I’m pretty obsessed with the entire van life scene and supporting industry. I’ve spent countless hours researching van conversion options, test driving, watching countless YouTube van conversion videos, reading blogs and forums, I’ve been taking notes and documenting it all and I hope to become a resource for others looking to make the right decisions; finding the right van based on realistic goals and use cases, accessory and add-on options, van life best practices and travel recommendations. Hello!
Yup that’s what the forums for. We help you then you return the favour by helping others!
Let me know if you have any specific questions or concerns.
You seem like your on the right track, continue doing lots of research
Greetings & Welcome!
I hate to burst your bubble, but the internet is not a good or accurate representation of vandwelling. It is fueled by greed, not reality.
As a veteran vandweller, I can tell you that the internet is setting people up for failure. The whole movement is designed by scam artists to fleece people out of their money. It’s like a pyramid scheme, the newbies jump on the band wagon, and promote the heck out of it, before they crash and burn and figure out they have destroyed their lives and their finances. They have sold everything they own, quit their good paying jobs, and spent their life’s savings to become broke, homeless, and jobless, all to support a bunch of scam artists. If they return and try to expose the scam, they are immediately attacked and banned from posting. I’ve seen this happen on reddit and numerous other forums. Their blogs and video’s suddenly disappear, and they are silenced.
The cold hard truth of vandwelling rarely sees the light of day. Honesty and integrity are sorely lacking in the online community, instead it is over run by scam artists and sales pitches disguised as helpful information. Resources, honesty, integrity, and the truth, are what we need, not recruiters, scam artists, sales people, or anybody looking to make a profit. Recycle, Re-Purpose, Re-Use, and only buy locally.
The fact that there is no money, or very little money, to be made by telling the truth is one of the underlying problems. Vandwelling in reality is nothing like how it’s depicted online. The dreams that are promoted turn into life shattering nightmares, and terrible unrelenting regrets.
Take a peek at this website: https://www.escapecampervans.com/campervans-for-sale
While their floor plans are more set up for weekenders, they got the basics right. Window vans, no solar panels or roof vents, and they kept the stock floor, walls, and ceilings in the vans, no added insulation, no building new walls, floor, or ceiling, and no expensive 12v compressor fridges. Once you remove all the bad choices, building camper vans becomes much cheaper and easier, and the end result is also much better.
Real people want windows, not windowless boxes. Only creeps and criminals feel this need to hide. All the baloney about stealth is bogus, nobody is fooling anybody but themselves. The only private place in my van is the bathroom. Other than that, I have nothing to hide, unless I have a girlfriend spending the night. For that, I have curtains… hehe…
Passenger van > remove rear seats > move in new interior and secure it > done. Yes, it really is that simple!
Cargo vans, solar panels, roof vents, 12v compressor fridges, added insulation, and actually building anything in are all big mistakes. None of these things are needed, and there are better ways for all of them. I have all the amenities of a very large factory motorhome, or apartment, in my van, just in a smaller package, and the systems work differently because they are optimized for living off the grid. Mine is also optimized for extreme weather, both hot and cold, and no, that does not include added insulation. With proper heating, cooling, and ventilation equipment and methods, no added insulation, roof vents, or any other van modifications are needed or desirable.
I’m mainly a city camper, and I don’t even try to hide, regardless of whether it is technically against the law or not. I try to be a good neighbor, so basically nobody complains. Simple as that. I clean up my area, and up and down the block. I’ve done lawn care for vacant houses, and helped neighbors that needed anything. I believe I would be welcomed back to any neighborhood I’ve ever stayed in. The neighbors become friends, and I camp in the same neighborhoods for weeks to months. No stealth needed or wanted.
There are a lot of accessories, heating, cooling, ventilation, and power options that need more exposure. Better and cheaper options than the high dollar stuff that gets so widely promoted. A good solid dose of honesty and reality is also needed. Money makes the world go round. Living in a van isn’t free, and it isn’t even necessarily cheap. Working less and playing more might sound good on the surface, but it doesn’t work well in the real world. We need to save and plan for the future, retirement, and for emergencies, just like everybody else. Playing more usually costs more, which means working more to finance it. It isn’t all wine and roses like the promoters want people to believe. Vandwelling is just one small step above homelessness for most people.
Jobs and income need to be focused on a lot more. along with helping others, not just this me first mentality that seems to get promoted so much. More emphasis needs to be put on the value of friends and family. Real life is about what you contribute, not just what you can take. Real life and reality are what this community needs, not the fairy tale world it is being portrayed as.
“I can live like a king, because I work like a dog.” … by an anonymous full timer
Hello to you too. You used my exact words, especially obsessed! I knew as soon as I came across vanlife it was something I had always wanted! Now, I literally can’t think of anything else and won’t stop til I have gotten myself situated with the build and design i want.