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Ingenious Van Conversion with Simple Indoor Shower!

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My friend Sameers van in the Coconino NF.

My friend Sameers van in the Coconino NF.

I have lots of interests and things I want to talk to you good folks about but I always want to stay true to my core values of educating and inspiring about the joys of vandwelling. After a busy summer of travel, I’m re-emphasizing those values.
Sameer lounging in his wonderfully cozy home!

Sameer lounging in his wonderfully cozy home!

So today I want to take a look at the wonderful, cozy van home my good friend Sameer created for himself. Like myself he is a boondocker and spent this last summer in the high country of Colorado and just recently he got back to Flagstaff. Judy and I also just got back to Flagg so he stopped by for a most welcome visit! He kindly agreed to allow me to take some pictures of his van and post them for you.
His van has a very open, inviting feel!

His van has a very open, inviting feel!

One of the first things you notice when he opens his side door is that he has turned his passenger seat around to make it a reclining easy-chair. It’s hard to overemphasis how very important it is to have a comfortable place to lounge in your van. After all, in the winter you have at least 12-14 hours of cold and darkness every night and year-around there are periods of bad weather that force you inside the van. If you’re going to be inside the van that much, you want comfortable seating and turning the front seat around does that extremely well. I’ve know many vandwellers who did it and every one of them said it was the best thing they did to their van home! It’s possible to find a swivel seat base for most vans online, but they’re expensive, usually about $160. So most people simply unbolt their seat, turn it around, and bolt it back down. Usually you can reuse the same holes, but occasionally you have to drill a new one or two. That works well and it’s free but you have to be very careful that it doesn’t block your rear-view mirror. That would be unacceptable.
I think this is the best use of space I've ever seen in a van.

I think this is the best use of space I’ve ever seen in a van.

A surprising advantage of turning the seat around is that it makes the van feel much more open. When you open the side door you usually see the tall back of the seat, but with it turned around it’s much more wide open feeling. That’s all the more surprising because Sameer put in a closet to the left of the door. Like many of us, his bed is across the back with storage underneath and there’s a closet from the bed to the side door. He hangs clothes at the top and at the bottom is plastic drawers and totes.  The closet could have made the van seem closed in and small, but with the seat turned around it doesn’t feel that way at all. In front of the closet is a standard plastic 3-drawer unit for easy storage and it also serves as Sameer’s entertainment center as well.  He has a radio on top of it and mounted to the wall above it is his small TV. He raises a TV antenna with PVC tubing to get over the air TV. It’s surprising how well that works To power the few electronics he uses he has a 100 watt solar panel on the roof which meets his needs very well.
A 100 watt solar panel meets all his needs.

A 100 watt solar panel meets all his needs. 

The one thing that stands out as very special in Sameer’s van is that he was sure he wanted to have running water and to be able to take a shower in the van. He carries a Potty/Shower tent that he likes, but he can’t always use it. For example, when he’s stealth parking in town or during periods of bad weather. So he put in a very simple and ingenious indoor plumbing system–it’s so simple, anyone can do it!
A very simple sink system.

A very simple sink system.

Behind the drivers seat  is a build-it-yourself cube he got at a thrift store and he cut a hole in it and dropped a sink in it. Underneath he uses 1 gallon bottle as a fresh water tank. A hand-pump he got at Amazon pumps the water for him. At the back of the cube you’ll see a 1.3 gallon, battery pressurized garden sprayer. That’s what he uses for his shower. You can buy both of them from Amazon at these links (if you do, I’ll make a small percentage of all your purchases or the next 24 hours, even if you don’t buy these items) Battery Powered Sprayer, 1.3-Gallon or the hand pump Leisure Components Hand Pump
In the space between the cube and the bed is a plywood box he built which, incredibly, is both his kitchen and his bathroom!! His stove is on top of the box and that’s where he cooks. To turn into the the bathroom, the top piece lifts off and inside is a heavy duty plastic tote. Inside that he carries his 5-gallon bucket which is his tote and various other items in storage. To use the 5-gallon bucket to take a poop, he take the top off, turns the bucket upright, lines it with plastic bags and uses it inside the plastic tote.  Afterwards he returns it to it’s side and puts the top back on.
Inside the box is a heavy-duty plastic tub that holds his 5-Gallon bucket potty and other items.

