The DIY Campvervan Conversion

This is it, it’s finally done!  We can proudly announce that our DIY campervan conversion, aka Backpack 2.0, is COMPLETE.  After three months of blood, sweat, and tears (mainly sweat), we are ready to hit the road in our Sprinter.

From the Beginning…

So for those of you who might be new here, we purchased our 2007 Mercedes Sprinter from St. Louis, MO back in March 2017.  It had 194,000 miles on it and had previously been used as a plumbing van.  Overall, it was in good shape and a great candidate for a campervan conversion.

We planned to take about 2 months converting the van before taking off to live in it full time with our two pups.  This campervan will be our home for the next however many years we decide to stay in it.  So, let’s get to the build…

Random Van Facts

  • 2007 Mercedes Sprinter (Badged as a Dodge)
  • 194,000 Miles at Purchase
  • Purchased for $12,400, total cost $14,082.57 after registration fees
  • Built entirely by Nate and Steph
  • Approximately 90 sq. ft living area
  • Total campervan conversion cost: $38,867.57

Building our Custom Campervan

To start the process of our DIY campervan conversion, we had to strip it down and clean it thoroughly.  It had previously been a plumbing van, so it needed a lot of scrubbing.  Each of the steps below are links to the full tutorials, so if you are looking for how-to’s, be sure to click the title of the section you are looking for. 

Sound Dampening:   To quiet down the ride, we installed FatMat RattleTrap sound dampener, mainly on the walls and around the wheel wells.

Total Cost of Sound Dampening: $142.34

Insulation: Insulation was a huge project, and we ended up using rigid foam insulation along with Great Stuff expanding foam.  So far, we are happy with the results of the insulation, although we haven’t done any scientific testing on it.

Total Cost of Insulation: $410.63

Installing Fans: We decided against installing A/C in our campervan, and instead opted for a huge amount of air flow through fans.  We installed two MaxxFan Deluxe rooftop fans at the front and back of the van and put three small DC fans throughout the van as well.  When all of them are on, it pretty much makes a wind tunnel in there. 

Total cost of Installing MaxxFan Deluxe: $689.93

Installing Walls: Our walls in our Sprinter van are made from white tile board that is essentially dry erase board.  Installing the walls was really simple, and was made very easy with the help of a Dremel tool.

Total cost of Installing Walls: $347.39

Ceiling Installation: Our ceilings are pretty much one of a kind.  We had a big wind storm over the winter at Nate’s mom’s house, and it knocked over her fence.  Rather than sending the fence panels to the landfill, we reused them as our ceiling.  And I have to say, they turned out phenomenal.

Total Cost of Ceiling: $125.34

PlastiDipping the Van: After making so much progress to the interior of the Sprinter van, we had to do something about the outside.  The white van wasn’t cutting it for us.  We opted for PlastiDip and actually applied it ourselves.  It was a pretty simple process, honestly.  We are happy with how it turned out.

Total Cost of PlastiDip: $765.81

Building Cabinets: This was truly the toughest part of the build.  Neither of us had much woodworking experience, much less making it pretty and lightweight.  After about two weeks of late nights, we ended with a pretty slick looking set of cabinets.

Total Cost of Cabinets: $1,143.99 

Our Solar System: We are super proud of our solar setup.  We have 825 watts of solar and 700 amp hours of battery.  We did a full writeup with wiring diagrams and buying guides, so definitely check it out if you are looking to do solar.  

Total Cost of Solar Installation: $4,686.31

Flooring: We installed bamboo flooring for easy cleanup in the van. It was simple click and lock flooring and the installation was quick and easy to do.

Total cost of Flooring: $283.99

Plumbing: Our plumbing for fresh water is run from the back “garage” of the van under the bed and is plumbed to the sink in the kitchen.  It’s run off of a simple irrigation pump and drains by gravity down to the grey water tank under the sink.  *Note: full write up to follow soon*

Total Cost of Plumbing: $255.89

Other Costs:

Appliances: $338.39

Composting Toilet: $400 (note that we purchased back our toilet from our RV from the buyers of the motorhome. A new Nature’s Head composting toilet runs around $1,000).

Electronics/Sound System: $718.96

Bed: $482.56

ARB Refrigerator: $607.18

Roof Racks: $3,114.00

Front Bumper: $3,066.00

Rear Bumper with Boxes: $3,910.00

Swivel Seats and Seat Covers: $705.05

Wheels and Tire Upgrade: $1,899.75

Window Tint: $125.00

Tools/Misc. Parts: $566.49

Grand Total Cost of Our DIY Campervan Conversion: $38,867.57 (including van cost)

Now that we are finally finished building our campervan, we are ready to hit the road and have some adventures!  Where to first?