- The Ford Transit should be comfortable and be desirable to live-in for an extended period
- Stealth (not so RV-looking from outside, discrete)
- Dedicated cargo, sleep, kitchen and “living room” areas.
- Many, many storage compartments to keep things at their respective places.
- Stove, oven, running water & sink, refrigerator.
- Sport gear (mountain bikes, snowboards, etc) stored inside.
- No need to “winterize” (simple & accessible plumbing)
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COMPLETE INTERIOR LAYOUT
The entire layout was modeled through CAD software. This allowed us to optimized every cubic inch in the Ford Transit for optimal living space vs storage. It also served to make this whole project more “real” at a point where a LOT of time was spent thinking, reading, talking, but still no material (or Transit) was acquired! We didn’t want to “waste” time by building a 3D CAD model, but in the end we’re glad we did it because it forced us to fore think most of the details and push our layout design to a point were it could not have otherwise.
The complete 3D CAD model is accessible here.
We want our mountain bikes to be stored inside the van, so we already know our bed will be fixed above the cargo area. This arrangement is inspired by Traipsing About Sprinter Van:
To increase storage, we will use a 54″ wide double-size mattress bed. The van is approximately 65″ wide so that leave us about 10-12 inches for storage cabinet. We like the Sprinter Van Diaries layout:
Unfortunately, three-way refrigerators are not very efficient in DC mode and therefore drain a lot of battery. They also must be level to work. We will carry propane tank, but since we don’t want an external tank we will have to unplug it when driving. No-Go.
DC only (12V)
12V refrigerators using sealed compressor (Danfoss) are the most efficient and can operate up to 30 degrees angle. AC/DC option is often available as an option (the 120V option includes a built-in inverter, so the compressor is still using 12V), but since we don’t plan to be shored often we don’t see the advantage here; when shored our battery charger will keep our battery bank loaded.
Top loading is more energy efficient (there is less loss when opening the door), but we are not Tetris fans.
A tiny-bit less efficient, but WAY more efficient to retrieve things from the fridge.
Since we plan on having extended stays in the van, we decided an oven would make the trip more enjoyable. We first looked for separate oven / camping stove so we could take the camping stove away when not using it (for more counter space) or to bring it outside, but it seems that oven-only unit are not easy to find. So a range it will be.
Camp Chef also make one, except it is portable. This could be nice for picnics!
We hesitated between a hand pump or a 12V pump. The hand pump would fulfill the simplicity requirement; the 12V pump would be more convenient to use and allow us to have an exterior hose to clean the bikes. Both systems must be winterized, therefore an alternate solution must be find for sub-freezing temperatures.
An accumulator tank is not mandatory, since some 12V diaphragm pumps are built to reduce water pulse. However, many people reported that a accumulator tank will still improve the system by reducing pump cycling and smooth water faucet pulse. So it seems like a small investment for the benefit.
We looked around and just fell in love with this sink. That will be it.
- Integrated to water system
Mr Heater BOSS XCW20
Tankless propane water heater. Good reviews as well. We like it because it is a stand-alone system (it has it’s own water pump, integrated battery & it can hold a small propane tank, making it very portable) and it is quite powerfull.
- Stand-alone system
- Very portable
- More expensive
- Not sure about spare parts avaibility
Isotemp Water Heater
4 to 11 gallons tank 110V water heater. The idea here is that the water is heated while driving and will stay hot for many hours since the tank is insulated.
- Hot water is available without delay
- 750W (most units are 1500W and therefore require a more powerful inverter)
- Polypropylene insulated
- More expensive
- Use 110V
LIVING ROOM AREA
We decided a toilet would make long-term travel MUCH enjoyable. The solutions we considered are:
We like the composting toilet a LOT. The idea that our poop will be turned into dirt is quite attractive.
- No need to manage black water tank
- Poop is composted, can be disposed anywhere (well, kind of)
- No smell. That’s right! Since the liquid and solids are separated, there is no smell!
- To be emptied approximately every month (in optimal conditions)
- More expensive
- In winter, composting action is reduced
Dometic Cassette Portable Toilet
Wait for it!
Wait for it!