Inside the box is a heavy-duty plastic tub that holds his 5-Gallon bucket potty and other items.

At the bottom of the tub is a drain that goes directly under the van, just like any bathtub!

At the bottom of the tub is a drain that goes directly under the van.

The heavy duty plastic tote is also his bathtub where he showers! To shower, he takes the top off and removes everything. He already installed a permanent drain into the bottom of the tote that simply drains outside on the ground. This is where the genius of his system starts to show up! Above his head is a shower curtain hanging from the roof and the sprayer part of the garden sprayer goes up to it and hangs down into the tub.
The shower curtain hangs from a square he made from PVC pipe. that hangs from the ceiling by chains. It looks complicated but most people can easily make something like this.

The shower curtain hangs from a square he made from PVC pipe. It hangs from the ceiling by chains. It looks complicated but most people can easily make something like this.

Above the tub is his shower curtain. It hangs from a square he made out of PVC tubing which is mounted to the roof by chains. He uses a standard shower curtain and hangers and when not in use he just tucks the shower curtain  above the PVC hoop with a bungee. To take a shower:

  • He warms up water (either on his stove or outside in the sun) and fills the 1.3 gallon pressure sprayer with the warm water.
  • Then he steps inside the tub, pulls down the curtain so it’s all around him and tucked into the tub. He sits on the edge of the tub for the actual shower.
  • He reaches over and turns on the garden sprayer.
  • The water comes down from the sprayer and he takes his shower! When he’s done he turns it off and dries off.
  • The water all drains outside and once the curtain dries off, he tucks it back away.
To take a shower he steps inside the tub, pulls the shower curtain down and around him and makes sure it's tucked into the tub...

To take a shower he steps inside the tub, pulls the shower curtain down and around him and makes sure it’s tucked into the tub…

To turn on the shower he just reaches out and turns on the switch!  He gets himself wet, turns it off and lathers up, then turns it on and rinses. A gallon gets the job doe that way!

To turn on the shower he just reaches out and turns on the switch! He gets himself wet, turns it off and lathers up, then turns it on and rinses. A gallon gets the job done that way!

It really is a very simple and ingenious system! It’s biggest advantage is that there is no wasted space.  The tub is fully utilized for storage and on top its his kitchen. The shower curtain and hoop is overhead and takes no space. The one gallon sprayer is small enough you don’t even notice it’s there. And yet getting it ready to use as a shower is very simple and not difficult to do at all! It took Sameer less than  five minutes to get the shower ready to use–not including warming the water.
I hope you got some inspiration our of Sameer’s van and find a way to turn some of his great ideas into a better home and better life for yourself!
Sameer is a true minimalist. Everything he needs to live fits comfortably under his bed or up front.

Sameer is a true minimalist. Everything he needs to live fits comfortably under his bed or up front.

But even a minimalist needs some entertainment! Thus the TV, radio and CD player!

But even a minimalist needs some entertainment! Thus the TV, radio and CD player!


  1. SteveJH

    Photos within article aren’t displaying in either Firefox or Chrome. Great site, btw, very helpful.

    • SteveJH

      well, photos showed up when I submitted comment and screen refreshed.

  2. John L.

    Sameer seems to have it pretty well figured out in his van!! That’s great!! I did similar shower setup in my STEALTH cargo trailer, and it worked really well!

    • Bob

      That’s great John! Glad you’ve gotten your trailer to work how you want it!

  3. Cae

    Very clever and elegant! I’m copying the shower for my boat.
    Thank you!

    • Bob

      Cae, just be careful with that drain hole! 🙂

  4. Sunday

    What method does Sameer use to cool his food? I got many good ideas from this post……thanks to both of you!

