Kalina Surfs

Preparing for Vanlife

Preparing for Vanlife

Already 1 month ago I bought a beautiful DHL Truck. This Box Van has 6.5 m2 floor space, so plenty for a millenial that lives in a capital. I’ve decided to built and design it myself, to fit it to my (surfing) needs, see what I can accomplish by myself and stay within my budget. To be honest I severly underestimated the complexity of every step in the build, it is like I am designing a tiny house without access to running water or electricty.

Vanconversion in Berlin

 Looking for more expertise, I found these places in Berlin:

VanWerk Berlin, integrated to CraftWerk Berlin, you can expected a work station and lots of advice for 12€/hour.

Campermanufaktur, DIY space available, starting at 5€/hour, but they also offer custom builds

Sundrive, conversion service and shop, specific to the camper needs.

In the end I’m working with Paem Paem Berlin, a wood workshop, that only uses recyceled materials and almost bit my head of for my choice of insulation, which just gave me an instant good feeling 😉 

I can’t afford to build twice, I’m reconsidering and re-calculating again and again and again. I feel lik there are only wrong answers here but after going down multiple rabbit holes on youtube and forums this is the information I’ve gathered, the prices are from 2020.


  • not- recycle or reusable
  • 11 €/m^2
  • Go-to option for van life
  • Easy to use
  • not pressure resistant
  • Thouroughly tested for the vibration in cars
  • Resistance at 19 mm: 0.052

Steiko Isorel

  • Natural material
  • 6,5€/m^2
  • adds an extra working step of adding in a plastic foil as vapor barrier
  • not pressure resitant, could loose shape over time
  • Resitance at 12mm : 0.24

Styrodur, XPS

  • non-recycable plastic
  • 4,4€/m^2
  • Easy to use
  • pressure resitant
  • already built into the walls and ceiling
  • Resitance at 19mm: 0.058

In the end I have decided to go for the 3rd option Styrodur. I really wanted to use the natural material, but it would add 3 extra work steps and I have 0 experience working with it. To make it reusable, I’ll try to glue always the same points, in order to take it of more easily, without damaging the material to much.

On the Styrodur I’ll lay down a layer of foam as vapor barrier and protection from pressure points from the edges in the laminate, which I got for free on ebay.

After deciding the insulation, I had to commit to a final floor layout, which is the hardest thing. I started to use sketch up ( with a 30 day free trial account) , which I can’t recommend enough to visualize the cabin and move things around. It takes some getting used to, but it is really worth it in the end!

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