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Self Build Guide - 1. Layout & Overview.

Article by Steve Smith - Caravans Plus

This is part of a series of articles on building or rebuilding a caravan. You can find the whole series here: Ever Wanted To Build or Rebuild a Caravan?


Don't Reinvent the Wheel.

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 there already. It's a good idea to take a lot of inspiration from an existing design as they have put thought into things like weight distribution, walkways, head clearance etc.

Caravan manufacturers have been trying different designs for a long time and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. You will have plenty of opportunity to make design decisions when you are building a van but we recommend you stick closely to the layout and dimensions of something you have seen.

Visit some caravan dealers or look at layouts on the internet. You will get a lot of great ideas. Below are just a few to get you started.


Overview of Construction Steps.

This is a tried and tested method that provides your strongest cabin with the least weight.

  • Build, buy or reuse an existing chassis. Fit suspension, water tanks and underfloor plumbing.
  • Level up chassis, without wheels, and glue and screw your ply flooring.
  • Build a side wall frame, glue and staple the ply to the frame.
  • Stand and brace the wall in position. It secures to the side of the chassis. Details later. Repeat for the other side.
  • Build roof sections in manageable sections, say 2400mm long. These sit on top of the walls and butt to each other.
  • The front and rear are made similar to the roof and overlap the wall ends.
  • You then build modular furniture that gets fixed to the floor, walls and ceiling.
  • Next add all wiring, plumbing and insulation inside the walls.
  • Only then do you add the cladding and external edging.
  • Lastly add the windows, doors, vents and hatches.

    Layout Design Ideas - Lotus

    Couple Layouts

    1.Caravan Layout Ideas
    2.Caravan Layout Ideas
    3.Caravan Layout Ideas
    4.Caravan Layout Ideas
    5.Caravan Layout Ideas
    6.Caravan Layout Ideas
    7.Caravan Layout Ideas
    8.Caravan Layout Ideas
    9.Caravan Layout Ideas
    10.Caravan Layout Ideas
    11.Caravan Layout Ideas
    12.Caravan Layout Ideas

    Family Layouts

    13.Caravan Layout Ideas
    14.Caravan Layout Ideas
    15.Caravan Layout Ideas
    16.Caravan Layout Ideas
    17.Caravan Layout Ideas
    18.Caravan Layout Ideas
    19.Caravan Layout Ideas
    20.Caravan Layout Ideas
    21.Caravan Layout Ideas
    22.Caravan Layout Ideas
    23.Caravan Layout Ideas

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  • 1 Comments

    • comment-avatar

      John

      I practiced on doing modifications on our first Gazal with adding a toilet hatch and then a top load washing machine in a disused kitchen corner. The Boss wanted a sewing area so we found a 23 foot Nova similar to layout 23. We removed the double bunks and half the front cupboard then put in an L shaped counter with a pull out BBQ hatch and top load washing machine on the front wall against the boot. The outside door is where the fridge is in 23 so a set of drawers underneath hold the computerised sewing machine parts in foam. The house batteries have been moved to a pull out at the rear to get the tow ball weight within range with no voltage drop when wired with the correct size cabling. A few travelling sewers have gone away thinking of how their partners can modify their vans. The information in this Guide would have helped along the way, but there is nothing to be afraid of if thought out correctly and

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