So, one of the hardest things I found when I thought about doing a van conversion from scratch is what van to choose, I mean that’s pretty important right? And I’m no expert, believe me! But here’s a few things that I considered when making my choice.
Height/size. Heights a key one, even for me (I’m only 5”7’). There are high top vans like the LDV I had that had a good 6ft+ of clearance inside, which is awesome when you’re at a festival and the rain starts falling, you can move the party inside, and even more awesome when you’re feeling fragile in the morning! Although not ideal say if you want to park in most car parks…. you just don’t fit…and we found in France the tolls considered us a truck and paid more on tolls.
Brand. Whys this important you say? Well it can help you get an idea of how long the vans going to last and if it does fall apart, how much parts are to put it back together. In my experience if definitely worth getting a van with a known brand and model. I remember for the Renault having to order a bolt for the suspension that had to be custom made in France and specially shipped. It took 4 weeks lots of searching and cost a small fortune for something no bigger than a pen.
Cost. Now this is a hard one. It’s easy to say you pay for what you get so it’s worth paying more, but let’s be realistic, we’ve not all won the lottery or have a rich old uncle that rhymes with Ronald Pump. I think the most important thing for me was to look at how long I wanted the van to last. If you’re looking for that one-time summer road trip wagon, then you can probably skimp it a bit. I met a kiwi guy who was living for a season in half rusted transit van that definitely was not okay, but for the summer season he was here he had a blast.
Age. Now when I say age I like to think of that as condition of the van too, as chances are the older it is the more beat up it will be the more miles on the clock (although there are exceptions). Age as well can be important going back to the parts argument. Now I know older vans come with a certain charm, I mean who wouldn’t want a Citroën H, but they can end up becoming money pits. Not just that, if what you have planned is an epic European road trip, I can tell you now cruising at 30mph for 8 hours and not getting that far is going to get old quickly.