Send me epic build guides and kickass vanlife tips

Send me epic build guides and kickass vanlife tips

Van Build How-Tos

Recent Posts

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

By John | August 27, 2018

Vanlife Mold Prevention and Redoing Our Floor: Tips and Lessons

By John | June 26, 2018

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

By John | March 22, 2018

Vanlife Essentials: Installing a Smart Battery Isolator

By John | October 11, 2017

Installing Our Water System: DIY Van Build Plumbing Made Easy

By John | October 2, 2017

How We Made Custom Kitchen Cabinets for Our DIY Van Build

By John & Jayme | June 26, 2017

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

By John | June 1, 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

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!

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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!

All Posts

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

By John / Aug 27, 2018 / 17 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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Vanlife Mold Prevention and Redoing Our Floor: Tips and Lessons

By John / Jun 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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Epic Guide to DIY Van Build Electrical: How to Install a Campervan Solar Electrical System

By John / Mar 22, 2018 / 278 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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Vanlife Essentials: Installing a Smart Battery Isolator

By John / Oct 11, 2017 / 126 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 / Oct 2, 2017 / 15 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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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, living in a van 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?) […]

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

By John / Jun 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 / 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 / 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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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 / 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 […]

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DIY Van Conversion: Installing Plywood Walls in Our Van

By John & Jayme / Jan 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, […]

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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 / 8 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 / 16 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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