Our campervan has been a key asset in enabling our adventures. Basically, a van makes things easier by maintaining a higher degree of being prepped. Jump in the van and go. No reservations or extreme preparations are needed. Adventure is not in our living room. We can easily stay virtually anywhere, in any conditions, economically and comfortably.
A perfect adventure platform:
A van is a perfect platform to have economical survival assets with you at all times.
- Shelter – sleeping inside a van, protected from the elements, even in the depths of winter.
- Water – easily carry many days worth of water.
- Warmth – the van itself protects you from the wind, has a heater, and has plenty of space for cold-weather gear and warm sleeping bags.
- Food – a van may have a fridge/freezer, cupboard space for dry food, optional bins, and coolers, cooktop and stove.
We maintain a van as a primary vehicle and ready use adventure van. It does not need to be fancy or expensive. We build out our own vans rather than buying professionally converted campervans to keep the cost as low as possible. Owning a $100K adventure mobile is not being “Prepped” for us. Its the opposite. A vehicle this expensive would actually prevent us from using it because we would be working all the time to pay for it. Ego driven “me too” purchases are simply false security. Our favorite website on this topic is Cheap RV Living.com. A campervan can be as simple as a futon in the back of a van. Naturally, other vehicles can be used for adventures as well. We have found that the van platform is the sweet spot for both comfort and functionality.
Our prototype vans:
We have had two previous vans that we minimally converted to support our adventures. We simply gutted passenger vans, threw in cots or built sleeping platforms, added plastic bins and we were off and running. As we go “all in” with our current van project below, I find that some full build efforts are overkill, too expensive, time-consuming, and unnecessary. My experiences suggest eliminating what I would call “hard installs” of water, electricity, and heat. Water jugs work just fine, can freeze if not overfilled. Goal Zero battery products work just fine without a hardwired electrical system. Clothing and sleeping bags have kept me warm enough at temperatures down to -15F, without a heater.
Scott lived for 7 years nearly full time in his prototype vans. Six months of researching full-time RV’ing revealed it to be a no-go solution for the objectives in mind. Most full-time RV’ers are retired and snowbirds. The cost of the rigs were high. Most regularly paid campground fees but boon-docked on public land to keep the cost down. Several full timers also indicated they bought a rig that was too big and suggested a class B (van) sized RV.
With these constraints in mind, van-dwelling suddenly revealed itself as the ideal low-cost platform for vehicle-based dwelling. A low-cost van, basically converted, allows you to boon-dock (stealth camp) 100% of the time. Along with a gym membership, your health, fitness, mood, motivation, flexibility, and finances rapidly improve.
Van building has exploded in popularity in recent years. It can be extremely overwhelming and expensive just considering the many options available. Most solutions offered by companies are NOT designs for actually living in your vehicle year-round. I suggest you start inexpensively and work your way up as needed. It is super easy to buy a “me too”, expensive happiness trap that keeps you at work rather than adventuring and cultivating your freedom. A home built campervan creates flexibility and options that can lead to your financial freedom.
Our latest van project now under construction:
On August 1, 2018, we purchased our 2018 Ford Transit cargo van! We are so excited to convert this van into our adventure home! Scott, having had two previous vans, and lots of experience living in them, is very confident in doing all of the build-out himself, with Margie’s help of course! Please know we are not experts, but we have spent hours of time researching and having watching YouTube videos about others who have also done a van conversion. We wanted to share with you our experience, but also document this project for us to remember! We will update photos and add comments periodically.
Scott & Margie
~Go, Do, Share, Enable