Living

Living

Living

REQUIREMENTS

  • 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)

 


DISCLOSURE:

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click a product link and buy anything from the merchant, we will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not.

Portrait
Buying through our product links is the best way to say thanks if we were of any help for your conversion! Thanks for supporting us and for keeping this website alive ūüôā

 

Alternatively, you can visit our Say Thanks! page.


 

 

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.

 

ADDING WINDOWS OR NOT?

The wait is finally over: since April 2017, there are high-quality aftermarket windows available from C.R. Lawrence for the Ford Transit. This manufacturer has earned a very good reputation among DIY people and outfitters as well; they’ve been making windows for the Sprinter and other vans for a long time. So, windows or not?

PROS

  • Reduce¬†blind spot while driving (especially on passenger side)
  • Increase¬†ventilation
  • See the outside world while parked…

CONS

  • Windows are the worst for thermal insulation
  • Reduce storage capacity (especially on driver side)

The Ford Transit (medium & high-roof only) C.R. Lawrence window can be purchased from Amazon:

CRL Ford Transit Passenger Side
Passenger Side. Buy on Amazon.

CRL Ford Transit Driver Side
Driver Side. Buy on Amazon.

 

The Mercedes Sprinter windows are available as well on Amazon.com

 

BEDROOM AREA

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:

Traipsing About Adventure Sprinter Van
Traipsing About Adventure 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:

Sprinter Van Diaries bedside cabinets
Sprinter Van Diaries bedside cabinets

KITCHEN AREA

REFRIGERATOR

Three-Way (Propane/120V/12V)

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

Top loading is more energy efficient (there is less loss when opening the door), but we are not Tetris fans.

 

Engel MT80-U1 Top Loading Cooler
Engel 84 QT Top Loading Refrigerator (MT80-U1). Buy on Amazon.

Front Loading

A tiny-bit less efficient, but WAY more efficient to retrieve things from the fridge.

NovaKool 12V Refrigerator
NovaKool R5810 12V Refrigerator

 

RM2351L-Open
Dometic Americana 5 cubic feet 2-way (RM2551). Buy on eBay

 

RANGE

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.

Atwood and Suburban seems like well established brands.

Atwood Vision Range Piezo 17in
Atwood Vision Propane Range 17″ with Piezo Ignitor. Buy on Amazon.

 

Suburban 3206A Gas Range 17in
Suburban Propane range 17″ (3206A). Buy on Amazon.

 

Camp Chef also make one, except it is portable. This could be nice for picnics!

Camp Chef Outdoor Stove Oven
Camp Chef Outdoor Propane Oven. Buy on Amazon

 

WATER SYSTEM
PUMP

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.

Water Hand Pump
Water Hand Pump. Buy on Amazon

 

Water 12V Pump
Water 12V Pump. Buy on Amazon
ACCUMULATOR TANK

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.

Water Accumulator Tank
SHURflo 182-200 Pre-Pressurized Accumulator Tank. Buy on Amazon

 

SINK

We looked around and just fell in love with this sink. That will be it.

Dometic VA7306AC Sink
Dometic VA7306AC Sink. Buy on Amazon.

 

 

WATER HEATER

 

Eccotemp L5
Eccotemp L5. Buy on Amazon.

 

PROS

      • Cheap
      • Integrated to water system

CONS

      • Portability

 

RESSOURCES:

 

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.

Mr Heater BOSS XCW20
Mr Heater BOSS XCW20. Buy on Amazon

PROS

      • Stand-alone system
      • Very portable
      • Powerfull

CONS

      • More expensive
      • Not sure about spare parts avaibility

 

RESSOURCES:

 

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.

Isotemp Spa Water Heater
Isotemp Spa Water Heater

PROS

      • Hot water is available without delay
      • 750W (most units are 1500W and therefore require a more powerful inverter)
      • Polypropylene insulated

CONS

      • More expensive
      • Use 110V

 

RESSOURCES:

 

LIVING ROOM AREA

Toilet

We decided a toilet would make long-term travel MUCH enjoyable. The solutions we considered are:

Composting Toilet

We like the composting toilet a LOT. The idea that our poop will be turned into dirt is quite attractive.

Natures Head Composting Toilet
Nature’s Head Composting Toilet. Buy on Amazon.

 

PROS

      • No need to manage black water tank
      • Solid can be put in a bag and disposed in any dumpster (yes it is legal by law!)
      • No smell. That’s right! Since the liquid and solids are separated and because of the small exhaust fan, there is no smell!
      • To be emptied approximately every month (depending on how bad are your dumping habits)

CONS

      • More expensive
      • In winter, composting¬†action is reduced

 

RESSOURCES:

 

Porta Potti
Porty Potti RV toilet
Porta Potti. Buy on Amazon.

 

RESSOURCES:

 

Dometic Cassette Portable Toilet
Dometic Portable Toilet
Dometic Portable Toilet. Buy on Amazon.

RESSOURCES:

 

CARGO AREA

Wait for it!

 

OUTDOORING

Wait for it!

 

 

WANT MORE?

Check out our Build Journal, learn everything about The Van, read our VanLife Guides, or if you’re new to this start by reading Our Story.

 

 

STAY IN TOUCH!

Join 20,000+ followers via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Patreon or e-mail:

Instagram link

.

 

ABOUT US

Hello! We‚Äôre Isabelle and Antoine ūüôā In 2017 we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers and moved into our self built campervan. We‚Äôve been on the road since then and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we‚Äôre chasing our dreams and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

 

5 thoughts on “Living”

  1. Merci pour cette r√©ponse rapide, ca confirme pas mal ce que j’avais trouv√©. Aussi avec Verizon.

    Au Canada c’ est Bell qui produit l’√©quivalent.
    https://www.bell.ca/Mobilite/Produits/Novatel-Wireless-MiFi-7000?INT=MOB_mobdevpg_BTN_poplink_Mass_051016_mb_details

    et qui a des forfaits similaires:
    https://www.bell.ca/Mobilite/Forfaits/Forfaits-flexibles-cle-turbo-et-station-turbo

    I do post the info for canadiens or US fellows who’d want to come on this side of the border.

  2. Hi Guys (in english now)

    Again, more I read, more I get excited! Merci!

    You mentioned somewhere on your web site that you have unlimited internet access. It implies that you install a mobile device.

    Since I plan to study on the road, would you, either direct me on your website or make a quick post, expose what your system is all about, how it works (and also, is it working the way you imagine it, reliability-wise) and the way your system is connected to your electrical system. Feel free to add anything you judge useful.

    Cheers

    • Re-Salut!

      Puisqu’on voyage surtout aux USA, on fait affaire avec Verizon. On a pris un forfait cellulaire illimit√© (en fait il y’a certaines restrictions); le forfait s’appelle “Beyond Unlimited”. On a aussi achet√© un “MiFi”; c’est une petit bidule qui capte le r√©seau cellulaire (data) et cr√© un r√©seau sans fil (wifi, pareil √† un routeur sans fil) alors on peut connect√© le laptop dessus. Je ne veux pas trop entrer dans les d√©tails car les prix et conditions changent constamment. Juste googler: “Verizon Beyond Unlimited” et “Verizon mifi”.

      Si tu restes au Canada, il y’a surement l’√©quivalent. Mais malheureusement c’est beaucoup plus ch√®re au Canada…

      Voilà!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.