Hmmmm I did get an old caravan cooker/sink unit that I was going to fit but it was ugly and broken. I’d really like a shiney Smev unit but they are expensive. I have found this though…

This is designed to run on domestic gas though and a comparable SMEV 2 hob unit (SMEV 2212) is about £150!

Smev 9222 (Left-hand sink)

£230ish for a sink and cooker for my van!!

May have to ask father Christmas!

OK…. so I can’t afford the smev kitchen unit! I have found an old caravan hob and grill for £30. Photos to come. This is now tested and ready to cut a hole in the worktop (eeeeeep!) to fit it.



OK so that has been in for a year and its annoying me! So I’ve bought one of these to replace it for £98.

This does mean I have to upgrade the worktop as this one is smaller than the old one so the current hole will be too big!


1st step was getting the sideboard in! This is a bog standard kitchen worktop. Fortunately one of friends had a whole worktop unused and going spare!

The first thing to do was strip out some of the ply lining, we’ve had the van for nearly two years at this point!
Then I attached a long aluminum right-angle directly to the wall of the van.

Once that was on and I had a couple of legs the whole sideboard was pretty rigid and looked good. 🙂
2015-05-17 15.34.08

2015-05-17 15.33.48

2015-05-17 15.33.29

I have also moved the control panel for the diesel heater that came with the van… this works really well apart from sounding like a jet engine when it is running! However in the winter it is amazing for heating the whole van in about 5 minutes! As I’m a little paranoid about safety I have fitted an additional gas, CO2 detector to go alongside the control panel.

2015-05-17 15.34.22


A lot more of the sideboard has been built now. It includes the gas cupboard and the battery compartment which are covered under the gas and electrics sections.

I did have a shelf along under the counter with plastic stacker boxes on…. but they were ugly!

Still not pretty but we’re getting there!


Don’t build the work top like I did… build it outside of the van as 1 unit and then lift it into place, that way if you need to take it out (to have the bottom of your van welded!) you can put it back in!!


OK so I’ve decided to redo the the worktop as I want to change the current cooker and sink.

I’m now looking for something like this instead…

So I’m going to try my local sawmill once I have the dimensions that I need.

The new worktop consists of 3 planks, my current idea is to get some dowel pins and pin and wood glue the planks together.

Yeah… this was a rubbish idea, I don’t have anything to ensure that the holes for the dowel are perfectly lined up so my test piece bowed and twisted. I think a better idea is to us battens underneath the planks and screw up into them.

I need to make the box frame of the current sideboard more sturdy as the new worktop is significantly thinner.

Update – Done! Basically made this a sideboard that slides into place and then attaches rather than being built onto the van body!

Treating the Worktop

Sand and oil the worktop. Not sure if I want to stain the wood first… at the moments its quite a bright pine colour and I quite like it but I’m not sure if I should stain it a different colour. Need to test on an off-cut first.

Sink & Tap

Have looked at lots of taps and sink units online and they are either hideously expensive or horrid! At the moment I’m thinking of making my own sink and tap. Current idea is to have a dog bowl sunk into the worktop. Waste pipe and plug hole could come later! The tap could be a rustic looking copper/brass pipe bent into a U shape and ball/lever valve

Would a cheap submersible pump cope with 15mm diameter copper pipe?
– I have been given a cheap submersible pump.

8mm copper valves have shit handles!
– Could I expand and reduce from 8mm to 15mm?

Initially a separate micro switch for the pump and tap.
Then extend the arm of the water tap to flick the switch as well
– This could be changed so that the switch arm ends on a copper rod that pulls the switch. The rod could feed through a hole in the worktop so that the electronics are hidden beneath the worktop.


Dog Bowl £4.00

Would be really nice if the bowl was copper to match the tap
…..Copper/brass mixing bowl.

Lever valve £2.50

Plug Hole £5.99

So far I’ve got my £4 dog bowl fitted along with the submersible pump and an LED rocker switch to turn the pump on/off. The plastic tubing is temporary but works.

So I’ve got the copper pipe for the tap and bent it around a heavy cardboard tube from the center of a carpet, with a pipe spring inside the pipe to stop it crumpling in on itself or creasing.

The bracket I made by drilling a 16mm hole in an off-cut of wood. then cutting the wood in half. A metal strip was then bent so it could be screwed onto the wood clamping around the pipe.

The switch for the submersible pump. I’ve heat-shrunk the connectors just in case.



Ok so the dog bowl doesn’t drain very well at all…. the plug hole ended up being raised too high above the base of the sink meaning the water doesn’t drain well. However…. B&Q do a cheap one for £26

…but both of those have holes for a tap which I don’t want,

I really like this one from Ikea but it is quite deep!

If that is too deep once I’ve sorted out the fridge and vents then I may have to go for one of these instead…

…the space I have to fit it in is 50cm (width) x 29cm (depth) x 30cm (height).

