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Van life check lists - Van build tools

Updated: Jun 19, 2022

So this isn't really one of my typical blog posts where I go into lots of specific details on what to do in specific situations, It is more a check list of tools you will need to convert your van into a camper.

You can use it as a quick guide to what you will need, for estimating your costs, for ordering stuff hassle free and as usual for my personal recommendations on brands and specific items.

I hope you all find it useful, As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases


Einhell Power X-Change Cordless Combi and Drill Driver

2 X Batteries, charger and carry case

You will use these for so much you can not really do without them.

So you have probably heard of power tool makes like Makita, DeWalt and Hitachi because they are all really good quality power tools. You might not of heard of this make but I will tell you that they are just as good and about half the price of the cheapest make mentioned above. They really are top quality and one of the best things about them is the interchangeable batteries that will fit any power tool in the Einhell Power X-Change range, this will save you so much time and money in the long run.

Einhell Power X-Change 115mm Cordless Angle Grinder

You will need a hand held angle grinder for a few bits and pieces depending on what you have planned for your van. you can use them for cutting holes for windows, cutting holes for fans & vents, taking sharp edges off of metal, cutting tiles, polishing and many other things.

This is just the body only with no battery but if you have the drills above you will already have compatible batteries

as this grinder is also in the x-change range.

Einhell Power X-Change 18 V Cordless Jigsaw

If you are planning on lining anything with wood, replacing your wooden floor, cladding your walls or building a wooden bulkhead then you will need a jigsaw. It is in the same range as the drills and grinder above so the batteries are interchangeable saving you time and money. It is also cordless and one of the most annoying things when cutting with a jigsaw is the cable getting in the way. These can also be used for cutting holes for windows and fans if you use the correct blade. (see power tool accessories)

Einhell Power X-Change Impact Wrench

If you have lots of mechanical work to do on your van you might want to get an impact wrench to speed things up and make light work of bolts. Again this is just the body but if you are using the Power X-Change system you will already have batteries to fit it.

Einhell Power X-Change Naked Cordless Circular Saw

If you need to cut a straight edge on wood these circular saws are much better than jigsaws. This one can be run on the same batteries as everything else meaning you do not need 240v power on location to use this.

Einhell Power X-Change Multi Sander with Filter Box

If you are doing a lot of wood work you might also need a sander to smooth bits off

Einhell Power X-Change Battery Starter Kit

If you do buy any of the power tools above and need a battery and charger for them these are what you will need.


VonHaus 99pc Cobalt Drill Bit Set

During your van build you are going to need to drill a lot of holes in various materials. This set of cobalt drill bits will cut through any material with ease. You will also break a lot of the thiner drill bits no matter how hard you try so with this kit the thinner the drill bit the more they supply you with.

Makita Power Drill Accessory Set (100 Pieces)

As well as drill bits you will also need multiple other drill and screwdriver attachments, this kit covers pretty much everything else you will need with screwdriver bits, hex keys, nut drivers, holesaws and much more.

Makita Plumbers Holesaw Kit 6 Pieces

If you are installing a diesel heater or anything else where you need to drill a specific sized circle hole in your body work you might need this kit. It has 6 different size holesaws that will but through plastic, wood, and metal.

It has a size perfect for the exhaust and air intakes on 2kw and 5kw diesel heaters. it also has sizes perfect for gas and water pies amongst others.

Draper 9-Piece Holesaw Kit for Down lights

If you are cladding your van and installing down lights in your van then you might want to consider a kit like this. They are specifically for cutting holes in wood for down lights but can be used for all sorts in your van build. Any time you need a big circle hole in wood these are your friends with 8 different sizes to choose from

DeWalt DT7908 25 Piece No.2 PZ2 Screwdriver Bit Set

If you have a lot of wood work to do in your van and you are anything like me you are probably going to get through lots of these. You will round some off, loose some, drop some in tricky places to retrieve them from. These are a really good make and they are strong, so should prevent you from rounding as many off.

