How to Convert a School Bus into an RV (Skoolie)

There are many mobile homes on the road these days besides RV buses and camper vans. Any portable structure with appropriate internal space will serve as a home for people drawn to the nomadic lifestyle. …

How to Convert a School Bus into an RV (Skoolie)
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There are many mobile homes on the road these days besides RV buses and camper vans. Any portable structure with appropriate internal space will serve as a home for people drawn to the nomadic lifestyle. Skoolie conversions are like this; they’re one-of-a-kind, and the converted campers’ trend is rising quickly.

So, what exactly is a Skoolie, and how to convert a school bus into an RV bus?

School bus campers, commonly known as Skoolie, are buses modified into recreational vehicles. As a result, there is a rising demand for them among recreational vehicle owners. However, you’ll have to put in a lot of time and effort yourself if you want one of these converted school buses. Hence, it’s essential to understand how to convert a bus into a recreational vehicle.

The steps necessary to convert a bus into a recreational vehicle are outlined below.

Check The Condition of The Bus

Check The Condition of The Bus

You’re probably excited and ready to start if you’re looking to build an RV from a bus. But before you get started, it’s important to know what to look for in a bus.

It’s recommended that the first thing you do after acquiring a bus is to give it a complete checkup. It’s likely that the bus’s engine, tires, and other mechanical elements may need replacing or repairing if it’s old and no longer in use. You should check the inside and outside as well. Look closely at the siding, windows, ventilation, etc., as many of these features will be removed later. As a first step, inspect it for any glaring problems, including holes or rust. You can’t begin turning it into an RV unless you know it’s safe to do so.

Always remember to prioritize the most critical issues while also keeping track of the smaller ones. Once you’re sure the bus is in top shape, you can begin the modification process!

Make Sure to Strip the Interior

Make Sure to Strip the Interior

The first step that one needs to do is to strip the interior. The seats in a school bus will most likely be in a long, straight row. So, you can usually rip out the whole thing, even though you might want to keep a few seats intact for the sake of your design.

The same applies to the ground level. Most buses are equipped with rubber flooring, which is not conducive to living areas. Get rid of as much clutter as possible so you can start with a blank slate. The floors should be polished, and any extra materials should be removed.

Install The Piping and Electrical Systems

Install The Piping and Electrical Systems

The next step in transforming a bus into a recreational vehicle is to plan the installation of the necessary plumbing, electrical, and gas systems. None of the regular school buses will have lights, let alone running water or restrooms. You will have to figure out a way to install these utilities if you wish to use them in your new Skoolie.

Fortunately, a school bus can have wiring installed inside it. You can employ a professional to help you if you feel uncomfortable carrying on this task independently. Make sure you invest in high-quality batteries for your bus to meet both vehicle’s demands and yours.

Plumbing systems can be as straightforward or complicated as per people’s preference. In other cases, people just require a small tank to run the sink. Composting toilets is an excellent way to reduce water usage and avoid costly plumbing upgrades. However, creating a full bathroom with a flushing toilet and a shower will be more challenging.

It’s totally up to you and what you like. When traveling in an RV bus, most people need at least some sort of storage tank for water. The undercarriage of the bus, a cabinet, or the floor beneath a piece of furniture is all suitable places to store this. You can decide where to put the tank and how big it should be.

Get The Bus Insulated!

Get The Bus Insulated

The next challenge would be properly insulating the building. School buses don’t have particularly good insulation since they aren’t meant for extended stays or travel. They have many windows, making it difficult to maintain the temperature inside consistently. Additionally, the walls are thin and are mainly composed of metal.

Insulating the entire interior is essential for converting a bus into a recreational vehicle. In most cases, this means installing double-paned windows or covering up some existing ones. Similarly, the walls, ceiling, and floor should all be coated in an insulating material to better keep in the heat.

Although many materials work well as skoolies insulation, some are more economical than others. XPS Rigid Foam, Closed Cell Spray Foam, Sheep Wool, Fiberglass, EPS Foam, and ISO Foam are some available options.

Once your chosen insulation has been installed, you can finish the surface with plywood or plaster. This will help to cover the wires and insulation and offer a more beautiful interior. Rugs and carpets can also be used to insulate a floor. Similarly, you can achieve the same result by hanging reflecting panels or curtains over the window.

Set Up The Fixtures

Set Up The Fixtures

This brings us to the next step – the actual design of the skoolie. Turning a bus into a recreational vehicle appeals to many individuals because it allows them to create a unique living area that suits their needs. Assuming you’ve stripped the interior, you’re starting with a clean slate.

Prioritize your own wants and requirements. Having a place to sleep, cook, and store things is vital. Sofas could be converted into beds, and a swing can be strung up for outdoor sleeping.

Many of your bus’s fittings and furnishings will need to be tailor-made specifically for your vehicle. You can either do it yourself or hire skilled artisans to help you. You can save money and reduce waste by reusing or recycling certain items in your new home.



The exciting part has finally arrived! Once you have your skoolie set up to your liking, you can personalize it to reflect your tastes and requirements. There are many who prefer their homes to have more of a natural, weathered look by using lots of wood and stone. In contrast, some prefer a contemporary style and use a white color scheme with metal accents.

This entire process is up to you! Once you’ve gotten to this point, the bus will begin to seem more like home than ever before.


You must always remember to get a license to drive your skoolie around town without getting in trouble. There’s a good reason why school bus drivers must go through additional education and training. Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand what is skoolie and how to convert a school bus into a full-fledged RV bus.

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