Send me epic build guides and kickass vanlife tips

Send me epic build guides and kickass vanlife tips

John Serbell

John is the co-founder of Gnomad Home. He researches and writes the in depth guides on our site, and his goal is to make vanlife, alternative living, and dream chasing accessible to all through the democratizing power of free information. He's also passionate about creating, both hands on and digitally - he's the driving force behind our vehicle builds, and he's also in charge of the web design/development around here.

Our Adventure Becoming South Dakota Residents

By John Serbell / February 25, 2019 / 19 Comments
Jayme standing next to the van showing off the new SOuth Dakota license plates

Some of the biggest logistical problems that full-time nomads face revolve around not having a permanent residence. When you don’t have a fixed address, it can be very difficult to do many things that you need to do in today’s society, such as: Get a driver’s license Register your van Apply for insurance (auto, medical, […]

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Domicile for Nomads: Establishing a Legal Residence on the Road

By John Serbell / February 21, 2019 / 6 Comments
van parked outside post office

If you’re a vanlifer, RVer, or backpacker, you live out on the open road, free from the restrictions of a fixed location. But when you live wherever you choose, that also means that you don’t actually live anywhere – or at least, not how society wants you to. Unfortunately for people like us, the legal […]

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Mail and Packages on the Road: A Guide for Vanlife Nomads

By John Serbell / February 18, 2019 / 0 Comments
vanlife mail and packages on the road

How do you get mail and packages when you’re traveling long term and you don’t have a fixed address? This is one of the challenges of life on the road, but it’s not an insurmountable one. No matter what you need to have shipped to you – a letter, a package, an important piece of…

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Mounting an ARB Awning on a High Top Van (Without a Roof Rack)

By John Serbell / August 27, 2018 / 19 Comments
how to mount arb awning without a roof rack

We didn’t install a roof rack when we built our van. At the time, we didn’t see the need for one. “Our roof is going to be taken over by solar panels and a vent fan,” we thought. “There’s no reason for us to get a roof rack.” How wrong we were. We know now […]

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The Best 12V Power Inverters for DIY Campervans and RVs

By John Serbell / August 7, 2018 / 13 Comments
Best 12V Power Inverter for Vanlife

It’s tough to live without electricity in today’s world, even when you’re traveling in a van. And if you want to keep your laptop charged, or if you like to make super healthy smoothies for breakfast, or if you prefer to freshly grind your coffee every morning – you need an inverter. An inverter is […]

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Vanlife Mold Prevention and Redoing Our Floor: Tips and Lessons

By John Serbell / June 26, 2018 / 20 Comments
vanlife mold prevention

It’s every vanlifer’s worst nightmare. There’s a leak somewhere, and a good rainstorm brings a steady drip of water that might not seem like a big deal at first. But that water ends up leaching into some dark, unventilated corner of your van, and before you know it you’ve got a mold problem. This is […]

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Refrigeration on the Road: The Best 12V Portable Fridges for Vanlife

By John Serbell / April 23, 2018 / 30 Comments
the best portable 12v fridges from vanlife

There’s nothing like having a refrigerator in your van to really bring the comforts of home on the road. Refrigeration means you can store fresh food and other cold items – like vegetables, dairy, meat, “booch,” and beer. It means you don’t have to fuss with a cooler full of ice and water-logged food. And […]

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Epic Guide to DIY Van Build Electrical: How to Install a Campervan Solar Electrical System

By John Serbell / March 22, 2018 / 290 Comments
van build electrical

When we first started thinking about our vanlife electrical system and buying our components, we had a lot of questions. We researched online, read other van build blogs and forum posts, and watched Youtube videos. Some were very helpful, but many left us with a swirl of even more questions. What gauge wiring do we […]

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Insulating Your Van: Everything You Need to Know for Your DIY Van Build

By John Serbell / January 24, 2018 / 130 Comments
Van Build Insulation

If you want to stay comfortable in your van no matter the weather, you need to insulate. Insulation is one of the most important steps of any van build, and it pays to take the time to do it right. There’s also a lot of confusion and debate over the best way to insulate a […]

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5 Things We’d Change About Our Van Build (and 5 We Wouldn’t)

By John Serbell / November 6, 2017 / 8 Comments
5 changes van build

It’s officially November, and for us that means it’s time for some anniversary celebrations! A year ago we launched this blog, quit our jobs, and jumped full steam into our van build. We’re also well past six months on the road, and we thought it would be helpful to reflect on what we’ve learned about […]

