We are Sophie and Andes from Silvervanproject, we met at university and we fitted out our first van together. At some stage we both felt the need for more out of life, so we resigned from our jobs and spent 10 months travelling through Europe.
On our journey we came across the most amazing places, we went hiking and surfing, did a lot of yoga and really enjoyed our freedom. We also discovered our love for travelling in a van, and during our road trip we decided that we wanted to create a new style of van at some stage. This “at some stage” is now, because we are in the process of refitting our Sprinter and are taking van life to the next level. We know that we won’t get bored of van life for a long time.
We decided to fit out a camper van because we wanted to experience adventure right on our doorstep and didn’t want our holidays to entail long-haul flights. So we realized our dream and had enormous fun planning the layout of the van and all the little details that you can incorporate into your design to give it that highly individual touch. For us, pure freedom is being able to travel in a camper van, because we can explore the world at our own pace. We stay where we feel comfortable and move on once our itchy feet get the better of us.
The most important thing is to recognise what is crucial for you, and then to take this into account in the design of the refit. What do you want your van for? Do you want to enjoy every summer festival to the fullest and make sure that you’re there for every party? Or do you want to travel the world for months or even years at a time? You should consider these questions right at the start of fitting out your van – they will have a huge impact on the size of your water tank, fridge and on how big your batteries or heating system should be. In fact they will impact on the fundamental question of which vehicle you actually need at the end of the day. Are you heading for weekend trips with a Sprinter, or travelling the world together in a Caddy?
Once you have found your perfect vehicle, make a lot of draft sketches, sort out your ideas and put them down in writing, so that you can consider them all when creating your perfect refit. Moreover, it’s enormously helpful if you are able to make short trips during the refit process, so that you can test out your ideas.
It’s really important to be considerate of the other person when living together in a small space for a longer period of time. More than anything, travelling together should be fun. You can safeguard this in a van, if you leave each other space and respect boundaries. The best thing is to define this whilst you are carrying out the refit.
We would really recommend that you give serious thought to your equipment before setting off and that you check it carefully, as this can be vitally important later on. The whole trip stands or falls on the quality of the equipment, whether this is a stove, chairs, cutlery, or the overall quality of the refit. If you’re well equipped, you will probably enjoy a stress-free trip, not to mention that good quality equipment is much nicer to work with.
For us, camping in style means that we use the best camping gear possible, so that we can dedicate ourselves to our adventure, without any distractions. So, preparation is enormously important and might just make the difference between a struggle and pure happiness.