A new Beyond is born…

When I converted my LDV Luton van into my motorised home on wheels, I decided it’d be fun to venture into Europe with it. This is exactly what we did back in March. We traveled because we had the van; now I want to travel because I got bitten by the travelling bug!

I love my Luton conversion, but let’s face it, weighing almost 5000Kg it’s not going to be the most economical travel van, nor the most practical size vehicle when visiting places. Enter project number two…

Renault Kangoo Micro Camper

A 2008 Kangoo van in metallic black. 1.5 dCi turbo diesel engine with 82,000 miles on the clock.

Kangoo Van     Kangoo Van

Purely designed as a travel van, there are a few certain features I want to build into it:

  • Comfy sofa for the rainy days
  • Comfy bed
  • Basic cooking facilities
  • Sink or wash basin with running water
  • Off grid capable power for gadgets
  • Bed suitable for two
  • Storage
  • Toilet
  • Shower

Yes, you read that right – a shower! I love to be able to shower… So, I was determined to fit all this into this tiny camper. And here’s how I did it…

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Someone’s already keen to get started!

The Build

Insulation

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I measured up and positioned the ply lining, but before I could fit it I needed to insulate the van. Being a black van, I want to block incoming heat in the summer and of course retain the heat in the winter.

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The important part of this conversion is keeping weight to a minimum. Booting my passenger out isn’t always the best way to do this. Especially if she’s paying for dinner.

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Using aluminium bubble wrap type insulation and spray glue, I completely covered the inside of the van. This was all joined together and sealed using aluminium tape.

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Next came a layer of rock wool.

Then another layer of aluminium bubble wrap, again sealed with aluminium tape. We now have a moisture barrier.

Side window

I stayed in the van overnight when I first bought it, to test it out! One thing that was really apparent was the lack of air in the night! An opening side window was needed…

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Time to cut a hole in the side of my new van!

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Carefully measure the size and mask it off.

This was definitely a measure twice, cut once situation. Well, measure twenty times actually.

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Using the jigsaw, off I went!

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Neaten up the edges with the grinder.

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Hammerite the cut edges for future rust protection.

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Then a face appears at the window! I’ll have a double ’99 with Flake, please!

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Time to fit the ply lining and carpet it…

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Fit the window… and now it’s starting to take shape!

The interior

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I sourced some new, really good quality caravan sofa cushions and built the bed frame and kitchen units by hand.

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Below the sofa is storage for the pull-out toilet.

I’m hoping not to have to use it very often but it’s always good to have one!

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The kitchen has a two burner hob and sink with running water.

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Inside the kitchen unit is a 25 Litre water container. This has quick release fittings for easy removal for taking to a tap to fill.

The gas system is a Gaslow LPG 5 Litre cylinder. On the outside of the van I have fitted the filler connection for use at any petrol station that sells Auto Gas.

An important safety feature here is the 70mm gas leak vent in the floor. In the event of a leak, the gas can escape out of the vehicle. Come to think of it, so can any water leak!!

My initial LPG fill from empty cost me a massive £2.73. Last of the big spenders that day!

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Mounted on the back door is an LPG shower unit. This provides up to 6 Litres per minute of hot water.

Simply open the back door, put the shower head on the outside of the van using a suction mount holder, flick the pump on and the boiler will fire up and it’s time to get washed. Assuming nobody is outside, of course!

The bed

The bed as a single can sleep a person up to 6’4″ and can be widened to sleep two people if needed.

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From a sofa to a bed…

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The bed extends into the cab after folding the front seat forward.

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Plenty of space and comfort. Just what every Border Collie needs.

Performance

I’m talking engine power here – This 1.5 dCi has been remapped to 120BHP.

If I’m careful, it can return 55-60 miles per gallon. That’s a steady 55MPH of course. If I drive it hard it still manages 44mpg and is able to cruise at a respectable speed.

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For an extra power and fuel economy boost, I have fitted a Hydrogen fuel cell too. Both this van and my Luton have these now and they really do make a difference.

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Often overlooked, but highly essential is up rating the brakes when increasing the engine power. It’s always useful to be able to stop quickly too!

I was amazed at how straight forward it was to replace the front brake discs and pads on a Kangoo!

Electronics

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Mounted on the roof is a 150 Watt solar panel. This is linked via a controller to the 135AH leisure battery which is located under the sofa, behind the toilet compartment.

The solar controller has a couple of USB charge ports which are handy and I’ve fitted a 12V control panel which switches on the water pump, cool box power supply, laptop charger, etc. This also has a 12V lighter socket and some extra USB charge ports.

Storage

Storage is limited, the van isn’t physically big enough to have loads!

I have fitted locker boxes at high level – these provide really useful storage and are out of a Kangoo car. The Kangoo Treka and Expression have them fitted as standard and they (almost) bolt straight into the Kangoo van.

Beneath the sofa is more storage – ideal for bedding. This is accessible from both the front and via the back doors. An overhead shelf above the cab offers additional space for bits and pieces.