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Vanlife Essentials: Installing a Smart Battery Isolator

By John Serbell / October 11, 2017 / 135 Comments
installing a battery isolator in your van

Having solar power in your van is just plain awesome. It means you can live completely off the grid with lights, a fridge, phones and computers – all while not worrying about electric bills or power outages. But sometimes solar power just isn’t enough, especially if your budget doesn’t allow you to throw down for […]

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Installing Our Water System: DIY Van Build Plumbing Made Easy

By John Serbell / October 2, 2017 / 19 Comments
water system van build plumbing

If you plan on going off grid for any length of time, you need water in your van. And if you like to cook as much as we do, you’ll also want a sink for washing dishes and a way to catch waste water. But how do you go about setting all of this up? […]

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On the Road with Our Fan-Tastic Vent: Would We Buy it Again?

By John Serbell / August 14, 2017 / 8 Comments
Fan-Tastic Vent Review vs Maxxfan Deluxe

It’s now been over four months since we left our old lives behind and hit the road in our van. Since then we’ve learned a lot about what features we do and don’t need, and what actually works best when you live in a vehicle full time. As soon as we hit the road, we […]

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How to Build an Easy Portable Solar Panel Mount Out of PVC

By John Serbell / June 1, 2017 / 4 Comments
portable solar panel mount pvc

It gets hot in the summer. Even hotter inside of a van – no matter how good your insulation and ventilation are. And when the sun’s beating down and making that temperature rise, sometimes you just need to park your van in the shade to help keep it cool. The problem with that, though, is […]

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How to Build a Plywood Battery Box for a DIY Van Conversion

By John Serbell / May 15, 2017 / 8 Comments
battery box for diy campervan

Where do we house all of the electrical components in our van build? We have two big AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries in our van, and we decided to build our own battery box out of plywood. With a sealed battery like an AGM, a battery box isn’t technically required. If charged and discharged properly, […]

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How to Fit a Queen-sized Bed in Your Van: Badass Pullout Bed Frame Design

By John Serbell / May 1, 2017 / 18 Comments
diy van build how to build bed frame

How do you live in a van and make it comfortable at the same time? Especially if you’re traveling with another person, it’s vital to maximize every inch and make sure there’s plenty of available space for stretching out. Even more so if you have dogs (or cats) in the van with you. In our […]

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How to Make Your DIY Van Build Easier with Pocket Holes

By John Serbell / March 20, 2017 / 4 Comments
featured image_diy van build with pocket holes

You’ve got your van insulated, you’ve installed walls, a floor, and a ceiling. Now you need a bed, a kitchen unit, maybe a bench to sit on. But how, exactly, do you put all of this together? Whether you’re building furniture or building a custom van interior, there’s always more than one way to do just about […]

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Installing a Vent Fan on Our High Top Conversion Van

By John Serbell / December 12, 2016 / 14 Comments
Installing Fan-tastic vent fan in van

The next step in our van build was installing a roof vent exhaust fan, which means cutting a hole in the roof. Fun! A vent fan is an essential part of creating a comfortable living environment inside of a van. It keeps the van cool by sucking out hot air and creating airflow, and it […]

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Focus on Today: Achieving Big Goals by Taking Small Actions

By John Serbell / December 5, 2016 / 0 Comments
achieving-big-goals

When you’re working towards a big goal, whether it’s building a van, learning an instrument, losing weight, training for a marathon, writing a novel, or [insert your goal here], it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about all the things that need to happen for you to achieve your goal. Focusing on the endgame alone has […]

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Build Your Van

The Ultimate Van Build Guide

Planning a van build? Read our free guide. We cover just about everything you need to know - from planning, to insulation, to solar and electrical, to picking appliances, to essential tools. Get started today so you can get out there on the road!

Vanlife How To:

Your Complete Guide to Life on the Road

Interested in vanlife? Read our free guide. We cover everything you need to know - pros & cons, bathrooms & showers, where to sleep, making money on the road, FAQ - and more!

Cartoon drawing of two women hanging around their campervan. The background shows a desert scene transitioning into a city transitioning into a mountain lake

Send me epic build guides and kickass vanlife tips

Send me epic build guides and kickass vanlife tips

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