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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi there,
Long time reader, finally signed up for an account a bit ago, and will be building out a van in 2022. I'm in central oregon, and this will be my family's second van. I've gotten a ton from this forum, and look forward to participating more.
Our first van was purchased already built out. We spent a couple months driving around the country, learning the van, and figuring out if it was for us. Turns out, it was! Van-based road trips became our standard activity, and kept us sane through the pandemic. Our honeymoon was a roadtrip - the only way we felt isolated and safe enough during covid to really travel. Having your own toilet and kitchen goes a long way!

Fast forward a bit, and we've got a kid. Our van isn't safe enough for our tastes, even if we could fit in an extra seat without ripping the entire thing apart. This was a great opportunity to sell it on, and build out the van we dream of, using the experience we gained over the past couple years of van ownership.

We've ordered a 2022 crew van, 250 SRW, HR, LW. The expected driving comforts (I am excited for iACC - I installed cruise control on the last van and missed adaptive cruise every minute) including AWD (no more getting stuck in the woods!) will be on the van. We'll be a lot tighter on space with the second row, but I think we'll figure it out.


Our current plan is to install a wilderness vans two-seater in the second row for the kiddo to sleep. Behind that, a small toilet cabinet / storage. An E-W bed (with flares - I'm 6'1"), electric / water tank / bike storage under the bed. Galley kitchen into the slider. We're hoping to make the bench and two front seats into a hangout / seating area.

Priorities for this build are:
  • Safety. We need our kiddo to be safe and comfortable, with enough room to wriggle around a bit. This is mostly covered with the crew-van, but goes into all of our decisions, from temperature management to construction materials.
  • more water! we carried 14 gallons before, and we'd like a bit more. I'm planning on a 30 gallon wheel-well tank.
  • Hot water! washing dishes with cold water isn't super fun, and neither is bathing with cold water. We'll be installing a hydronic system with isotemp heater. We're planning to install the sink faucet near the door, so we can swing it out and shower with that.
  • Functional garage. We previously fit two bikes, two roller-bags, a 7 gallon tank, inflatable paddleboard, and a bit more in the garage. This time, we'll be looking to store two bikes, a stroller, and a few camp chairs. Water and electronics will be back there as well.
  • Workable kitchen. The previous van had a lot of counterspace. We won't come close to matching it, but we're going to do our best to try. A drawer-mounted cooktop, sink with removable cutting board, and an extra foldout counter on the end will be the order of the day.
  • Off-grid friendly. We'll look to stay off-grid for 3-5 days at a time. This means enough food, water, and power to last that long.
  • Homey. This means the insides need to have good fit and finish and have a home aesthetic, more than the soft-bags-on-walls, rugged vibe. We're not super into the cabin-feel.

We're planning to build our cabinetry with 8020, and skin it with wood. Primarily, we'll have to build the galley, toilet cabinet, overhead cabinets, electronics, water, and hydronic heat mounting brackets. We'll be using thinsulate for the walls, and minicell / plywood / lonseal flooring. We'll probably try to use some thin plastic material ribbed with wood to hold in place - much like the last van (see pics below) - for the walls and ceiling. Planning to plumb with Uponor. Electronics are going to be mostly driven by Victron components.

We're a bit up in the air between propane and induction. We've purchased an induction cooktop at home, and have been monitoring its usage, building a spreadsheet of practical energy consumption. So far, its looking pretty good (even though I really don't enjoy cooking on induction). Mostly, I want an excuse to skip building the propane system.


Whew, that was a book. When the van arrives, I'll set up a build thread, but until then, here are some pics of the last van!

I've learned a ton from these forums, and enjoy the discussion here very much. Thanks for all of it.
Sky Plant Natural landscape Wood Agriculture

Sky Cloud Plant Vehicle Tree


Automotive design Motor vehicle Wood Automotive exterior Car seat cover

Kitchen sink Window Curtain Sink Tap
Furniture Property Cabinetry Building Wood
 

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It was very cool to read about your adventures in your first van as well as the excitement you and your growing family has for the new kit! Building it just as you want will be awesome -- but not half as awesome as the actual travels.

Keep us posted,
Cheers,
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We have like the same exact layout and I am going to steal your table idea :D
You’ll end up needing to either space the hinges off the door, or have hinges offset a bit. The shape of the door prevents putting a hinge at each corner. This makes a leverage point for the person sitting on the toilet box, but if you’re conscious it ends up being fine. We loved the setup - it allows a large table space, and is usable while the kitchen is in full use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It was very cool to read about your adventures in your first van as well as the excitement you and your growing family has for the new kit! Building it just as you want will be awesome -- but not half as awesome as the actual travels.

Keep us posted,
Cheers,
The adventure is the way. We’re so excited to show our kid the sights and the life we love (and to be present for them ourselves!).
 

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The adventure is the way. We’re so excited to show our kid the sights and the life we love (and to be present for them ourselves!).
I can say that ourselves (wife and I) and most everyone else we know who also shares your love for the outdoors and hobbies built around it -- had that love first fomented in their childhood. It'll be just as special for your kid as you guys :)

The adventure is the way indeed!
 

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Hi Neighbor! I'm in Eugene and building out a 2019 for a family of 4 using a passenger van as the base.

Good luck on your build!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Neighbor! I'm in Eugene and building out a 2019 for a family of 4 using a passenger van as the base.

Good luck on your build!
I’ll be eagerly looking for how you decide to bunk 4 folks. Even with three it’s felt like quite a puzzle!
 
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