5 Things You Need to Know Before Renovating Your Own Survival Camper Van

camper van 1


Thanks to the times that we live in, more people than ever are looking for a way to live cheaply, find nature, and be able to bug out in a hurry if the need arises. Renovation of old buses and vans has become a popular choice, but what do you look for, and what should you know?

Don’t put yourself into debt on a money pit when you’re trying to save money. Know what must-haves are essential to make your renovation a total success. Today, we’ll show you some ideas to put your renovation to the practicality test. Hop on board!


What You Need to Know About Living in a Camper Van

Living in a camper van, even for a short time, can be challenging. Not everyone can handle living in such a tiny space, even for a weekend. The first thing you probably do is spend a short vacation in a rental. Campervan rentals in Los Angeles have become quite popular, so reserve yours early.

Spending some time in a camper van is the best way to become acquainted with all the nuances of life in a tiny space. Let’s talk about some of the things that you need to know before you build your camper van.


Knowledge Tidbit #1

You won’t have room for a shower or a toilet. Figuring out how to handle your toileting needs is an issue that can be major. We all need to have a way to pee, no matter where we are.

One way that you can deal with this is to have a portapotty that will slide underneath your bed area so that it is out of the way.

For bathing, you can use a rechargeable camp shower or opt for a simple bucket system. Some vans utilize the open doors as a place to have an outdoor shower area. Using the space created by the opened rear doors will allow you to stand straight up too, which you likely can’t do inside your van.

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Knowledge Tidbit #2

Space is a premium, so you’ll want to use every single nook and cranny of your van. Shelves with drawers are a fantastic idea. Just don’t forget to have a way to lock or secure things on shelves for the times when the van is moving down the road.

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The area under your bed can have slide-out drawers accessible from outside. Designing the bed platform to lift will also allow access to that space from inside as well. Stow your clothes, camping gear, and things you won’t use daily under the bed.

Use the roof space for things that you’ll only use seasonally, or for the large items like kayaks. If you plan to live in your camper van, then you’ll want to get rid of all but the most precious necessities. Work on making a list of things that includes only the items necessary for your survival.


Knowledge Tidbit #3 

Wet wipes are a staple. You’ll never have enough of these so pack plenty, buy them on sale and you’ll be glad you did. They serve as wipes for counters, spills, and hand bathing when you are between stops and have nowhere to take a shower out the back door.

They can clean your dash, dust your furniture, clean your stove top and so much more. Hit a dollar store and buy baby wipes for your personal needs and some with bleach for cleaning. Don’t confuse them. They will save you in those times that you don’t have water, which brings us to the next tidbit of knowledge.


Knowledge Tidbit #4 

Find a way to store water. You can get very creative, but one of the best ways that I’ve seen is to utilize part of the compartment under the bed to install a water tank just like you’d find in a camper or RV. Add an outlet through the side of your van, and you’ll be able to fill this tank with a hose at any campground with water hookup.

Many gas stations that cater to campers will have free water you can use. Pilot and Love Travel Stops will all have water for free at the pump island. You can fill your tank, and this will give you cleaning water, cooking water, and drinking water at all times. Buying and storing bottles of water is a real pain. You’ll find that the excess trash is an inconvenience too.

The plastic wasted in buying bottled water is also a bummer for the environment. Using your water tank is a much better choice in the long run if you expect to spend a lot of time in your camper van.


Knowledge Tidbit #5

When it is cold, your floor will be bitterly cold in the winter months unless you insulate it during your build. Insulate the walls and floors with the best insulation that you can afford. There is less road noise when you do this, which is a plus as well.


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For heat, you can install a small woodburning stove made for boats if you install a pipe to vent it. Some people don’t want to cut a hole for the installation of a permanent stove pipe, which is understandable. In this case, you may choose a small propane heater, but they can create a lot of condensation.

When you insulate well, you will avoid some of this condensation from propane, but inevitably it will form when the temperatures outside are bitterly cold. A vented propane heater will require a hole in the side of your van, but there will be no smokestack poking out from your roof.



In Conclusion

There are many details to think about, but these details we have pointed out are often forgotten abou in the planning states. Some people don’t think about insulation at all, and it can be life-threatening in a cold climate if you’ve got to survive in your van.

Think about the small details before you begin a major build. Knowing where you’ll store food is a big deal if you plan on bugging out for weeks, for example. Don’t get so caught up in the big picture that you forget these smaller details which, as it turns out, are also pretty big issues.

Guest post by Gae Gabor

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