A forum for van conversions, van living and travel

The vanlife => Common Room => Topic started by: Aram on August 20, 2017, 10:03:45 AM

Title: Hello friends !!!
Post by: Aram on August 20, 2017, 10:03:45 AM
Hello to everyone !

My name is George , i am 26 years old and i am from Athens , Greece .
I have no experience in "van life" or any other "mobile house life" yet , despite that , i want to travel the world and i want to do that with my own vehicle/house . I have made some research and i think a van is the best way to do that because of my budget , plus i believe is the stealthiest one .

My total budget is about 15.000 euro so with that money i want to buy the vehicle , to do all the modifications - installations and also to keep as many as possilble to start my first road trip .

- I want the total weight to be under >3.500 KG because i don't want a professional licence .
- I want a mini bus , i don't like cargos .
- I am interesting in Sprinter , Transit , Master etc .
- I want a toilet and also a shower like in RV's .
- A normal double bed is ok .
- Is it possilble also to carry my KLX bike with me ? Inside or in back of the vehicle ?
- Also i prefer as low cc as possilbe because of the taxes .

Thank you !!
Title: Re: Hello friends !!!
Post by: Camper_Dan on August 20, 2017, 08:12:52 PM
Greetings & Welcome!

I am Camper Dan and I'm from the USA, but I too have traveled the world in camper vans.  Window vans are a very wise choice, because cargo vans are horrible in almost every conceivable way.  Upgrading from a cargo van to a window van was a life changing experience for me, all for the better.

One of  the first things to consider is whether you want a high top or a standard top.  You can stand up in a high top, but it will also restrict some places you can go with it.  While you can't stand up in a standard top, I find  that 99.9% of the time, I am either sitting or sleeping anyway, and I spend a LOT of time in my van.  It's easy enough to cook while seated, and showering while seated is easy enough too.  In the end, you'll need to make that decision for yourself.

After many years of trial and error, I have come to the conclusion that the best results can be had by simply removing the rear seats, and moving your camper interior in, NOT BUILDING IT IN.  If everything is kept portable (but secured), it is easy to rearrange your setup as needs change.  With built ins this is impossible without a ton of work and hassle.

In the past I built some beautiful camper vans, and while they might have been beautiful, they weren't really comfortable or convenient.  Today, my camper van  interiors are not as pretty, but they are much more comfortable, convenient, and practical.  They are dead simple with practically nothing that can go wrong with them, and everything is easily replaceable almost anywhere.  I am prepared for both extreme heat and extreme cold, so I can stay comfortable no matter what temperatures the weather throws at me.

I am an advocate of having your own toilet and shower, although not exactly RV style ones.  I am against plumbing of any kind because it can leak and also freeze.  Dumping big tanks can also be a huge hassle.  A bucket style toilet with a plastic bag liner, can be dumped into any trash receptacle anywhere.  I empty mine about once a week... I add my trash on top, tie off the plastic bag, and carry it in the bucket to a trash receptacle to dump it.  This way I never have to worry about a bag breaking on the way there.  Simple and easy.  I use dishpans for sinks, and simply toss the water out the door whenever possible, if it isn't possible, I have a 7 gallon water jug for used water that I can dump it in until I'm somewhere convenient to dump it.  I use trigger spray bottles for the water for my sinks, very handy, and great at conserving water usage.  Another advantage of keeping everything portable instead of built in is they can also be used outside without the need for duplication.

My shower/toilet enclosure consists of a hula hoop for a shower curtain rod, hung from the ceiling, and then use standard shower curtain hooks and shower curtains.  The whole works will easily unhook and collapse down onto the toilet when not in use and I don't want it blocking my view.  For my shower base, I use a storage tote large enough for my bucket toilet to sit in it, and still have room for my feet.  I sit on the toilet while showering.  For shower water I use an easily modified weed sprayer.  I removed the original wand, and replaced it with a longer hose and a kitchen sink sprayer nozzle.  This gives me a great hand held shower, that shuts off as soon as I release the trigger, conserving water.  I can also hang it, and lock the trigger on with a small loop of rope if I want a normal house  type shower, and have plenty of water.  I also carry a pop-up toilet/shower privacy tent so if I am wilderness camping, I can move my bathroom outdoors.  Occasionally, even in cities, if I want a long stand up shower, I will put the pop-up directly beside or behind my van at a park, and in many years and many places, nobody has ever hassled me about it.

Ignore the people who will tell you to strip the interior, and add insulation, roof vents, solar panels, and all that jazz.  Other than removing the rear seats, keep the original interior if at all  possible.  Just add a throw rug that is easily removable and washable.  In a normal passenger van, at least some of the windows in the back and on the sides should open.  With a cheap fan, these windows will provide far better ventilation than roof vents at a small fraction of the cost.  Every old timer I've ever run  into will tell you to NEVER EVER put any holes in your roof for anything.

The worst mistakes I ever made were cargo vans, insulation, roof vents, solar panels, 12 volt fridges, plumbing, and unvented propane stoves & heaters, actually propane anything...  Today I use non-pressurized wick type kerosene stoves and heaters because they are much safer, and provide a much drier  heat.  Unvented propane creates huge moisture problems in vehicles, not to mention the safety factors like the potential for leaks, explosions, and carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Income, savings, including an emergency fund, and being prepared for anything and everything are the best ingredients for success.

Good luck and give a shout if I can be of assistance or you need more details etc.

Title: Re: Hello friends !!!
Post by: Roman on August 21, 2017, 10:13:51 AM
Hi Camper Dan,
I like reading your comments & your logic.
Keep it coming ;)
Title: Re: Hello friends !!!
Post by: Camper_Dan on August 21, 2017, 06:57:07 PM
Hi Camper Dan,
I like reading your comments & your logic.
Keep it coming ;)

Thank You!  I have been enjoying this forum and the ability to hopefully help others avoid many of the mistakes I made over the years.  I had the misfortune of listening to all of the wrong people in the beginning, and it cost me a lot of money and misery, and looking back on it now, I think all their bad advice was centered around them making money rather than actually trying to help anybody.