So you’ve seen so many fancy camper vans on your social media feed. After all, with the current crisis, what better way to travel than to bring your own home with you? You have control over the preparation of your food, the disinfection of your things, and the overall sanitation of your living quarters.
However, these ready-made RVs aren’t exactly cheap. Even if they had been around for a long time, opting to just book a hotel or an AirBnB had been more convenient and cheaper. There are, however, cheap alternatives — DIY RVs constructed from reconditioned buses and vans.
Going on a trip in an RV is basically like going glamping. It’s not a few nights of roughing it up. You will have the amenities of a home, only at a smaller scale. Your setup is also meant to last longer. If you could get a good mechanic to work on the engine, let us provide you with the basics of your interior.
Building Your Kitchen
Food and its preparation is our top concern be it at home or on a vacation. Some van life enthusiasts go for stoves that can just be folded up and put away when no longer in use. However, if you have space, make this your top priority. You have to cook once to three times a day so it’s too much hassle, and will take up a lot of your time if you keep setting up and clearing your cooking area.
A stone countertop is a good option for this space. Natural materials are built to last longer than synthetics. Build as if your camper will outlast you. It’s also easy to clean and will not hold moisture like wood. Have a sink big enough for you to wash your utensils in. Although small sinks will save you space, you will likely splash water allover if it couldn’t conveniently fit your pots and pans.
For the stove, there are several options with different pros and cons. An electric stove doesn’t emit too much smoke. However, it will eat up a large portion of your vehicle’s battery. You can go for the propane stoves as long as your walls can be slid open to let out the air.
You don’t need a refrigerator that will keep consuming electricity. Have a good cooler that could hold ice for at least three days.
The Toilet is Now a Must
Before the pandemic, you could always go to rest stops if you don’t want to clean up your bathroom often. But now, having a private toilet is important for your health safety. There are toilet bowls that don’t need water — you pour in limestone or ash instead. These effectively eliminate the odor without wasting your precious water. If you are into organic farming, this kind of toilet bowl separates urine, which can be treated for use as fertilizer.
For water-sealed bowls, some bowls have a sink on top of them so that wastewater from washing your hands can be used to flush your bowl.
To Have or Not to Have a Bed
Sleep is a top priority too, but having a full bed all the time inside your RV is not as important as the kitchen or toilet. But you see those beautiful campers having two beds. Well, sure, you could have them too if you have enough space. But if you don’t — let’s say you converted a kombi or any van — then be contented with a foldable bed.
It doesn’t mean you will have to make do with the uncomfortable van seats. Exchange your seats for a sofa whose back can fully recline so you can have a full bed at night and still have something to nap on during the daytime. For greater comfort, you can even layer it with a foldable mattress.
Vent, Heater, and Cooling System
Your vehicle will be exposed to fumes and vehicle exhausts. Plus you will be cooking, using the toilet, and doing other things inside your vehicle. You will need a vent to get rid of those unwanted smells and pollution.
Also, unlike your car which you only use for a short time and when the engine is running, you will be inside the vehicle even when you have parked it. So make sure it is heated well for those cold nights and has a cooling system for those hot days. You can DIY your insulation system, but please get an electrician to install electrical needs. It will be for your safety.
We don’t know when the world will return to its previous state — when you don’t have to worry about catching a cold on one of your trips. In the meantime, you can build a moving sanctuary so you don’t have to get bored stuck in your homes.