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A Couple in a Van

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Date: 3-16-2011

A cargo van is probably the best all-round compromise for vehicle living. There are lots of them available used and generally at very good prices. They get surprisingly good gas mileage (15-19 mpg is not unusual), with some people reporting into the low 20s. If you have to be in a city, they have great stealth. By that we mean you can park overnight nearly anywhere without drawing attention to yourself and being asked to leave. Best of all, they are a large open space waiting for you to mold them into exactly what you want out of a vehicle home. You aren’t forced into somebody else’s idea of what you should want.

Here we look at a very creative use of space in a cargo van. Because it is a couple, they had to get every possible inch of storage available. Let’s take a look.

In this picture the van looks like a normal van with the bed across the back. But it is more than that because they had a really great idea of how to use the space under the bed. What makes it creative is that it is easily converted for daytime use.

In the picture above and in the two below you can see the flexibility of the bed. At night you can sleep on it. You can easily lift the lids for access to storage, and you can convert it to a dinette. To be honest, they found the table to be impractical. It looks like a good idea but in actual use it wasn’t very usable. You would have to try it for yourself to see if you like it, and if not to change it until you did. We don’t have details of how to build this, but if you are a carpenter you can figure it out from the pictures, and if you aren’t, then details probably won’t help. But, if you take your van and these pictures to a real handyman, he can figure it out and duplicate it.


In the pictures below we are looking from the front to the back. In the second one you see the large, plastic drawer unit that is between the side door and the bed. Sterilite in particular makes many drawer units. I love plastic drawers in a van! It is easy to work with, light, cheap and durable. What isn’t to love? You will need to secure it to the wall. That is easily done with L-brackets or plumbers tape and sheet metal screws.

In the next two pictures we see the driver’s side of the van. It has more plastic drawers for storage and the electrical center (second picture). The battery is on the floor under one of the storage units.

In the following pictures we see the TV mounted on the wall above the bed. To the left of the TV you can see the fan they mounted on the wall of the van. It makes the van much more comfortable on hot days, especially at night.


This is a diagram of the electrical system and below is another picture of it.


One of the huge advantages of vandwelling is the ability to get further back in beautiful country and enjoy it in seclusion with only you and the wildlife.


Kitty doesn’t love it though, since she can’t get out at night for fear of coyotes.



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