Van Shenanigans - The Build

Van conversion (incl. the van) under $8'000 - See the breakdown below


Since my biggest hurdle in getting started was acquiring the van, everything else after felt less erratic. Now, this is the fun part!! And it took me the least amount of time, because it was actually quite a simple build. The thing that I love about it is, when I found a place to live for the winter in BC (where I'm at currently) - I was able to take my build apart in like 15 mins. It turned back into a regular passenger van when I needed it to. It was super easy, and really only had 4 main components which was my bed, fridge, toilet and sink. When spring/summer rolls around, I know it will be easy to set my van back up for road trippin' again.


The one thing I changed in the interior before getting my build started, was removing the 2 stow-n-go bucket seats. I did this for extra storage. Would highly recommend if you don't need them, because the extra storage really went a long way. Plus it was a secure dry storage, which means even on the hottest summer days, those under compartments stayed cool. That's where I stored extra dry food, engine oil, anything that would damage in the heat, and anything I didn't need to have access to all the time.


I learned how to remove the seats from this video on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jl_7au0_FXA


Look at how much storage is under there! I could stand perfectly upright in the sunken space. It made a huge difference for storage when you're packing your life up and trying to Tetris everything you own into a van. It also took weight off the van, considering I'd be packing a lot more into it after. To this day, I still use it as storage for anything I don't particularly want to have inside my place lol!


Here's what I installed, before adding my furniture:



Back window curtains: I bought these on amazon because they were the perfect size and fabric. It was airy enough to let the breeze in, and thick enough to keep the flies + mosquitoes out. It also offered enough privacy when it was closed at night, because of all the gathering in the fabric. I only shortened it by one hem length, by folding the hem up and sewing it down loosely, incase I ever want to take them off and restore it's original length. I used twine rope through the top slot to hold it up and make it easy to draw open, or close. I stuck it to the black rubber lining around the trunk opening, using double sided tape and binder clips (lol). Again, I was trying to make as little permanent installations as possible. Had to get creative!



Led lights: So I got the led lights that were usb plug in, since I knew I was

getting a battery that would be able to power it. Happy with the ones I got (from amazon again) and they did the job inside without being too bright. I stuck it on to the van ceiling, using little white thumb tacks that had flat heads so it was flush. Next time I would maybe get larger tacs to hold the wire more securely (because my hair bun would get caught on the light sometimes and pull it from the ceiling lol) but it got the job done and it was practical.




I couldn't decide how I wanted to do my layout. I needed to get all the pieces I wanted to have with me first, and then do the Feng shui after. For my bed, I lucked out and found this folding cot with mattress in my shed (thanks brother). It was the perfect size for me and exactly what I was looking for. Online, I found some similar ones that were around $90-$120 from Canadian Tire or Amazon. After adding the bed, I was able to properly gauge the amount of room I had left for my sink, fridge and toilet.


 

Sink + Faucet installation


My sink and "counter space" were the only things I had to "build"/put together. I wanted a vessel sink, because I thought it was the easiest to install. All you had to do was drill a hole through a bowl, insert a sink drain, have a table top (ikea bench here), drill a hole through that too, and slap 'em together...So that's what I did! I had a friend drill the holes for me (thanks, Joel!!) which was one on the bench for the sink drain to pass through, and one hole to install the faucet next to the vessel. I hooked my faucet up to a foot pump using clear vinyl tubing, which was fed into my 20L fresh water tank. I went with a retractible faucet head because I also sometimes used it for showering or just washing off dirty feet! I also went with a foot pump because it was pretty self explanatory, easy to hook up, quiet and used water sparingly (as opposed to electric). I removed the bottom

shelf on the bench and screwed it on the far right side of the bench, but vertically so I had a "headboard" that separated my bed.




How my sink works - video below


There were a few things I didn't finish before I actually left. I still needed a grey water tank, and to cut out my reflectix pieces for my window coverings. I got my grey water tank at a Canadian Tire, passing through Sudbury... and I ended up cutting out my reflectix window coverings on my first night in my van when I ended up at a Wal-Mart parking lot in Sault Ste. Marie. So there ya go, my friends! It doesn't always have to be perfect and you don't have to wait until it's absolutely complete to get moving. Taking action and committing to your timeline is all you need! You'll learn to adapt as you go :)


day of departure photos July 21/2021


Cost Breakdown - How much did I spend?

FULL SUPPLY + COST LIST

Overall spending for build: Window curtains - Amazon - $18.99 LED lights - Amazon - $9.99 Bar Faucet - Amazon $76.41 Foot Pump - Amazon - $70.59 Ikea bench - FB Market - $5 Wooden Bowl - FB Market - $10 20L fresh water tank - Princess Auto - $19.99 10L grey water tank - Canadian Tire - $18.99 1/2" vinyl tubing - Home Depot - $8.10 Metal Sink Drain - Home Depot - $15.9 Total: $254.05 Main Additions: Portable Toilet - FB Market - $90 Coleman 12v plug in cooler - FB Market - $100 500w Jackery Battery - Amazon - $629.33 100w Solar Panel - Amazon - $423.20 Total: $1,242.53 Miscellaneous Items: Area run - Ikea - $14.99 Water dispenser - Amazon - $18.98 Moon Tapestry - Amazon - $17.35 Mosquito Nets - Amazon - $13.43 Flat head tacs - Amazon -$2.75 Binder clips - Dollarama - $2 Double sided tape - Dollarama - $2 Gorilla glue - Canadian Tire - $10 Drain silicone sealant - Canadian Tire - $7 Reflectix Roll - Home Depot - $32.32 Total: $120.82 Build/add/misc Total: $1'617.40 + Vehicle Total: $6'216.32 Grand Total: $7'833.72



Thanks for following along on this ride! In my upcoming posts, I'll go a little more in depth of what my routine came to be (nightly routine of setting up for camp), using my Jackery battery + solar panel, scouting places to park for the night, what I would do differently next time, etc.! I'll also put up the rest of the amazon product links in a separate page on my site for easy access. Just writing about it makes me excited to do it all over again :)
























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