Converting a 4WD into a campervan is not a cheap exercise. There are ways to make the conversion fit into your budget, but you need to understand it is not going to be cheap.
When converting a 4WD into a campervan there are a few things you need to consider. What are your sleeping arrangements going to be? What’s is your kitchen set up going to be? Storage, shelter, seating, power? Do you want to have a bathroom? Do you want other modifications to your 4WD as well? All of these things need to be considered when converting a 4WD into a campervan.
I have written a blog post to give you a rough idea on how much it actually costs to convert a 4WD. This is based of my experience and my experience only. This cost also won’t include the cost to buy a 4WD, as this varies on the make or model you choose.
How to keep the costs down?
- If you have the skills, install and make what you can by yourself.
- Look on Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree before buying.
- Wait for sales such as EOFY or boxing day
- Find discount codes
- Only buy what you need for your set up – remember keep it simple.
Unless you have a troopy, I believe you are going to choose a roof top tent for your sleeping arrangements. You can expect to pay anywhere between $1000-$6000+ AUD for a roof top tent. This price will depend on whether you want a hard sell, canvas, 2-4 person etc. Look on gumtree or market place to see if you can find a second hand roof top tent. This can cut your costs in half. I feel like spending a bit more money on a roof top tent is always a good idea, as this is essentially your bedroom. A good night’s sleep can make a massive difference to how much you enjoy camping.
I paid $1500 AUD for my Kings Grand Tourer rooftop tent. I have recently sold this as I am looking for something a bit lighter.
Things to look for in a roof top tent
- Weight – Check your roof limits and a buy a rooftop tent which doesn’t exceed it. You also need to take into account how much your roof rack/bars weight.
- How fast is the set up/pack down? What I loved about my rooftop tent is that it only took 2 mins to set up and pack down – which is very handy when you are moving campsites frequently.
- Can I keep my bedding in the tent while packed down? This is another thing to consider as it helps cut down pack up/down time, as well as it means you don’t need to move your bedding in and out each time you go to bed.
- Rain covers, pockets, other accessories – I would never buy a roof top tent without rain covers on every window.
- Ventilation, specifically to help with condensation.
- Read reviews. This is the best way to find out if a rooftop tent is going to suit your needs.
Budget between: $1000-$6000+ for a roof top tent.
You don’t really need to spend that much on a camp kitchen, as long as you have the basics that is all you will need. However, if you want something a little more organised, be prepared to pay a little bit more. There are several types of camp kitchens you can choose from; simply putting everything in a container, pull out style or kitchens like my Kookabox (which they unfortunately stopped making).
My Kookabox kitchen cost me $764 AUD – which came with everything I needed in a kitchen, including stove, cutlery, bowels, plates and utensils. A slide out kitchen can cost you anywhere between $700 and $3000 AUD – depending on size, brand or if it is a custom build. A basic kitchen which has everything you need, that you simply place in a drawer or box, I’d budget around $250 AUD (excluding the drawer).
You will also need to include your fridge in your camp kitchen which can cost you anywhere between $800-$2000 AUD.
Budget between: $250-$800 for a basic kitchen set up. Budget up to $3000 for a kitchen and fridge.
Shelter – Awnings or Annex
Which type of shelter you choose will depend on your set up – it is a good idea to have some sort of shelter for rainy days or shelter from the sun. A awning is always to easiest option to start off with.
My awning was a 270 degree Darche Eclipse awning which I bought off marketplace for $600 AUD. Market place is a great place to buy an awning if you don’t mind second hand, there is also always awnings up for sale. I have recently sold mine as I plan on changing my whole set up. Like roof top tents, if you plan on using a awning often, I do recommend you pay a little bit more for something which is good quality.
Make sure you read reviews of awnings and annexes to make sure you get one that suits your needs.
Budget between: $100 – $2000 for an awning. The more expensive ones will be a 270 shape and usually free standing.
This is where things can get expensive. If you plan on having custom built expect to pay a lot of money. These types of units can cost around $6000 AUD or more. The only benefit is you can make them exactly to your set up, which is sometimes a good things. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, I recommend either making your own or buying drawers.
My XTM drawers cost me $300 AUD each, so I paid $600 AUD for both of them. I then made my own shelving system which cost me about $150 AUD. This system has provided me with 2 drawers and a small shelving unit, which has been sufficient for my set up and camping style.
Budget between: $800 – $1000 for storage.
This is something I’d put a fair bit of your budget towards, as if you want to have the option to camp completely off grid you are going to need to have a sufficient power source. Your power source can be as basic or extreme as you want it to be. My system is very basic and works fine.
In my power system I have a 50ah iTechworld lithium battery (which is my second battery), this cost me $500 AUD on sale. I then have a Redarc BCDC charger which cost me $500 AUD, a XTM control box $160 AUD, a dometic 800VA inverter $529 AUD and a 100w Renogy solar panel $200 AUD. So all up including wiring, connectors and everything else I’d say I spent about $2000 AUD on my set up.
When looking into a power system you need to consider:
- How much power do you need – How many Ah do you need to run your system?
- How many solar panels and wattage do you need?
- Do you need an inverter ? Are you going to be running anything over 12V?
I am not an expect in 4WD power systems, so if you need more information, I’d recommend consulting a professional.
Budget between $2000 – $5000 for a power system.
Bathroom – Shower and Toilet
I personally don’t have a toilet on my set up, as there are plenty of public restrooms in Australia and majority of the campsites have public bathrooms. However, if you want to include one in your setup you are looking at about $170 AUD for a portable toilet. This does not include cleaning supplies.
4WD showers can be as cheap as $50 AUD or if you are looking for a 12V setup $400 AUD.
Budget between $50 – $400 AUD for a bathroom set up.
It’s always good to have some form of lights on your camping set up. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, it can be something as simple as a lantern. But you will need some lighting, especially for cooking. I recommend you get an amber light so you don’t attract bugs.
I have 2 types of lighting on my setup; a single light from Adventure Kings $50 AUD and some light bars from Hardkorr $100 AUD.
Budget between: $50-$200 for lighting.
You are going to need other things like camp chairs, tables, tarps etc. This will make up the least of your budget. Anything extra you want to include in your setup will be in this budget.
Budget between: $100-$500 for everything else.
This is just an idea of how much I spent on my set up and how much you should expect/budget for your set up.
Keep in mind these numbers may not be exact, this is just from my experience.
How much did it cost me complete my set up? (excluding vehicle modifications): Roughly $7000 AUD
How much should you budget for your 4WD set up? $6000-10 000 AUD
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