Hello from the NE USA

Introduce Yourself…

Hi Everyone,

I am a recent transplant to the New England area from the Pacific Northwest and have been kind of worn down by the heavy city life and like all of us, Covid hasn’t helped. I have long wanted to explore this corner of the country but since moving here I have been without the wheels to do so.
About 6 months ago now I had the opportunity to buy my grandparent’s 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan (rust free from the PNW!) and decided that my goal would be to make a compact and stealthy set up that could be comfortable for two on a multi-month trip.
I been doing a bunch of reading about subjects from interior cabinetry, electrical systems, and of course…insulation!
I am pretty comfortable with the mechanical and electrical work necessary but I am always interested in learning from others about best design practices. I look forward to learning from all of your posts here!

Thank you,

Greetings & Welcome!

Two people in a mini van is going to be tight, not impossible, but tight.

I would probably opt for mostly tent camping, for the added space.

Basically I’ve only seen two options for mini vans that I actually like. The Westy style has the kitchen & storage front to back on the drivers side, and a forward facing rock-n-roll bed on the passenger side, but the bed is pretty narrow. This style will giive you the most storage though.

The other option is a sofa bed on the drivers side, and the kitchen/storage across the back. This setup will only work in the longer mini vans.

One of the biggest mistakes many people make is gutting the interior of a passenger van. Very bad choice, keep the floor, walls, & ceiling intact. You’ll hopefully have opening windows in the back, so you won’t need roof vent(s), and a ~$20 fan will be all you’ll need.

Forget the insulation, you’ll need heat and/or cooling power, along with constant ventilation. Said ventilation totally defeats any benefits of insulation.

I prefer to build everything modular, and then move it in and secure it, rather than actually building it in.

In a mini van with 2 people, space is going to be at an absolute premium, so choose wisely. In either of the above scenarios, you can have a toilet slide out from underneath the bed, but you’ll probably want a shower tent so you can shower outside.

A cheap isolator & house battery should give you plenty of power without the need or expense of solar.

I would suggest renting a mini van camper and trying it out for at least a week before considering building your own. This lifestyle isn’t for everybody, and if it isn’t for you or yours, then the time to figure that out is BEFORE you put a lot of time, money, blood, sweat, & tears into it.


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller