New here - an introduction

Hey all. This is my obligatory intro :slight_smile:

I’ve been tent camping for years and finally got tired of the ground. We used to show dogs in the breed ring but stopped about 5 years back. Since then, our van has only been driven once a year, just to make sure it still runs. Lol

I started to see conversion videos on YouTube and thought ‘that looks fun’. So, I took the dog crates out and began my meager conversion project. I think I spent less than 300 bucks and so far so good.

I used birch ply for the sides and ceiling. Ran a few usb ports to charge stuff, added some led lights, and padded/carpeted the part of the floor that isn’t under the bed. I left the insulated rubber mat in place as it is soft and was clean.

Added a plastic 3-drawer cabinet, small plastic camp table, and some memory foam to the bed.

I installed a double RV switch into the side panel by the barn doors. The switch closest to the door runs the two LED lights upfront. The switch to the rear lights what was the original dome light in the back but I have since replaced with a double RV LED light. when you first turn the light on it’s cool white. Turn it off and turn it back on it becomes a warm yellow.

I added another switch that makes it so that rear dome light is either connected to the deep cycle batteries or when you flip the switch it’s connected to the vans internal wiring so when you open the doors it lights up.

Already had an ARB fridge and 2 lithium batteries so I moved them from the jeep into the van. Brought over my 1500 watt inverter and found a small 700 watt microwave on FB marketplace for 10 bucks.

Made some screens to cover the front two windows. A friend of mine made me a screen that covers the area when the barn doors are open. It’s held in place by magnets and she sewed a zipper down the middle of it. I used magnets to screen in the top of the back from the bed to the roof. By sheer accident I discovered that a window screen from our house fits perfectly from the bottom of the bed to the bottom I the rear door area. That screen is held in place by small pieces of wood that I turn to release it.

I access the storage under the bed that way and keep totes with my camping gear and other fun stuff there.

I camped twice this summer with my dog and found out it gets pretty warm when there isn’t a breeze. To that end, I cut a board that fits in the driver’s side window and I bought a smalle window air conditioner off of marketplace :smiley:. The air conditioner only pulls about 400 watts when it’s running so it does a real good job to cool the Van down at night when it’s bedtime.

I bring a 200 W solar panel on adjustable tilting arms with me and I deploy that when I need to top off the lithium batteries. At this point I have nothing mounted to the roof as I don’t want to put holes through it and I don’t have a ladder rack.

I find that by manually deploying the solar panel on the ground I can get it at the proper angle for maximum efficiency.

So that’s it for me.

  • Ren

Greetings & Welcome!

Sounds like you’re off to a good start. Keep us posted.


"Opportunities are everywhere, but only action makes it happen." ~ Van_Dweller


Nice, I came from the same industry! I owned a Dog Grooming Salon in Tampa and worked in the Pet Industry for about 7 years or so, just sold the Salon about two years back now.

Sounds like you’ve got a good handle on getting going, if you ever cared to share some pictures I know I’d be interested in seeing them! :smiley:

I should have owned a grooming facility! We were constantly bathing the dogs and blowing out their hair. I was showing our Siberians at the time and there was plenty of hair to go around.

Ok, I’ll dig up some photos of the build and some of me and one of my BC’s camping. Hold please…

The van, emptied of dog crates

Lumber has been purchased20200315_123448

Adding some insulation to the roof

Largest ceiling wood installed

Side wood installedhc_1584890305620

Framing for bed and boxes for wheel wells hc_1584896771835

Bed platform installedhc_1584905159735

Clearance for totes hc_1584905207854

rear usb outlet for bed

Light switches

Bed covered and rear camper dome light hc_1585916011996

Screen for barn doors before zipper hc_1586625017334

Zipper installed in side screen hc_1590095860478

Redneck air conditioner hc_1598200390171

One of my Border Collies enjoying camping with dad hc_1590087068348

I haven’t decided what I’m going to do about covering up the stock wiring and channel in the upper corners of the walls. Might just leave alone as I like having places to attach magnets and hooks. The rear dome can be bright white or warm yellow.

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In that last picture doggie is saying: “Enough with the pictures, can we play now?”. :wink:


"Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst." ~ Murphy

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