10 x Ultra thin 115mm x 1mm for Angle Grinder- Stainless metal cutting discs

These ultra thin metal cutting discs are perfect for cutting through bodywork with precision. So if you are installing a window or roof fan/vent you may need some of these. These are only for cutting not for grinding. These will fit the grinder above and all other 115mm grinders

Makita 115mm Metal Grinding Bore Flat Disc 22mm

If you have hole in your van, cut any metal for your build, or have any rough edges you might want to get a grinding disk to smooth off any edges. once you have one you will find all sorts of uses for it believe me. These are a really good quality disk and at under £3.00 you can't go wrong.

Dewalt Jigsaw Blades Metal X 10

If you choose to go the jigsaw route for cutting holes for windows or roof fans then you will need some metal jigsaw blades. These are a really good set and will have no problem cutting through your vans body work.

Bosch 10-Piece Jigsaw Blade Set Wood

A selection of different wood jigsaw blades will come in useful for lining your van with wood panels, cutting the new ply wood for the floor, building a wooden bulkhead and much more. If you need to cut any kind of curve or shape into sheets of wood the jigsaw is your go to tool

Multi-Sander Sheets (Punched) -93mm/100x62mm x Assorted Grits (Pack of 12), Set of 12 Pieces

If you have a multi-sander for smoothing off wood work then you will need some sanding sheets. These fit the sander above perfectly and it is a mixed pack of assorted grits.


Claw Hammer 20oz

A decent claw hammer is a must have in any van build. You will use it for all sorts of things other than nailing nails in wood. This one is very strong and quite cheap.

Wood saw

Not much needed to explain this. This is a really good one and very cheap too.

Hack saw

As above not much explaining here. if you are going to be fabrication anything from metal but do not have power tools you will need a hack saw. This one is heavy duty and very strong

Screwdriver set

When it comes to screwdrivers you are best to get a good quality set from the start. It is very easy to round the ends off of cheap screwdrivers on tight screws or snap them using them to pry things off. This set of screwdrivers are really strong and if you look after they will be the last set of screwdrivers you ever buy.

Bahco Socket Set 24 Piece 1/2 Square Drive

Just like with screwdrivers when it comes down to socket sets quality really is key. Cheap ratchets will not last long and the teeth break easily and cheap sockets will round off.

This is a really good, strong make that will give you no problems during your build.

TACKLIFE 1/2-Inch Impact Deep Socket Set ,Metric, 6 Point, 18-Piece Set

These deep impact sockets are good for using with both your impact wrench and with your half inch wrench above. These come in very handy for when trying to undo nuts that are attached to long bolts that your normal sockets can not reach. You can also hammer them onto stuck on bolts and use the impact wrench to undo them with no trouble at all.

Sealey 450mm 1/2" Sq Drive Breaker Bar

If you're not going to use an impact wrench but your have bolts that are too tight to get undone with a spanner or regular ratchet then this is will get them out no problem at all. Prefect for removing seats, eyelets, wheel nuts and much more. This particular breaker bar has a lifetime guarantee.

Combination Spanner Set 12 Piece Metric

As well as a decent socket set you will also need a set of combination spanners. This set is both cheap and strong.

Rolson 10m x 25mm Tape Measure

A tape measure is needed in every single step of your build from planning to finishing it off. They can be expensive but they do not need to be at all. I suggest getting one big enough to cover all eventualities! This 10M rolson tape measure is cheap and better than most. The tape stays out automatically until you press the yellow button so its much easier to use by yourself.

WorkPro Imperial & Metric Allen key/Hex key set

During your van build you will 100% need an allen key set. Allen keys will be needed for so many things they are impossible to list in the tiny space. This set is really good and you should't round any of them off.

OX Club Lump Hammer 2.5 lb / 1.1 kg

A heavyish lump hammer will come in very handy if you have any demolition to do in your van before you start or if you have to whack any pieces of timber into place. In fact you will need to whack a lot more than you think.

OX Combination Rubber Mallet

You will also find a rubber mallet very useful for the same reasons as above but for when you need to be a little bit more delicate. You will use this more for building than for demolition as it will not damage or mark and wood if used correctly

Pry Bar/Crowbar

A Pry bar will also come in handy for all sorts of jobs! Removing nails, demolishing, pulling up the old floor, etc

This one is good and strong and will handle anything in a van build

Stanley Quickslide Pocket Knife

You will need a good sharp knife for cutting thermawrap, insulation boards, carpet etc. You will need a Stanley knife or similar.

