The Camper Van Conversion

The second version - 2008

and the PoP-ToP

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Campsite at Tordesillas


The first version of the camper was good for a couple of years but it became evident that the available space could be used more effectively; and also we lost the dog and, having decided we were not going to replace her, this gave us a little more flexibility. There were several issues that could be improved. The ‘porta-potti’ was not really satisfactory and we opted to install one of the fixed ‘Thetford’ toilets with externally accessed cassette. The ‘dining’ table at the front of the living area was not ideal and the desk under the window was not particularly useful when we were camping. Having replaced the dark glass in the big window with clear glass, we decided to move the table to beneath the window which would fold down and serve as a single bed for Jean. The ‘upper bunk’ was retained for me (John).

I had also installed a large gas cylinder (see below) that could be refilled so the gas system under the front bed box was now redundant. However I had also constructed an additional storage space under the rear step and the void to the right of the step was accessed by cutting a hole in the floor. The Gaz cylinders fitted here nicely and were now a ‘backup’ supply for really long excursions.


Click on the images below
for a bigger picture.

The upper bunk folded up
as before but table and seats making lower bed.

A slimmed down roof rack and checkerplate opn the roof.

A 40 litre lpg gas cylinder fixed underneath.

Tool box under the rear step and backup gaz cylinders stored in space to the right.

The pop-up roof

This seemed a good idea.

Standing up in the van was not possible; I am just over 6ft tall and the van's height was about 5ft 4ins. Also sleeping in the bunk was not particularly comfortable as my 6ft. had to be accommodated in a 5ft 8ins space across the van. A pop-up roof appeared to solve both problems and also appealed.

I had previously made a roof box for the 109 (click here), that was reasonably successful, and I used the same construction technique for the pop-top. It was a lot larger and heavier that the 109 version and the gas struts were also a lot larger and stronger, which incidentally, gave rise to its final demise.

However I was well pleased with the result. I could stand up comfortably when the roof was up and even when it was down I had quite a lot more headroom. Sleeping was also a lot more comfortable; I could stretch out. We could also sleep 4 although I don't think this ever happened; I think 3 grandchildren used in on one or two occasions.

This configuration survived and worked well for two or three years and several trips to Spain, Morocco and, of course, Scotland. But its limitations began to be felt and in 2014 was replaced by version 3 (click here).


The timber framework

Plywood on upper surface and insulation going in.

Glass fibre cladding.

Attached to roof and gas struts in place.


Canvas side walls.

Ladder access to roof space.The ladder slots into the ceiling cut-out.

The upstairs accommodation
(and cheesy grin!)

Roof down.


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