Carefully positioned in the back are various storage nets and hooks.

Graphics

I wanted to keep the Beyond theme so decided to make the same style graphics as  I did for my Luton conversion. The metallic orange should look pretty awesome on a black van…

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Nice and friendly for visiting European countries.

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Links to BeyondTheVan Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram pages as well as the obligatory “W” for WildCamping.co.uk on the back!

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New number plates too, just to finish it off nicely.

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The satellite dish for broadband is mounted on the tow bar. Easily detachable and easy to open out to use when parked up anywhere in Europe.

Massive thank you to my Mum for making the awesome satellite dish cover!!

A pretty good result!

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As you can see, I met my criteria for the Kangoo micro camper travel van.

I was most impressed by the water pressure from the shower. Considering it’s powered only from a 12V pump inside the water container, the pressure is immense!

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Half a shower cubicle with the back door opened wide!

A guided tour!

I thought I would have a go at making my first video and and learn to video edit. Apologies for the not so great audio levels in this one, I’ve since learned how to get that bit right!

Travelling Europe

On Friday 9th September Ted and I are leaving the UK to travel around Europe in the new micro camper. We have no specific plans other than to head to France via the Tunnel and go from there.

Where will we go? Not sure yet but after France we’ll go to Spain and Portugal and see where else we fancy! How long for… No idea! Until we want to come back!

The idea of this trip is to experience travel, have fun and enjoy life because that’s what it’s all about!

There will be plenty of Blogs and Video Blogs as we travel and hopefully I’ll master video editing along the way!

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19 comments on “A new Beyond is born…
  1. Lynn Attwood says:

    Amazing! Well done Richard!
    Very jealous of the van!

  2. Paul McMillan says:

    Another great conversion, proving yet again you don’t need £50k to have a campervan.

    Happy trails!

    • BeyondTheVan says:

      Thanks Paul! I’ve been asked by a few people if I’ll convert a van for them… I think once I come back from this trip I’ll start doing them to order. Love making them! Certainly don’t need silly money to have a camper. Best wishes, Richard.

  3. Monica Rey says:

    I need to live in a non signal area in England, France or Spain. If England, the south West preferred.I am 73 and thanks for help. Good luck with next journey.

    • BeyondTheVan says:

      Hope you find somewhere. South West of England has mostly high EMF. Perhaps look at Wales around the Elan Valley area? There’s basically nothing there, it’s perfect. Best wishes, Richard.

  4. Great conversion,you should produce and sell a set of plans and instructions.
    Love the paintwork!

  5. sue davies aka joplin on uk hippy says:

    hi,richard,loved the 1st beyond,but this is amazing,if you ever fancy visiting bulgaria you are welcome,winter coming now though so i will be heading west also,spain then portugal,merc vito and dogs,maybe we will meet on the road one time.

  6. Em says:

    Can you give us a guide to the cost please? I am in awe, I love what you are up to as I get panic attacks driving in masted areas and headaches too. I have not driven in years now because of this. Maybe I just need to get some film, where can you buy that from please Richard? I am in the UK and have hope! love Em

  7. Torkel says:

    Hi Richard,

    you have done an amazing work with the Kangoo. I think you have been able to fit in nearly everything except a fridge.
    One question: The solar controller – doesn´t this emit disturbing fields? I have several EHS friends who do react badly from a solar controller.

    Have you used the France Passíon Passport? I have found numerous good places with low radiation – and also some with high radiation.
    Hope you will have a splendid trip!

  8. Errol Buckton says:

    Hi Richard, What a fantastic job you have done on the Kangoo. Very professional and everything you need for an extended trip in a micro-van, I am really impressed.If you come down to the Algarve it would great for us to meet up again and I would love to see the van in the flesh so to speak
    Hopefully see you soon.
    Happy travels to you and Ted.
    Kind regards Errol

  9. Tomi says:

    Amazing van!, have you considered using this superb emf shielding paint for making van’s emf free? : http://en.geovital.com/products/electronic-pollution/shielding-paint-t98alpha/

    That paint is really superb stuff, it’s not cheap as aluminium foil thought. Love reading your blog Richard, im bit emf sensitive myself too ,and would like to escape from my current place & work someday becouse of the INSANE emf radiation .

  10. jarrett says:

    I’m even more impressed now that I’ve just seen a Kangoo at the dealers. They are not big vans at all… You’ve done such a good job.

    Your pictures make it seem so much bigger, I’m 6ft and it felt way too small. Perhaps it feels more spacious when you aren’t on the floor like I was.

    Can I please ask,
    As for the base van, have you found it reliable?
    Is there a specific Kangoo model you aimed for?

    Thanks, Jarrett

  11. Jamie denman says:

    Omg I’m in love,,,,, I’m very jealous lol

  12. Martin Hamilton says:

    If you need a place to park in portugal get back to us we live near Fundao

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