Here’s Your DIY Checklist

Perhaps the biggest mistake we see people make is to jump into a project like this unprepared. Although doing it yourself can save you money, and produce a great result, it’s important to make sure the design is sound to ensure your final product will be exactly what you want.  Working through the questions below will help make sure each and every stage of the build is correct in order to achieve your goal!

So if your just starting out, we’ve provided the following checklist as a blueprint for your custom build.

  • Consider your overall plan

What is your budget – how much are you intending to invest in your project ?

Other areas to consider are – where will you build it? Who is available to help with the project? Many small businesses have all the space and skills required and fit it in during quiet times…

Are you going to tow it with your current vehicle? If so – what is it’s Towing Capacity? This will mean your fully laden van must not exceed this weight. And you will need to comply with the Gross Combination Mass rating of the tow vehicle too. You will need to estimate the weight of the project before you start so you know how much gear you will be able to carry.

  • Design your layout

Start with an estimate of the dimensions of the ‘shell’ whether it is a caravan, toy-hauler ,slide-on camper etc. What is the floor length in metres, what’s the width (approx. 2.3 m is standard) and the ceiling height (approx 2.0 m is standard)? This gives you the general size of the ‘shell’ we are looking at.

Now sketch roughly on a blank piece of paper how you envisage the internal layout will be. This will determine if the ‘shell’ size you have started with is big enough.

Consider the location of items like the entrance door, hot water system, water tanks etc

  • List internal inclusions and exclusions

What MUST you have in your van? And just as importantly what DON’T you want? How many people will sleep in it? Will you cook inside or outside? Will it have a separate shower and toilet?

Do you want a Hot water system? Will you need grey water storage for showers and sinks allows you to be ‘self-contained’ and able to stay at more free camping locations?

Are you planning to install a gas system for hot water, cooking or will you use an alternative fuel such as diesel? If you intend to have air conditioning and/or a microwave you will probably choose to have a 240 volt electric system installed also.

  • What are you intending to use it for?

Many DIY projects evolve because people want to take their ‘toys’ with them. eg motorcycles, boats, kayaks etc. Others intend to ‘work’ as they travel and need a dedicated ‘workshop space’.

Building an Off-Road caravan is a different project to building a van for the family to stay in Tourist Parks. Are you going Free Camping or will you always be close to services? On Road or Off Road use will determine the strength characteristics of the chassis, clearances required, type of suspension and features like a rear rake etc. The van size will largely determine whether single or tandem axles are most appropriate and their required ratings.

Your lifestyle ‘out there’ will largely determine necessary water storage, electrical system features such as Solar Panels, battery requirements etc.

  • And finally…

Now you have a good idea what your DIY project involves. A typical ‘draft spec’ will include size, weight, cost and layout details.

The beauty of a DIY project is you can do it at YOUR own pace. Once you have your ‘draft spec’ you are ready to research all the parts and components available in our ‘Online Store’. Also now is a good time to create a ‘Bill of Materials’ that lists all the product choices you require – more info here.

Been through the checklist and ready to make a start?

email for help if you get stuck