April 25 2017
RVs and trailers have never really appealed to me as they’re entirely too restrictive. While they offer more space, they’re generally a pain to drive/tow around, and often require specialized parking arrangements. Vans are nice because they are no more constraining than a typical truck and include the added bonus of a warm/dry place to sleep.
The conversion van, aka justanothershittycampervan, is a project Sophia and I have worked on for the past eight months. It’s by far the largest DIY project I’ve taken on, and while there is room for improvement, I’m proud of the v1.0 implementation.
The first iteration of the van is fairly vanilla but we enjoy the simplicity. It’s basically a few pieces of furniture, flooring, swivel seats and walls/ceiling. Soph had the genius idea of adding hinges to the counter and bed which allow them to double as bulk storage locations. It’s also worth mentioning that we put solar panels on top, added an automatic charge relay to the alternator, and secured a couple deep cycle batteries in the cab to create a fairly robust electrical system with zero reliance on shore power.
While a number of hard skills were gained during this project, the most critical principle that was reinforced during this build was to have patience. Converting a van is tedious. There is not a single straight line in the vehicle and most additions require you to contort into positions your vertebrae have nightmares about. Fortitude is imperative when you screw up, which in my case was constantly. At one point I spent two hours routing a four gauge cable through the engine bay and underneath the chassis. I got to a point where I needed to move the van to get a better angle. Turns out I didn’t tuck the cable away when I moved it and ripped the whole damn thing out. Luckily, I also tore the wire insulation thoroughly rendering the whole strand useless. Whoops.