Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better! Registration's totally free, of course, and makes snowHeads easier to use and to understand, gives better searching, filtering etc. as well as access to 'members only' forums, discounts and deals that U don't even know exist as a 'guest' user. (btw. 50,000+ snowHeads already know all this, making snowHeads the biggest, most active community of snow-heads in the UK, so you'll be in good company)..... When you register, you get our free weekly(-ish) snow report by email. It's rather good and not made up by tourist offices (or people that love the tourist office and want to marry it either)... We don't share your email address with anyone and we never send out any of those cheesy 'message from our partners' emails either. Anyway, snowHeads really is MUCH better when you're logged in - not least because you get to post your own messages complaining about things that annoy you like perhaps this banner which, incidentally, disappears when you log in :-)
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
durr, I forgot...
Or: Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

Converting a van to a camper to ski (and avoid covid)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Split from this thread: https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=153494#4643577
Bergmeister wrote:
Just as well Mrs B and I are currently working on a DIY (Citroen Relay) campervan conversion... Scotland here we come! Very Happy


I have a lightly used L3H2 sat on my drive and I'm thinking of converting it too.... If you've got any tips, I'd be very grateful!
snow conditions
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Klamm Franzer wrote:
Bergmeister wrote:
Just as well Mrs B and I are currently working on a DIY (Citroen Relay) campervan conversion... Scotland here we come! Very Happy


I have a lightly used L3H2 sat on my drive and I'm thinking of converting it too.... If you've got any tips, I'd be very grateful!


I'd say go for it Klamm Franzer!

We have no previous experience of such things and I have only limited DIY experience, though I would count myself as confident to have a go. For example, my most successful project to date was making (from plywood) a camper conversion kit for our Citroen Berlingo, that we've had a lot of use of over the past 5 years. That was the first woodworking project I ever undertook.

We've really enjoyed, so far, our current lockdown project after buying the van last month, having been inspired by Youtube. Just google "youtube campervan conversion" and you will find hundreds of inspirational videos. For professional, step by step "how to" demonstrations, Kiravans and Combe Valley campers are exceptional and cover a broad range of DIY van topics.

We started off by cutting big holes in the van, to install side windows and a skylight, which was rather nerve wracking. I was happy using a jigsaw, but it was the first time I'd ever handled an angle grinder. All went well, however, following my youtube tutorials. Very Happy

We then insulated the walls, ceiling and floor of the van (after watching the Kiravans training video and buying their insulation material), although that was a painstaking job that took almost 4 days (with lots of fiddly nooks and crannies to get insulation into). We've just had electrics professionally installed, together with a diesel heater, as I thought those jobs were best left to an expert. So we now have a leisure battery that powers lights, USB chargers, 12v sockets and a fridge And we also have a 240v hookup, for campsite use.

We are about to start covering the ceiling and walls and have decided to go for plastic cladding. We really fancied pine tongue and groove but decided to go for plastic T & G instead, to save weight and avoid any wood shrinkage. After that we will build a bed, with bike/ski storage underneath, a seating area, a small shower room/toilet (cassette) and kitchen units. We have decided to keep things simple and will have an under-sink fresh water bottle, with foot pump tap, and a waste water bottle that will need to be emptied manually, rather than having, more complex, waste tanks under the van. The shower will be a garden pressure spray that we fill with hot water, so, again, no complex plumbing or separate water heater requirements. The pressure spray is tried and tested and has served us well in the awning of the Berlingo.

Again, there are countless tutorials on youtube for every aspect of the build. Some of the work on there is absolutely stunning and, in my opinion, is much more attractive than an "off the shelf" motorhome.

We are really enjoying planning and designing the van to suit our lifestyle and storage requirements and it will be great to have on-board storage for our mountain bikes.

