Planning our van build was tedious. It was our first time building anything from scratch, so not only did we have to decide what we wanted to build, we had to learn how to build it, from square one.
To give you an idea of how time consuming the process was for us, we ordered our van from the dealership in October 2015, and picked it up in February 2016. The van stayed empty until May 2016. All the while, we were constantly researching. Constantly.
How much water do we need? Where should we mount the water tank? Will it freeze? What insulation should we use? Do we need a heater? How do we want to cook? How many batteries should we get? Where do we mount them? Do we want solar? How many solar panels will we need to charge those batteries? Hardwood, vinyl, or laminate floors? Do we need a toilet?
It’s easy to get caught up in the details of everything involved. As intimidated as we were feeling, we finally decided that we had learned, and planned, enough. We needed to get started, with anything, really.
We spent almost every weekend from May to December executing our plan. We were both working full time jobs at the time, and our weeks looked something like this:
Monday – Wednesday (noon): “What are we building this coming weekend?” “What do we need to order online?” Order everything by Wednesday at noon, so that we have it by the weekend.
Thursday – Friday: Review how we are building it.
Friday – Sunday (night, usually Monday in the A.M.): Build, eat, build, eat, build, sleep.
On November 30, 2016, we ended the lease at our apartment, and on December 1, we began living in the van full time.
Today is our one year van life anniversary!
With that year of experience, we feel like we’ve gathered enough test results from our build to share with you all what works, what doesn’t, and what we might do differently.
We’ll be breaking down small parts of our van in as much detail as we can in blog posts in the “Van Build” category on this blog.
We learned so much from the rest of the community, and are excited to give back.