Converting an old school bus into a camper is a very fun idea. Also, it’s probably the thing you need in your life if you happened to love traveling.
School bus camper conversion is essentially what it means. You take an old bus that kids ride to school, and you turn it into a magnificent traveling buddy.
The thing with it is that it is big enough to completely house you and any friends you’re taking along, and the entire process of doing so is very fun.
So, if you happened to be interested in doing this, then this is the article for you. Without further ado, let’s see how you can convert an old school bus into your very own camper.
1. First Things First – Buy the Bus
Make the buying decision based on how many people you’ll be taking with you. This will determine the size of the bus and whether you can fit all of your needs into it.
You have to take into account where you’ll sleep, where you’ll eat, where you’ll sit, etc.
2. The Interior
The first thing you’ll need to do, once you purchase it, is to start taking out the seats.
This process will be different for most people, since some busses have their seats on a track, and some are held into place with a deep socket.
But, one thing is for sure, you’ll need to start screwing and loosening bolts.
When you’re all finished with the seats, start working on the flooring. This, again, will be different for most of you, as busses have different types of flooring.
Next on the list is the actual heating unit that is located below the flooring or somewhere on either side. For this one, you might need the helping hand of YouTube to help you get over the line.
One thing’s’ for sure, removing the heating unit is a tedious and messy job, so be prepared to get dirty.
3. Build the Floor
Once the interior is removed nicely, next on the list is to start working on the flooring.
When doing this, your options are plenty. The best material for this job is, of course, wood. You’ll be mostly using boards and placing them horizontally or vertically.
A thickness of 2-inches should be more than enough to support everyone on board the camper. On top of the boards, you’ll also want to apply 3 to 4-inch plywood, to better support your weight and to make things look nice. You can have the plywood painted, but this is optional.
Once you got the floor all nice and ready, it’s now time to start lay-outing.
You can do this nicely by simply drawing with ducktape. Make sure you got the beds and everything else so you can map out where each element will be positioned.
This is by no means an easy task, and chances are you’ll go through multiple layouts before settling on the one that works best for everyone.
Some of the things that you should take into consideration when prepping your layout are your beds, toilet (if you have one), table and chairs, etc.
Make sure you do a complete list of all the things you want to take with you, so you can create a layout based on that.
You can visit Skoolie Livin as a great website for information on all things school busses related.
5. Building the Frame
This one is very important, as it will take a large portion of your space. You need to create the frames based on the layout at hand.
For example, if you have settled on a bedroom area, then you’ll want to frame the area and keep it separate. Take into account that you’re creating a camper, so you’ll need to frame anything from sitting area to a bathroom (if you choose to build one).
The best thing you can do is use the space around you, so make sure you create a frame that will support some cabins for extra storage space. You’ll also want an area for a small refrigerator, and you can create that space if you choose to put it next to one of your cabins.
Other things that need framing are countertops, which can essentially be the table and lots of cabins!
6. Build the Wall
Once you’re all finished with the framing duty, and you’ve run electrical for all the things that need electricity, it’s now time to start walling.
This essentially means closing off the frames. It’s pretty straightforward and the best use of material for it would be bedboard. This type of material is very cheap, very light, but durable enough to support most of the items you’ll be bringing along.
Furthermore, the material is super easy to clean from stains, drips, and drops. Another durable material to use in this stage is laminate for the floors. Chances are, you’d want to add laminate on the floor where you’ll be walking. You don’t want to add laminate before doing the framing since there would be no use for it if it’s covered.
7. Plumbing? (Optional)
Now, before we explain this one, you need to figure out whether you’ll be one with nature or want to do your duties indoor.
This one is pretty complicated and you might need the helping hand of an expert or you can watch some DIY videos.
But, as a general rule, you’ll need to get two large tanks. One will be for drinking water, and the other will be for non-drinking. The tanks need to be located (especially the one with the freshwater) somewhere where they’ll be safe.
The grey water tank can go beneath the bus, while the freshwater one can go somewhere inside; perhaps in a cabin.
You’ll also need to get a water pump, and various other things to effectively create your plumbing. One thing’s for sure, this one is more complicated than the rest o the stuff we discussed in this article, so you might want to get some help with it.