Draper Redline 160 mm Heavy Duty Pliers Set

These are another thing you can't do without. You will need them throughout your whole build and a lot more when it comes down to doing your wiring. this set is really cheap and very strong.

Wire strippers & crimpers

If you are doing your own wiring it will be very hard unless you have the correct tool. You will need a wire stripper to strip your cables and a crimper to secure the the cables to the connectors. This set even comes with enough connectors to do your whole van

Mechanical caulking Gun

If you have any tubes of no more nails, sealant or caulk being used in your build you will need a gun to get them out of the tube. The metal ones can be a bit stiff for some people but this one is easy on your wrists and nice and cheap

Heavy Duty Scissors

A pair of scissors like this will really save you time. They can cut all sorts of things like leather, rubber, plastic, carpet, rope, cables, cardboard etc. They are perfect for rough cuts and making templates too.


WD-40 Original Spray Can 600ml

A big can of WD40 will come in handy for all sorts including undoing tight bolt and removing spray glue from unwanted spaces. I got through a whole can during my build

(100 GLOVES) Heavy Duty Black Nitrile Disposable Gloves

When you are working with expanding foam, spray glue, spray paint, oil, filth etc you should wear rubber gloves to protect you hands. If not thats fine but at least where them whilst working with the expandable foam as it is VERY hard to get off your hands once it on there. Wear a hood too if you can because the last thing you want is some to fall into your hair.

Sandpaper, 42 Pcs 120 to 3000 Grit Wet and Dry Waterproof Sandpaper

You will need some sand paper if you are using a lot of wood in your build and if you are not going to get an electric sander you will need to do it by hand.

Sharpie Marker Pen Permanent Fine Point Black

You will need to mark all sorts of materials for cutting, organisation and measuring in advance. remember measure twice cut once. Sharpies will write on anything from glass to wood and will not rub off.

Paintbrush Set

If you plan on painting anything or treating any of the wood in your van with P.V.A or Wood stain then you will need a paintbrush or three. This set is really cheap and will leave no bristles behind

Set Square

In a van it's very hard to get things level unless you are parked on a level bit of ground. The next best choice is making sure everything is square with each other and the van. For that you will find a set square very handy.

Heavy Duty Staple Gun

A decent heavy duty staple gun will come in very handy if you are lining wood with material or attaching Thermawrap to wooden beams. You will also find multiple good uses for it throughout the build

Stanley 1-TRA706T"Type G" Staples, Silver, 10 mm, Set of 1000 Piece

If you have the staple gun above then you will need some staples to fit it.

Draper Clamping Mitre Box

Again if you have a lot of woodwork to do in your van you will probably need a mitre box. this is for making straight cuts in wood and for cutting wood and other materials at specific angles. this one is a really good one and you can clamp the material down before sawing, this is really helpful as they can be quite hard to use without.

Irwin Tools Quick-Grip Clamps (Pack of 2)

These come in handy for all sorts especially if you are working by yourself and you need to hold something in place. These are easy to use one handed making life so much easier. They are also perfect for holding things in place whilst glue drys and whilst you saw.

Spirit level

If you are lucky enough to be parked on flat level ground like a workshop throughout your build then you will find a spirit level invaluable. In fact my suggestion is making sure you have somewhere flat and level to work on your van. This will help you get everything both level, plumb and therefor square.

VonHaus Steel Saw Horse Trestles – Twin Pack

These will come in very useful if you are working by yourself and have a lot of wood or metal to cut. They have a non slip surface and fold up small into a carry case.

Dust Pan & Stiff Brush

If you do not have 240v mains power then you will not really be able to use a DECENT vacuum cleaner so you will need a decent dust pan and brush. Soft bristle ones are need to useless during the build as you will have dust, saw dust, mud and all sorts to clear up. This one is perfect for heavy duty mess

And thats about it you may or may not need all the tools listed above but with all of them there isn't really much you could wish for. They will also serve you well whilst on the road if you need to do any running repairs.

I hope you all enjoyed it and found it useful




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