For anyone who’s followed our journey since 2017, it will probably be no surprise to learn that we have chosen to walk a well trodden path – converting our own campervan.
If you’re interested in the idea of converting a van into the ultimate winter snowmad adventure camper, you might want to grab the popcorn!
We’ve been talking about a self-built winter campervan since the very first day we collected the coachbuilt motorhome we toured in for the 2017/18 season. The truth is, we had nothing but headaches for nearly 6 months in a brand new coachbuilt motorhome, and whilst it was still an incredible experience, the best part about it was what we learned – hindsight is a wonderful thing!
This switch to #vanlife is by no means a smite on coachbuilt and A-Class motorhomes but it’s all about personal circumstances. We have thoroughly considered all the options – endlessly in the last 2 years in fact – and the conclusion we have drawn is that converting our own van is the only way to achieve the specification that we want…. Particularly now we’re a family of four.
Decision made, the next steps were to haul-ass back to the UK from the Pyrenees as fast as DEFRA would allow our pups safe passage – find a suitable vehicle and start at it with an angle grinder.
What you can expect from us in the next 8 months?
We know this won’t necessarily appeal to everyone – however, let’s just say we can almost guarantee EastEnders scale drama (we specialise in this) and even if you aren’t considering a van build yourself, you might find it interesting to see how we’re building this campervan – specifically for winter touring.
As a plumber, James will be going into a lot of detail on the plumbing and heating side of things and no doubt, we’ll be getting a lot of input and guidance from within our Facebook Group community along the way.
We’ll document the whole thing – warts and all – starting today and hopefully at the other end, we’ll be heading out east in December to catch the first flocons falling on the mountain tops.
Our basic winter campervan specification:
And this is where we ran out of options in the off-the-shelf van department. If the pretty niche ski/snowboard/climbing requirements we already have aren’t limiting enough, we now have two monsters in tow that are only getting bigger and what’s more, are ‘raw’ fed which means not only do we not have no room for spare pants, we don’t even have room for milk.
Look – sure with a healthy budget, we could have purchased an almost perfect van but if we’re completely honest, the idea of being able to blame someone in the van for any failures is much more appealing than hurling abuse into thin air at a faceless aftersales department. So that’s the real truth.
This build is also heavily influenced by budget, or lack thereof. We simply aren’t in a position to invest £60k+ on a motorhome, or even take a £20k risk on a second-hand model with all the unknowns that brings. We also know that the vast majority of people who read our blog and otherwise follow our various social channels are in the same position as us. Buying a fully winterized motorhome or campervan from which to tour the mountains in winter (as yet we are not big on the fair weather road trips), just doesn’t make financial sense and is completely out of reach of a lot of outdoor adventure folks.
Our top 5 requirements – non negotiable
• Fully Winterised (none of this ‘winter pack’ nonsense)
• Toilet and shower
• Room for two large doggos
• Work space (digital)
• Substantial garage
Where we are now
We’ve bought a van! That was an experience in itself and if you’re looking for a base vehicle for a winter campervan conversion then there are lots of options open to you – we went down the sketchy, super risky route and time will tell how that turns out!
How to follow the Winterized campervan conversion story
The next 8 months will be full-on for us. If you’re already researching how to convert a van into your #vanlife home on wheels then you’ll no doubt have spent a silly amount of time on YouTube – and probably come away with the view that you can lick a van into shape in 7 days! That’s not going to happen here for a number of reasons. Firstly, this is going to be a fully winterized van and whacking a bit of celotex in the walls, bunging a few units together and lacing the walls with pallet wood just ain’t going to cut it. We’ve even done away with the obligatory dreamcatcher in our plans because, well…. we’re not convinced they work.
If YouTube is your thing, you can follow the winterized campervan conversion on our channel with updates throughout the summer. As winter sets in, that’s going to be wall to wall winter aire and campsite tours and a few other bits we’ve had requests for over the last few seasons.
If you’re a reader and prefer the blog, we’ll be documenting the build here too – if you want to get notifications to your inbox next time we post, jot your name and email in the box below. No spam, just winter motorhome skiing and outdoors stuff from us.
And finally, if you’re really into this and fancy joining the conversation, feel free to join the motorhome skiing and boarding group on Facebook. Chocka with really knowledgeable people and lots of motorhome, campervan, winter camping related chat year round.
So there you have it…winterised campervan conversion is GO! Will we make it to the Alps this season? What will we have to forgo to accommodate our Mountain Muttz and just how many pants can we fit in our new winter home on wheels?