We hoped to finish the project this month but the bad news is that, 3 weeks ago, I snagged a drill bit and it kicked the drill back violently, damaging my thumb ligaments. So I'm now in a cast for 6 weeks... Sad C'est la vie. rolling eyes

If you need any further info please PM me and I would be happy to advise - for example about outline costs, if that would help.
latest report
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks Admin - good idea to make it into a new thread. Very Happy
latest report
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
@Bergmeister, Thanks! Mrs Franzer is especially looking forward to the 'cutting several large holes in a perfectly good van with a power tool' stage. What could possibly go wrong?!
snow report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Bergmeister, any plans for solar?
Even if you don't have the capacity to be fully 'off-grid', IME it's quite liberating to extend the periods when you can remain static without a hook-up, before the power runs out.
snow report
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
We've just come back from a trip to Cotswolds and Cornwall in our T5. Stayed at Caravan and Motorhome club sites due to lack of facilities in our van, and no space to install. Social distancing and covid safety was good at all of them. Awning space is essential with our 2 dogs. Not sure we would do Scotland in winter though.
snow conditions
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Sounds like a great project, I am sure the building progress itself will lead to lots of joy. There seems to be an endless ammount of different setups to go with. Here is a link for a large community of vanbuilders, where I am sure you can find some inspiration; https://www.reddit.com/r/vandwellers

Best of luck to you!
ski holidays
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
admin wrote:
@Bergmeister, any plans for solar?
Even if you don't have the capacity to be fully 'off-grid', IME it's quite liberating to extend the periods when you can remain static without a hook-up, before the power runs out.


We originally planned to add solar. However, we are now going to see how it goes and possibly add that later. We've gone for a decent sized leisure battery (220Ah) and our electrician thinks we could get 3 or 4 days "off grid" with that, subject to careful power management. We won't be using any high wattage appliances, will use only minimal lighting (eg 2w reading lights) most of the time and the diesel heater will use little power once it's fired up and running. We also have a battery to battery charger, so will charge the leisure battery as we drive. If we do add solar later I know it means drilling through the roof/ceiling but I think I could route it tidily through a short bit of discreet trunking.

We are aiming for a stealth camper and don't want it to stand out too much, though we appreciate that we need to balance that with practicality, so haven't ruled out solar.
snow conditions
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Klamm Franzer,
This is a thread https://www.youtube.com/c/HumbleRoad you realy want to spend time watching. I'd hesitate to say OCD, but 'thorough' is an understatement!. Lots of clever ideas and many, many ways to avoid cocking it up.
Enjoy Toofy Grin
latest report
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Found a Ford Transit Custom i'm possibly going to buy this week. Sold my car during the summer as we only need 1 at the moment. Not sure how we're going to convert it yet, it's going to be my day to day vehicle as I work from home most of the time anyway, and i'll just use it to go to footy/golf/rugby.

Ideally want a Transporter, but you get so much more with the Ford for same/less money.

Putting in windows is the one bit i'm not sure how I feel about, get that wrong and you've really buggered up the van, even though on the videos it doesn't look too difficult!

Exciting times ahead!
latest report
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@swskier, if you're worried about the risk, there are lots of places that will fit windows for £2-300 per side. Then it's their responsibility and they're less likely to mess up anyway as they have experience. Given the windows themselves are likely to be £150+ if you DIY, it's not too bad.
snow report
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@swskier, We have an older Transit MWB converted to a camper - it's 9 years old and was vastly cheaper than a VW. As someone who has driven all sorts of small minibuses professionally I am actually happier with a Ford - certainly our model is much more robust, and they carry huge mileages routinely - have driven some at 12 years old with close to 400k on the clock that still drive as good as new!
We got ours ready converted (amateur), but I have done a lot of additional work on it, rewired the Waeco fridge, installed a second leisure battery and a 500w solar panel, completely re-did the gas supply, as well as installing more USB ports, different lighting etc. We have lived in ours for two and half months this summer running a campsite in Cornwall, and are soon to head off to southern Europe in it for six weeks or so.
ski holidays
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@admin, Yep, a few places local to me that i'll contact nearer the time, for the sake of a couple of hundred pounds, it'll be worth it.

