Van Build

Dan has a really cool travel van that he designed and built himself. But Dan sees his van as more than just a vehicle. He talks a little about his philosophy not only on travel but also on life in this video interview. His platform is a Ford long based cargo van that looks rather simple from the outside but is well laid out on the inside. A first class kitchen area, double bed, bench area, closed circuit TV, ham radio, professional med packs and a host of other amenities that allude to his sea fairing background. If you get a chance I would suggest you check out his channel for some great ideas to incorporate in your own stealth van build.

A step up from your standard van that is converted into a camper van or a bug out van is a class B rv. Many van dwellers wind up getting one of these which are factory built on standard van chassis that have been lengthened and sometimes widened. These are actually small rvs and are quite nice. They contain everything for living including dinette, kitchen, bathroom, shower, sleeping quarters heating, cooling, on-board generator and are completely self contained with grey water tank and black water tank. Standard class B has a regular rear axle configuration with a pair of heavy duty tires whereas a wide body version will have a pair of duelies on the back.

Brand new is very expensive starting around 60k us, but if you purchase a used one prices are usually around the 20-30k range. Older ones can be found for even less. Operating and maintenance cost are higher  but you have all the modern conveniences you are used to in your home. Class Bs are around 19-21 ft. long and are very mobile and can park in average size parking spaces. Fuel economy is less than a regular van but not as low as a class C or A rv. One minor negative is they have less storage capacity when compared to a class C or A rv.

In this video Eric has a very popular and well made Dodge class B Coach House model.  Various versions of this made over the years are the RoadTek, PleasureWay, Xplorer and a couple of others I can’t recall at this time. I would love to have one of these one day but for the time being I am happy with my regular custom camper van.

This is a beautiful van build although a little spendy. A huge expense on this build was the pop top, but still nice. Pay attention how David designed his build for several functions.

Going with a passenger van as your base build has its advantages in the fact that the interior work as far as insulation, paneling, heating and cooling ducts, and lights are already factory installed. You will have to remove the benches to give you room to finish your build.

You can find these vehicles being sold by not only private parties but also schools, churches and other organizations. Generally organizations have a maintenance schedule for their car pools so even if there is high mileage the van could still be in very good shape. These can be a very affordable entry price if you are on a budget.

I don’t even remember how I came across this video but it is the very first one that sparked my interest in owning a van that I could camp or bug out in. What appealed to me the most was you didn’t have to spend a lot of money to get started and most of us, myself included, already have a good start on the project with all of your camping equipment we have collected over the years. All we need to do is go out and grab an up-gradable used van in our price range and get started.

This can also be a fun project to be shared with the rest of the family. I don’t know many families that don’t enjoy camping and with a camper van or an adventure van you would always be ready to go on a moments notice. That brings up my next reason for being interested in this particular type of vehicle.

Where I live we have been evacuated twice do to wild-land fires. This last season we were on alert several times also. With a van set up to live out of for several days you have the perfect vehicle to leave in at a moments notice in case of mandatory evacuation orders during a natural disaster or any other unsafe event, something we are seeing more of now days. In the mean time you have a vehicle you can use for short to longer trips and as you use it more and more you will fine tune your mobile skills and what exactly you will need on board to be safe and comfortable in a time of need.

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