With more and more people opting for staycations this year, campervans and caravans have never been more popular. While it is not essential to register a van that has been converted to become a campervan with the DVLA, there are some benefits to doing so, including cheaper ferry travel and potentially cheaper insurance.
When the DVLA considers an application to re-register a vehicle as a motor caravan, they consider several internal and external features. This week, we will look at the internal changes that your van must permanently have in place in order to be considered a motor caravan (or campervan).
When considering an application to register a van as a motor caravan, the DVLA will consider four key areas related to the van’s interior: seats and a table, sleeping space, cooking facilities and storage facilities.
Seats and a table
The seat and table should be part of the van, separate to other elements of the van (such as passenger seats). The table can be removed, but the base should be a permanent fixture within the van. The seating must be permanently fixed to the floor or wall of the van, and it must be possible to use the seating with the table.
Like the table and chairs, the sleeping space should be an integral part of the van (not a mattress that you can place in the van when needed). The sleeping accommodation can be standalone beds, or seats which convert to form beds. Unless the sleeping area is installed above the driver, or in a pop top, it must be permanently fixed to the base or side of the vehicle.
A box with a portable gas stove doesn’t classify as cooking equipment in terms of registering a vehicle as a campervan or motor caravan. In order to be considered, your van has to have at least a microwave or single cooking ring, secured permanently and securely to either the floor or wall of the van. What’s more, the fuel reservoir (gas cannister or equivalent) has to be secured in a storage cupboard or fixed to the vehicle’s structure and the fuel supply pipe permanently fixed to the floor or sides of the van.
In order to classify as a motor caravan, a van has to have fixed, permanent storage. This can be a single, or a series of, cupboards or lockers, and must be part of the living accommodation and mounted independently to the structure of the van, unless it is a part of the seating, sleeping space or cooker. As with all of the other internal features, the storage must be permanently fixed to the wall or base of the van.
There is undoubtedly capacity for adventurous vehicle owners to convert their own van. However, if you are unsure about what you are doing, it is probably worth protecting your investment by getting a professional to offer you advice or do the job for you.