Our Next Van Conversion Layout Plan | What We're Doing Differently
When we built our first van, we didn’t really know what we were doing.
Now that we’ve lived in a van for two years and we know what we want (and don’t want) out of our build, we feel a lot more prepared. This time, we have a layout plan before we even have our van. Our plans may change once we start measuring everything out, but at least we have a general idea of what we want to do.
Bed & Garage
For our bed, we decided we wanted to do a layout with a gear garage underneath. We didn’t do this in our first van build because we barely had any gear to store. Now that we’ve picked up a few hobbies over the last couple years (mountain biking and stand up paddleboarding) we felt that we needed more room for our snowboards, mountain bikes, SUP, and rock climbing gear. A garage layout just made sense. We also didn’t want to store our brand new mountain bikes outside on a tow hitch, so having a bike storage underneath was #1 in our opinion.
We’re adding sprinter flares to our van from Flarespace.com. This will enable us to sleep the width way of the van, leaving more room for living space upfront. We’re going to have two small windows on the flares that open up which will be great for air flow!
Underneath our bed, we’re building Zero his own bedroom that will have its own A/C. We want to make sure he is always comfortable in the van, so this time he gets air conditioning! We’ll also be installing a temperature monitor that will send info to our phone so we can make sure everything is fine. This will also be great for winter when we go snowboarding during the day. The van will be heated and we’ll be able to check on him via our phones.
Although we never really had issues in our first van with him, we always still make sure to park in shade, turn the fan on, cover up the windows, and we never leave him in there if its too hot outside. We just use common sense here ;)
Bathroom & Shower
Our last van didn’t have a bathroom at all. We did have a Road Shower outside, but after using it, we ended up not liking it as much as we thought. Because our new van is the 170’ layout, we thought why NOT put a bathroom in it?
We’re pretty much doing something similar to our friends @40hoursoffreedom… except they took on the challenge of tiling the whole bathroom (which looks amazing). We’ll probably just go with some sort of plain white waterproof wall. We honestly have no idea how to build a bathroom, so we’re pretty excited to have a new challenge in this build!
We’ll also have a Natures Head composting toilet and hot water. We wanted to add hot water to our shower because why build a shower that doesn’t have hot water? We also wanted to be able to shower in the winter. We’ll be using the Webasto duo which heats the water and the cabin using diesel.
We’re going to add teak flooring to our bathroom to make it less slippery on the shower pan. The water will most likely drain into a grey water tank stored underneath the van.
Our kitchen is going to be on the passenger side of the van this time. We’re going to have a butcher block countertop extend into the doorway. We’re also adding a Webasto diesel cooktop which will pretty much make our entire van run by diesel. Super easy and convenient!
We’re going to add a larger, deeper sink this time because last time our sink was only 10in wide and it was TINY. It was a little difficult to do dishes, so a bigger sink will be much better.
As for water for the sink, we’ll probably have one water tank for the sink and shower. We’re looking at a 30 gallon tank.
WEIGHT: I bet you’re wondering about the weight of our van. We don’t have to worry about that, because our van has dual rear wheels!
We’re going to go with a NovaKool refrigerator again because we loved the one we had in our first van. We may go a tiny bit smaller, maybe 3.0 CU versus our previous 3.5 CU.
One great feature we are adding to our van is a Breville espresso machine. We spent SO MUCH MONEY over the last two years at coffee shops. We wanted to be able to make our own cappuccinos in the comfort of our own home.
Workspace/Studio & Dining Area
Because we run our business out of the van, we still need a workspace. In this build, our bed will be a permanent space (it won’t turn into a table like our old van) so this presented a challenge. We had to get a little creative when deciding where the workspace would go.
Ultimately, we decided to put the bathroom more towards the back and use the front of the van as a hangout area. We’ll build bench seating, install swivel seats on the driver and passenger seats, and we’re going to be using a Lagun Swivel table which will make it easy for us to maneuver around.
We’ll probably build a camera and equipment storage area under our benches which will be great. We’re also going to get our own hotspot from Verizon and a WiFi extender. This will make it so much easier to run our business on the go without having to hang out in a Starbucks all day.
Solar & Electrical
Because we are adding things like an espresso machine, we are going to need a little more power than our last van.
We had 320 watts of solar and a 2000 watt inverter in our last van which was enough to power our fridge, fan, laptops, heater, and my Nutribullet RX which is a whopping total of 1900 watts.
This time we are going to get 500 watts of solar from Renogy and we’re also getting a 3000 watt inverter. We’ll have MORE than enough power.
We mostly wanted more because we are planning on doing a huge winter trip in our van. We bought an EPIC pass, so when it’s not as sunny outside in the winter, we’ll at least have a few extra days of power.
For storage, we’ll have our garage for gear. We’ll also put two overhead cabinets near the front by the workspace dining area. We’ll most likely use that space to store work items, books, etc. Underneath the bench in the workspace area we’ll have some camera gear storage.
Above the kitchen extending back to the bed will be 4 overhead cabinets, most likely used for clothing or food. We’ll also add a few drawers underneath the kitchen countertops where we can store food, cups, plates, etc.
I was also thinking right next to the bathroom, in between the bed and bathroom wall, we could add a long skinny tall cabinet. We could store smaller items in here. I am not 100% on this idea, but we’ll see!
If anyone has any tips, ideas, or comments on our new layout, we’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment below :)