Living the Van Life
If you decide you want to be living the van life, what are the obstacles you have to overcome? The conversion of a van into a caravan has recently become very popular. Many people began to travel or live in a van. They are so-called digital nomads. Thanks to the Internet and online work, they can work from anywhere. Rebuilding a van into a caravan is time-consuming, but the hard work is worth it. Digital nomads or travelers know this very well. Start working from the comfort of your van.
Whether you walk in the mountains, climb rocks, enjoy water sports, or something else, think especially of the beautiful freedom and comfort you will enjoy at the end of rebuilding the van. Suppose you are interested in more information about the van you should choose? Here are the best vans you can buy to convert them into a motorhome, or vans you can buy straight from dealerships:
Suppose you are looking into buying a new, pimped-out van from a dealership. In that case, the best choices you have are either VW California / Grand California (if you need a bigger van) or Mercedes Benz Marco Polo.
If you are looking into a van to transform into a camper, you have more options available. It depends if you want a small van or a bigger one. In the small van category, we can recommend the VW transporter (Eurovan in the US), ford transit custom, or Mercedes Benz V Class (which was called Vito or Viano in the previous model years).
Suppose you would like to build a bigger van, which is better, as you have more options on what you can create inside. In that case, there are also vans from the manufacturers mentioned above. From VW, you have the opportunity to buy Crafter, which is a very easy-to-find van, as they are trendy. Mercedes Benz offers the Sprinter, the same size van as the VW Crafter, or if you would like to buy a Ford, look into the Ford Transit (the bigger version than mentioned in small vans).
VW and Mercedes Benz offered some of those vans in 4×4 configuration, which can be hard to find, but is worth the search if you are looking for adventure. The all-wheel-drive is necessary if you plan to build an over-landing van.
What is sulf-sufficient living and how to achieve such thing? Read our article about the topic!
How to choose the right van?
This is an essential question from which everything will unfold. You can rebuild the van as best you can, but when a low-quality van you selected leaves you stranded, all the money spent is for nothing. Or, after rebuilding the van, you realize that the living area is too small, and then it will be too late.
Living the van life has some obstacles
Answer these questions for yourself if you:
– Will you drive on quality roads, or will you overcome significant elevations on worse roads in the mountains?
– Do you plan to travel in your car for short or long holidays?
– Would you like to become a digital nomad, and would you like to live in a van for several months?
– Do you need a daily shower and an always-available toilet seat? Or you don’t care about that?
– Are you looking for a spacious car that can fit everything? Would you like to be able to stand in the can? And do you care about higher fuel consumption?
– Would you prefer a smaller and lower car with better ride quality and the option to use it as a regular car, but you don’t mind a smaller living space?
There are many more questions you should ask and try to answer if you are looking into the option of living the van life. Try to realize your priorities and what you expect regarding living quality and if you can create those things in a van.
If you do not understand cars, it is good to have fun with someone you know before buying a car, who will explain all the critical information to you. Each manufacturer, as well as car types, are very different from each other. Engine, power and consumption, and endurance of the whole vehicle are essential parameters that you should know well.
Calculate your finances and look at the offer if you already know which car you want. Remember that rebuilding a van costs a little bit of money. Quality vans at a “good price” are in great demand, thanks to which they are hard to find on the car market, especially used ones. I recommend reserving a few months to look for the right van.
What to look for in terms of van quality?
The previous owners will be able to tell you a complete story about the condition of the purchased delivery. Don’t trust them. Consult someone who understands cars, and it is best to take them with you. After buying the van, even if it seems to you it is absolutely fine, have it serviced. The mechanics will examine it, find everything that is wrong, and they can fix it.
What to expect from rebuilding a van?
Every van is different. The conversion of the van will have a different process in every van. Here are just the most common steps you should take at the beginning of the process.
To make a van a beautiful motorhome, you should remove the sidewalls, the partition between the driver’s cab and the transport compartment, various grilles, unsuitable floor, etc. These operations will increase the living space, reduce weight, and thus fuel consumption.
Now you get to the construction of the car, to which you will be able to attach new walls and furniture. The original floor or walls may be preserved, so don’t throw them away. You may need to use them eventually.
Some people may also mind the middle seat if you buy a van with a bench in front. If you replace the two-seater with only one, there will be a passage between the driver’s cab and the living space. The entrance is perfect for walking in the rain, but you can’t take a third friend.
Prepare van life by cleaning every part
It is good to clean the car before working inside. Most likely, you can look forward to several buckets of nasty water. You don’t get so dirty in a clean and washed the van, and the material you work with will stay clean. If you don’t clean your car now and start putting insulation and boards on the walls and ceiling, you won’t get to the dirt anymore. But know that she would find her way to you in time.
Take care of all the rust spots
Go through the whole car comprehensively and try to find all the rusty places (inside and outside). Use a steel brush for minor rust on the floor and vacuum the area afterward. It is advisable to use a more sophisticated treatment for holes or rotten sheets. Sometimes it is necessary to replace parts of the steel sheets and weld new ones.
As soon as you get rid of all rotten places and rust, degrease these places and surroundings. Don’t leave any metal exposed! Spray primer, rubber asphalt, or seal those places to keep moisture out for the long run. This creates a protective layer. You should be particularly consistent with this job if you expect living the van life for a few years.
The last part of van life are supplies
Think about whether you want to cut a window into a van and if it is necessary to install a solar panel on the car. And what equipment do you need to cram into such a small space in your motorhome? According to that, you can think about how to put everything there and distribute it.