This page tracks the DIY buildout of our new home on wheels. This brand new 2016 4x4 sprintervan joined our family in early 2016. The van was a hollow shell when we started and we quickly built a temporary bedframe and kitchen into the space so we could hit the road and travel BC for a few months shaking down the system to see what worked and didn't before going final.
We didn't have that luxury back when we initially quit our jobs and drove away in our 67 VW Bus, but I highly recommend a similar path if you're new to vanlife or about to spend significant amount of time in your vehicle for the first time. Nothing is worse than feeling like you have to/want to rip out everything you worked so hard too build!
I'll try not to repeat things we've talked about elsewhere, so if you want to know about our decision to buy a sprinter, or adjusting to the new vehicle from our old VW Bus, click read these links here. At this point we've been mostly living in a van since 2012, so I'd say we've got the process pretty dialed in and know what works for us and what doesn't. The van is also just a very small example of whats possible inside tiny homes, which we design as a part of zenbox design... and it's almost impossible to draw a line between our life and "work" at this point.
A run down of our sprinter campervan build projects:
Windows We actually considered not adding windows, because we stealth camp much of the time and windows are a dead giveaway... but comfort is king so a window shopping we went! Our research showed the CR Lawrence had the best fitting windows that also still had a functioning opening for ventilation when needed. We opted for the windows on the slider, one directly across over our kitchen and windows in the back doors, but left out the rear side windows for privacy/insulation/storage in the rear of the van where our bed lives.
Window Shades With windows in place, privacy and the ability to stealth came quickly became the order of the day. We shopped tediously for blackout sprinter window shades but didn't find anything we thought fit the bill so we made our own. Our insulated sprinter window shades are covered in a sleek black material that repels dog hair and lint/dust (huge if you happen to have a blonde lab that sheds like ours!!). They also have perfectly placed rare earth magnets that allow then to attach to the van and are shaped perfectly to snug-up to the glass so that even when were inside with lights on we are still fully stealth. The side window shades are obviously much larger, so they store in half to about the size of the two rear shades and all store away inside of a clever cabinet we built into the base of our bed (oversized storage is hard to come by when living in a van). We have had a few people ask us to produced sets for them , so if you'd like us to add you to the list for the next production give us a shout!
Window Rain Guards We also added these pop-in sprinter deflectors/rain guards that allow us to safely and securely leave our windows cracked in any weather for additional ventilation. We love them. Living in a van inherently equals condensation...air out your van people!
Fan For circulation we opted for the Maxxair Fan/Vent because it has a cover that allows it to be open in even the harshest storm and can actually be open underway if needed. We have been extremely impressed with both its force and quiet...and it gets a ton of use when were in hot environments or even just for ventilation when cooking inside the van! Below are a few of the projects underway or completed so far.
This made our van livable, and for many months this and a temporary bed platform and comfortable mattress were enough for us to live simply/happily and tour for the summer while we tested out our plans. - Bed Platform - Rain Guards - Emblem Black out - Swivel Seats - Porta Potti - Insulation - Propane/Cooking - Cabinetry - Roof Rack - Awning