Review: Build Your Own Dream Camper Van for less than £1000

Carlton Boyce / 15 June 2016

Ever dreamed of owning a campervan but can't quite afford it? We review a book that claims to help you build a campervan for less than £1000.

For many of us (semi-) retirement brings with it the dream of being able to travel more, and for many that means buying a campervan.  

The appeal is obvious: the freedom to settle down for the night in whatever picturesque corner of the world you’ve stumbled upon that day, unencumbered by the need to book ahead, dress for dinner, or fulfill any one of the numerous social niceties you swore that you would abandon the day you donated your old work suits to charity.

Modern campervans aren’t cheap, though. A decent new Volkswagen conversion with room for two but no in-house toilet would cost you at least £40,000, and half-an-hour’s day-dreaming on the internet will quickly reveal that you could sell a very nice semi-detached house and invest the entire proceeds in a luxury motorhome without trying too hard.

Read our guide to hiring a motorhome.

All for under a grand?

So a book that claims you can build your own dream campervan for less than £1,000 – including the price of the van itself! – should be just the sort of thing that a DIY-savvy Saga reader with big dreams but small pockets could be interested in.

And it is. While you’d have to be extraordinarily lucky to be able to do what they’ve done with a thousand pounds, the principle looks plausible enough: buy an old van and an old caravan and then put the contents of the latter into the former, refurbishing and repurposing as necessary. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

It probably is, too. The good thing about a project like this is that you haven’t got too much money invested in it, so if it all goes horribly wrong (and while there is no reason why it should, I can understand your fears that it might…) you are unlikely to be left too far out of pocket because you can always sell the bits on somewhere like eBay, recouping most of your modest outlay in the process.

For more tips, reviews and useful information, browse our motoring articles.

Straightforward adventure

You’ll need the space to be able to store them while you’re working on them, plus a half-decent toolkit, but the technical skills involved don’t look too daunting and anyway, half the fun of an adventure like this is beavering away to overcome niggling problems as they occur, isn’t it?

The book itself is inspirational. While many of the photographs are model-specific (and it’s hard to understand how they could be anything but) the basic principles are straightforward and widely applicable no matter what model van or caravan you end up buying. 

The end result looks neat enough too and I imagine that the satisfaction of completing a venture like this would be huge.

So, is it worth the £20 I paid? Yes, of course. I’m currently scouring eBay for cheap local caravans to see if I can make the figures work. 

It might stay a dream for a few years yet, but the important thing is that it’s sparked that dream and that makes it one of my best buys of 2016 so far.  

Build Your Own Dream Camper Van for less than £1000
The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.