Okay so I basically only have one thing to report on from last week, and that is – we bought a van!!
Lucy and I have been wanting to do this for aaaages and we finally decided it was time to bite the bullet and go for it! We spent weeks and weeks scrolling through facebook and autotrader, until we finally found “the one”…
Introducing, Ronni the Renault!
How we chose her
When we were deciding what van we should get, we struggled to choose out of low roof, high roof and just going up to a large van…!
There were pros and cons of each:
Low roof pros
- Pretty much a second car
- Fits in all car parks and spaces
- A little cheaper
Low roof cons
- Can’t stand up
- Not as much storage space
- Need to add a pop top (£3-6000 on top!)
High roof pros
- Standing room!
- More storage space
- Warmer on chilly nights!
High roof cons
- Generally a little more expensive
- Rarer to find, especially with good spec
Big van pros
- Standing room
- Even more storage!
- Better value for money
Big van cons
- Like driving a bus
- Less accessibility, especially living in the west country!
In the end, we came up with our non-negotiables. Neither of us could imagine having to bend over to cook all the time, or only having the option to cook outside, so low roof was out. We did consider a low roof with a pop top, but altogether this would have made the build a lot more expensive. In our opinion a pop top is also not as convenient and whenever you put it up you’re losing a lot of precious insulation.
We contemplated a bigger size van, but as it’s our first one we really wanted to feel comfortable driving it. We’re also assuming that a bigger van needs more of all the materials to convert, so despite the van itself being potentially better value for money than a similar medium sized van with a high roof, we knew that it would ultimately cost more in total to convert.
So, that left us with a high roof medium size van, like a Vivaro or Trafic. Problem is, these are a lot rarer and generally don’t have very good spec. We initially saw a 2016 Vivaro, in immaculate condition, but with 140,000 miles on the clock. We were tempted, as it also had air con and cruise control, but it was also at the very top end of our budget, leaving us with no money to get started with the conversion!
We let it go, and we thought we’d missed out on a bargain (which is was, albeit over our budget), but then we saw this Trafic. It’s a 2013 plate, so an older model, and doesn’t have cruise control. But, it does have air con and a high top, so our main boxes were ticked. It also only has 78,000 miles, and was £2000 cheaper than the Vivaro! So we went for it! She’s got some minor dinks in the side, which we think brought the price down a little further, but as she ticked every other box, we are chuffed with her!
So over the coming months, I can’t wait to share with you the conversion process! So far, we’ve made a plan in our heads, and ordered the windows and vent which we’re hoping to fit at the weekend. We’re lucky to have some family members who know what they’re doing more than we do, so we’ll definitely have some help along the way, but we can’t wait to get stuck in!
Have you ever holidayed in a caravan/camper van?
Have you ever converted a van? And if so, please share some tips as we get started!