rear windows tinted as dark as legally allowed by your state. This way you can see out while no one else can easily see in. You will also want to have the front side windows tinted, simply so any belongings you stow in front aren't easily seen. A local auto windshield tinting business can help you choose the best type of tint. Curtains are another option for adding privacy to the back, although you won't be able to see out. A curtain directly behind the front seat is also a must so that no one can peer in through the front window.

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