    • breid1903

      sunday. i was a bacheler for 25 years. i decommissioned my fridge. when i realized that i had not used it in months. i ate caned goods, but mostly dry food. rice, beans, pasta, whatnot. get 1 bag of apples. when it’s gone buy another or something else. granola bars, rice cakes, tater chips and whatever. i got something to do with my life besides cooking. just me.
      i had no adult supervision. as mom used to say bobby always did what he was told, particularly when it pleased him. god bless her. still true.
      this cooking stuff is way over rated. besides with no fridge, no leftovers. i see he buys his cokes in portion control sizes. smart man.
      i eat fish, snakes, turtles, snare rabbits. yum yum. no refrige needed. just harvest what you need.
      ice cream raz

      • Bob

        breid1903, everybody is different but Sameer actually considers cooking to be a hobby that brings him pleasure. For some people it’s a curse and something they have to do, for others it is a creative outlet of pure joy.
        When you are a boondocker and you have 24 hours a day and you are miles from the nearest restaurant, your view of life changes. For me I do the minimal cooking but I have numerous friends that cooking became a central part of their lives. I sure like it when they invite me over though!!

  5. Joy

    VERY nice set up….I love it! Neat and clean too!

    • Bob

      Joy, many people have commented on the clean lines, that seems to be a very popular idea! The key is to be a minimalist. The less stuff you have, the less clutter!

  6. Terry

    A very good article photos were great . ingenious to say the least . more like that, with him sitting in his shower anyone can understand how to do the same. And his van looked clean AND organized….. Some vans look like they just threw the stuff in .

    • Bob

      Terry, thanks for your kind words! Yeah, Sameer did a great job with his van, a real example for us all.

  7. joe

    Very cool idea i like it i always wanted to try something but i just would shower other ways thank you for. Sharing your idea i own an astro van not enough room plus i. have a 83 scamp. trailer i may try to do. that in the scamp i plan on heading to flagg area soon then to quarzsite later maybe i,ll bump into ya take care

    • Bob

      Joe, Scamps are great trailers! How does the Astro do towing it?
      I’m just outside of Flagstaff right now so if you are headed this way be sure to email me and I’ll send you a map. I have some travel plans but I will be back in the Quartzsite area by the end of November. Hope to see you then if not before!

  8. Canine

    While I’m not out of my apartment yet (I tried this year, but couldn’t quite do it before winter, so will wait a few months), I am taking steps to prepare and acclimate myself to vandwelling.
    One item that I’ve done is shower using a 1 gallon pneumatic weed sprayer. Instead of batteries, I pump it up. It cost about $10 and is going strong after 5 months of showering every day. It takes 25 pumps (about 10 seconds of pumping) to get enough pressure to last the entire shower. I use ONLY 35 ounces of water! Consistently and easily. This includes washing my hair. A complete head-to-toe shower. A gallon has 128 ounces.
    To conserve water I used super glue to block most of the holes in the shower handle. That increased water pressure while decreasing the amount of water. That helped a lot. If you have low pressure, you need more water to rinse. If you increase pressure, you need less water to rinse.
    I heat 3 cups of water to boiling in a cheap 1000 watt electric Hot Pot then add that to the room temperature water to get a nice, warm shower. While I’m brushing my teeth, I start heating the water, so I don’t waste my time waiting to heat the water. Takes 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Using a Kill-a-Watt meter, it measures no more than 100 watts to heat a half gallon of water to warm. It takes 60 to 70 watts to heat around a third of a gallon (40 ounces).
    To warm 1 1/2 cups of water to shave, that takes 10 watts. I use a stainless steel dog/cat water dish to put the warm water in so that I can rinse my razor out. 10 watts is a pittance, so I embrace the luxury of a warm shave.
    To bathe my medium-haired, 45 pound dog, I can barely do it with one gallon of water. Really need a 1 1/2 gallon sprayer for that. She’s not a wuss like me, so she doesn’t mind cold showers.
    I use microfiber camp towels to dry myself and the dog off. They take up MUCH less space. They wring out most of the water, which means less condensation in a van as the towel dries out, and they are much, much, much easier to wash than a full size terry cloth towel. They work very well to dry off and last a long time, but they do cost a lot to purchase initially. About $12.00. They absorb so much water, a 12 X 22 inch towel will absorb all the water on me with my short hair; I wring it out only once. The towel doesn’t get me perfectly dry like a terry cloth, but it leaves only a microscopic layer of moisture on my skin that takes about 5 seconds to dry. I have to rinse my microfiber towel out a lot when drying the dog off. That does take more time, but it gets her dry. They work extremely well. Lots of pros with only a few small cons.
    Whew! That was a long post!

