Table of contents

  • Things to consider when buying a van for a camper conversion
  • Best vans for a camper van conversion
  • Best large vans for a camper conversion
  • Best medium vans for a camper conversion
  • Best small vans for a camper conversion
  • Best extra small vans for a camper conversion
  • Best cheap vans for a camper conversion

With more of us holidaying in the UK as a result of the pandemic, accommodation costs are on the rise. A solution? Travelling around and enjoying the great outdoors in a campervan. An even cheaper way to do it is by converting your very own.

There are a wide variety of conversion camper vans for sale. But it can be hard to choose the best vans for a campervan conversion. That’s why we’re here to help.

Let’s take a look at some of the best vans for camper conversion projects.

Oh, and remember that Motors.co.uk has an integrated van search tool – so check it out here and get looking for your next camper conversion!

Things to consider when buying a van for a camper conversion

If you’re on the lookout for the best van for camper conversions, you’ll want to ask yourself a few things first. What’s your budget? How much space do you require? Is having a small enough van for easy parking important to you?

You’ll also want to consider things like electrics. Will your camper van conversion run like a home away from home? If so, you’ll want to make sure the camper van has enough sockets and power to do things like running your fridge and charging your laptop. You’ll also need to think about where the power will come from. Is your preference to charge the van at home? Or perhaps you’d like to charge the batteries at the campsites you visit.

Heating is another consideration. Small log burners are cheap and easy to use and install, while diesel heaters are quick to heat and use up very little space in a van. Have a think about your water usage too. Do you plan to shower and wash the pots every day? Under-the-sink water tanks are simple to use and install, while underslung water containers are more complex to fit but offer larger quantities of water.

And of course, have a think about everyday living. Is an in-van toilet essential or can you use the campsite facilities? Do you need a fixed bed in place or would one that packs away to allow for more space be better?

Whether you’re looking for the best small van for camper conversion or the best cheap van for camper conversion, it’s easier to decide once you know what you’re looking for.

Best vans to buy for a camper van conversion

1. Volkswagen Transporter

The Volkswagen Transporter is one of the best-known vans for camper conversions. It’s great to drive, easy to maintain and – no matter which generation you go for – good looking too. They’re available in a variety of different lengths and variations which means there should be something for everyone.

Check for good levels of maintenance and servicing to ensure that from day one you’ll be a happy camper!

Best Features
  • Easy maintenance
  • Available in a variety of lengths and variations
  • Fun to drive
  • Fuel economy: 29.4-40.4mpg
  • Insurance groups: 5-23

2. Ford Transit

Some say the wide-bodied Ford Transit is the best van for camper conversion. UK sales back this up. Hugely varied in terms of load lengths and roof heights, the Transit is flexible, fuel-efficient and an ideal starting point for conversion.

Check for rust on older models – particularly around the wheelarches and underneath the sills – but find a clean example and the Transit should be an excellent travelling companion.

Best Features
  • Wide bodied
  • Available in a variety of load lengths and roof heights
  • Economical to run
  • Fuel economy: 44.8-50.4mpg
  • Insurance groups: 15-30

3. Renault Trafic

Renault’s Trafic is a smart-looking van with plenty of conversion potential. For a small-medium sized van, it’s comfortable, reliable and spacious with a practical load area and plenty of customisation potential. It’s easy to see why many consider it to be the best van for camper conversion projects.

It’s more van-like to drive than its competitors, but it’s comfortable and has a solid safety specification.

Best Features
  • Spacious and comfortable
  • Easy to customise
  • Reliable and practical
  • Fuel economy: 42.8-47.9mpg
  • Insurance groups: 14-24

4. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Launched in 1995, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is generally considered a good van for camper conversions. Featuring ample space and safety features as standard, it’s adaptable, reliable and still winning awards almost three decades after its launch.

Available in 4 vehicle lengths with 3 roof heights, the Sprinter is equipped with excellent turbodiesel engines and now comes electric for sustainability and cost-efficiency.

Best Features
  • Ample safety features
  • Spacious and adaptable
  • Reliable on the road
  • Fuel economy: 14.5mpg
  • Insurance groups: 17-28

5. Fiat Ducato

Thanks to its fuel efficiency, the Fiat Ducato is popular with both fleet operators and campervan enthusiasts. It’s solid, reliable and easy to work on and convert. You’ll also appreciate its smooth performance and carrying capacity.

It’s a front-wheel drive only and the flimsy interior holds it back from being the best van for camper conversion. UK buyers should also keep a close eye on service books and any maintenance it’s had.

