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Ever Wanted To Build or Rebuild a Caravan?

Article by Peter & Steve - Caravans Plus

Building your own caravan is not as complicated as some people might think. Caravans can be made with fairly simple construction methods and the tools that many people already have. Building your own caravan is a very rewarding experience and we have lots of information to help you through the process.

Before you start, you should decide if Buying, Building from Scratch, or Renovating is the best choice for you. We have written another article to help you decide here:

To Build or Not to Build? Should you Just Buy One?

To Build or Not to Build? Should you Just Buy One?

Information Articles, FAQ & Guides by the CaravansPlus Team...
Read

The 10 Point Self Build Caravan Guide.

Over the years I have built at least 12 caravans in my shed from scratch. I have tried lots of different things and learned a lot. It's something I think many people can do themselves. This page gives you an overview of the major steps involved. Each step has links to more details, and should give you confidence that the information you will need is freely available.


1. Layout & Overview.

The position of all the fixtures (beds, door, windows, fridge) in the van. This is the fun part. There are hundreds of different caravan designs out there already. It's a good idea to take a lot of inspiration from an existing design, plus we list the sequence the build should be done in.

Self Build Guide - 1. Layout & Overview.

Self Build Guide - 1. Layout & Overview.

The caravan layout is the position of all the fixtures (beds, door, windows, fridge) in the van. There are hundreds of different caravan designs out t...
Read

2. Workspace and Tools.

You will need an undercover area with a door big enough to get the completed caravan out. You probably already have many of the tools you need. Here is a list of tools you will need and or want.

Self Build Guide - 2. Workspace and Tools

Self Build Guide - 2. Workspace and Tools

Information Articles, FAQ & Guides by the CaravansPlus Team...
Read

3. Qualifications, Licences, and Legal Requirements.

Most things you can do yourself but there are a few things you can not or need to get signed off. Learn more here.

Self Build Guide -  3. Qualifications, Licences, and Legal Requirements.

Self Build Guide - 3. Qualifications, Licences, and Legal Requirements.

Information Articles, FAQ & Guides by the CaravansPlus Team...
Read

4. Chassis and Suspension.

This is the part that scares a lot of people off but it doesn't need to. Read this page to learn about the options.

Self Build Guide -  4. Chassis and Suspension.

Self Build Guide - 4. Chassis and Suspension.

Information Articles, FAQ & Guides by the CaravansPlus Team...
Read

5. Floor, Wall, and Roof Construction.

This is another fun part of the build. The construction methods are fairly simple and explained in this article.

Self Build Guide -  5. Floor, Wall, and Roof Construction.

Self Build Guide - 5. Floor, Wall, and Roof Construction.

Information Articles, FAQ & Guides by the CaravansPlus Team...
Read

6. Cupboards, Table & Benches, Beds, Shower Cubicle

This requires some basic carpentry skills, and there are a few tricks to keeping things light and strong. Article link

Self Build Guide -  6. Cupboards, Table & Benchs, Beds, Shower Cubicle

Self Build Guide - 6. Cupboards, Table & Benchs, Beds, Shower Cubicle

Information Articles, FAQ & Guides by the CaravansPlus Team...
Read

7. Plumbing, Gas and Electrical Work.

This is one of the areas that you may need some help or at least to get things inspected. There are some laws here that you need to know about.

Design Your Own RV or Caravan Plumbing System

Design Your Own RV or Caravan Plumbing System

Want to create a basic camper trailer plumbing setup, or design a complete caravan system including mains pressure inlet, hot water system & shower? T...
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Guide To Gas Installations In Caravans & RVs

Guide To Gas Installations In Caravans & RVs

This guide covers issues you need to be aware of when designing your caravan layout with a gas installation. Who can do gas installation? What size c...
Read
Traditional Electrical Installation Guide

Traditional Electrical Installation Guide

Building a new Caravan or replacing electrical components? This guide offers an overview for Electrical Installations in Caravans & RVs and explains t...
Read

8. Insulate, Cladding, Corners and Design Ideas

Putting the skin on is where the van really takes shape. There are opportunities here to really make your design mark with material choice and colours.

Self Build Guide -  8. Insulate, Cladding, Corners and Design Ideas

Self Build Guide - 8. Insulate, Cladding, Corners and Design Ideas

Information Articles, FAQ & Guides by the CaravansPlus Team...
Read

9. Installing Windows and Door.

These will be premade and pretty easy to install. The instructions depend on the brands you choose.

Installing CAMEC Windows - DIY Guide

Installing CAMEC Windows - DIY Guide

From older Australite windows, to the newer Odyssey range, we show you how to easily install Camec windows in your Caravan or RV. Take the guesswork o...
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Camec Caravan Doors Guide

Camec Caravan Doors Guide

Information Articles, FAQ & Guides by the CaravansPlus Team...
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10. Sourcing Components.

CaravansPlus sells lots of what you need but not everything. We have made this page to help you with hard to find items.

