Converting a van for summer? Follow these tips from vanlifers

A campervan allows you to travel in freedom and offers endless possibilities. Many vanlifers swear they will never go back to cramped travel or transport schedules that dictate where they should go next. It’s important that your van feels safe and comfortable to be in. A vintage vehicle can be converted to a new purpose.

Get design tips from vanlifers who’ve been there, done that.

Glenn Ferguson

1. Profit from the experiences of others

They have twice remodeled their 1983 Volkswagen T3 van. The couple tested the original design for several months on the road before designing a better one.

The storage was also improved around the van, especially in the kitchenette section. Storage was also improved around the van, especially in the kitchenette area.

Glenn suggests that you do extensive research before starting your project to convert your vehicle. Glenn recommends that you use social media and YouTube for as much information as possible about your vehicle. There are many clever ways to maximize the space in a van.

Glenn Ferguson

2. You will need more time to complete the conversion than you think.

Glenn states that it is important to allow yourself enough time for the build. “It will always take so many more hours than you think so don’t rush.” It is not a good idea to put pressure on yourself or rush the build.

3. Make an investment in high-quality equipment

Make sure you only purchase the highest quality appliances possible. You don’t want to be forced to cancel your dream vacation because something needs to be repaired or replaced.

4. There will be times when things go wrong, and that’s okay

Your travels will not always be perfect. Plans can change at any time. The weather can change at any moment. It is not easy to live on the road. There are high highs and low lows. It can be either amazing or difficult,” Glenn said. “All you have to do is learn to accept it and to stay positive. The good times will come.”

Glenn Ferguson

Alyssa Swenson is from Canada, while Clayton Billett is from Canada.

They first met several years ago, and they quickly became close friends because of their shared love for adventure and the outdoors. They went on a backpacking trip through Central America just months after their first meeting. Inspired by their laid-back lifestyle, they decided to search online for used vans.

It was always my dream to own a van, and it just happened. Alyssa recalls that we started to convert it at my parents farm. There was plenty of room for us to work on it.”

They watched many YouTube videos and, after much trial and error, got it done in just 4 months. Fat Freddy is the name of their 2002 Ford Econoline conversion.

Clayton and Alyssa have been traveling on their doorstep in British Columbia since then and have found themselves falling in love with the area more each day.

They say that they didn’t realize there was so much to discover just by following their footsteps. The van makes it simple to explore.

They wanted the van to be their home all year. It had to be comfortable, functional, and fun to live in.

Here are the top tips they have learned while converting Fat Freddy and testing it on the road.

Clayton Billett

5. Maximize storage and organize your space

Consider what you need to bring with you when you go on the road. Then decide where and how to store it.

You can store large items under the bed, but not often. Alyssa suggests that you hang everything else on the wall with shelves, baskets and mesh bags.

You don’t have to unpack every place you go. You will be glad you did.

Alyssa Swenson

6. All things should be tucked away

Clayton and Alyssa use double-sided hook and loop fasteners in their van. They can keep your decor, plants and baskets secure, even when the road is bumpy. Locking slide drawers and cupboards will keep your car closed as you climb a hill. No one wants their underwear to fly around in the van.

7. Keep warm

Alyssa recommends that you take the insulation in your van very seriously. “It traps warmth or cold air inside your living space,” she says. For the roof and floor, they used foam board insulation. They spray foamed the walls to fill in any gaps. They then filled the doors and walls with wool insulation.

Alyssa Swenson

8. Stick with a theme.

Clayton and Alyssa thought designing their decor was the most enjoyable part of building their home on wheels. There are some rules that can be applied to all designs.

To make your van appear larger, use light colors. Your van will look more rustic and unique if you use pallets, old wood and driftwood. Alyssa states that most of the wood in her van is reclaimed. This is a huge money-saver. “We made one shelf from an old pallet that we found in the trash.”

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