    • Bob

      Thanks so much for all those great ideas Canine! I’ve known several people who use the pump-up garden sprayer and they all liked it really well. One thing you can do is paint it black and then leave it out in the sun for solar heating of the water. That also works well and saves some electric.
      Thanks again!

    • mcbe

      Great ideas Canine, thanks for posting. I’m in a similar situation of practicing like I’m camping while living in an apartment. It just really opens the eyes, especially on the water use. Unlimited water for washing, showering, and toilet flushing, such a luxury but also such a waste! :0)

    • Bret

      Thanks for all the great info guys. I want to add a small detail about showering that some may find useful. I’m from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and it gets pretty cold and dry in the winters here. Used to get dry skin, but then I figured out the final answer.
      Haven’t had anything near dry skin since I gave up towels altogether in favor of air drying. I just stand around for a couple minutes, shake my hair out and it works perfectly. The natural oils that our bodies produce is the most ideal, and towel rub it off of us. Lotions, oils etc. I’ve found don’t really work the way we wish they would. Figured I’d share that as I’m sure it’s not a unique situation applying only to me. Thanks again for all the great info. I’m likely to quit paying rent pretty soon… 🙂 Cheers!

      • Bob

        Brett, I can see the logic in that, but I can’t imagine myself doing it. I’m such a wimp I think I’d get cold. Do you do it in the winter in your van? Most vans are pretty cold, I’d be afraid of getting a cold.
        But I’m glad it works for you. Here is dry and hot Arizona it is probably ideal!

  9. JoeL

    I like the open nature of this set-up. It alleviates the feeling of confinement. The lack of clutter also contributes to the effect.

    • Bob

      Joe, that is exactly how I felt when I stepped inside, very simple, open and clean lines. Personally, I like clutter, it feels more like home to me, but I know I am the exception and most people don’t.

  10. Calvin R

    I tend to out-smart myself, and I see Sameer has avoided that. I never thought of a tote with a drain hole. I admire that level of simplicity a great deal. It’s worth noting that this could be done with great stealth by supporting the tote on blocks and draining to a jug in the side door well.

    • Bob

      Calvin, that’s the great thing about presenting different ideas, they an be modified to everybodies different needs and circumstances.

  11. Calvin R

    (forgot to follow)

  12. Sameer

    Thank you Bob, for featuring my van. I would like to say that showering is about the ‘rinse’. It will take around 15+ minutes to empty, so I can wash my hair and clean with a good rinse. I have a Coleman Xtream ice chest for the cold stuff. See you soon in the Great Desert!
    84 degrees for the next 10 days.

  13. Ming

    Thank you Sameer for your hospitality in showing us your home, thank you Bob for the post. Great ideas for the shower and sink!

    • Bob

      It’s our pleasure Ming, we both love to help!

  14. margo

    when i found this blog i was thrilled–that was quite awhile ago–to say that it gets better and better is an understatement!

    • Bob

      That’s very kind of you to say that Margo! I appreciate it very much!