@RobinS, From what i've read online, sounds like the Ford fairs well. Plan is not to use it in the winter for camping, just transport, but use it more in the summer, and a lot of it'll be 1 night on a weekend, although we are looking at an Alps holiday next summer for the first time. Big thing for me is that I can get a Ford with A/C whereas all the T5's and T6's don't seem to have it, and it looks like £2k+ to get retro fitted.
latest report
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Whatever you decide to do, put in the most comfortable bed you can afford. Our backs were suffering after more than a couple of nights in ours (a T5 with rocknroll bed) although we did get used to it eventually. Would put a Scopema RIB in there now if we had the spare cash.
Talking of which, we may have to think about selling it soon. I would rather have some cash to keep the apartment going in France than have the van sat idle on the drive for most of the winter. It isn't looking likely that we will have loads of ski season bookings.
snow report
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I think A/C is pretty common in T5/6. I've certainly got it.
btw I didn't specifically go for T5 for the 'culty' reasons: I was after 4wd and 2 rows of seats with 1m90 between the seats and the back doors, for obvious reasons. Also I was trying to keep under 2m overall height for toll booths and parking. The T5 4motion lwb was the only thing that seemed to fit the bill but I've liked it a lot.
snow conditions
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

put in the most comfortable bed you can afford

Definitely if you are older and a bit crocked back wise like me - really wish ours had a more comfortable bed - it's a fairly cheap custom made rock and roll with two seatbelts, but not that comfortable.
ski holidays
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
admin wrote:
I think A/C is pretty common in T5/6. I've certainly got it.
btw I didn't specifically go for T5 for the 'culty' reasons: I was after 4wd and 2 rows of seats with 1m90 between the seats and the back doors, for obvious reasons. Also I was trying to keep under 2m overall height for toll booths and parking. The T5 4motion lwb was the only thing that seemed to fit the bill but I've liked it a lot.


We have aircon too. Also a T5 4wd, although SWB.
snow conditions
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I think the aircon is equally available across different makers, it just depends how high a spec the original van was. This is where a vehicle converted from new helps, as they are often built on the higher spec base vehicles to give more car-like features. Converting older vehicles you just have to be aware of the different spec vans. We are lucky that ours is a top spec "Trend" van base, so has A/C, cruise control, auto lights and wipers, built in sat-nav, six speed box etc. that many vans don't have.
snow report
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
We spend 2 months in the Alps each winter in our motorhome and my advice would be to invest in a battery to battery charger and good batteries rather than solar if it's just for ski trips.

As for the van conversion, if you've got the headroom to lose and want to do a permanent job think about installing a double floor and running all the services through it (water, electrics, blown air heating ducts on top of a layer of styro foam).
latest report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
My son has done this with a long wheelbase Transit. Got almost all of the materials from skips etc. He has lived in it for about 5 years now. Added solar panels, and, most impressively IMO a woodburner.

It's worth going through the DVLC process to get the reg documents changed to classify it as a cmaper van, as a) insurance will be cheaper, and b) you can 70 rather than 60 on UK motorways.
snow conditions
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Thanks for all these replies/comments Very Happy It's great that there is so much interest in vans amongst Snowheads and that my post has sparked a common interest.

I will let you all know when our van is finished- hopefully by the end of November. Fingers crossed!
snow report
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Occasionally have late night eBay browse fests on vans as definitely thinking about 1 mid term. The number of lashed up home conversions and the custom designed pro builds that make no sense ( kitchen across the back of the van anyone rendering rear doors useless anyone?) are a bit off putting.

At least the more I look up the more idea I get of what I really want.
snow report
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Briefly thought about the idea too as we can drive to quite a few of the mountains our son is now competing at (or would be if not for COVID)
Though a bit pricey, if I did this I'd quite like the idea of one of those funky new VW Grand California ones if it could be winterized suitably, as I'd be a bit nervous about being taken out by a kitchen cabinet in a crash, and I assume VW had to crash test it? Unfortunately, despite the name and this being the land of RVs, VW don't sell it in N. America! rolling eyes

Anyhow, there is some pretty good thoughts and pointers for building winterized campers on this website:
https://faroutride.com/
snow report
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
eblunt wrote:


It's worth going through the DVLC process to get the reg documents changed to classify it as a cmaper van, as a) insurance will be cheaper, and b) you can 70 rather than 60 on UK motorways.


