Marine & RVs

The Fact That She Built it Herself Isn’t Even the Coolest Thing About This Custom Camper Van

We already know camper vans are amazing. We’ve seen a variety of people on YouTube channels putting their blood, sweat, and tears into their conversion builds. However, this RV camper conversion was built by one woman, inspired by her love for photography, art, and surfing. Those interests combined with a desire for a lifestyle change brought about this amazing van home.

Dietling Schirmer spent 10 years at sea working on a mega yacht. A broken heart led her to move away from life at sea to focus on other interests. The photographer and surfer bought a van and got to work. In fact, for six months, Schirmer worked around the clock in every climate to create the perfect living space within this extra high roof van. The finished product is the stuff of dreams––the fact that she built it herself is definitely not the coolest thing about this custom camper van.

Windows all around

There are a few windows that Schirmer added to the van herself. two oblong curved windows set into the van. There is a window on each side. In the video, she also mentions that all of the windows open and they each have a screen to keep out insects. This camper RV is so ready for full-time living with careful thought put into every centimeter.

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She used fiberglass molding to seamlessly incorporate the oblong windows in this custom camper van. The sills double as shelves and boast a beautiful curve that flows congruently to the shape of the window. There is one in the shower and there is also one in the lofted bed––which works extremely well for her in the extra high roof van.

a camper van makes traveling and surfing easier
Surfer at sunset | Getty Images

Speaking of the shower…

While we are on the subject of the shower, we have to talk about all of the work that she put into it. As a surfer, Schirmer knew she’d be going into cold water at times. She wanted to know that she’d always have a hot shower waiting for her after putting her board and wet suit back in storage––a huge garage space under the bed with easy rear access.

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Shirmer began with a nice large rectangular shower pan. Then built the space around it using marine ply, a coat of tank seal, and a final layer of waterproof swimming pool paint. The result is a fully waterproof shower with a solid, almost concrete-like feel to it. There are nice touches like bamboo rails on shelves to keep things from falling while the custom camper van is in motion. In addition, a matching bamboo shower curtain rod brings the space together.

It’s all in the detail

From the cool storage in the floor inspired by yacht bilges to the beautiful wood and rope details, this custom camper van is more than enough for someone to envision life on the road. It’s also detailed when it comes to function. Schirmer was sure to put emergency acmes to the plumbing and electric. In addition, her instantaneous water heater is sleek effective. The Chinese diesel heater gets fuel straight from the RV camper fuel tank.

Shirmer says “the joy is in the journey” and in the video, talks of selling it and moving on to the next project. We may see her in Africa sometime in the future. There, she plans to build a more utilitarian RV camper on a Toyota Hilux so that she can head out into the sub-Saharan bush.