    Here is how I stay clean, it’s simple, cheap, and fast, and needs no battery power nor takes up space.
    I go to Walmart, yes Walmart, and buy their orange bottle no rinse camping shampoo, use a good amount in your hair, wipe clean with paper towels, and yes I use it day after day works really good.
    For cleaning my face, ears, neck, and the rest of my body.
    I buy assurance cleaning wipes they are about 8″x11″ in size 196-count for about $5. Much larger than the smaller wipes used for just hand. This is formulated to use as a bath for people who are bedridden and need a nurse.
    If the weather is to cold turn on your heater or wait for the sun to heat your van to bathe.
    This saves great time and money and no need to build a shower or carry gallons of water. These products work great and really keep you clean. What more could you ask for.
    My bed is also simple, just a self inflating sleeping bag mat under two 1″inch foam non-inflate mat 2″ total. Then on top just put a blanket or if too cold then yes of course use the right temp. sleeping bag for your state area.
    My set-up in the van is very simple. Everything just sits on a rubber floor that came with my new Chevy white regular body 6-cylinder gas saving cargo van. Had to through that in of course. It does help save gas.
    This is easy to clean and eliminates dust, mold, or reduces allergies if you have any and I’m happy I don’t. I use no insulation on the walls and really helps keep the van cool at night with my O2-Cool 10″ D-size battery powered fan. I go to bed by 11pm and run the a/c for a few minutes and it’s hard to believe that I’m good to go for the rest of the night. It really stays cool enough during the night and sleep just fine. If it’s the dead of summer then I might run the van a/c again if I wake-up, but I am amazed that the van stays cool enough late at night since I live in FLORIDA, YES FLORIDA! Early morning I turn on the a/c and head for the library bathroom for a shave, floss and brush. Then go to work, or stay at library later go to Starbucks for late night till 10-11pm. Then head for a free parking spot at one of the many apartment complex in the area.
    Do I cook, hell noooo! With the money I save on no rent or mortgage I always eat out. Once again simple, clean, and fast. I need no kitchen in my van nor do I want one. A city has lots of services.
    I would some day like to go live in the great Arizona State. BLM Land for the winter, national forest for the summer or maybe the city of Flag Staff, AZ, depending on how hard their forest restrictions get.
    I hope my info. helped someone live an easier life in their vehicle, just remember to try and stay stealthy and don’t piss-off the rangers.
    I have been living the vandwelling lifestyle now for two years and so far I think it’s the most simple and easy way to get out of the rat race. It’s amazing how much money one can save when you cheat the system. Also cheaper than the money sucking RV lifestyle. Who needs them? And their expensive RVs with crazy rent RV parks. You have to be a fool to pay so much rent unless your rich, right.

    • Bob

      Oceanside7. Lots of good tips there! I’m very glad you posted them. If you have a camera and some time, would you be willing to do a guest post for my blog? It wouldn’t need to be much more than what you wrote here and pics of everything with captions.
      I like to present every kind of way to vandwell and having a ultra-simple one would be a very good thing. It’s not for everybody but it’s perfect for a few.
      Thanks again!

      • oceanside7

        Sure can do Bob, but first I have to by the camera I’ve never used one so you have to give me a little time to figure it out. I’ll just buy a simple e-camera so should be quick to use. Just give me a little time maybe one week.
        Bob you don’t know how badly I wish I could go live in Arizona. I really hate the heat and humidity here in Florida. Even if your inside a building with a/c you will still sweat just by looking outside. lol
        But I still have work commitments and will be awhile before I can retire, until then Uncle Sam won’t give me a dime. I got ten more years to go but if I ever lost my job I might still make it over there.
        Would really like to live in nature instead of the city, I guess though I would have to learn how to cook. Maybe I’ll just buy a couple of large 12-volt freezers and pull a small utility trailer with solar and batteries. Along with lots and lots of frozen premade food, who knows. Can anybody say – satellite flying drone food delivery service.
        Really my set-up is very simple inside the van. I use only one large plastic I believe is 55-Galloon tote with the lid and is towards the back of the van by the rear cargo doors for easy access. This holds all my close and a few other items that are heavy like some simple tools. This prevents the tote from flipping over and never had any problems. You can always use a bungee cord for safety. On one side of the tote a large plastic garbage bag holds any laundry that will need to be washed.
        The rest is just the bed, the fan, and of course some supplies that can be kept in the side cargo doors foot-well or step.
        I also use small square about a 1/2″ thick rubber-like magnets bought at a craft store. They fit nicely snug and tight into the inside frame of all my door looks. None of the doors can be jimmied or picked from the outside of the van when I’m sleeping. One would have to brake the windows to get in and of course that would wake you up. It’s a great safety idea, it’s cheap and you don’t have to modify the looks or doors. When you have to open the passenger door or any cargo door just remove the tab that jams the lock. Only take but a second, but I only use the rear cargo doors once a month to do laundry so it’s no trouble. Even a cote hanger wire is not strong enough to remove the tight fit tabs. Make sure they are the hard rubber type magnets so they don’t scratch or damage the doors plastic frame and latch lock.
        I will make a nice post with enough photos and I think everyone will be please with the details.
        I’ll send all this info. to you Bob in the form of an email with attached photos and a word description, just give me a little time since I’m still an employed stiff.

    • Canine

      I have a Walmart where I live and will be trying that shampoo soon. At face value, it sounds like a poor idea, but I’m tired of doing things the same old way only to find out years later that the idea that I thought was bad was actually better than my current idea. Even if I don’t like the dry shower, I am looking forward to making the effort of trying it. What a great way to save on water!
      I’ve used the wipes years ago and can’t remember them that well except that I was very dirty after three days of basic training in the Army and wanted to do something to get clean. Anything. They were quite refreshing, I must say. Felt like a new man. Will have to try them again and see.