If you are under 7.5t and not towing a trailer you can still do 70 on the motorway, but only 60 on a dual c/w, unless you van is a relatively new and over 3.5t when it will have a speed limiter set at 56. Still do 60 legally downhill though. Rules are here https://www.gov.uk/speed-limits

The DVLA have tightened up the change in classification process recently, 2 windows compulsory I think etc.
latest report
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
This thread is useless without pictures!!!
snow report
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Some recent links, and some older ones at the end.

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=152617&start=40
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=149923&highlight=
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=137808&highlight=
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=148107&highlight=
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=147851&highlight=
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=131854&highlight=
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=138794&highlight=
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=137303&highlight=
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=135709&highlight=
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2769449&highlight=heater+camper+van#2769449

My current thoughts on heating and fume extraction is that you could fit a flue on your roof which spins in the wind (like a chimney spinning cowl). This would use wind power to suck the fumes out rather than electricity to blow them out. Of course, if you spend lots on battery power and solar panels electricity efficiency will not concern you.
snow report
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
There has been a superb conversion parked up near here the last few months.
A long wheelbase transit...a stealth conversion.
The windows are only revealed when the side doors slide back, and when the rear doors are opened.
I got chatting with the people and they showed me the best bit:
A decent sized double bed, with a proper memoryfoam mattress.
The bed is hung on its four corners by cables which enable it to be pulled up tight to the ceiling in the daytime, fully made up, and then lowered for sleep. I thought that was genius because on the several occasions we have rented Campers the bed assembly/put-away, and general uncomfortable sleep, was the biggest negative.
ski holidays
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Dont forget to check your licence classifications. DVLA changed Cat B for anyone who passed in the late 1990's & onwards.

Might rule some out from converting a sunshine bus or something with 9+ seats
snow report
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I too have been thinking about using our VW camper for a trip to Scotland this winter. Does anyone have recommendations for sites to base yourself at? I'd need an electric hook up to keep it warm, but otherwise pretty self sufficient.
snow report
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@kieranm, The majority of sites close around October, with only a few staying open all year. Some allow vans to stay when they are closed but there are no facilities/hook up available.
https://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/ is a good site to find opening times. Like everywhere else, it has been crazy busy this year. Which could mean that some might stay open longer than advertised, might be worth a phone call to double check.

We were looking to get away with friends next weekend, but everywhere we called (with 2 weeks notice) was fully booked. One had a single pitch for a motorbike and tent left. There are a few that don't take bookings and operate on a first come first served basis, but we weren't taking the risk of a 3hr drive to the west coast in the hope of finding a site with two spare pitches. With wild camping being frowned upon in the current climate, we ditched our plans to go at all. In fact we've only been away once in the van since lockdown as it was so busy it just wasn't that enjoyable.

Good luck!
ski holidays
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@kieranm, assuming you want to ski? a night or three at Glencoe perhaps? https://www.glencoemountain.co.uk/accommodation/
snow conditions
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@admin, @Hells Bells, found a decent VW with aircon at a similar price bracket as the Ford. Think i'll get in touch, a long old journey away from the SW of the country but worth it when compared to what else is available.
snow report
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@dode, it has been tricky at times to find good places this year, particularly at weekends, but here there have still been enough quiet places that I've enjoyed a number of short breaks relatively locally. I've been reading about many of the problems with inconsiderate campers in Scotland this year, so I think you might have had it particularly bad.

Anything I do in the winter will be at relatively short notice based on snow conditions, so of course will be phoning to double check, but just wondered if snowheads had recommendations of good campsites as a base for skiing. Many of the normal apps/websites for camp sites are based around camping in summer.

@kitenski, yes! You assume right. Thanks for the pointer - that is exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for.

