Large, small, vintage or bristling with the latest technology – caravans can be so different yet all similar. So how do you make yours stand out from the crowd or at least reflect your personality?
Get the look
Some vans are distinguishable by the names their owners give them, like ‘No address’, ‘Nevergoinghome’, ‘The Tardis’ or ‘Adventure before Dementia’.
Others have a customised cover for the spare tyre, which is an increasingly popular way to set your caravan apart or just announce yourself to others in the caravanning community. There are a number of firms around the country who will provide a variety of covers featuring your own photos, nickname or even personal caricatures.
You could also spend a little extra on personalised number plates, add decals, or paint part of your caravan such as the door or trims. If you decide to paint the van yourself, talk it over first with a marine paint supplier, as they understand painting on aluminium.
There are lots of different ways you can make your van different, but much of what you do will depend on things such as budget, the age and condition of your van, or ultimately how much easier your life will be after the modifications.
On the inside
Many owners spend a lot of time looking for the right caravan with (most of) the features they want, so will only make a few cosmetic additions like adding shelving or hooks for extra storage.
Choosing a different mattress, placing a full-length mirror inside a door, or changing the cushions, curtains or bedding will either make your van easier to live in, or give it a more homely feel.
Greenies who want to reduce their carbon footprint can change all the lights to LED, add solar panels to the roof, or carry a solar generator for electricity and heating. They might also have bike racks attached for staying fit while exploring their surroundings and a potted herb garden for fresh greens.
For those who want to always stay in touch with the world, there are extendable aerials for optimum telephone and internet reception, satellite dishes, home theatre systems, or flat screen TVs mounted on swivels for viewing from anywhere in the van.
The serious off-roaders will often be seen with heavy-duty winches, fishing rod holders, slide-out barbecues, showers and toilets, and sporting airbag or rubber suspension systems.
Of course, these are all fairly minor modifications compared to the complete retrofit by a lady in Wales who converted her vintage van into a retro delight called ‘Polly Dolly’. Its shabby chic decor, including lime green walls, black and white tiled flooring and furnishings in florals, stripes and polka dots, caused such a response that she has started a business creating similar yet distinctive gems for other people.
Customising your caravan can be lots of fun. Want to know more about retrofitting your caravan without breaking the bank? Take a look here. Shoe-string budget? Five ideas to retrofit your caravan.