We convert the interior of my Mitsubishi Delica L400 Space Gear into a campervan for outdoor photography adventures.
One of my key campervan requirements is to have a secure place to store my photography equipment when I am away from the van. So I purchased an 18 X 18 X 30 inch steel lock box, of the sort typically welded to the side of construction vehicles for storing tools. It’s a big box, sufficient for all the photography gear I could ever imagine taking on a big camping adventure. But I am worried that it might be a bit too large. The 18 inch height of the box will set the height of the camper van’s entire sleeping platform, and drive the size of all the other cabinetry in the van.
I was able to buy my box for half price on Craigslist, but they are available on Amazon.
Another key requirement for the campervan is to be able to carry three passengers (my lovely wife and daughter, along with ugly me). This motivated me to find a seven passenger version of the Mitsubishi Delica. This version includes two captain’s chairs in the middle row. What’s cool about these captain’s chairs is that they both rotate 360 degrees, and slide back and forth.
My thinking is to keep one of these middle-row captain’s chairs, both to provide a third passenger seat, as well as a flexible seat in the camping area of the van.
So here is the final layout, which I modeled in CAD (I only took the time to model up to 2 feet above the floor). Send me an email if you are interested in a copy of this CAD model for planning your own campervan build.
- Kept the left second-row passenger seat. Can face forward for driving with third passenger, can face back for camping and can face to the left for photographing out the slider door when using the van as a photo blind.
- Located the lock box in the forward right corner, with the door facing up to make it easy to drop camera gear down into it. This fixes the height of the sleeping platform down the right side of the van.
- Made a “middle right” module to continue the sleeping platform and for storage. The top surface of this module is removable to expose a lowered seat, 14 inches off the floor. In fact, the removed portion of the sleeping platform becomes a backrest for the lowered seat. This lowered seating area is necessary since my 18 inch bed height is a bit too high for me to sit on comfortably without my head hitting the ceiling of the van. This is a “high roof” Delica, but a “high roof” Delica is nothing like a high roof any other kind of a van.
- A platform along the back completes the sleeping platform (for one person), and has plenty of storage space underneath, which is accessible through the rear hatch.
- A cabinet on the left side provides additional storage and shelving. This provides a bit of sleeping platform for a second person. A Lagun swing-arm table is also attached to this cabinet to provide a table for both the captain’s chair and for the seat on the opposite side of the van.
Delica Campervan Interior Conversion
All the cabinets are made from ½ inch birch plywood, keeping each module light weight and easy to handle. I’m pretty happy with the weight, but ½ inch plywood doesn’t hold the tips of wood screws that well. This led to a lot of through bolts and nuts, but this wasn’t too bad of a compromise since bolts and nuts also allow easy installation/removal of the modules.
All of the sleeping surfaces are covered with 1/8” closed cell foam padding and a Home Depot outdoor carpet, both laid down with 3M Super 77 spray adhesive. This provides a soft surface for crawling around on, and dampens vibration while driving.
A warning about the swing-arm table: It is important to tightly lock down the joint that allows the arm to swing before driving. Braking, accelerating and turning corners can cause the arm to swing around, which may cause your table to hit other objects in the van, or its windows. I had my table swing into a window, but thankfully not hard enough to break it.
More on Delica Campervan Conversion
See more posts on my Mitsubishi Delica camper van conversion
Delica L400 Campervan Conversion
My reasoning for choosing the Mitsubishi Delica L400 for my campervan conversion.
Detailed description of mounting a Rhino-Rack roof rack and Yakima awning to the roof of a Mitsubishi Delica L400.
Also includes design and build of a quick-deploy “mini-awning” that can be set up in 30 seconds just to cover the side entry door area when the full-size awning is not needed.
We make custom bug nets to cover the camper van’s pop-out side windows for both insect and rain protection, with easy magnetic attachment to the van.
Campervan Ventilation & Heater
This post covers development of a custom ventilation fan and use of hcalory portable diesel heater to keep the van well ventilated and dry, thus protecting it from moisture, mold and mildew.
We make a custom rubber floor mat to protect our van’s floor from the Pacific Northwest’s rain, mud and snow.
We finally get to test out the camper van conversion on its first camping trip in Olympic National Park to photograph the rainforest and wildlife.