Can a U-haul truck be converted to an RV?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can a U-haul truck be converted to an RV? We will review the process of converting a U-haul truck to an RV, step-by-step. 

Can a U-haul truck be converted to an RV?

Yes, you can convert a U-haul truck to an RV. The project is a bit ambitious and certainly, time and patience are needed, but that does not mean it is not possible!

The basics first: to convert a U-haul truck into an RV you: 

  • You must have a bed or a seat that can be converted into a bed.
  • You have to have some more furniture for storage; all rigidly anchored.
  • You must have a kitchen.
  • In addition, it is most advisable that the truck is not too small and thus avoid space and comfort problems during the trip.

The steps for converting a U-haul truck to an RV

And now, let’s get to the most interesting part and the reason you are here, the steps for converting a U-haul truck to an RV:

  1. Design every single detail as a first step: When working in confined spaces such as a U-haul truck, it is important to organize and plan every inch before starting any type of work. The design allows not only to study the arrangement of the furniture and the various systems but also to optimize the spaces, understand what is really necessary and what is not. 

There are many ways to put the project on paper, from the classic paper-and-pen pair to digital using 3D modelling programs such as SketchUp.

  1.  Make the U-haul truck a blank canvas: When the project is ready, it is time to intervene directly on the vehicle. Remove the internal coatings, the sheet metal that divides the driver’s cab from the rest of the vehicle, work with anti-rust treatments and, with a little elbow grease, proceed with general cleaning. 

In some cases, depending on the project, it may be necessary to open windows, skylights or holes for ventilation. In any case, with this second step, the van practically becomes a blank canvas from which to start the transformation.

  1. From the blank canvas to the more practical aspects. The U-haul truck will soon become a small house on wheels and, as such, will need different types of systems: ventilation, electrical, heating, plumbing. Project in hand, each of them must be prepared before moving on to the isolation of the vehicle: the important thing is that everything is designed on the basis of your needs.

 Above all, it is advisable to always rely on professionals in the sector if you do not want to incur unpleasant accidents or create potentially dangerous situations. Safety first of all.

  1. Turn the U-haul truck into a nest. Once emptied, cleaned and augmented with the first systems, the U-haul truck is ready to take another step towards its new life: it must be transformed into a nest. The vehicle, in fact, will no longer be a simple means of transport, often suitable for moving goods from one side to another, but will become a “home” for one’s holidays. 

To avoid drafts, infiltrations and everything that could ruin the experience on wheels, we then proceed with the insulation, which can be done with glass wool, polystyrene panels or natural insulation such as cork, and the sealing of the environment. with gaskets or silicones where necessary. Everyone can choose the material he prefers, the important thing is to leave the cold of winter and the heat of summer outside.

  1. Make the U-haul truck as autonomous as possible. When travelling by RV, you need to be ready for anything, especially the unforeseen events you may encounter along the way: for this reason, it is essential to be as autonomous as possible. 

Not only batteries, water tanks, heaters for heating and the necessary furniture, but, for example, you can also think of adding some solar panels on the roof, to have energy available at any time: a green solution that meets the needs of travellers, but also to the environment.

  1.  Install the cladding and organize the first spaces. To make the U-haul truck a welcoming home, it is not enough to work on the systems and insulation of the vehicle, but also on the coating. The wooden walls, for example, help maintain the internal temperature and make the whole environment more comfortable. 

Alternatively, you can also opt for other materials, based on your needs and tastes. This is also the moment dedicated to the first organization of space, with the creation of shelves, wall units or compartments for small appliances. Everything is ready to accommodate the essential objects and comforts during the trip.

  1. Arrange the main furniture. Depending on the project, you will need to arrange a bed or coffee table, a small kitchen or some seating. It all depends on the space available and your needs. The important thing is to start furnishing the van starting with the largest pieces and continuing in descending order. 

Giving priority to bulky objects will make everything easier and will avoid finding yourself in the end with less space or badly organized. Furthermore, filling the vehicle starting from the largest objects will ensure greater availability of manoeuvre inside.

  1. Turn the U-haul truck into a home. When the essentials have been installed and everything seems ready to go, we must remember that, after all, this is a small house, albeit on wheels, and as such it must be decorated and enriched with pieces, objects and accessories that make you feel good and give the feeling of home. 

Greenlight to blankets and pillows, maybe some photographs and an indoor plant to help purify the air, but also crockery, small decorations such as magnets, drawings. When you are travelling it is important to feel good in your environment, especially if you spend a lot of time there, both while driving and while relaxing on the side of the road or in the middle of nowhere.

Final recommendations

As you can see, the possibilities are endless, but with a little planning and ingenuity, you can bring to life a very complete vehicle, allowing you to live inside and travel around the world in great comfort. Cargo trailers and U-haul are popular for camper conversion projects. And truth to be told, it is quite an easy DIY job as long as you have a plan and some basic skills. 

Please feel free to share your thoughts, comments or questions about the content.

FAQ on Can a U-haul truck be converted to an RV?

Is a camper trailer considered an RV?

Yes, a camper trailer is considered an RV. More exactly, the term RV – recreational vehicle – includes:

  • Camper trailers;
  • Motorhomes;
  • And fifth wheels. 

What is a camper trailer?

The camper trailers are towable trailers, which must be towed with a vehicle and can also be used independently, although they are not equipped with an autonomous traction system. 

How do you add power to a cargo trailer?

To add power to a cargo trailer you must connect it to shore power.  Cargo trailers are often used for camping, portable businesses, horse transportation, race car transport and crafts. Operation of AC appliances or tools requires the installation of outlets, wiring and a circuit breaker box. 

Yes, it is legal to convert a van into a campervan. In fact, this is how the whole #Vanlife movement has begun.  If your intention is to convert the van into a camper, it must have a good engine, offer great reliability and have spare parts that can be found easily.

What must be homologated in a camper?

The regulations say that every element that is fixed inside our van must be approved. This fixing can be with screws or simply glued. … So, if you want to build the interior of your camper without having to approve it, you will have to design the furniture so that it is not fixed.

How to homologate a van as a home?

In order to be approved as a camper or home, it is necessary to install at least the installation and legalization of a bed and a piece of furniture. With these two changes, we can now convert the van to a home van although we usually carry out many more reforms to make the van as comfortable as possible.


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!