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The Hardest Part of Building a DIY Camper Van

After building our camper van and answering many questions about building a van, we’ve come to understand what is the hardest part of building a camper van. Insulation? Nope. Cabinets? No. Electrical? Nuh-uh. Plumbing? Not quite. Not that building a DIY camper van is exactly easy, but the hardest part isn’t the build itself.

Make a Decision

The hardest part of building a DIY Camper van is making a decision. The thing about camper van conversions is that there is no exact right way to do it. There are many ways to build a camper, but there are no generally accepted guidelines or building codes to follow. There’s a lot of information available, our site included, but ultimately you have to make a decision that works for you.

Be Flexible, but Don’t Chase Rabbits

After you’ve made your decision, understand that not everything is going to go exactly to plan. This means that you need to be flexible in your ability to change your decisions, but don’t chase rabbits. As problems arise in your build, you’ll definitely come up against many different options. After you’ve made your decision, try not to waste time, money, and effort re-assessing your decisions at every fork in the road.

Make a plan; stick (mostly) to it.

Perfection is a Lie

What is the best way to insulate a camper van? Well, just peruse DIY forums for five minutes and you’ll see that Thinsulate is the best; no, rigid foam is the best; no, definitely spray foam is the best.

Ultimately, there’s no best way or perfect way to build a van, across the board. It all comes down to what works for you, in your circumstances. If you wait till you have 100% agreement across the board on a project, you’ll never finish a project.

There will Always be a Negative

Since there is really no such thing as perfection, there are also plenty of negatives and downsides to each type of project choice. Say you’re working on cabinets and want to make them out of wood. Easy enough decision, right? Well, the downside of wood is it’s heavy and could splinter in an accident.

From flooring and cabinet materials to insulation and electrical, there are negative sides of nearly every decision to be made. And that dissenting opinion will be made known. So again, we advise you to make your decision and understand that someone will always have a differing opinion.

And that’s okay.

Opinions are Only Worth What You Paid for Them

Those dissenting opinions are okay because generally, opinions are only worth what you’ve paid for them. Now, I know you’re going to say ‘but Nate and Steph, you give out free opinions all the time!’ And you’re right. But we also know that there are 10+ ways to accomplish each project and we hope you understand that our opinions are based only on what we know and have experienced.

At the end of the day, our opinions matter most in our own build. We don’t have any stake in your build, which means we aren’t the best people to make the final decision. You are.

Your Opinion is Most Valid

You are the best person to make your own decision because you know your full situation the best. We wouldn’t be the best people to ask how living in a van with a kid would be, because we don’t have that experience. So as you gather your research and ask questions on internet forums, remember that you know your situation best. So take their (and our) advice with a grain of salt.

Then make a decision.

The Hardest Part of Building a DIY Camper Van

This article isn’t meant to be harsh, just honest in a problem that we’ve seen in the DIY camper van community. The hardest part of building a DIY camper van is making a decision. So, if you struggle with this or know someone who does, leave us a comment and let us know if this is helpful in making your decisions.