When you convert a van, you’ll spend countless hours researching how to do almost everything. Unless you are an experienced van builder you’ll find yourself lost trying to find the perfect product or tool to complete each task. Whether it’s prepping the van for conversion or working on the final details, you’ll need a little help along the way. I spent a ton of time looking up things and seeking information on the internet in an attempt to understand exactly what was needed.
Things like plumbing, electrical, layout questions, and the best products to use is something that will be a constant need to know.
I have written many posts about my van conversion and hope they can help you make some of the difficult decisions and answer some of the questions you have along the way. The list below is something that I created along the way as a way to document exactly what I used during my conversion. It doesn’t include every single thing I used but it does include the main items. Hopefully it will be of help to you as you battle your way through your van conversion.
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Tools For Converting a Van
You’ll need a lot of tools along the way but some will become staples along the way. These tools will vary depending on your needs but here is what I used.
Drill & Driver Set
You’ll need a good drill if you plan to tackle a van conversion. A drill and impact driver were my two most used tools. The DeWalt set that I used was excellent and handled the job like a champ.
Circular Saw / Miter Saw
You’ll need some type of saw to cut boards to length. I used a combination of a circular saw and a miter saw during my conversion. These will allow you to get a straight, clean cut.
Brad Nail Gun
I used a brad nailer to attach trim, cabinet facings as well as other miscellaneous items. It helps to have a powerful and convenient tool like the DeWalt one.
Rivet Nuts & Tool
I used rivet nuts throughout the van to bolt different things to. This tool worked great for seating the rivet nuts tightly, giving me a nice, strong connection.
Pocket Hole Jig
Pocket holes are genius and this Kreg jig is a great little guide to help you drill the perfect holes. I used pocket holes all throughout my van.
A staple gun will come in handy for a lot of different tasks. I mainly used mine for stapling wires that run along wooden areas where a staple would suffice.
I chose to go with the simplest Maxxair fan with only a few manual buttons on it. It has been more than enough.
Dicor Lap Sealant
You’ll want to use some good sealant when installing the fan on your roof. Dicor products have always been great for me.
Half Slider Window
This half slider window from CR Laurence is perfect for allowing some additional airflow into your van.
Noico Sound Deadener
Start with this sound deadening material if you want a quiet ride. This has been a huge help at reducing road noise.
This insulation is easy to install and does a great job of insulating. It also has some sound reducing capabilities as well.
Polyiso Foam Board Insulation
This type of insulation has its use in a van conversion. I used it as an additional layer of insulation in some areas.
This reflective material will create a radiant barrier that will reflect heat. It’s great for window coverings and other areas were you have enough space to use it.
Acegoo LED Lights
I chose these to use as my lights in the ceiling throughout the living area. They are bright and attractive and use very little electricity.
14 AWG Wire
The wire I used to wire most of my 12 volt accessories.
Light Switches With Dimmer
Simple light switches I used for two of my light circuits.
On/Off Light Switches
Simple light switch without a dimmer for my shower area.
Split Wire Loom Tubing
A van has some sharp areas that can damage a wire over time. This protecting tubing will help to avoid potential problems.
Fuse block & Fuses
You’ll probably need a fuse block for all your 12-volt accessories. I connected this directly to my Goal Zero Yeti 1400.
Shore Power Plug
This plug is easy to install and makes adding a shore power option to your van a simple task.
USB Charging Ports
These 12V ports are handy to have throughout the van so you always have a place to charge your devices.
Goal Zero Yeti 1400
My solar powered generator that provides electrical power throughout my van. I’ve been super happy with it.
Renogy 100 Watt Solar Panels
Flexible solar panels that I have mounted to the roof. They are easy to install and have done the job well.
These connectors allow you to connect multiple solar panels together.
Coaxial Waterproof Adapters
I used these to pass my solar wires through the rear backup camera so there would be no leaks.
16 Gallon Freshwater Tank
I use this for my main supply of freshwater. It supplies my kitchen sink and shower.
5 Gallon Jugs
These 5-gallon jugs are used for my gray water and also one is used for my drinking water and can be refilled no matter where I go.
This is a great way to plumb your system. PEX is easy to work with, affordable, and leak proof if done right.
The Shurflo Revolution water pump has been great for my water supply needs. It’s a tried and true model that is common in RVs.
Water Pump Silencer Kit
I’m not sure if this does much but anything that is suppose to reduce noise is worth trying.
Bosch Water Heater
I use a 2.5-gallon electric water heater. It’s perfect for this size of a system as long as you are connected to shore power.
Water Fill Valve
I don’t have to remove my water tank to refill it. This water fill valve allows me to fill the tank with a water hose that can be connected to any spigot.
I chose a simple faucet with a pull out sprayer. It’s nothing fancy but does the job.
I wanted a dark sink so chose this model. It could stand to be a bit deeper but it’s good enough for van living.
This drain is ideal for RVs since it takes up little space and does the job of a normal P-trap. It’s easy to install and remove for cleaning.
Dometic CFX75DZW Fridge/Freezer
I chose a combo fridge/freezer and so glad I did! This combo is great for storing enough food and drinks for a week or more.
I have a basic camp stove in my van that I use for all my cooking. It’s easy to use and I can take it outside when needed.
This shower pan is small but is good enough for a shower while on the road.
Hepvo Waterless Valve
This waterless valve does the job of a P-trap in an area with less room. It works perfectly in a conversion van application.
It’s plastic but overall good quality and lightweight. It looks great and I haven’t had any issues with it. It matches the kitchen faucet I have.
Shower Spray Wand
Wand that goes with the faucet and allows you to make the most of your shower. It has an on/off switch so that you can stop the water flow as needed.
FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Panels)
FRP is an affordable way to add shower walls. It’s easy to find at a home improvement store and easy to install.
I installed a liner below my shower pan to catch any water that might leak over time. Nothing has leaked but I’d rather be safe than sorry.
Thetford 565e Toilet
This is the ultimate throne for a small van. It feels like a full-sized toilet with many high-end features.
Shower Curtain & Rod
I used a shower curtain because it’s more flexible and creates more room. Combined with this extendable shower rod, it creates plenty of elbow room.
The step up to a Promaster is a little high so adding running boards helps. These are tricky to install but well worth it in the end.
My Promaster didn’t come with a backup camera so I added one. This one is designed to fit perfectly and it has worked well.
I keep my tires covered up at all times when not in use. These tire covers keep the sun and other weather conditions from doing so much damage over time.
Anker NEBULA Capsule Max Projector
Having a projector in your van or RV is a great way to enjoy entertainment when you need it and put it up when you are finished. I use my Nebula Max projector to watch the occasional movie.
Full Size Mattress
I chose a memory foam mattress for my van and it is very comfortable.
Cabinet Hardware Jig
Adding door knobs to cabinets is a breeze with this Kreg jig. You can be sure all of them are exactly the same.