Self Build Guide - 10. Sourcing Components.

Self Build Guide - 10. Sourcing Components.

Information Articles, FAQ & Guides by the CaravansPlus Team...
Read

Hopefully you can see that building your own caravan is a challenging but achievable project. There is heaps of information on the internet on every aspect of building and rebuilding caravans. Contact us if you have questions, we will help where we can.

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10 Comments

  • comment-avatar

    Frank

    Good information. About how much and long does it take normally to build?

  • comment-avatar

    Steve - CaravansPlus

    Hi Frank, It normally takes people between 2 months and a year depending how much time they have to put into it. Windows and doors are usually custom made and take about 4 weeks from order. Cost depends on what you build and how many appliances you put in but it will cost less than buying an equivalent new one. You might not get a very good hourly rate for your time though.

  • comment-avatar

    Richard

    Hi Steve, good to hear from you. We could not buy a caravan or have a caravan built to suit our needs so we decided to built our caravan which has been over 6 years. We brought an existing dual axle aluminium car trailer being only 2 metres wide and the deck being 4 metres long with aluminium checker plate decking. Our goal was to build a caravan as light as possible with all the creature comforts. It has a riveted aluminium framing with composite cladding and interior linings. The joinery is all aluminium framing with composite sheeting. The caravan has toilet shower, Camec wall mounted front load washing machine, 2 x 200w solar panels, 2 x 120 AMH batteries, Camec instant gas HWC, 24 inch TV, storage under the double bed. Evakool 145 Lt Fridge freezer, 4 seasons roof hatch. 30amp battery charger, separate water tanks for drinking water and 1 for the shower, storage cabinets for all chairs etc. My advise to anyone building a caravan is to take your time and look at all options and use the KISS factor. We used the caravan when building it and found the bed to be too high and the seating not right so we pulled it all out and started again and we reused all the material. We had great support from Caravan Plus with the supply of many items for our caravan with good prices and quick supply. We also used the information on the Caravan Plus web site when designing our caravan.

  • comment-avatar

    Kathy

    This is an excellent resource for new van builders and for those people looking to do a refurb on their existing van. We have received the best ever customer service from Caravans Plus from the first order we placed. We build brand new replicas of 1960's vintage vans and fit them out according to our clients needs. Some want vintage exterior with modern interior, others seek a bit of both. Currently working on a smaller version of a tiny house and will be placing orders for parts very soon! Thanks again for the brilliant service you give to your customers.

  • comment-avatar

    Danny

    Yes I built my own van it took me 7 months that was 11 years a go fully off road Very happy with it thanks Danny

  • comment-avatar

    Kevin Langman

    Just completed our caravan build no 7 came out areal treat, I enjoy doing this work going have a go at building a couple tear drops one for my Daughter and one of her friends Would like to know more abouT this industry

  • comment-avatar

    Michael

    Hi there. I have a medium size 1997 transit motor home. Would it be easier to build a new home on a new vehicle chassis than to remove & transfer the home over?

  • comment-avatar

    Peter - CaravansPlus

    Micheal, I wish I had all the answers, but this is something I have never done. The closest I came to this was one fit out of a Toyota HiAce. You’re going to have to decide this one yourself. Is the existing fit out still suitable for your needs, if transferred? Will it sell as is? The only advice I offer related to this is not to overcapitalise on an old vehicle, since they generally wear out long before your conversion. However Kombi vans seem to Live forever. ( I know you don’t have one )

  • comment-avatar

    Wayne

    I have a 2011 Jayco starcraft, I would like to know if the internal cabinetry is structural or is it ok to rearrange the interior, we want to change from single beds to a double. This would require removing the rear cupboard, ant advice would be greatly appreciated, Cheers Wayne

  • comment-avatar

    Peter - CaravansPlus

    Wayne, Most furniture in the Jayco's is not structural. Only some partition walls in the longer vans would be.

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Other Guides

Self Build Guide -  5. Floor, Wall, and Roof Construction.

Self Build Guide - 5. Floor, Wall, and Roof Construction.

Self Build Guide -  6. Cupboards, Table & Benchs, Beds, Shower Cubicle

Self Build Guide - 6. Cupboards, Table & Benchs, Beds, Shower Cubicle

Self Build Guide -  4. Chassis and Suspension.

Self Build Guide - 4. Chassis and Suspension.

Self Build Guide -  8. Insulate, Cladding, Corners and Design Ideas

Self Build Guide - 8. Insulate, Cladding, Corners and Design Ideas

Self Build Guide - 1. Layout & Overview.

Self Build Guide - 1. Layout & Overview.

Self Build Guide -  3. Qualifications, Licences, and Legal Requirements.

Self Build Guide - 3. Qualifications, Licences, and Legal Requirements.

Self Build Guide - 10. Sourcing Components.

Self Build Guide - 10. Sourcing Components.

Self Build Guide - 2. Workspace and Tools

Self Build Guide - 2. Workspace and Tools

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