    • RVTravel

      Oceanside7, what brand is the dry shampoo you are using?

  16. LaVonne Ellis

    Great ideas, Sameer! I will try to adapt the layout and shower to my much smaller Safari. See you in Q!

    • Bob

      Lavonne, I bet you can! See you soon!

  17. Tina

    Thanks Sameer and Bob, this gives me some great ideas for my future van.
    Take care,

    • Bob

      Glad to help Tina!

  18. Ella Shore

    This is one of my favorite vans! Love what he did with it.

    • Bob

      He did a very nice job!

  19. Tom

    Wish I was half as clever as this guy… thanks for sharing, at least I can copy.

    • Bob

      WE don’t have to reinvent the wheel, we just have to find the guys who do and copy them!

  20. joe

    Hey bob the astro tows it ok if i put to much weight inside it ,s a bit slower otherwise fine some mtn passes are a bit touchy but overall not to bad. It only a 950 lbs trailer maybe a little more gas mpg. Is around 13 ish

    • Bob

      That’s good to know Joe! 13 while towing is not bad!

  21. Al Christensen

    This post reminds me — I need to stroll over to the showers here at the NM state park where I’m currently staying. 😉

    • Bob

      Al, you can’t get enough showers!

  22. Ellen

    These were the most amazing, information-filled posts. I’ve got a year to go before going on the road but will be definitely keeping these tips. Thanks so much!!!

    • Bob

      You are very welcome Ellen. It honestly is my pleasure to be helpful!

  23. jonthebru

    I keep looking for the “like” button!

  24. Lois

    Sameer, thanks for letting us see inside your van – I think the layout is very nicely done!
    Bob, thanks for doing this post on Sameer’s van. Great information! Lots of really good ideas in the comments, as well – boy, are you all a huge wealth of info! I agree that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel since we all seem to have figured out how to make the smoothest rolling wheel out there 😀 …and even though I don’t have a van and my living space is a bit larger than most vans, it’s still very small and learning from you and from your readers has helped me tremendously.
    I’m looking forward to seeing you and everybody else out in the desert somewhere…

    • Bob

      Thanks Lois! In the 12 years I’ve been ding this I’ve tried to learn something from every vandweller I’ve met, so I’ve accumulated a lot of info in that time.
      Now I am just passing it on!

  25. Joe S

    Thanks for sharing Sameer! Your setup is very sharp. My only question is…..where is Mr. Pico?

  26. Omar Storm

    Sameer & Bob,
    Thanks for all the great ideas.

  27. mcbe

    Really nice set up! This one I have to say is my favorite.
    A couple of questions come to mind… On the sink drainage, does it also drain to the outside like the shower? Size of the Coleman ice chest? Solar panel battery installed in closet? Mr. Buddy heater for chilly days?

  28. tangle44

    Sameer, thanks so much for sharing your home with us.
    Bob, thanks so much for this website and your blogs. I LOVE seeing all the different ways people have converted their vehicles into houses. I look forward to your blogs every week! Wish you all the best. Tangle44

    • Bob

      Thanks so much tangle44, we’re glad to help!

  29. Sameer

    Sink drains just like shower. In some circumstances I put a plastic tub under the drain outside. 36 quart Coleman Xtreme. The battery is behind the drivers seat. Large Buddy heater… on high will heat up living area in 5 to 6 minutes. Mr Pico is on the drivers seat…Although he mostly rides in the passenger seat reading the map and giving directions.

  30. Handy Dan

    Posted elsewhere by another old timer, he took a hula hoop for a shower curtain rod, shower curtain hooks, shower curtain, and rope, all from a dollar to make his show enclosure.
    I tried it, and it’s just the absolute best, and only cost $4 and I really didn’t have to build or glue anything.
    My tub & dishpan sinks don’t have drains because I didn’t want any holes in my floor, and I was worried about what people might think. I just wait until after dark to empty my gray water over a storm drain.
    The dollar stores are one of the best resources for van dwellers. Cheap dishes, silverware, cooking utensils, soap, cleaning supplies, spray bottles, you name it, salt, pepper, spices, snacks, puck lights, batteries. If the dollar stores aren’t one of your regular stops, you’re missing out.

