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Recent Posts

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

By John | August 27, 2018

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

By John | November 6, 2017

Installing Our Water System: DIY Van Build Plumbing Made Easy

By John | October 2, 2017

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

By John | August 14, 2017

How We Made Custom Kitchen Cabinets for Our DIY Van Build

By John & Jayme | June 26, 2017

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

By John | May 15, 2017

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

By John | May 1, 2017

How to Make Your DIY Van Build Easier with Pocket Holes

By John | March 20, 2017

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

By John & Jayme | February 13, 2017

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

By John & Jayme | January 30, 2017

DIY Van Conversion: Awesome Cedar Plank Ceiling Installation

By John & Jayme | January 16, 2017

DIY Van Conversion: Installing Plywood Walls in Our Van

By John & Jayme | January 7, 2017

Installing Laminate Flooring in Our Conversion Van

By John & Jayme | December 19, 2016

Installing a Vent Fan on Our High Top Conversion Van

By John | December 12, 2016

How We Mounted Solar Panels on a Fiberglass Van Roof

By John & Jayme | November 28, 2016

Insulating Our Conversion Van: Tips, Tricks and Step-by-Step

By John & Jayme | November 14, 2016

Gutting Our Conversion Van and Removing the Wheelchair Lift

By John & Jayme | October 31, 2016

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

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!

All Posts

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

By John / Aug 27, 2018 / 15 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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5 Things We’d Change About Our Van Build (and 5 We Wouldn’t)

By John / Nov 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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Installing Our Water System: DIY Van Build Plumbing Made Easy

By John / Oct 2, 2017 / 14 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 / Aug 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 We Made Custom Kitchen Cabinets for Our DIY Van Build

By John & Jayme / Jun 26, 2017 / 10 Comments
Custom Van Build Kitchen Cabinets

Without water and a way to cook food, vanlife just wouldn’t be possible. Buying food and drinks at restaurants and gas stations all the time is not only unhealthy, it’s also expensive. So, one of the most important parts of any van build is the kitchen setup. Our kitchuation (…kitchen situation…get it?) houses our sink, […]

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

By John / May 15, 2017 / 6 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 / 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 / Mar 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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What’s In Those Cabinets? Inside Our Van’s Kitchenette

By John & Jayme / Feb 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. […]

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

By John & Jayme / Jan 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 […]

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DIY Van Conversion: Awesome Cedar Plank Ceiling Installation

By John & Jayme / Jan 16, 2017 / 13 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 […]

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DIY Van Conversion: Installing Plywood Walls in Our Van

By John & Jayme / Jan 7, 2017 / 16 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, […]

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Installing Laminate Flooring in Our Conversion Van

By John & Jayme / Dec 19, 2016 / 22 Comments
install-laminate-flooring-in-van

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 […]

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Installing a Vent Fan on Our High Top Conversion Van

By John / Dec 12, 2016 / 6 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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How We Mounted Solar Panels on a Fiberglass Van Roof

By John & Jayme / Nov 28, 2016 / 17 Comments
mounting-solar-panels-fiberglass-van-roof

Every van is different, and throughout our van build we’ve found that ours poses some unique challenges with the shape and contours of its roof. Nothing is simple when you’re working with a curved surface, and mounting our solar panels was no different. Solar power is a must for van life. Electricity gives us the […]

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Insulating Our Conversion Van: Tips, Tricks and Step-by-Step

By John & Jayme / Nov 14, 2016 / 14 Comments
insulating our conversion van

One very important thing to consider when preparing to live in a van is temperature control. And the biggest factor in controlling your van’s temperature is insulation. A well-insulated van will stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, and it will be easier to maintain a comfortable temperature. When we were researching […]

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Gutting Our Conversion Van and Removing the Wheelchair Lift

By John & Jayme / Oct 31, 2016 / 18 Comments
gutting our conversion van

The van we bought was a 1996 Chevy Express high top conversion van with a wheelchair lift. The good thing about buying a van like this is that many of them have some pretty nice amenities – leather seats, power windows and locks, etc. – and, of course, the high top. While we can’t fully […]

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