Newbie from Tennessee

Introduce Yourself… Hi everyone. 24 years old and just bought a Ford Transit. I have no idea what I’m doing but I am excited to learn and grow as I figure out the van building process!


Greetings & Welcome!

I’m a huge fan of the no build builds. Just move your furniture in and secure it.

It can time & experience to decide what we really want and/or need, and this can vary for each person. While I’m never a big fan of built ins, I really wouldn’t suggest it for newbies. We see people all the time with multiple costly time consuming builds as they gain experience.

In the end they’re ditching solar, lifepo4 batteries, 12v compressor fridges, and basically ALL of the expensive stuff in favor of old school & reliable.


"Old school, cheap, simple, reliable, and easily replaceable for the win!" ~ Traveler@Heart

How’s it going with the build?!?

Hi and welcome to the forum!!

Ok, this is the second post of yours I’m replying to - so far, I really like your approach to van life! What’s old school & reliable vs solar & 12 v compressor fridges? (well, obviously a cooler & ice vs fridge, or is there something I’m missing there?).

Thanks again!

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Would love to hear the answer to that as well.


Re: Alternative to 12v compressor fridges

I just went to a salvage yard and got a 3-way (AC/DC/Propane) fridge/freezer out of an RV for $50. Now propane/gas fridges need to be level, and I don’t typically level my rig, so I mounted it on a gimbal, like they do on boats.

These RV fridges are the absorption type, meaning that they are powered by heat, rather than a compressor, so no power is required if running on fuel.

Since I’m not a huge fan of propane, I converted mine to run using a liquid candle rather than propane. Space was limited, but a baby food jar turned out to be the perfect size for a liquid candle to run it on. It will run about 2 weeks per fill-up, and I’m using vegetable oil as my fuel of choice for heating/cooking/reefer etc.

I used kerosene for many years, but it is getting difficult to find bulk in some areas, and I’m not paying hardware store prices. A gallon of store brand cooking oil is like $8.00 and will last over a month in the winter, and a single gallon in the summer will last for months when I’m not heating constantly.

It’s also handy, just pick it up when I’m already shopping.


"The road to success is often littered with failures." ~ Rubber Tramp

Thank you - I never knew that RV fridges did not have a comporessor! From your posts that I’ve seen, you are very creative and solution oriented & I appreciate that! You also seem to be very handy, which I am not so much tho willing to experiment & learn from people like you.


At approaching 78 years old, my days of being handy are diminishing quickly, but as long as my mind holds out, solutions are usually findable.

I have been very fortunate, I have lived my whole adult life as a nomad, and on my own terms. Living very comfortably but cheaply while working full time, but still traveling the country.

Even after I was forced to retire from my chosen career after 30 years due to my health declining, the life of a nomad was still alive & strong. Making money came easily, and retirement was too boring. Both new & familiar adventures are always awaiting, and I have friends wanting me to visit from all over.


"The road to success is often littered with failures." ~ Rubber Tramp