    • Bob

      Those are all good tips Dan, thanks!

  31. dave

    Hands down best van dwelling setup ever. Its got everything you need and nothing you don’t. Reminds me of Euro campervans, but for far far far lest cost….

    • Bob

      Dave, I have to agree, it’s simplicity and elegance are very appealing!

  32. dragonfligirl

    I loved the sheer genius of Sameers shower and sink setup, and after seeing his passenger chair, it mades me think of reinstalling the captians seat that came with my van, if the space were not dedicated to storage bins–and a perch for my wing-man Buddy, a 2-yr. old standard Poodle. I also have a pvc built curtain/rod but mine is in the rear of the van, behind the bed. I use an extra large ice chest that serves as misc. storage when not in use as a shower/bath. It is easily emptied after bathing or during showering with its built in plug and a small hose attachment which flows out the back side of the van when appropriate. Also I never had heard of an elec. garden water pump, what a great idea and utilization Sameer, I will put it on my wish list. I have been warming 1 gal water bottles with holes in the tops which I sprinkle my self with to shower. Great for building muscular arms but gawky and awkward. As always a big thank you to Bob and Judy and all the folk that have made things easier for us newbies, the soon to be’s, and the old hands alike with the great ideas and inspiration.

    • Bob

      Thanks dragonfligirl! It sounds like you are getting figured out very well for yourself! Good job!

  33. Kathleen

    Brilliant! Thanks for writing it so it’s easy to understand. The pictures help, also.

  34. Ella Shore

    The little bathroom/shower/tub in my van almost identical to Sameer’s, only mine is on the opposite side of the van, over by the doors. I have not installed the drain, yet, so I wanted the tub where I can easily dispose of the water. I use a garden pump sprayer. I have a Zodi water heater and a propane stove for quick heating. My sink is on the same side as the tub and can be used for a sponge bath. I know many vandwellers who stay very clean by taking sponge baths and using baby wipes, but I need that tub and shower, because I have fairly long hair and like to shampoo often. It is easier in a shower. On the opposite side of the van, I have an oak type chest that holds my cookware, dishes, cook stove and food. My bed is in the back. Like I said, it is very much like Sameer’s.

  35. Ella Shore

    The little bathroom/shower/tub in my van almost identical to Sameer’s, only mine is on the opposite side of the van, over by the doors. I have not installed the drain, yet, so I wanted the tub where I can easily dispose of the water. I use a garden pump sprayer. I have a Zodi water heater and a propane stove for quick heating. My sink is on the same side as the tub and can be used for a sponge bath. I know many vandwellers who stay very clean by taking sponge baths and using baby wipes, but I need that tub and shower, because I have fairly long hair and like to shampoo often. It is easier in a shower. On the opposite side of the van, I have an oak type chest that holds my cookware, dishes, cook stove and food. My bed is in the back. Like I said, it is very much like Sameer’s.
    One more thing… I love this site. I’ve learned so much from it. And over the last couple of years, I’ve meet a few of the folks who have helped contribute. They have become some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Vandwellers are just the best!

    • Bob

      Ella, it sounds like you have very nice design! I’m glad it’s working our for you. I’m really glad the site has helped you and even more that you are making yourself part of the tribe!!

  36. StevieC

    Yes, I was homeless once and with uncertainty with my current living situation I have been able to live in my car undetected
    in two states who have strict laws against sleeping in your car.
    I have survived below freezing temps. I go to pantries and only
    take the food I can use. One homeless man told me – who survives
    on the streets in sub-zero weather. The Shelters are NOT SAFE.
    I dont ask him why he lives on the streets. I treat him like a
    regular guy. When its hot or cold one of the best things you
    can use is baking soda. It hydrates your skin and keeps it soft. You can clean your hair,your skin and your teeth without water.
    You realize you cannot look down on someone – to bring them UP.
    We need to love everyone and help humanity.

    • Bob

      Stevie, you are very wise, most people never learn the simple lesson of humility. Simple, but not easy; it’s probably the hardest, and most painful of all lessons.

