Professional vs. DIY Camper Van Conversion: What’s the Best Choice?

Posted by Tina Kassaeian on

The allure of van life continues to captivate adventurers, minimalists, and wanderers seeking freedom on the open road. Whether you're a weekend warrior or planning to live full-time in your camper van, one of the biggest decisions you'll face is whether to tackle your van conversion yourself or hire professionals to do it for you. Each approach has its own set of advantages and challenges.

This blog will explore the pros and cons of both DIY and professional camper van conversions, providing you with the insights needed to make the best choice for your journey. 

RV Conversion; All You Need to Know

The Rise of Van Life 

Van life isn't just a trend; it's a lifestyle movement. People from all walks of life are embracing the simplicity and mobility that a camper van or RV offer. The idea of having a home on wheels, ready to take you wherever you wish, is incredibly appealing. However, to truly enjoy van life, a well-executed conversion is crucial. The key to a successful camper van lies in its functionality, comfort, and reliability. 

DIY Camper Van Conversion: The Pros and Cons 

Pros of DIY Camper Van Conversion 

  • Cost Savings: One of the most significant advantages of a DIY camper van conversion is the potential for cost savings. By doing the work yourself, you can avoid the high labor costs associated with professional services. This allows you to allocate more of your budget toward high-quality materials and components. 
  • Customization: When you take on a DIY conversion, you have complete control over the design and layout of your van or RV. You can tailor every aspect to your personal preferences and needs, from the type of bed to the kitchen setup. This level of customization is often harder to achieve with pre-designed professional conversions. 
  • Sense of Accomplishment: There's a unique satisfaction that comes from building something with your own hands. Completing a DIY van conversion can be incredibly rewarding, giving you a profound sense of accomplishment and ownership. Every time you hit the road, you'll be reminded of the effort and creativity you put into your mobile home. 

Van lifer using VictronConnect app to monitor their power system

Cons of DIY Camper Van Conversion 

  • Time-Intensive: DIY van conversions are notoriously time-consuming. Depending on your skill level and the complexity of the design, it can take several months or even years to complete. This can be a significant drawback if you're eager to start your van life adventure soon. 
  • Skill Requirements: A successful van conversion requires a wide range of skills, including carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, and insulation. If you're not already experienced in these areas, you'll need to invest time in learning them. Mistakes can be costly and potentially dangerous, especially when dealing with electrical systems. 
  • Potential for Errors: Without professional expertise, there's a higher risk of making errors that could compromise the safety and functionality of your van. Poorly installed electrical systems, leaky plumbing, and inadequate insulation can lead to significant issues down the road. 

RV Life off the grid in Canada

Professional Camper Van Conversion: The Pros and Cons 

Pros of Professional Camper Van Conversion 

  • High-Quality Craftsmanship: Professional van conversion companies bring expertise and experience to the table. They have the skills and knowledge to ensure that every aspect of your van is built to high standards. This often results in a more polished and durable finish compared to a DIY project. 
  • Professional-Grade Materials and Techniques: Professionals have access to high-quality materials and specialized tools that may not be readily available to DIYers. They also stay updated with the latest industry techniques and innovations, ensuring that your van is equipped with the best possible features. 
  • Faster Turnaround Time: If you're eager to hit the road, a professional conversion can be completed much faster than a DIY project. Most companies offer a range of packages with estimated completion times, allowing you to plan your adventure without long delays. 

Overview of a camper van’s fully equipped living space

Cons of Professional Camper Van Conversion 

Higher Initial Investment: The most significant drawback of hiring professionals is the cost. Professional conversions can be expensive, often ranging from $50,000 to over $100,000, depending on the complexity and customization level. This high initial investment can be a barrier for many aspiring van lifers. 

Limited Customization: While professional companies offer a range of customization options, they may still be more limited than what you can achieve on your own. Some companies have set layouts and designs, which might not perfectly match your vision or needs. 

Less Personal Involvement: Hiring professionals means relinquishing some control over the project. If you enjoy hands-on work and being deeply involved in the creation process, you might miss out on that experience with a professional conversion.  

Choosing Between DIY and Professional Camper Van Conversions

Victron Energy: Ensuring Reliable Power on the Road 

Regardless of whether you choose a DIY or professional conversion, having a reliable power system is essential for van life. Victron Energy offers a range of products that can help you achieve this, including: 

Phoenix Inverter 

The Phoenix Inverter provides reliable and efficient power conversion, ensuring that your devices and appliances run smoothly. It's a popular choice for both DIY and professional conversions due to its durability and performance. 

SmartSolar MPPT Charge Controllers 

Victron Energy’s SmartSolar MPPT charge controllers maximize the efficiency of your solar panels, ensuring that you get the most power possible from your solar setup. These controllers are easy to install and monitor, making them ideal for DIYers and professionals alike. 

Converted camper van with Victron Energy By Volts Energies

MultiPlus Inverter/Charger 

The MultiPlus inverter/charger combines an inverter and a charger in one compact unit, offering seamless power management. It's a versatile and reliable solution for both DIY and professional van conversions. 

Cerbo GX 

The Cerbo GX allows you to monitor and control your power system from a single interface. It provides real-time data on your energy usage, battery status, and more, ensuring that you can manage your power system efficiently and effectively. 

Conclusion 

Choosing between a DIY and professional camper van conversion is a significant decision that will impact your van life experience. Both approaches have their own set of advantages and challenges, and the best choice depends on your budget, skills, time, and preferences. 

Contact our professional at Volts Energies to get a free Quote for customized vehicle conversion.


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