Time spent outdoors is an ideal escape from reality. However, being out in nature often means sleeping uncomfortably in a tent, and cooking outside.
RVs are a potential solution, but they’re big, expensive and a lot of work to maintain. And hotel stays can add up quickly.
Converting a van is an easy way to have the comforts of home without the responsibility or hassle of an RV.
A converted van provides the opportunity to travel comfortably. It can even give you the chance to sleep it off if you have too much to drink at the bar, or sneak away for a home cooked meal on your lunch break from work.
In a van, you can customize your space to meet your needs. Your campervan can be organized to store surfboards with ease, or practice yoga privately. From full office spaces to gourmet kitchens, anything is possible with a bit of creativity.
When designing and building your home on wheels there are many logistics to consider, but there are a few essential elements at the heart of every conversion project.
Every van will need to consider the following:
To keep the van comfortable inside, insulation is key. Not only will it keep your space warmer in cold weather, it will also keep it cooler in hot weather. Insulation varieties can include traditional house insulation, spray foam, wool or even recycled denim. The best type of insulation will depend on where you’ll use the van.
The electrical system is often the most complicated step for new van dwellers. Though not easy, the process can be broken down into a few simple steps.
First, you need to decide what you’ll be powering. Do you only need a book light and to charge your cell phone? Or will you run a refrigerator? These variations make a huge difference in power needs.
Once you know the amount needed, you’ll need to have batteries to provide sufficient power and a way to keep them charged. Typically, batteries are charged via solar panels, the van’s alternator, plugging the van into an external power source or a combination of the three.
The final consideration involves the ability to use your power. An inverter is often required to convert the battery voltage into usable electricity for your appliances.
Depending on your electrical choices, there are a few different considerations for ensuring air circulation within your van. If you have electricity, a roof vent with a fan, such as Maxxair fans, will keep the air moving and the van more comfortable. If you don’t have an electrical system, a simple roof vent will still be invaluable in keeping your rig from becoming a stuffy box.
There are a few different things to keep in mind when planning the sleeping arrangements for your van. Will you be sleeping alone or do you want room for another person? Do you mind setting up your bed every night and putting it away in the morning, or would you rather it always be ready for sleep?
From your answers, you can decide if you’d prefer a full bed across the back of your van that’s always set up, a twin bed down the side that leaves room for more storage and living space, or a couch that pulls out into a large bed.
Much like the sleeping setups, the best kitchen comes down to your preferences and needs. For more simple conversion projects and people who don’t cook much, a camp stove on a counter is sufficient.
However, possibilities abound for those who enjoy time in the kitchen. From five-burner stoves to ovens and butcher block countertops, you can have your dream kitchen. Your next dinner under the stars could be even fancier than your meal at home!
Efficient storage can be created using cabinets, plastic bins, drawers, or a combination. It all comes down to your personal preference. The more accessible your items, the more painless living in a tiny space will be.
Keep in mind, the internet is full of articles offering information regarding van conversions. As with any project or car maintenance, do your research and be confident you’re working with information from knowledgeable, valuable sources. There are also plenty of experts you can hire to eliminate the stress and get you on the road safely and quickly.
Whether your van will become your new full-time home or a quick overnight escape from city life, a conversion project is sure to add value, adventure, and comfort to your life.