I've had the van for almost two months now and my ideas are finally starting to gel as to what I want this thing to look like. This will is my third camper van. The first was a stretched '89 Econoline cargo (many trips to Mexico in that) and my last was a '99 Club wagon XLT (the longest one), so I do have an idea of how I'll be using the van. For the most part I'll be shuttling up and down the Columbia River doing downwind paddle board sessions, but I also plan on using it for camping and surfing at the beach as well as mountain bike camping trips.
My primary requitments are for it to seat four adults, haul four paddle boards, or alternatively four bikes, and still sleep two in comfort and maybe a couple kids if it's too nasty outside for their tent.
I'll probably never be out for too long (can't retire for another 11 years
), so I don't require a ton of infrastructure in the van. There won't be any solar or extra batteries. No built in water system or toilet. This will be a very comfortable iron tent though.
To start with, I ordered a couple boxes of CLD tiles that I'll be installing soon, along with a little insulation. Waiting for it to warm up a little outside first. Then I'll panel the ceiling and the upper walls above the windows. The lower walls are already paneled, so they'll just get the CLD/insulation treatment.
The first big change was having Van Specialties install two removable, swiveling, captains chairs. I debated putting in a stock bench in the second row, but I really wanted to be able to spin around for camping, and at the time there were lots of stock bench seats available, but no floor tracks available yet, so captains chairs it was.
Next up was my interior surfboard racks, made from 15 series 80/20 (actually Faztek extrusions).
I made a trip to the big city yesterday and retrieved some 4'x6', 3/4" rubber mats for the back and over to Harbor Freight for the Tri-fold ATV ramp ($79.00 w/ coupon) that will form the basis of my three panel raised bed.
Window coverings will be cut from Reflectix and attached with rare earth magnets.
There will be no roof vent, but I do have the four flip out windows and might get a small 12 volt fan to move a little air, though it really doesn't get too hot anywhere I tend to camp.
I'm planning on building some 80/20 storage bins around the wheel wells and I'll be fabricating the panel bed supports and rails out of angle and channel steel and bolting it to the lower walls using the factory tie down bolts for weight bearing, augmented with Rivnuts.
For showering and general washing, I bought a 4.5 gallon 12V pressure washer that will live in back plugged into the aux 12V outlet. These are really handy after surfing or mountain biking in the mud if you haven't used one.
The only really expensive part besides the seat install will be a fridge. I'm leaning toward the 50L ARB unit, which get's rave reviews for durablity and low power consumption from the 4x4 crowd. I may also build a small cooking station just aft of the slider for a protable propane stove or induction hot plate if I've got power. Shore power will be an extension cord
Right now the rubber mats are rolled out on my patio off gassing for a while, so my immediate project is installing some cheap but bright LED light's under the rear bumper and wired to my reverse light circuit. Hope to have those in this week and hope to be fabricating the panel bed system next week.
Still loving this van. It's definitely not Toyota or Subaru finish quality, but the mechanicals seem great and I'm still amazed at how it drives and how easy it is to back up and park for such a big pig!