“Sidetracked” captures so much of our experience already that my wife and I decided on that as our van name. We also like how it can be used jokingly as in “We got ‘sidetracked’ last weekend.” Sorry, I think that’s a bit of dad-level humor.
Our overall build objective is primarily just a comfortable place to hang out when we are in or near a beautiful place, but taking a break from outdoor activities. Think of it as a mobile living room with a couple of couches for sleeping and a small kitchen. We would also like it to serve adequately as an emergency get-away if we get caught in some kind of unfolding natural disaster that California specializes in lately. Also, as a “kitchen tent” when we go camping with our adult kids.
We expect to stay mostly in campgrounds or friends’ driveways, with only occasional dispersed camping or boondocking. The idea of just getting in the van and taking off for a week is pretty appealing.
I’m trying to keep the van operationally simple. I don’t expect my wife or kids to remember to turn on or off switches frequently to control the systems. Realistically, that’s just not going to happen. So I’m avoiding anything that has to be actively managed and anything in the engine compartment.
I’ve recently retired, so this is also a project to keep me busy ^-^
We bought a 2021 Ford Transit off a dealer lot in February of 2021. It was a canceled special order and we snapped it up immediately after our test drive for MSRP (remember those days?). It’s a 148HR AWD with factory swivel seats.
I’ve started the conversion, but everything has been moving slowly. Nevertheless there are a few interesting angles to this build and I’ll do some catch-up posts that focus on those. As a quick overview of some of the equipment and capacities:
Dometic RTX2000 12V Air Conditioner
Propex HS2000 furnace
Opening passenger side window (Tern awning)
Electrical (mostly Victron and BlueSea Systems)
10,000 Wh of batteries (4 x 200AH at 12.8V)
640 watts of solar
800 watts of B2B charging
1,500 watts of shore power charging (15A shore power connection)
Victron Multiplus 12/3000 Inverter/Charger
Front factory swivels
Two side-facing auxiliary seats in the back with seatbelts
Top opening chest refrigerator
Small sink / no water heater
Folding toilet chair and wag bags
Sponge bath set up
Noico sound deadener
One layer of ⅝” Ensolite plus one layer of Thinsulate where feasible
Still working on how to deal with the back doors/side door/front cabin
Please share your feedback and suggestions as this unfolds. I very-frequently learn new things just by reading forum posts, so I know that many of you have a lot more knowledge than I do.