Van Build!

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
TopHatFox
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Van Build!

Post by TopHatFox » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:00 am

If I'm gonna do this van thing, I'll need to actually buy a van and build it up. I'm thinking of buying a white, non-elongated work man's van. They seem the most incognito, and like they can fit anywhere. I think I'll just add plywood over the back two tires to fit a bed, and then place a desk and cooler in the center of it, a la Vanabode. It seems like the fastest way to make the van build happen.

intellectualpersuit
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Re: Van Build!

Post by intellectualpersuit » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:13 am

What's your budget?

daylen
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Re: Van Build!

Post by daylen » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:13 am

You could break down the construction process into three stages.

1. Bed, cooler, and desk.
2. Insulation, basic storage, and gas kitchen system.
3. Power system, ventilation, and cabinet storage.

Or something like that.

Jin+Guice
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Re: Van Build!

Post by Jin+Guice » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:16 am

When are you coming to New Orleans? The people who were living in a van on my street moved so there is a vacancy...

Frita
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Re: Van Build!

Post by Frita » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:34 am

What model, make, and year of van?

Kriegsspiel
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Re: Van Build!

Post by Kriegsspiel » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:19 am

If you see a Transit for a good price, you can sleep lengthwise down one side if you are 6'1 or shorter, and have room on the other to unfold a camp chair (and desk, if you want). Put your cooler and other stuff under your bed and on the passenger seat area. That's the way I did it.

TopHatFox
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Location: FL; 25

Re: Van Build!

Post by TopHatFox » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:22 am

Probs $10K(?) for the van and build-out.

Then 6K/yr for ongoing expenses, but I don't really want to dip into portfolio if I can help it.

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unemployable
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Re: Van Build!

Post by unemployable » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:34 am


TopHatFox
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Location: FL; 25

Re: Van Build!

Post by TopHatFox » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:45 am

@unemployable, don't want to get overwhelmed with ideas, but thank you!

Simple, easy, and improvable over time is better atm

Jean
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Re: Van Build!

Post by Jean » Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:18 pm

How tall are you?

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: Van Build!

Post by Dream of Freedom » Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:27 pm

daylen wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:13 am

1. Bed, cooler, and desk.
2. Insulation, basic storage, and gas kitchen system.
3. Power system, ventilation, and cabinet storage.

Or something like that.
What about basic sanitation?
4. Some way of doing dishes, sponge bath ect.

TopHatFox
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Re: Van Build!

Post by TopHatFox » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:00 pm

5’ 10 »

daylen
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Re: Van Build!

Post by daylen » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:10 pm

Who needs sanitation when you have a river.

TopHatFox
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Location: FL; 25

Re: Van Build!

Post by TopHatFox » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:29 pm

Just a fold-able washtub with a sponge and some water is fine

Jean
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Re: Van Build!

Post by Jean » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:39 pm

How expensive shortening surgery is in Miami? Because then you coule sleep sideway and save a lot of Space

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C40
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Re: Van Build!

Post by C40 » Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:09 pm

If you’re talking the older style cargo vans, check the widths. I believe the Dodge versions are a bit wider. I’m 5’10” and fit A-OK cross-wise in mine. If you’re not aware already, the CheapRVLiving forum has a build journal subsection that is quite good for looking through. You can just pick the ones you like the style of for looking through. A large portion of that forum/posts should be ignored though.

For bathing it has always worked plenty well for me to just put a towel on the floor to sit on, and rub myself with a wet bandana. No basin or tub or anything much needed.

If you’re able to find one or willing to add a high top, being able to stand up inside the van is very, very nice. I guess if you’re doing a really simple build where you won’t be doing a bunch of different things in the van (like cooking all our meals, spending long periods of one inside) it may not matter much, and having a comfortable and ergonomic chair becomes more important.

sky
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Re: Van Build!

Post by sky » Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:36 pm

Adventurevanman recently rebuilt his van and it is a very good example of a standard van with a somewhat stealthy build.

https://youtu.be/Pg_tvjaGXLY

Your biggest challenge will be hot weather.

bigato
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Re: Van Build!

Post by bigato » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:57 am

I’d say don’t rush it. Take your time to do the proper transition from your current living arrangements to van life. Make it gradual. You may even get to the point of delineating a space in a room the size of the van you intend to have, and test whether you can actually fit your life in there. You will learn skills in the process and some stuff you now think you’d need, you won’t. For example, after learning C40’s method for cleaning oneself, I ended up adopting it for my daily life even though in my case i probably won’t move to a van in the end. It took me a while thinking, researching and testing stuff to find out through his blog that I could keep clean like that. This was not obvious to me, living all of my life in a culture where people usually shower at least once every day. If I were to rush the process, I’d probably end up buying a bigger and more expensive van than I need, projecting and building a shower and accompanying big water tank, maybe a heating system, etc. A lot of effort and money spent which would all go to waste once I learned the better (for me) method.

Same principle would apply to other needs such as feeding yourself, laundry, pee/poop, internet, stealth living, temperature comfort, lights, storage, air ventilation. It is a system that will fit your way of living. And it works in a similar way as when you are dealing with your finances for ERE: it pays to spend time to cut your expenses/needs to a minimum *first*. The less you need, the faster and more efficient the adaptation will go.

Another good reason to take your time is that a lot of the building/changing is a lot easier and faster if you are not already living inside it.

Jean
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Re: Van Build!

Post by Jean » Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:51 am

Bigato's advice are great. Another way coule be to buy a very cheap car. Jerry rig a spot for your camping matress and a few crates for your stuff and start partially living there. When your car dies, you'll have a good Idea of what you need and Can buy and build a better suited vehicle.

mathiverse
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Re: Van Build!

Post by mathiverse » Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:44 pm

I'm in the process of building out a van to move into at the end of the month. I want to spend a decent amount of my free time in the van, but I also work at a company that provides a lot of amenities and I won't be traveling with the van, just living in it, so I can skip a decent amount of building such as the bathroom and kitchen. I'm currently only building out the following as a result.

* Flooring (vinyl sheet flooring)
* Insulation
* Ceiling fan
* Solar system
* Bed platform
* Crates for storage

I already have a tv dinner table which I believe will be suitable as a desk (though that means I have to store it when it's not in use).

I have a Ford Econoline which I think is similar to the vans you are thinking about getting. The vans like mine were significantly cheaper than the high top vans and I wanted to spend the minimum amount on the van itself. After checking out a few built out smaller vans I found the difference in comfort wasn't too significant for my purposes.

I'm 6 feet tall and I could easily lay diagonally on a bed platform and fit comfortably when I tried in another person's van, so my bed will be across the back of the van. I couldn't fit straight across without being slightly scrunched up though. When I measured my van, it was 6 ft across at the height my bed will be.

I'm looking forward to moving in! The process of getting the van ready is also super fun and interesting. It's nice to have a project like this to come home to after work.

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