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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!

All Recent Posts

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 […]


How SELF Journal Can Help You Make the Most Out of Van Life

By Jayme Serbell / May 22, 2017 / 4 Comments
best self journal review

We could not be more honored to write this sponsored post for our friends over at Best Self Co. Their awesome SELF Journals help us stay focused and achieve our goals every single day, and we highly recommend checking them out! This post also contains affiliate links. When you’re traveling and living in a van – […]


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

By John Serbell / May 15, 2017 / 13 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 AGM or LiFePO4, a battery box isn’t required. If charged and discharged properly, […]


Gnomad Homies: Together We Roam

By Gnomad Home / May 8, 2017 / 0 Comments
gnomad homies together we roam

For the latest installment of Gnomad Homies, we had the opportunity to chat with Parker Hilton and Jenelle Kappe from @togetherweroam! Parker, Jenelle, and Emma Mae (their mini Australian shepherd) are traveling around in a 1987 Chevy G20 named Scarlet JoVanson. They have an interesting story and some great perspectives on living the van life, […]


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

By John Serbell / May 1, 2017 / 22 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 […]


Meditating on Gratitude and Possibility

By Jayme Serbell / April 20, 2017 / 0 Comments
van life meditation

We had just finished some sun salutations next to the Rio Grande where we were living. Where wild animals were our neighbors and we had to hike to see another human. Nymeria was covered in sunshine. Lying half on her dog bed, half in the dirt, panting through the largest smile as her tongue laid […]


Gnomad Homies: Go Big Emma

By Gnomad Home / April 6, 2017 / 0 Comments
Go Big Emma Field_Operation

For this fourth installment of Gnomad Homies, we had of fun fun sitting down over coffee and Skype with Emma and Sven from @gobigemma. We talked about their travels in Big Emma, their beautiful and unique VW Bus. Emma and Sven are driving Big Emma down the Pan-American Highway, from Alaska all the way down […]


Your Parents Were Right! Build a Van and Be Whatever You Want

By John & Jayme Serbell / March 27, 2017 / 1 Comment
build van be what you want

Turning a van into a home is an adventure. It forces you to learn new skills and deal with setbacks and screwups. But first and foremost it teaches you to be patient, to work hard, and to persevere in the face of obstacles. And with those skills, you can do anything. As we get ready […]


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 […]


Gnomad Homies: Josiah Q

By Gnomad Home / March 6, 2017 / 0 Comments
josiah q roe van life gnomad homies

In this installment of Gnomad Homies, we had the honor of Skyping with Josiah Q Roe (@josiahq), a professional travel photographer who bounces back and forth between Colorado and California and all of the gorgeous places in between. Let me tell you right now – he has got photographs that will literally make your jaw […]


Wander Pupdates by Nymeria: First Ride in the Big New Driveway Dog

By Nymeria Serbell / February 20, 2017 / 0 Comments
Wander pupdate by nymeria first ride in the van

Hello all! It’s me, Nymeria here, and BOY do we have a lot to chat about! First off, I’ve been stuck eating rice with my breakfast and dinner because Crow ate out of the trashcan and has been throwing up. She’s fine now so hopefully I can stop eating those nasty white pellets but jeez, way […]


What’s In Those Cabinets? Inside Our Van’s Kitchenette

By John & Jayme Serbell / February 13, 2017 / 4 Comments
whats in our van kitchen

Last week we took a pretty big step in our van build: we finally completed building, staining and finishing our kitchen cabinets and countertop. We continued the mismatched log cabin style we had going on our cedar plank ceiling, and we threw in some blue stain to add a splash of color to the van. […]


Gnomad Homies: One Chick Travels

By Gnomad Home / February 5, 2017 / 0 Comments
Gnomad Homies one chick travels

In our second installment of our Gnomad Homies we were super pumped to Skype with Kaya from @onechicktravels! Kaya hails from Santa Cruz, California. We chatted with her while she was driving to Oregon for the holidays and we got some awesome insight on her custom sprinter van and life on the road. What are you living […]


Creating Our Mobile Log Cabin: Easy Steps to Staining a Van

By John & Jayme Serbell / January 30, 2017 / 7 Comments
easy steps to staining a van

If you’re living in a van, it’s important that it really feels like a home. And for us, there’s nothing more comfortable and homey than having wood lining every surface. Our birch plywood walls and beautiful cedar plank ceiling looked great right away, but staining and sealing them really brings out the grain patterns and […]


When Positive Life Changes Bring Unexpected Obstacles

By Jayme Serbell / January 22, 2017 / 4 Comments
positive life changes and unexpected obstacles

Happy Monday everyone! Jayme here riding solo today, but John says hello and sends you all virtual hugs! I’m doing a bit of a reflective post today. I’ve had a lot of thought bubbles on my brain-parts that I bet some of you could relate to. It’s a combo of celebratory dance parties and scary, […]


DIY Van Conversion: Awesome Cedar Plank Ceiling Installation

By John & Jayme Serbell / January 16, 2017 / 15 Comments
diy van conversion ceiling

In our last post we went over how we installed plywood walls in our van. The next step in turning our van into a home is hanging the ceiling. We toyed with a few different options for our ceiling. Many van-lifers just screw up a sheet of 1/4” or 1/8” plywood, which is relatively easy […]


DIY Van Conversion: Installing Plywood Walls in Our Van

By John & Jayme Serbell / January 7, 2017 / 20 Comments
DIY Van Conversion Installing Plywood van walls

After fully insulating our van and installing laminate flooring, the next step was to put up the walls. As with every part of the van build process, there are many different options to choose from for walling material. For our van, we decided to go with 1/4” birch plywood because it’s flexible, easy to work with, […]


Gnomad Homies: The Road Abode

By Gnomad Home / January 1, 2017 / 4 Comments
Gnomad Homies The Road Abode

It’s a new year, and here at the Gnomad Home we’re pretty excited for a year full of new beginnings and new experiences. This is going to be a great year for change. A year to focus on personal growth and development. A year to get more involved and stand up for our values and beliefs. […]


Installing Laminate Flooring in Our Conversion Van

By John & Jayme Serbell / December 19, 2016 / 26 Comments

A few weeks ago we did a post on how we insulated our conversion van. The last thing we did in the insulation process was laying down Reflectix on the floor. Now we get to install the rest of the floor! There are three main parts to a flooring installation for a van build: Insulation […]


Installing a Vent Fan on Our High Top Conversion Van

By John Serbell / December 12, 2016 / 16 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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