Im not sure what you’ve decided in your mind about who I am or what my experience is, but maybe you should ask…
My wife and I (and our 69lb dog) have lived vanlife full time for 7years. I’ve built every van (and some tiny/small homes) from scratch and have helped coach/counsel countless others to do the same. I never built for the smallest possible budget, I built vans so that all three of us could be happy living in it and want to continue doing so for as long as we decided to.
Im glad the direction you took in your van/RV worked out well for you… but that doesn’t mean it’s also a good fit for everyone else. There is no perfect build for everyone and the original poster has already pointed to a few things they need/want that your build and/or lifestyle might not be a perfect fit for (just like much of my build and/or lifestyle wouldn’t be perfect either).
That’s okay… in fact that’s why we all build our own perfect van!!
You cite several my my “inexperience” and the fact that no “newbie” who builds their own van will last for 6months… but I’ve been living offroad and out of campgrounds for 7years and know countless people who built their own vans, many/most of those also living very comfortably for much longer than 6months (and counting) thanks largely to solar/electrical systems…
That’s also without having to go for a drive every time you want to top off the batteries. For us, that meant if we wanted to sit on a mountaintop or beach for a week or more we could and often did (which in my mind, is what made our van a home rather than just a vehicle with a bed).
Im sorry you wasted 20k on an electrical system that didn’t work out. I’d be bitter too… but that doesn’t mean others aren’t doing it successfully every day!
I do happen to agree on one point… that an old RV can be a great option IF you never plan on leaving campground or parking lots. The original poster said they plan to boondock a lot, so an RV might work… but they also talked about living in a van for semester at college, which would require something more stealth.
Hanging out in campgrounds and parking lots also isn’t why many of us move into this lifestyle, one which can focus on travel, adventure and freedom… but if its a good fit, than an RV can be a great option (as could a box truck, skoolie or shuttle bus conversion).
Mostly… Im not sure why this seems to have turned into some kind of a personal attack on me. We’re both just trying to help the original poster, and have different options that they can then choose from as to what is a best fit for the lifestyle they are planning… so let’s focus on that.
There are many different paths to success in this (and every other) lifestyle, and it looks like you’re on here to help those looking to enjoy some of the values that you’ve found from it… Good for you!
Just keep in mind you’re not the only one out there living the life, not the only one who has learned from their own mistakes and not the only one who might have might have some ideas/input to pass down to others… that’s exactly why they allow/invite multiple people on forums.
We all have a different version of happiness in this lifestyle, and not everyones is an old RV that costs less than a week of a rental van. It’s awesome that it works for you…but that doesn’t mean its what everyone else is after. Keep sharing your ideas/methods as they will be a good fit for some… just don’t attack the rest of us that do it in a different way.