An incredible lifestyle trend that’s been popular for the last decade and seems to grow more with every passing year is that of the mobile van life. Individuals or families are bucking convention by buying (or, in most cases, transforming via DIY) large vehicles and turning them into roaming homes, setting off around the country to chase adventure wherever they can find it.
Sounds pretty awesome, right? It is, but the kicker is the building-it-yourself part. Fortunately, there’s a lot of information out there these days for how to go from A to B on your own camper van build. We at StoreEase wanted to compile the best information into something digestible so that if you’re interested in this lifestyle, you can get started sooner rather than later.
Ready? Let’s begin.
Where to Buy Used Sprinter Vans
First, you need the shell for your new home—in other words, a vehicle ripe for an upgrade. You could buy one of these new, but the more common strategy is to refurbish an affordable, used option. There are a few places to look when searching for used sprinter vans. One option is online classifieds websites, such as Craigslist or Kijiji. Another option is to visit local dealerships that sell used vehicles.
When looking to buy used sprinter vans, it’s important to inspect the vehicle thoroughly before making a purchase. Be sure to check for any damage and make sure all the features are in working order. Compare prices between different sellers to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.
Camper Van Build
Before we continue, it’s worth noting that camper van builds come in all shapes and sizes—really, imagination and budget are the only limits. How to live the van life is entirely a personal experience. So to keep things grounded, we’ll address just a few of the most essential things you ought to consider when building your mobile home.
Sleep: DIY Camper Van Bed Build
Where are you going to rest your head(s) at night? For a DIY bed, the best strategy is to start with a frame made out of sturdy wood. Then, add a layer of firm insulation to the frame and cover it with comfortable fabric. Once you’ve done that and you’re confident it has the integrity to hold a mattress, add one of those on top of the frame for a comfortable sleeping surface.
Power: How to Have Electricity When Living in a Van
There are a few things you need to consider when adding power to your camper van. First, what type of electrical system do you want? AC or DC? Second, how will you generate the power? Solar panels, a wind turbine, or a generator? Lastly, how will you store the power? Batteries, fuel cells, or capacitors?
If you’re looking to add power to your camper van, our suggestion is to figure out what type of electrical system you want and then install the appropriate components. For example, if you want an AC system, you’ll need to install an inverter. If you want a DC system, you can forego the inverter in favor of solar panels and a battery.
Warmth: Insulating Van Floor and Walls
Most people think that when it comes to insulating their van, they only need to worry about the walls and ceiling. However, the floor is just as important.
Here are a few tips on how to insulate your van:
- Use closed cell foam insulation. This type of insulation is great for keeping the heat in and the cold out. It’s also very lightweight and easy to install.
- Line the floor with Reflectix insulation. This will reflect any heat that does manage to escape from the van back into the interior, helping to keep things nice and cozy.
- Cover the floor with carpet or rugs.
We recognize this may seem simple—because it is. But it’s important to insulate thoroughly and evenly throughout the vehicle, especially if you expect to travel anywhere with temperatures that stray into the very high and very low numbers.
Build Better, Build Bolder with Self Storage
Some of our favorite customers at StoreEase are those who want to embrace “tiny house” living and other forms of subversive, space-considerate lifestyles, like building their own van. There’s so much room to inject one’s own personality into that kind of space—to make it so uniquely perfect for you that we can’t help but get excited when someone comes in telling us that’s their goal.
We also appreciate when they trust us to help them make it a reality. Building your own mobile home takes a lot of work, a lot of supplies, and a lot of time—sometimes several months or more. We have equipped our facilities and policies to accommodate how to live the van life. With leases that require no long-term contracts (so you can cancel whenever you want) and a variety of storage unit sizes, we wanted to have everything you need to make your camper van build as effortlessly as possible.
Scope out our self storage locations. If we have a facility close to you, give us a ring or stop by—one of our professionals would love to help you turn your van life dream into an affordable new reality.