Welcome! I’m Ben. In the summer of 2016, I bought a van, built out the interior, quit my job, and moved in full-time. My goals in building out the van were to:
- Understand all of the systems, so that if something breaks, I am empowered to make repairs.
- Go the extra mile to make the van homey, so that I’m not tempted to find an apartment when I re-enter the work force.
- Include features to make enable rock climbing and other mountain sports.
If you’re going to build out a van, and you’re not going to read any other sections, read these bullet points.
- The tools you use can make or break a build, yet you don’t need a workshop to get the job done. Specifically, buy a Kreg Portable Drill Guide Base, Guide Block, and Face Clamp. The other Kreg features are too fancy, and I didn’t need any of them.
- Many folks use the low sticker cost to justify the poor gas mileage of a Ford E350-style van. I believe this logic only holds if you assume a re-sale price of $0, or if you simply cannot afford a Sprinter-style van.
- If I were go go through this process again, I would either buy a Sprinter or a Toyota Tacoma and throw a bed in the bed. It would be challenging to live in a Tacoma in snowy winters, but if I only climbed rocks, I think this would be much simpler and cheaper.
- I should have put the ceiling fan directly over the stove, rather than centered in the van. That hole is too damned large to cover it up.
I’ve divided this documentation into the following sections. My hope is to show you some alternative options to what’s already been done.
- Walls, Ceilings, and Floor
- Electrical System
- Bed Frame & Storage
- Climbing-Specific Features