Vanlife: The van conversion pt 1

MoMo, our van, is an Opel Movano from 2009. The Movano (badged as Vauxhall Movano in the UK) is similar to the Renault Master and the Nissan Interstar. Our’s has a manual gearbox and runs on diesel. We have the version with windows all around and with 9 seats originally, so I guess it’s more of a mini-bus really.

When we started the conversion, we didn’t use a design drawing and the plans were made up as we went along. Unfortunately the documentation of our build became quite inadequate, but here are som pictures from the early days.


First we removed 4 of the seats and the panels on the walls and in the ceiling. Then we insulated the van using XPS200 foam and sleeping pads. We also added plastic pipes in the walls for future electrical wiring.

A lot of people put a waterproof layer between the insulation and the inner wall panels to stop condensation from affecting the car body, but we didn’t bother with that. We reasoned that the van will be passé for other reasons before rust from the inside will be a problem. It remains to be seen if we are right or wrong…




The inside of the beams, where we couldn’t fit any foam, were filled with glass wool stripes meant for insulating windows. Glass wool normally absorbs moisture, but we used the kind of stripes that are wrapped in plastic film.


Since Danne is a blacksmith, a lot of the interior in our van is made of steel, that we have covered with wood to make it more cozy. We are suckers for cabins and cottages and the look that we’re after is inspired by Scandinavian folk, pinewood and nature.


When the insulating was finished we put pinewood panels in the ceiling. For the walls we reused the original panels. They are far from beautiful, but quite discrete and we think they look ok. We wanted to use wood but we had to keep the weight down, and also, wood panels would probably take up a little more space.


The interior setup we decided for was sofas with a table that can be turned into a bed. In the beginning we went for a U-shaped sofa which made for a huge bed, approx. 2 x 1,75 m, but when we tried it out we found that we could actually lay comfortable from side to side. As we felt we needed all the living space we could get, we then removed the “bottom of the U” sofa section.

Of course the kids needed somewhere to sleep too, and we opted for removable bunkbeds. In the picture below you get a glimpse of the stainless steel brackets attached to the beams above the windows, that are part of our bunk bed solution. In the next Conversion blog post I will tell you more about it.



3 Replies to “Vanlife: The van conversion pt 1”

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