From whether or not to cut a hole in your van, to what shape hole you should consider cutting. What 16A inlet to choose from divides opinion, but what is certain is that each option has their specific benefits.
Here we run through what your options are and what should be considered prior to making your decision.
To Cut A Hole Or Not To Cut A Hole
There are two common options when it comes to 16A inlets; that is the Surface-Fitting inlet (right) and the Flush-Fitting inlet (left).
They are both 16A rated, splash proof to IP44 standard and require very similar wiring (2P+E). The main difference between the two is how you will mount the inlet to your van and the DIY required to do so.
The surface-mounted inlets (right) are commonly mounted inside and outside of the van; Inside locations include the glove box and under the drivers seat; outside locations include the engine bay, inside wheel arches and below the rear bumper. So fitting the inlet can be as easy as fixing four appropriate length (and material) screws and washers through the designated holes in to the surface you wish to mount it to.
The flush-mounted inlets (left) are less versatile and are designed specifically to be mounted through the side panel of your van. Fitting these inlets requires marking out and cutting through the van's steel panel before filing back the rough edges, priming and painting the exposed metal before wiring and fitting the inlet.
Which one is right for you?
There are two considerations here:
1. How good is your DIY
With regards to point 1, we don't believe anyone should be put off carrying out the installation of the flush-fitting inlet! However, in order to pull it off you will require some more specialist tools, a few extra bags of patience and a whole lot more blind confidence. So if you can stretch to stocking up on those three, why not!
2. What type of van-build are you carrying out
This is a far more important consideration. For example, if you are converting a standard builders van in an attempt to get it as close to a factory campervan then you will want a flush-fitting inlet that matches that fitted to the original.
However, if you are building your own dream van and embracing every last ounce of your creativity, then either option is viable for you.
3. How often will you be using the hook-up
Don't forget, when designing your van one of your main considerations needs to be convenience. You want to achieve the most pain-free experience when setting up camp to ensure you can maximise your time sat back with a cuppa around the camp fire!
If you are spending the majority of your time touring campsites, it is probably best to bite the bullet and fit a flush-fitting inlet where hooking-up is going to be the most convenient.
Whereas, if you are spending the majority of your time wild camping with the occasional comforts of a campsite, you can consider getting creative and putting the surface inlet in a slightly less convenient spot on the van where it is hidden away not spoiling the all important sleek design of your camper.
This is two different ways of achieving the same thing!
There is no right or wrong, but each different method has specific benefits.
Surface-fitting inlets are diverse and can be fitted pretty much anywhere.
Flush-fitting inlets are more specific and have some additional DIY requirements.
NOTE: We have a range of flush-fitting inlets in stock to suit a range of van builds, from the weekend warrior, through to the high-end campervan builds. Any questions, please reach out to us, we would love to help!