Designing & Planning Your Campervan - Part 2

Designing & Planning Your Campervan - Part 2

Now you've got a good idea of what you want to include and have made some vital decisions about your campervan layout, it's time to properly plan the nitty gritty!

Depending on your skill and budget level there are several ways to plan camper van layout.

Simple & free

There's nothing wrong with grabbing a piece of paper (graph paper if you have it), pencil and ruler and sketching out your layout, drawing it out to scale can really help visualise how everything will fit.

You could make to scale templates for each campervan element such as bed, table, shower, kitchen area out of card or paper (coloured card works even better!) and play around with them inside your scale van drawing, this is a really fun way to plan your layout and you can explore different positions.

Hand drawn sketch of a DIY Campervan layout plan

If you're not sure of the dimensions of your van interior, check out this website for at a glance measurements

If, like me, your brain struggles to compute to scale items find somewhere large enough in your home and garden to 'draw' out your van interior.

You can use string for your outer edge - the best place to do this is in your garden or even a local field!
Grab some tent pegs and wind the string round it so the pegs are the corners and the string is the 'walls' of your van.
Then create cardboard templates of the actual size you want your campervan bed, toilet etc to be.
This allows you to walk through your van layout and realistically work out what does and doesn't work.

If you want to get really fancy then create a 3D version with boxes, furniture, even get your dog involved to check he/she fits!

More Accurate & Free if you know the right people!

If you're lucky, you or someone you know and love has some CAD or graphic design skills who can create a plan for you.
I used Adobe InDesign (free 7 day trial here) to layer up our elements and it's easy to make them to scale and drag them into place. 

The pics below show Wanderbug's campervan Barbara's original plan.

Wanderbug's campervan layout plan

There are plenty of free design tools you could utilise to create something similar such as Canva.

If you're doing it this way then it's worthwhile doing a side on view too to work out if you have space for upper cabinets etc.

Wanderbug's campervan layout planGet technical!

There's a selection of van planning apps which look like a fun and pretty accurate way to plan your specifics. These aren't something we have any experience of and some are harder to use than others so do a bit a of research to find the one that works for you.

A couple of examples are:

Vanspace3D gives you access to its planning tools for 12 months for $19. There are lots of templates to start off with and it gives you a 3D tour and walk through of your layout which can highlight any issues.
Toilet next to the fridge anyone?!

Vanspace3D planning tool

SketchUp is 3D modelling tool which does a similar job which is more basic but it is free.
Check out Greg Virgoe's beginner guide to drawing your van in 3D.

After all this planning remember that once you start your camper van self build you will need to be flexible as there are always little things you need to adjust no matter how hard you plan in advance.

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