Camper Van Motivators and Possibilities

Why might one consider purchasing a van as a recreational camper or even to live in? Reasons are divers and numerous, with all of them increasingly influencing van purchases.
  1. Imagine losing your job, with no where to go and being unable to afford rent. People live in their cars; living in a van is a big step up from that–full bed, gas stove, toilet, ample storage…. Not having to pay rent gives one a chance.
  2. Imagine being a photographer or journalist, or having a job requiring frequent travel with an income that’s insufficient to justify paying $100 a night for hotels.
  3. Imagine having children and grandchildren scattered about the country. You’re retired and want to keep visiting them all, while still having a little privacy while staying with them.
  4. Imagine wishing to camp periodically, but still having a vehicle for hauling things sometimes. You don’t want to drive a dedicated camper to work or having one always parked in front of your house, and a pickup truck seems to you less versatile than a van.
  5. Maybe your spouse passed away, and you need a year or two on the road to process it.
  6. Maybe you’re a young couple not wishing to raise a family, or an older person with no family or close friends, or a nomad with wanderlust seeking a hedonistic lifestyle.

Reasons for wanting to purchase a van abound! (At least I’m trying to convince my wife to let me buy one!)

Now for details to consider.
  • Get a 4×4, for winter capabilities, ideally. AWD isn’t as able in deep snow, but maybe it is sufficient, as FWD also might be.
  • Go stealth, not looking like a camper. Aiding this, perhaps the 5’5″ interior height of the Dodge Promaster is sufficient, especially if one mainly just sits and lies down in it.
    • We plan to camp only occasionally. For stealth camping, it needs to blend in.
    • Windows aren’t needed; it’s mainly just a place to sleep, not a home.
      • Install cameras for outside visibility.
    • Sunlight comes from ceiling vents.
    • Hook-ups and a drain are under the van.
  • Versatility: don’t panel or finish it, so it can serve for hauling, e.g., motorcycles.
    • Get 136″ or 144″ wheel base, for easily maneuvering in town.
    • Not having paneling reduces fire hazards, water damage, and insect or mice infestation.
    • Keep the accessories portable: shower, toilet, refrigerator, stove….
    • Perhaps rubber padding used in cargo vans, preventing tools from denting the metal sides, could be sufficient for insulation and soundproofing.
      • The refrigerator could simply be a quality cooler, keeping ice for up to five days.
      • Use a portable 3.2 gallon Stepford toilet. Detaching the tank is simple and clean.
        • Keep a shovel, for emptying it while boon-dock camping.
      • Use a circular bucket to step into, with a circular shower curtain, with water coming from the sink hose, for a shower. The same can be used outside, with the back doors used for more privacy. A Planet Fitness membership or truck stops also have showers.
      • The stove could be propane or convection or microwave or crock-pot.
      • Have a portable heater. Use a ceiling vent-fan for A/C.
    • Have brackets installed, as utility vans have, for adaptability.
    • Storage containers (shelves and cupboards) are from IKEA or those used for utility vans.
  • Have a queen size bed that raised to the ceiling. It rests at several feet above the floor, for storage accessible from the back doors.
  • Use LED lights, with all appliances at 12-volt, so a converter isn’t needed. Have two flexible solar panels attached to the roof, and a portable one to use in the sun while the van is parked in the shade. The three ACM batteries and their components are left permanently in the van. The van’s alternator also can charge the batteries, along with the solar panels.
  • Efficiency:
    • Have a box over the stove and sink, to double as a counter.
    • A box/seat covers the toilet, for sitting.
  • Use two five gallon tanks at the rear of the van, with easy-hose hook-ups, for clean and grey water.
    • Have a 12-V water pump.
    • Have a hose in the back, for showering and cleaning.
    • Have a water purifier, just for drinking.
    • Use a water recycle system, for showering?
    • Keep a water purifying bucket for getting water from a stream.
  • A daybed faces the side door, for a couch and guest bed. If more passenger seating, with seat-belts, is needed, have a permanent double seat facing forward.
  • The passenger seat swivels to the kitchen (unless the cab should be separate for keeping the back cooler/warmer).
  • For downsized living, along with the van, have a shipping container house on a few acres and keep a boat house.
I got most of my ideas fromthis YouTube playlist I assembled:

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