  37. Warren J McDonald

    Oceanside7, thanks for that D2W guide gear rinse free body and hair wash, I been using that since Oct and nobody has said peweuue since.
    I looked in the RV section at walmart but none was there—it is in the camping section!!
    It is not a dry cleaner, its liquid and not very controllable so I put it into a spray bottle and spray it onto the 8X12 washcloth that is located in the adult diaper area they are assurance in a blue sack with a press open lid.
    When I am clean, and I brush it into my hair with a hairbrush, I run water onto a washrag and wipe it all over my body (uses about a pint of water)-16 oz.
    Whatever water I use for washing dishes gets put in an empty drinking water gallon jug and used to flush the toilet.
    I have 45 gallons of water onboard so I can stay away for a looooong time. Warren

    • Bob

      Sounds like it is working great Warren!

  38. Treehugger

    One question: How do determine where in the van floor it is safe to cut a whole to drain the shower tub?

    • Bob

      Treehugger, the easiest way is to crawl under and look up from below. Measure it from the side and from the back and then when it is where you think is about right, drill a hole up from the bottom. Have a helper inside the van and he will direct you to where to go to next. Because you are underneath going up, there is little risk of doing any harm.

  39. Jilliebean

    What great ideas!!! I really enjoy this blog and have gained so much knowledge. I recently retired and bought a 2012 Transit Connect Cargo Van and have been from IN to PA and back and IN to FL and back. Stayed some nights in the van and some in the Condo in FL with my daughter and her BF. Took everything out and just have some memory foam mattresses that fold in thirds to make chairs and unfold for sleeping. No kitchen or bath yet, still trying to figure out what I need. Has anyone tried those induction burners for cooking? I bought an inverter that plugs in to the cig lighter and has 2 electrical type outlets and 2 usb outlets for charging stuff whilst driving. This blog is great for helping me figure it all out, thanks for this great service! I bought your book too Bob, full of great info too, love it! : )

    • Bob

      Jillie, induction stovetops do work well but they are expensive to run. You’ll need 400 watts of solar, 4 golf cart batteries, and a 2000 watt pure sine inverter. That’s a lot of money and life might be better with a simple propane stove. Bob

      • Jilliebean

        Thanks for that info Bob, I read where they didn’t pull much power but I wondered about the kind of power you have with RV’s and solar. I’m thinking about a solar system for my Transit Connect, but have to do a little bit at a time, just retired and gotta watch the $$. I watched the documentary and it was great, wish I’d seen it back 35 yrs. ago, would’ve saved me all of that pain of working for the retirement! Oh well, everything happens certain ways for a reason we don’t always understand right now! 🙂

        • Bob

          Jilliebean, any questions you have along the way, feel fre to ask! Bob

  40. Gil Palmer

    Corn starch makes a very good dry shampoo which has been used for centuries. It’s cheap and plentiful. Sprinkle a little on your hair, rub it around, and brush it out.
    Also, oolong tea makes a great body scrub. Years ago I was in an earthquake and had to wait four days for evacuation. All I had to keep clean was some cans of oolong tea which I had bought previously. I sponge bathed and shampooed with it and it worked great — it kept me perfectly clean with a nice scent. Much later I spoke to a chemist who confirmed that it bonds with the body oils and washes them away. A good, cheap way to stay clean would be to brew some out in the sun for use as a body wash when boondocking.

    • Bob

      Thanks for those great tips Gill!

  41. Art Skok

    Bob this website is an inspiration . Thanks for sharing . My wife and I have really been affected by the minimalist concept .

  42. Vanessa

    Some great ideas, thanks so much.

    • Jeff Kai Fong

      Photos don’t show up. Any tricks needed to see them on iPad?

  43. leon Smith

    Great information although the images are not displaying. Any recommendation for an RV shower head.

  44. Tim9952

    I’ve been slowly trying to get my self together for van life for sometime and have been thinking a lot on how I was going to configure my van. From the outset I wanted it to be something very simple that I could set up in a day and if necessary easily dismantle if I changed to a new vehicle. It’s fantastic to find a clear example in practice of exactly what I’ve been thinking of doing. I’m very grateful for this article and the tips and information.

  45. Daniel

    I just love how organize you are,, thanks for sharing, very informative and helpful blog

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