Urban boondocker


#1

Hello fellow wildones,

I’m Logan!

I’ve been living in an RV for over 2 years on the mean streets of West Los Angeles. I’m getting super sick of the city making the homeless ghettos smaller and smaller so I’ve decided to double down on this amazingly efficient, no bullshit lifestyle.

I’m currently doing some research on what van to buy, my ideal would be something under 7ft tall and 22ft long to avoid the no overnight parking signs that plague vehicle dwellers here. Thus far I really like what I’ve seen in promasters, but when it comes to finances I will probably want to do a buy/build total for a low as I can go. In my head I think 20k sounds reasonable and medium expensive. Correct me if I’m on the wrong track with that guess.

Current obsticle is getting rid of my 30ft 2007 jayco greyhawk to make room for the van and find some space to build it out.

Long term I’d love to have a van and explore cities for a few months at a time. I’m a bartender by trade so my work will keep me closer to civilization for a good part of the time.

Anyone in LA, I would loooooove to meet up and get a drink!

With love,
Logan


#2

Hello There,
I lived in LA for 16 months between the back of my Prius and my converted Sprinter Van. One thing I will say is that West LA will really limit your options because everyone wants to be able there. It’s like having you cake and eating it too… the closer you get to the beach the harder! I lived around Pasadena and Monrovia during my time there. Monrovia had a super friendly spot for parking on the street. A really good incognito camper van would be a ford e350 or something to that effect. Not the definition of luxury but very stealthy. Best of luck to you! It’s a bummer that I just moved to Salt Lake City because I am selling my hightop Sprinter 3500 for about your budget, you could have easily taken a look at it two weeks ago! Such is life.
Cheers,
Bjorn


#3

Greetings!

Under 7’ means no standing, but a comfy chair on wheels can really improve life. I bungee mine to the back of the passenger seat when driving.

Cheers!


#4

@Van_Dweller Do you have any pictures of your van set up online anywhere? I’ve been reading a lot of your posts (which are resonating with me) and would love to see your build if possible.


#5

Greetings!

I really don’t have pictures of my interior, but here’s my floor plan, which to me is even better…

Cheers!


"Smiles are contagious, pass them on!" ~ Van_Dweller




#6

I like the layout. Are there precautions/concerns about storing kerosene? Is your jerry can for gas empty or do you keep gas in it? What kind of cooling system do you have? I can handle the cold easily but I absolutely hate the heat of summer, whether it’s a dry heat or humid. Anything over 74°F and I’m roasting.

When I first learned about van life, I wanted the nice set-up with shower, toilet, and A/C. I dreamed of fancy builds. But I really see the wisdom in keeping it simple and portable. So many van dwellers are worried about having lots of storage but not me. All of my stuff would easily fit in a van set up like yours.


#7

Greetings!

I just have 2x 7 gallon plastic jugs for kerosene that I keep right behind my passenger seat. Never had a problem, and 14 gallons gives me a good buffer. Normally, I start thinking about getting a refill. Even when it’s really cold, one jug will last me a couple weeks. Some years, the two jugs will last all year.

I’ll be back South of Miami for the summer. I try to park in the shade, then use a 12v swamp cooler to keep the van cool. I also have 12v heating/cooling blankets, and 12v heating/cooling/massage seat cushions. I think both are capable of giving you frostbite is you’re not careful. Luckily they have thermostats. Summer & winter, I’m using one or the other a lot, but since they only run maybe 1 minute out of 10, they use very little power. Probably under 10 amps a day running constantly. My swamp cooler draws 2.x amps on high, and just a little over an amp on low which is where it is set most of the time.

People complain about how hard it is to stay cool, but with the right equipment it is pretty easy, and power efficient too. My swamp cooler works every bit as good as a power hog air conditioner, and uses a tiny fraction of the power, even in high humidity areas. It’s an indirect type that adds no moisture to the interior, and it actually works as a dehumidifier, just like a regular air conditioner does.

Cheers!


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller



#8

Wow. I’m just in awe. You really have this lifestyle down! This forum is blessed to have you and I appreciate your every kindness to share the knowledge.

Minnesota in the winter and Florida in the summer? That’s just incredible! To me, it’s evidence of your credibility and knowing what works. Thank you.


#9

Greetings!

Thanks!

I just can’t justify letting the weather rule my life. When I was working construction, the highest paying jobs were where the weather was the worst, and I was after the money, because for many years I had relatives to support. With proper clothing and accessories, it can even be pleasant working outside in extreme conditions. Cooling towels/wraps, and zippo hand/pocket warmers along with insulated coveralls can work miracles. Today, you can even get heating/cooling clothing, but those weren’t available back then.

I’ve been really lucky over the years, others had found solutions, and if their solution was better than mine, I switched. Little by little, everything got easier.

Cheers!


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller



#10

I think you’re going to make me a stronger, better van dweller.

As for the cold, it was -25°F the other day and we had a few light flurries. Nothing worth shoveling but enough to make the senior citizens in my building nervous. So, I went out and swept it off the sidewalks for 10 minutes. I was in shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops! I wasn’t cold.

Like I said earlier, I’m definitely a heat wimp. I think the man who invented air-conditioning should get a front row seat in heaven. You have me resolved to toughen up and enjoy myself in spite of the heat.


#11

Greetings!

Luckily it’s a lot easier to stay cool both inside and outside of the van these days. Today they have more and more USB powered stuff that is really energy efficient. This peltier stuff is pretty neat because it will do both heating and cooling.

Cheers!


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller



#12

I don’t know what the peltier stuff is but I’ll definitely be looking it up. Something that both heats and cools?


#13

Greetings!

Yes, the peltier chip produces heat on one side, and cold on the other. The peltier effect is also called thermoelectric.

Cheers!


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller