This will be my first entry into van life and I have spent a good amount of time researching and building my “plan” for entry into this adventure. Here is what I have come up with. This is all based on a budget of 5k or less to include the purchase of the Van. If anyone can provide feedback on the feasibility of this plan, that would be awesome. I am trying to keep this plan realistic and “under-ambitious” since we all know execution of a plan is usually harder than coming up with it. The point is to get out and enjoy the lifestyle. Not spend a year building it.
- The Van.
This is my first van and will also be my first experience living in a van. This is not intended to be a full time living arrangement but rather a weekend/extended weekend traveling solution. I have toyed around with the idea of buying a E350/250/150 cargo van and doing a complete build out, but it seems to me that this would be a rather ambitious entry and might not be the most time/cost effective method. While I do have the skills to manage this type of project, I don’t feel like it’s the right direction for me based on the other options out there. Instead, I am looking to find a ford conversion/passenger van for my starting point since much of the “work” has already been done. I would still do some small buildout items such as installing a permanent bed with storage and counter space but that would be about it. Thoughts on this? Any benefits of a full build out that I might be missing? I have had my eye on the early to mid 90’s Ford Econoline conversion Vans or the G20/30’s. Any thoughts or recommendations on either of these models? Is there an ideal year that I should be looking for? I have searched around online for common mechanical issues with these vans and it looks like there isn’t to much outside of regular age wear and tear.
- Solar Vs Generator.
I have looked at some “turn-key” solar options with battery banks and while this looks like a manageable endeavor for install, I don’t see the point of the effort if I’m already not doing a full buildout. Instead, I have been looking at some generator/portable battery bank options out there that would still get me through a long weekend of traveling but is a little more cost effective and realistic for what I am looking to do with my van. Thoughts on this? Any input or recommendations on a generator vs a battery bank. I have developed a list of electrical items that are important to me to have in my van and that is, climate control (A/C for sure) somewhere cold to keep food, power for lighting and charging/running small appliances (Hot plate, small espresso maker, coffeepot, etc). Would a generator setup be able to provide me with the ability to support these things?
- Running Water.
I do want some kind of “running” water option in my Van. I have been looking at some foot pump/hand pump options with a 5 gallon potable and dirty setup. Seems fairly simple to setup and realistic to use. Any experience with these types of setups?
If I start with a conversion/passenger van, are they already insulated enough or will I need to add extra insulation? If so, to what extend would I need to. Would really hate to dig into the already finished headliner and walls.
I am open to all opinions and feedback on my plan. You all are the experts and Im just here trying to learn. Thanks for taking the time to help on this!