@swskier, VWs are more expensive than others, but on the plus side they hold their value well, and there is a thriving industry in converting them so lots of advice, made-to-measure parts, etc available.
snow conditions
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
@swskier, VWs are more expensive than others, but on the plus side they hold their value well, and there is a thriving industry in converting them so lots of advice, made-to-measure parts, etc available.[/quote]

That's my thinking.
latest report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
If it turns out that skiing in the UK is the only option due to ongoing lockdown restrictions, it is also possible that long-distance travel will also be prohibited. If not, all of the established skiing centres could be overrun with people even if the conditions are poor.

Suddenly, touring from a layby starts to look attractive, but with very few resources for routes that's going to be a bit hit and miss unless you have some inside information from someone who's done it previously. Sites like http://zacpoulton.blogspot.com/2011/03/ski-touring-in-mamores.html may suddenly see an upswing in visits...
ski holidays
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@swskier, we travelled to Newark from Durham for ours. Looked all over up here first.
snow report
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
We travelled Elgin to Cambridge for ours. The problem comes when you have narrowed your choice to a specific model, they are then like hen’s teeth (I already had made an Elgin to Halifax trip only to meet a right con artist.... then came home via another two dealers, I think in Liverpool and Blackpool, but the vans they had were pretty poor examples).
I will say, though, don’t buy one from a coastal town, rust can be rife!
snow report
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Glen Nevis campsite for Aonach Mor and Glencoe. Glencoe itself has hookup but limited and also no free camping on the car park for the foreseeable due to inconsiderate use of facilities and literally no gratuity cash left in the boxes. Grantown-on-Spey site open all year and very nice inc warmest toilet block in Scotland. Braemar open year round. For context GoS is booked solid through to 5th Jan already.
snow report
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@swskier, This was one of the slightly weird ones I found but broadly your geography and bid price/mileage seems ok at the moment. Just trying to get my head around rule of thumb - is anything under 8-10k going to be a total nail or are there viable "starter vans" around the point which can be used and then flipped for not much of a loss?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ford-transit-mk7-2011-day-van-camper/254720873023?hash=item3b4e8c123f:g:d8cAAOSw9R1fYmKk

I think I just like the space in a Transit or similar better than the VWs I see plus the HiTops are available. Though if you are eyeing a Custom you are probably after a higher specced vehicle than this
latest report
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@swskier,
I just bought a new Transit Custom Limited a couple of months ago, its got lots of bells and whistles and more Ooomph than I ever need.
It replaces my 2016 VW Transporter Highline.

I'm dissapointed though, I should have got got another VW .. damn the expense.

The fact is that the Transit is a working Van for working ...
The VW though is a life style machine .. more than the sum of the parts.

Ford have nearly made the grade with the standard heated seats, and the connectivity thingy on the big screen Spotify machine.
I thought I was going to miss the handles .. the ones you grab to pull yourself into the cab with.
But I didn't miss the handles.

If you watch all the reviews on Youtube you will hear them say "A transit of course is for carrying loads
and it feels more comfortable when there is half a ton in the back"

To right!
The Tranny has 18th century cart springs at the back, it handles like a pogo stick on a bouncy castle.

Ford have hung onto this antique suspension system for far too long.

Anyway I'm looking forward to specking my next new Van,
Its going to be a VW Transporter in the new metallic green colour SWB low roof.
I'll go for a single back door hatch, its not so practical as barn doors for me, but its cooler.
I may even get a Kombi, I'm not sure how I'll get the bikes in though.

Extras?
I want a big screen dashboard to connect to android phone,
Reversing Camera
Heated seats
mains socket
I've got too used to these toys on my transit, even though I've only used the mains socket once (to run hair clippers)

Power?
I'd like about 125bhp but the usual 109 bhp would do...
I'll have to wait another 3 years though Sad

The Ford has some great ideas that are important for working vans, I particularly like the plastic floor liner in the back.
Plus the tie down points are mounted above the floor rather than on it, which is a boon for my business.
ski holidays



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy