Hey Everyone! I have been reading and researching the van life going on a year now. I am curious if anyone has any hidden gem websites for finding that new home on wheels?
I’d recommend our marketplace. But since we just launched there isn’t much on there.
You can check websites like autotrader, autotempest, crasgislist, or even google “campervans for sale” or something similar
Oh yea and also Facebook sell/marketplace groups (or whatever their called) is another place to look. You can just search the same thing on Facebook and hopefully find some local groups on there.
I agree Facebook may be a good place! My partner and I found ours by just checking Craigslist everyday
I like Craigslist, but if you have penny saver type printed ads, or local newspaper classifieds, they can also be a great resource, because many seniors don’t do the internet, and are offering the best deals.
Some areas also have for sale by owner car lots, which could potentially also be a good resource.
What kind of vehicle are you looking for? I found my stepvan on Offer-up app. Craigslist can be a pia. There’s also clubs where member buy/sell/trade etc.
Hello all! I have a 1982 VW Vanagon beige in color for sale. It’s in good condition and I recently put a new canvas on the pop-up portion. Send me a note if you’re interested and I can flip you some pics.
Buying a van is going to be a very scary, nerve-racking experience for me. I don’t know anything about vehicles. The last car I had was a 1993 Saturn SL2 that I bought brand new (and sold above Blue Book value in 2000 because I took excellent care of it).
I have NO idea what to look for in a used van. I’m scared to end up with a lemon. How many miles are too many? How do you know if it’s in good enough condition? (All rhetorical questions for examples.)
Buying a new van would be great. I wouldn’t worry about the depreciation off the lot because I’d keep that van for quite awhile. But then you have the expensive insurance on a new van. One guy on YouTube was looking at a used Nissan NV from a dealership and almost bought it. But, when he took a really close look at it the second time, he said he found tons of cockroaches in it when he looked (or lifted up) a certain area! So, he bought brand new.
Then again, I see the waste and silliness in buying brand new, too. Ugh… I’m just not looking forward to van shopping out of fear I end up with a bad one.
I spend months thinking about what the perfect van looked like to me and kept some notes along the way. I typed up what I thought was important to help others. [Check it out] (https://thevanplanfun.wordpress.com)
Moderator edit to repair link…
When I click on your link, I get the Log In page at Wordpress.
Dreaming about the van and the build has been a lot of fun. When you’ve not done it before, your imagination runs wild. I’m careful not to build up my expectations too high, though.
Size-wise, a “forever van” would be something like a Ford E-450 passenger van. It’s the perfect size for someone like me who wants to live IN the van as well as OUT of it. But, at 8-10mpg, that alone nixes that idea. That, and I don’t want a school bus door.
Does that link work now?
Something that was extremely helpful for me when looking for the perfect van was making a list of all my hobbies and stuff that I need to fit in my van. That helped me figure out size, max storage, and capability.
Perfect! It works and I’ll be reading every word of it, so thanks for sharing the link and the information!
I’ve been thinking about that… hobbies and how I would want to use the space. I’m going to be the easiest person to design a van for my use of space doesn’t require tons of storage space. In a nutshell, here’s what I’d like: (Any and all advice, warnings, and opinions are welcomed and appreciated.)
Priority #1 is a good night’s sleep and a comfortable place to study and work. A bonus would be a super comfortable chair to read and relax in. The thought of everything being plywood with a cushion on it sounds gruesome.
I’ll be living in the van just as much as I’ll be living out of it. It’s not just a place to sleep as I do other things. I’m a homebody. I’ll be 53 next month and my climbing and biking days are over. I don’t get stir crazy being “cooped up” as long as I have some open floor space, which is why I’m considering a murphy bed that doubles as a desk and tabletop. Something similar to this but not as narrow:
I like reading, writing, researching online, watching YouTube videos, an occasional jigsaw puzzle, and hiking. I enjoy camping, too, but won’t feel the need for a tent if I have a van. I like board and card games but haven’t found anyone else who enjoys them so I’ve learned to live without them.
I love to cook. I currently have 60+ spices that I use. But, I’m preparing for van life right now by keeping meals quick and simple, eliminating the need for an elaborate kitchen space altogether. I don’t want a built in or bolted down stove. A two burner stove would be the extent of my kitchen luxury. If I have side doors that open outward, I’m definitely going with a small cooking counter on the door so I can swing it out and cook outside. Similar to this screen shot:
or even something like this:
I need a place to wash my hair, as weird as that sounds. If I go a day without washing my hair, even though I keep it very short, it gets oily and itchy. So, I want a deep basin and plan to use a marine foot pump for water flow.
I would be out of the van to sightsee, go hiking and exploring, and to do volunteer work.
As far as the van goes, I want to be able to have a place for about two others to sit and eat. In the right van, this layout appeals to me:
Storage-wise, I want a large capacity for water. A 42 gallon water tank would be great for extended remote stays. The only other storage room I would need is for emergency supplies of food, extra toiletries, fuel for cooking and heating, and extra cold weather blankets. A ProMaster 2500 159" wheelbase is the dream vehicle. If not this style, a regular Chevy Express style would be great, too. With a hightop - even better.
I hear you, man. There are a millions ways to design everything. But more complicated doesn’t always mean better. Especially in a monster of a Sprinter Van. To me, it was important to have a stationary bed that I could climb into. Nothing that I have to convert every day before I go to sleep
Think about making an actual “bedroom area” for bedtime. Most likely if you make a murphy bed it won’t be converted everyday and you’ll end up sleeping on the couch in car. And eventually the excitement of living in van will wear off and you’ll feel like you are sleeping on a couch in a car
If cooking or puzzle are important to you, have a place in your van for them. Adding storage for spices and cooking equipment is easy once its priority. Same goes for counter space
The water tanks will take up the most room and there isn’t much you can do about that. Unless, you get crafty. I am currently trying to figure out how to add a wash basin or a deep sink to a sprinter myself. I’ll let you know what I come with
A simple drawer on heavy slides will add a easy access to a utility drawer for all of your emergency things. ie. tools, medical kit, tow straps, and whatnot
**I am 5’9" and I love my low-top Club Wagon but I don’t live in it full-time. Not being able to stand up to put on pants or wet-suit kind of is a pain, sometimes. But not having a high roof makes a lot things like stealth camping easier. Definitely a give and take.
One of the first things I realized after months of van life research is that there are very few solid, right answers. “Can I…? Should I…?” You can get as many different answers as the number of people you ask. The good thing about that is that I’m now not feeling like I need to have a van fully built and perfect before I take off. On the contrary, it’s “better” to live in it for awhile and take your time with it so you can better know your needs and uses of the space. How many van lifers on YouTube have I seen sell their luxurious Instagram looking vans, or gut them, after only living in it a year or two? They do it because they want a different layout and make videos about what they plan to do differently. Apparently this is not uncommon. And personally, I don’t care to waste that kind of money. I’m very open minded about vans because, Lord willing, the first van I buy will be the only van I buy. The ONLY thing that scares me about van life is buying the van. I will need help and chocolate milk to get through it.
Design-wise, I have so many ideas in my head that it will be impossible to do them all. I’ve got at least 12 different bed/bedroom ideas. The thing is, while it’s fun to dream and have options now, I don’t know what’s going to be possible until I know what van I end up with.
All I know for sure and for certain is that I will have a large capacity (42 gallons) for water storage. I cannot be persuaded otherwise because I plan to be more rural than anything. Everything else in the van will have to be built around it.
I fully agree with you. There are a million ways to do a build and it all comes down to what you want. I am not in the business of doing re-work so making a solid plan at first and making adjustments along the way is how I prefer to do things.
That being said; have all of the water and battery storage you want. Why would anyone persuade you differently?
I’ve had folks online consistently tell me that having a large fresh water tank is a waste of space, especially if you end up in something like a Chevy Express. The thing is, those tanks come in all sizes.
One idea I have that’s a massive space saver is one compact piece of furniture that is a bed, shelf, countertop, nightstand, sofa, some storage, and a table. Every component is quickly transformed in mere seconds. It’s easy to build and not even very heavy. Best of all, it packs up completely, taking up minimal space and leaving heaps of open floor space.
I can’t wait to start building!
Do you have a sketch, plans, or an example of this? It sounds intriguing.
Yikes, an artist I’m not. I’ll do my best though. I’ll try to create a cardboard model and photograph it in the different stages. It will be a lot easier to see and understand than any drawing I attempt!
Re: I’m no artist…
hehe Me neither…