Planning a Van Conversion
My wife and I have been thinking of doing a van conversion for a few years, and 2021 seems like the year to do it. I'll use this blog to outline the project, some of my choices, and some of the reasoning behind those choices where I have not seen explanations and data commonly posted by others.
If there was a van "off the shelf" that we could just buy that meets our design points, I think we would probably just do that. But, as usual, we have some unique preferences and it's an interesting project, so we plan to do a DIY conversion.
Some of the topics that I plan to cover over a series of posts:
- Programming (space and related use planning)
- Electrical system (production, storage, uses)
- Water system (storage, uses, heating)
- Kitchen (refrigeration, storing food, cooking)
- Hygiene (toilet, shower, laundry)
- Ventilation (moisture, oxygen, odors)
- Insulation (U vs. R and how much is enough)
This will be my fourth time creating a camping van, starting with a Dodge Tradesman conversion that I did in my 20's and lived in for some months, a Dodge Caravan camping retrofit, and a Ford Transit Connect conversion with solar and a refrigerator. So while I have much to learn in the process, this will also be a design based on a fair amount of experience.
Programming is another way of asking the question: what will you use the van for, and what will be important for you to be happy. At a high level here are some use cases that I want to accommodate.
- Guest bedroom or office (parked at our house).
- Mobile office for day use away from home, returning in the evening.
- Bug-out van, with provision for a week or more for 5 people (think wildfires).
- Picnic day at the beach with family.
- 5-7 day boondocking or campground without services.
- 2-5 week trip for sightseeing.
- Driving across the country with two people.
- Living in the van "full-time" for 2 people.