One brilliant way to explore the world around us is by road. Sure, we live in an age where it’s possible to get cheap flights and accommodation. But, the downside of that approach is you miss out on all kinds of hidden gems on your travels!
Touring a country by campervan solves that problem. The vehicle you sleep in is also the one you use to travel to different destinations. These days, modern campervans offer a variety of features for more comfortable road trips. You can travel in them alone or take your family with you.
Are you a gadget enthusiast? If so, there’s no denying you will hate being away from the tech you love while you’re on the road! The good news is you can do something about that problem. Today I will give you some pointers on how to convert a Peugeot Boxer van into a tech-centric campervan!
Ready to find out how to do that? Good. Let’s get started!
Choosing the right van
First of all, you need to select a good base to start your campervan project. You may have seen how expensive conventional campers cost these days. Did you know they all began life as commercial vans?
You will be doing the same conversion. Except in your case, you will be saving a tonne of money! It goes without saying that you should choose only the right van for your needs. The Peugeot Boxer from the Pentagon-Group, for example, is an excellent choice. Why? Because it’s the right size for campervan conversions. And it’s perfect if you’re travelling as a group!
You should also think about whether you wish to buy a new or used van for your conversion. I always tell people to avoid brand new ones where possible. Why? Because they cost a lot of money! If you want a “newish” van, consider one that’s 12-18 months old.
It’ll still have some of the Peugeot warranty on it. Plus you won’t have to worry about the initial depreciation issues that come with new vans.
Make sure it has a perfect mechanical track record
When buying a used Peugeot Boxer for a campervan conversion, one thing is crucial. You should ensure it got serviced and maintained when needed. Otherwise, you could end up spending your gadget budget on “boring” van repairs!
Before you choose a van, check its accompanying service paperwork. Scrutinise it and find out when it last got serviced. Doing that first will save you a lot of headaches later on.
Strip out the interior
To be honest, this stage should be rather speedy for you. That’s because vans seldom have any interior items in the cargo area! At most, all you will need to do is remove the wood panelling on the floor, walls and ceiling.
Don’t throw away those items just yet. You can use them as templates when cutting out new wood and materials to replace them. Don’t get tempted to leave the panels on the van. They might have all kinds of chemicals on them from the previous owner!
Add some windows
You might think that adding a couple of windows and a sunroof to your van is a hard process. The good news is you can get ones that offer a perfect fit! The van manufacturers themselves will also sell them. That’s because many passenger vehicles derive from vans like yours.
Be sure only to get the windows you need. Bear in mind that you’ll need to cover much of the wall and ceiling surfaces with materials. Don’t turn your van into a greenhouse!
Add sound deadening material
You want to make sure that your new campervan gets soundproofed. Let’s face it: you don’t want to hear everything that goes on outside of your van when you’re trying to sleep! Companies like Dynamat sell material that you can apply to any contours. That’s because one side has adhesive on it.
Cover everything in your campervan. Even the floor that you stand on! Doing so will also help to insulate your van and stop you from getting cold at night.
Install electrical wiring
Now is where the real fun begins! You will need to devise an electrical system for your campervan. Some of the things you’ll need to power include your gadgets and things like fridges.
Your wiring layout should include provision for a fuse box (consumer unit) and batteries. The latter will provide power when the engine isn’t running. If you’ve got a large van, consider installing a solar panel on the roof. You can convert the sun’s energy into electricity as you drive!
You should also decide where you want to install your electrical sockets. Be sure to include enough to power all your gadgets and accessories.
Add in your Ethernet cable wiring
Next, you’ll need to plan and install your network cabling. Many of your gadgets will no doubt have Ethernet ports on them. Combined with a mobile broadband router, you can Intenet-enable your campervan.
Be sure to keep a socket free for your router. That way, you can also add wireless networking into the mix.
Install storage cabinets and furniture
Once you’ve got the hidden parts of your campervan sorted out, it’s time to work on the aesthetics. That means installing the storage cabinets and furniture that you need.
Remember that you will need somewhere to prepare food, wash the dishes and sleep. You’ll also need places to store your clothes, food, and other items.
There is a limitless choice when it comes to choosing the right cabinets and furniture. Be sure to select solutions that work well with the size of van you’ve got.
Consider fitting a toilet and shower unit
If you’ve got a large van, such as a long wheelbase one, you could also install a toilet and shower unit. While they might not be spacious, they serve the purposes well.
When you stay at a campsite, you can connect your van to the water supply there and dispose of your waste. Be sure to include provision for a water storage tank. It’s useful to have facilities available even if you’re somewhere remote!
Add some built-in technology
Your campervan version is almost complete! Once you’ve got the “bare bones” all set up, it’s time to turn the van into a tech paradise! Start by adding in the flat screen TVs you want. It goes without saying they shouldn’t be too big because of the limited space.
Next, improve the audio set up by installing a surround sound speaker system. If you’re short on space, you could opt for a simple soundbar and subwoofer installation.
Other things to consider include games consoles and desktop computers. It’s possible to build mini-ITX systems that use little power and don’t take up much space. Otherwise, stick with laptops for your computing needs.
Don’t forget to install a 4G-enabled mobile broadband router. I recommend installing a permanent aerial on the roof of your campervan. That way, you will get the best reception possible.
LED lighting is also a must for campervans. Not only are they brighter than halogen bulbs, but they also use less power too. That’s useful if you’re only running on battery power!
Last, but not least, don’t forget to install a “smart” control system. In a nutshell, you can use your iPhone or Android phone to control the lights and heating in your campervan. Even if you’re nowhere near it!