Best Features
  • Solid and reliable
  • Easy to convert
  • Smooth to drive
  • Fuel economy: 47.9mpg
  • Insurance groups: 5-17

6. Vauxhall Vivaro

Made in Britain, the Vauxhall Vivaro offers a car-like drive with an economical engine. The third-generation model launched in 2019, switching to PSA Group running gear to make it the safest, best medium van for camper conversions. Or one of them anyway.

There is a lack of wide-angle mirrors, which slightly affects rear visibility but its advanced safety tech and reliability makes up for this.

Best Features
  • Great to drive
  • Economical to run
  • Ample safety features
  • Fuel economy: 52.3-60.1mpg
  • Insurance groups: 4-11

Best large vans for a camper conversion

Large campervans are great if you’re travelling as a family or enjoy extra space. However, they’re naturally more expensive and trickier to drive than smaller vehicles. They’re also difficult to park on driveways so you’ll need to factor in added storage costs.

  1. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: This boxy, award-winning van is available in 4 vehicle lengths with 3 roof heights.
  2. VW Crafter: The Crafter is VW’s biggest model, offering ample safety tech and supreme ride comfort.
  3. Iveco Daily: A large but light van, the Daily offers advanced safety features.
  4. Citroen Relay: With ample load space capability, the Relay comes with a choice of 3 wheelbases, 3 roof heights and 4 body lengths.
  5. Fiat Ducato: Reliable and cheap to run, the Ducato scores points for its smooth performance and carrying capacity.
  6. Peugeot Boxer: Versatile, spacious and comfortable, the Boxer is durable and easy to handle.

Best medium vans for a camper conversion

Looking for the best of both worlds? We can help you find the best medium van for camper conversions. Their extra space often allows for shower and/or toilet installation and they’re cheaper to run and park than larger vans. However, parking on driveways and in multi-storey car parks may still prove tricky.

  1. Ford Transit: A solid van that’s easy to drive, the Transit is robust and reliable.
  2. Renault Master: Comfortable to drive, Renault’s largest van comes in a range of lengths and heights.
  3. Vauxhall Movano: Released in 1998, the Movano is comfortable, nimble and smooth to drive.
  4. Citroen Relay: Durable and versatile, the Relay is a popular and efficient drive.
  5. Fiat Ducato: This durable drive is cheap to run with a strong reliability record.
  6. Peugeot Boxer: This durable, multi-purpose drive is spacious, robust and economical.
  7. LDV Convoy Minibus: This solid but basic van is a cheap and cheerful option.

Best small vans for a camper conversion

With less space and load capacity, small vans have less of the home comforts associated with larger vans. However, if you’re travelling solo or as a couple, you’ll appreciate their lower fuel consumption and easy road handling. If parking on a driveway is important, you’ll want to find the best small van for camper conversion. UK campervan enthusiasts looking for something compact, read on.

  1. VW Transporter: Built with a strong engine, the Transporter is comfortable to drive with plenty of safety tech.
  2. Renault Trafic: Comfortable and economical, the Trafic is one of the most spacious small vans on the market.
  3. Peugeot Expert: Practical and efficient, the Expert is a safe and comfortable van choice.
  4. Ford Transit Custom: With different combinations available, the Ford Transit Custom is a versatile choice.

Best extra small vans for a camper conversion

Extra small campervans are more versatile as they’re easier to park, smoother to manoeuvre and cheaper to buy and run. However, you won’t get as much kit as you would with larger vans and you’ll struggle to comfortably accommodate more than two people.

  1. VW Caddy: VW’s smallest and cheapest van drives just like a Golf.
  2. Citroen Berlingo: This great-value compact van is cheap, comfortable and practical.

Best cheap vans for a camper conversion

Cheap vans are great if you’re on a budget or only plan to use your van now and then. But even the best cheap van for camper conversions will lack the kit and advanced tech that come with more expensive models.

  1. Ford Transit: The UK’s most popular van is affordable, dependable and cheap to fix if something goes wrong.
  2. Citroen Berlingo: Cheap to buy and run, the Berlingo delivers comfort and great value.
  3. LDV Convoy Minibus: This basic van comes without frills, but is cheap to buy and reasonably solid.
  4. Fiat Ducato: The fuel-efficient Ducato is one of the most economical vans available.

When looking at conversion camper vans for sale, decide on the features that are important to you. You may find that the VW Caddy is the best small van for camper conversion. Or if you’re on a budget, the Citroen Berlingo and Ford Transit are contenders as the best cheap van for camper conversions.

Follow our tips and you’ll soon discover the best vans for a campervan conversion that suits your budget and lifestyle. Happy camping!