Chosen a Sink…

I managed to drop the fridge lower by extending the exhaust pipe for it, this mean I had room for the nice Ikea sink. It looks awesome but now by sink is over the fridge and not where it was so it doesn’t line up with the hole in the floor of the van for the waste…  I’m not sure this matters as I have space for the a small grey water tank which would also mean that the water doesn’t run out under the van either at random or into a bucket. I don’t like doing that as I’m ofter at festivals and working later and I worry about the dripping / running noise into the bucket would wake up other crew sleeping in tents near my van.




Forgot to mention my fridge on here! I’ve got a 3-way (Gas, 12V, 230V) Dometic RM212 fridge that I managed to pick up second hand from ebay for about £50 delivered! It needed a really good clean including the gas jet nozzle and I replaced the mains power lead… but it works really well. I didn’t realise how quickly the efficiency of these fridges drops when they are at an angle so you need to park on level ground or use chocks to level you off.

I’ve also ripped the front panel off and added a logo…. this is only attempt 1 but its an improvement. It will be really easy to replace or cover the front door and control panel so it looks a little less 1980s!

Now for a motto to go around the logo!

The motto I like and am stealing is from The Addams Family and is “Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc” or “We Gladly Feast on Those Who Would Subdue Us.”

The problem is that’s not what it says… its a bad translation! A closer translation into Latin would be as below (according to

Laeti vescimur nos subacturis

…and google translate gives me the following:

Non in die festo Parvam piamque dum lubenter eorum non proderunt animos iramque Nobis

Which to me seems to be too long for that translation! So I think I’m going to go for the campvs translation.

Laeti Vescimur Nos Subacturis

Now to find a font… as this isn’t a commercial project and just for me there are thousands of free fonts to choose from, I usually start at

I think this is my one!

I’m becoming a ninja with a scalpel! Although this was a slightly ridiculous way of doing it. Next time I use a projector and trace that way!

Inside the box mounted above should be enough room for the two new ventilation vents. Cold air in, hot air out!

Cutting the vent holes

OK… so I may not have fitted the fridge correctly! I added the Flue and cut the hole for that and the gas drop out underneath but I should really have vented to the outside! Time to go back… pull it out and do it again!!

When trying to mark out where to cut, drilling pilot holes from the inside helps work out where everything is. You can also scribble on the outside of a white van with white board marker and wash off with water once done. Once marked out where you are cutting, cover the bits you want to keep with masking tape so the feet of the jigsaw doesn’t scratch the paintwork. Final tip is if you are an idiot and pick up a sharpie instead of a whiteboard marker (doh!) you should be able to remove the marker using ethanol!

Sealing off the Fridge

I need to attach a box to the wall of the van that the sideboard links up to. The box will be open at the front to be level with the fridge and sealed at the back to the van wall.

This was a massive pain in the arse! Make sure you plan it out fully before you start. I wasted hours making three different versions of a cowl/box that mounted to the wall of the van, the sideboard then fitted over the box and then the fridge slid into both… I still think this is the best way to do it but I could have save hours with a bit more planning.


Rules and regs….
If its a self build and not for rental then basically you can do what you want!! I’d advise following the regs for all vehicles though.

  • Fix EVERYTHING to the wall.
  • Get a tap and T-Connector for every appliance.
  • Don’t solder, use compression fittings

Alternatively, get a pre-made manifold with the correct number of taps for your appliances.


Gas Locker
I’m looking for a gas locker as I would like to store the gas bottle somewhere inaccessible from inside the van to not use up valuable space. Struggling to find one that will have an external door and is not stupidly expensive! Still need to sort out the gas cupboard.

2016-03-28 15.44.26

Fitted and tested for leaks, all piping is in 8mm copper and fixed in place with copper brackets.

I still need to label everything but I also need to rotate the initial tap as to of the taps turn up for off and one of them down! This irritates me! The “gas cupboard” is still just a wooden cupboard and I still want to upgrade it to a proper metal one with external access for the gas bottle. I still has a 40mm drop-out for any leaking gas but I need to get strap to hold the gas bottle in place when on the move. The joins in the cupboard have all been covered with sealant to help prevent escaped gas filling other compartments.

Gas Bottle Strap
I just searched “caravan gas bottle strap” on ebay and got a huge selection for around £6! No excuse for not having one for so long really!!


Over a few years I think everything has shaken loose as I found a very small leak but that made me want to pull it apart and check all the connections. To make things easier for the future I’ve made sure that every connection is now accessible for testing. I have replaced a series of right angle compression fittings by using continuous copper pipe bent into the correct shape with a pipe bender to avoid kinks in the pipe.

Sods law was that the only bits that I found that were loose were both accessible and neither of them were the compression fittings.