Got an old tradie van? Here’s how to convert it into the glorious van of your dreams | Bells Beach B

Caution: van porn ahead.


So you did it. You quit your job, sold all your possessions and ditched your car to take to the wide open road and join the van life. But uhhhh, your van isn’t quite ready.


Okay, if you’re being honest, it doesn’t even have a bed. Or curtains. Or anywhere to stash your pots and pans. But true nomads don’t need all the *things* right?


Is a bed an essential? Image: Built for Advanture.


Let’s see. Van life holds the promise of freedom. You have everything you need right there on four wheels to go anywhere, see everywhere and do anything with nothing stopping you but the cost of fuel (seriously - that shit is exxy.) Feel like a spontaneous trip down the Great Ocean Road? No worries! You’ve got your ride and accommodation sorted. Want to venture a little further north and go camping along the Murray River? Too easy!


But that bare-bones tradie van that you got for an absolute steal on Facebook Marketplace probably isn’t gonna cut it. The reality is, a couple of nights in you’ll have a buggered back from sleeping on an egg shell mattress on the floor and you’ll be eating Maccas for every meal because you’ve got nowhere to prep your food. Quite frankly, you’re thinking about calling it in and heading home already.


Okay... Maybe we could do with some luxuries, like a shower. Image: Built for Advanture.


If this doesn’t quite align with your van life vantasy, worry not. It’s time to call in the professionals.


Today we are featuring three local Torquay businesses who will take your old tradie van and convert it into the vehicle of your dreams. We’re talking gorgeous timber interiors, bench tops that are absolute works of art and all the storage you could ever need.


Brace yourselves for some SERIOUS van porn.


Built for Advanture


Who are they and what do they do?


It all started when two travellers who simply adored van life moved to the Surf Coast. Sam and Jesse found a way to turn their skills and lust for adventure into a kick-arse van conversion company.


That's it. We're moving in. Image: Built for Advanture.


Built for Advanture create and execute custom van conversions. They’ll take the ideas you have for your van and not only will they run with them - they’ll leap over oceans and rivers to create a special, one of a kind van for you to create memories in. Given Jesse’s carpentry background, you won’t be surpised that the cabinetry is the star in these conversions. Just look at those colours!


Quick, someone call Grand Designs! Image: Built for Advanture.


Why do we love them?


We love that Built for Advanture are van packers themselves and have a whole arsenal of knowledge to share. Not only can they advise you on the best designs for your van, they’ll also share their favourite hidden spots, places to park your home for the night and gorgeous, van-friendly towns to explore.


Luna Vans


Who are they and what do they do?


When carpenter Adam Snow started tinkering with vans over a decade ago, he simply couldn’t stop. How could he create the perfect storage system for all the gear you need on the Surf Coast? Soon, Luna Vans became a bonafide van fit-out company catering to both work and play.


This van takes the ocean with it everywhere it goes. Image: Luna Vans.


Their execution is impeccable. Think high quality finishes, insulation, real timber flooring and all those little details you probably forgot about, like fly screens.


Why do we love them?


Luna Vans are designed for real life - not just a holiday. We love that these vans can fit your surf board, work tools and whatever other toys you might want to bring along on your adventures. Maybe you’ve got a canoe to stash somewhere or you need a desk to work from on the road. No worries - Luna has you sorted.


A place for everything and everything in its place. Image: Luna Vans.


Van Life Diaries


Who are they and what do they do?


Way back in the beginning, Jared and Sam were fitting out camper vans (and trying to keep the costs down!) for other travellers. But it was when they had the bright idea to start the Van Life Diaries Instagram account that things really took off.


This retro design is killer. Image: Van Life Diaries.


Now, they not only convert vans from their base in Torquay for customers all over Australia, they also share the stories of other vanlifers, post vans for sale and sell merch (including their very own book about van life!)


Why do we love them?


Van Life Diaries isn’t just a van conversion company - it’s a whole lifestyle movement. The diaries on their website and Instagram offer a peek inside the lives of nomads so you can have a cheeky perve at their homes. And it’s every bit as voyeristic and sartorially delicious as you’re imagining. If you’re looking for inspiration for your own dream van, this is the only place you need to look.


A taste of the inspo to be found on the Van Life Diaries. Image: Jemma Scott @thesalty.dreamers.


While your van is out getting pimped, why not stay at Bells Beach Backpackers in Torquay? We offer both dorms and van packing with prices starting as low as $26 a night.


Written by Rachel Wagner.

Bells Beach Backpackers Content Writer.


CONNECT WITH US: @bellsbeachbackpackers

Rachel Wagner is a freelance producer who writes about the good things in life - travel, culture, creativity and how to tread lightly on our Earth along the way.

She previously flexed her creative muscles as a Podcast Producer for the Mamamia Women’s Network before she gave up the desk life to travel the world. Over the past three years Rachel has found her home in Melbourne, Scotland, England, Mount Buller and the Bellarine Peninsula. And now? Torquay baby!

Her top travel tip is not to be afraid of exploring a new place alone. You’ll be amazed at how many locals and other travellers you meet along the way, plus you’ll never have to say no to a spur of the moment adventure.