A starter’s guide to DIY custom caravan building

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DIY custom caravan build

There’s nothing more exciting or engaging than putting together your own custom caravan! Tailoring your vehicle to your specific requirements and preferences is the best way to ensure your next camping trip is as seamless, enjoyable and convenient as possible… As well as having fun along the way!

However, wanting to customise your caravan yourself and knowing how to do it are two different things entirely!

Technological and industry innovations have come a long way in recent years and now’s the perfect time to get stuck into your DIY custom caravan, and we’re here to help!


How to build your custom caravan


Chassis design

The best place to start is by designing your chassis. As you’re bound to know, the chassis of a vehicle makes up the mainframe whether it’s a car, ute, four-wheel-drive or caravan. It provides support and allows for all manner of items, accessories and parts to be attached to them.

When designing your chassis, apart from considering what you want from it and how you intend on using your camper, there are technical and legal requirements when it comes to both caravans and trailers. Always make sure you’ve done the legwork and research during the early design process to avoid heartbreak and frustration later on.

Some DIYers like using computer programs to help them visualise their chassis design, while others like to bring in professionals, such as the team here at Trailer Parts direct, for help.


Chassis production

Building your custom caravan will mean building your camper chassis as well. That means there’s going to be some welding involved. If you don’t have professional experience, we recommend getting a professional to do it for you.

There are a number of parts and accessories involved in putting together a full-build chassis, including but not exclusively:


  • Jockey wheels
  • Stabilisers
  • Levellers
  • Legs
  • Couplings
  • Security equipment
  • Wheels
  • Steps
  • Stone shields

Alternatively, you can also customise an old chassis from a used vehicle and tailor the existing framework. This means you don’t have to build the chassis from the ground up and can simply accessorise and customise as you go.

Of course, you’re also able to source the entire chassis from a supplier and simply modify it as you see fit.


Building the caravan

The most commonly used material for DIY custom caravan building nowadays are aluminium composite or fibreglass panels. These panels can be custom cut to fit your exact dimensions and offer a high quality, lightweight, durable and aesthetic shell from which to build out your vehicle.

One thing to note as part of your shell building is to incorporate the windows, vents and door openings into the panelling. These cut-outs should all be specified in terms of dimensions beforehand so that you can install the windows and doors you need without having to re-cut.

Once everything is put together, make sure to provide a water and weatherproof seal around the joins to prevent moisture, dirt, dust and water from getting in.


Add in the fittings

Even if you’re up for the challenge, unless you’re qualified and licensed, all electrical power and plumbing works need to be done by a professional. While this might blow out the budget a bit, it’s worth your while in terms of legal compliance and your own personal safety. Some plumbing jobs, like tanks and taps, can be done independently however so there’s still space to save.


Paint job

Once everything is assembled and ready to go, you’re ready to paint! Add some colour wherever and however you want, or leave the composite material untouched. It’s your custom caravan, so it’s all up to you.

Remember to use paint that is not only resistant to weather and rain, but will protect your cladding from rust and general wear and tear. If you’re willing to invest in a paint sprayer, you’ll certainly find the job easier and quicker, and the end result spectacular.


Cabinetry and accessories

This is where Trailer Parts Direct comes in! With a huge range of accessories, you’ll find everything you need and then some in our online store. You’re more than welcome to build your internal cabinetry yourself of course, or mix and match with DIY and TPD products!


Let’s chat custom caravans and more!

Feeling confident? Need some more advice? Our expert team of camping enthusiasts are always here to help. Check out our ever-expanding blog with helpful articles and tips or speak to us directly for custom caravan building advice! Good luck and happy building!