Surf van life: build the ultimate camper and travel the world in search of perfect surf | Photo: Van Tripper

Make the ultimate surf vehicle for your endless summer surf trips. Learn how to convert your Sprinter van into the camper of your dreams.

A cool surf van is a smart and comfy place where you eat, sit, and sleep. Mercedes, Ford, Renault, and Volkswagen sprinter models often result in the best camper conversions.

The trick is to intelligently maximize the space available, ensuring you've got the essential equipment covered.

Surf van conversions are not expensive, and you may only need a few simple modifications. You can do it yourself for less than $1,500.

First, you need to insulate the interior with polystyrene foam and then apply redwood and cedar to the interior walls of the van. For the cabinets and bed, you can use plywood.

Once you figure out how much space you've got left, take advantage of the overall height, width, and depth space available and install a few functional shelves and drop-down storage for gear, gadgets, technology, books, cutlery, clothes, and provisions.

The process might not be quick and cheap, but it will ensure you're not exposed to extreme temperatures during summer and winter.

Must-Have Features

Here are a few things that you must have on a surf van:

  • Comfortable Bed: Think of a sturdy sleeping system that fits in well inside the van, for example, a fold-away double bed;
  • Surfboard Rack: Tither stack your surfboards vertically inside the van or install a secure car rack on top of your four-wheel-drive machine;
  • Small Kitchen: Cooking outside is cool, but when the weather is not appealing, an indoor movable stove or a portable gas cooker and small compartments for storing food and drinks can be extremely helpful;
  • Sit-and-Relax Zone: A small desk and a bench can easily be adapted to the van's interior;

Surf van: insulate the interior and apply wood to the inside walls | Photo: Van Tripper


Ideally, a surf van will feature an upper deck, side windows, a side door, and a spare tire so that you can drive around the world and explore the most remote surf breaks on the planet in an entirely autonomous manner.

The most common and useful extras are:

  • Portable Toilet: Get a unisex portable urinal for emergencies;
  • Portable Shower: the perfect solution for brushing your teeth and having a shower;
  • Pump Sink: Wash your dishes and keep your little home clean all the time;
  • Solar Power System: Living without electricity is hard - generate enough energy for your smartphone, laptop, and electronic devices;
  • Pop-Top Roof: Get more light inside your van and increase your sleeping area for friends or family;
  • Small Fridge: Whether you're cooking your own meals or having a beer with fellow surfer friends, you've got to have a practical mini electric cooler;

Remember that ventilation, privacy, and security should be taken into consideration, especially if you plan to live in the camper for a while.

Are you an ambitious nomad? Learn how to live in your surf van.

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