Okay, so I’m sure you are all wondering, what’s happened?!
Well, I originally bought the van in late June of this year and since then, it’s been a LOT of trial, error and very small amounts of progress made over that period. Let’s be honest, this van isn’t big and with the right know-how, it really isn’t hard to convert to a good standard. But for me, it’s felt like a mammoth task and I really didn’t think I would be ending the year with a converted van. But, I’m grateful and proud to say that she’s already had her maiden voyage in the Lakes (and a few other single night trips) and it’s been a huge success!
Now, I’m sure you really just want to see some photos rather than me blabber on, so here you go.
What’s in the conversion
As you can see, it’s not much of a passion wagon! Only fit for one person and enough space for my German Shepherd, Kesha. Still, I’ve got everything I need in here.
- Decent 180cm sized bed, enough space to ‘move’ around in and more than enough space for me. I’ve had a seamstress make a really comfortable bed using foam and wrapped in a hard-wearing fabric which is unzip-able and cushions to match! Thanks to Cherrys and Foam Cut to Size for that.
- Lots of under bed storage
- A kitchen with decent sized sink, drainer and single hob.
- 10-litre fresh water and waste water bottles
- Storage in the kitchen unit
- 12v electrics, with
- 94Ah leisure battery
- Voltage-sensitive relay for charging on the go
- Inlet socket located in the engine bay for charging and 240v at a campsite
- Control panel for lights, heater, USBs with a voltmeter and cigarette socket
- Thanks to Rayne Automotive for the system and their aftersale support is brilliant.
- Eberspacher D2 diesel heater. This thing is brilliant. It seems to barely use any fuel and I can easily keep it powered for a night and more. I’m chilling in the van as I type this and it’s pretty cold outside, yet absolutely roasting in here! It doesn’t take long to heat the van, let’s put it that way. I think the only thing I would change is the temperature gauge. It seems the controller takes the temperature from within the heater itself (or the exhaust/air intake). I think it would be better with an external temperature gauge located under the bed which I think you can get, so I may invest in that.
- Custom NV200 blackout blinds to keep it ‘stealthy’ made by Paula Snowdon. Both sides are black which means when parked up, it’s harder to tell I’m sleeping in the van. I generally leave the side windows blacked out anyway which means people can’t see in when parked up.
- Fairy lights around the ceiling for a bit of ‘mood’ lighting!
Huge thanks to Dom for his carpentry brilliance 🙂
Now, I wish I could say I built the bed and kitchen and fitted the Diesel heater, but if I had, it certainly would be as beautifully built as it is. That well-deserved credit goes to Dom from The Soulful Explorer, a local carpenter and van builder. He’s done an incredible job and I really can’t thank him enough. Not only did he convert my basic drawings and measurements into realisation, but he also added creative touches that make the van feel unique and everything is built to a high standard. He also fitted the diesel heater, improved my bodged electrics, fitted the cooking system and generally made it happen. He kept to my budget which I really appreciate and everything was finished when he said it would be. I would definitely recommend Dom, go check out his Facebook! He was brilliant. Thanks again Dom.
What would I change?
I’ve only stayed in the van fully converted a few times so it’s hard for me to say right now. Although, this van does everything I want and more. Whilst it would be nice to have more storage, a separate place to put wet clothes or boots (this is probably the biggest negative) I realise this would make the van much more of a nuisance on a daily basis due to the larger size. Overall, I love the van and can’t wait to get out in it more!
What do I like about the van? Any negatives?
What I love about this van is its size and yet, I have a fully converted ‘home’ on wheels on every drive I go. I can drive the van on a daily basis, parallel park like I did with my hatchback. Plus, it’s efficient with over 50mpg average and the engine is reliable and quick enough for motorway driving. I’m glad I went for this van in the end and not something similar, like the Doblo/Combo or a VW – I’ll be paying one of them off for years to come! Whilst the VW has a bigger following, the NV200 is up and coming. More and more people are buying this van which is resulting in more guides, ready-made bits, tips, tricks, etc.
The only negative I’ve found is the noise. Not necessarily the ambient noise, i.e. from the tyres, I kind of expect that with the current cheaper tyre quality and small wheels, it’s actually with some of the plastic trim making all sorts of annoying noises. This is probably van-dependant and thankfully it’s fixable (I hope!!) but it’s bloody annoying. I’m working on the fix but if anyone’s got the same van and has fixed issues such as this, then please let me know what you did!
Links for helpful stuff
I’ve found various websites that have been instrumental in getting me to this stage, here they are:
- “Do Your Dream” Nissan NV200 campervan build – very detailed guide and has helped me with things I wouldn’t have found out myself. For example, when insulating the doors, it’s really important you create a channel for the water to escape from the door handle. Otherwise, your insulation will get wet and rot. I definitely wouldn’t have been smart enough to realise that!
- Nissan NV200 camper van conversion Facebook Group – great place to ask questions and receive useful feedback. Also nice to see other peoples conversions!
- Camper conversion series on YouTube by Andy Beck – Andy goes into a lot of detail using video on converting his combi version into a living space. Hugely helpful for someone like me who had zero experience doing anything like this. I also love his conversion, very unique.
- There have been more and ask I think of any, I will add the links here.
Let me know what you’ve done
My van is a simple conversion, what have you done with yours? Please share, it would be great to hear from you! And if you’ve got any suggestions, then make sure you comment below! Thanks 🙂