Van Conversion Update: 1 Year in the Making

Van Conversion Update: 1 Year in the Making

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This month we’re celebrating the first anniversary of our second van conversion. Knowing our first van took about 1½ year to build in total, this means we should be almost done on this actual build, right? Let’s make a recap of what we achieved during the past year, and where we’re heading!

1- A new start

So back in 2015 we decided to build a van, sell our house, quit our job, and hit the road full time. We spent over 4 years riding our mountain bikes and chasing the snow in the US, Canada and Mexico. Best time of our lives!


But we’re up for new challenges, so we decided to take a pause from Vanlife and start a new build.

1.1- A new van

With broken supply chains and extremely high demand, finding a van was mission impossible back in November 2021. So as we were going across Canada from Quebec to British Columbia, we reached out to dealers on our way until we struck gold: someone backed out of his order in Calgary and the van was now available! 2 days later we got to Calgary and drove back to BC with two vans 😅

Happy new owners!

1.2- A new home

Squamish has this huge gravitational pull on us. We always end up back there when we want to have fun, or when shit hit the fan. I guess this is what you call home? The problem is, it’s probably as hard to find a place in Squamish than it is hard to find a van… But we’ve got good karma and found a place with parking spots for our Transit fleet (😆) and some garage space to establish our “workshop”:

Nope, the vans don’t fit inside 🙁

2- The right tools for the job

During our first conversion, we only used basic tools: a drill, circular saw, a jigsaw, and a few other things. In the end we managed to get a good end result, but man, the build process was very challenging. One of our most important lesson that we learned is that for our next build, we would get the right tools for the job. To save time, frustration, and enjoy the build process more.

Our glorious workspace during our first build…

Well, here we are about to start our “next build”, a bit more experienced and hopefully a bit smarter (?). So before getting anything done, we had to start gathering some tools:

3- Getting things done!

We got the van, we got the tools, it was time to get things done! Below are the things we worked on, and the pages that were updated accordingly in our Build Journal:

4- Catching up with family and friends

Meanwhile, being sedentary with a guest room means we can finally invite our family and friends to the other coast! We certainly took advantage of that during the summer 🙂

5- Enjoying our backyard and learning new things

Mountain biking is what drew us here, but turns out there is no shortage of other things to do! I’ve been biking and snowboarding “my whole life”, but got introduced to snowmobiling and trial moto during the last year. It’s nice to start an activity from scratch and be a beginner at something again! So much progression in so little time!

6- 1 year van build progress -big reveal-

And we’re finally here: the BIG REVEAL! One year of van build progress, are you ready? Here we go!

7- 1 year of procrastination

Alright, we haven’t made much progress in the last few months. Here are a few excuses we came up with:

7.1. Living in a world-class destination

This first-world problem has two implications:

  • There is always something exciting to do out here. It’s hard to focus when your dream playground is just 5 minutes away. There is always an opportunity to do something special: mountain bike, moto, hike, ski, sled…
  • There is always someone in town visiting. Whether it’s close friends, ex co-workers, or more distant connections, there is ALWAYS someone in town for mountain biking or skiing. It’s hard not to join them and share our insights on the best riding around here.

7.2. No deadlines

For our first build, we had enormous pressure to complete the conversion. Our house was sold, we quitted our jobs: we HAD to complete the van QUICK. This time, we don’t have this pressure above us.

8- Monthly Updates

We had a good time, but it’s time to get back on track! We’ll start posting monthly updates, to monitor our progress and to add some pressure to move forward 🙂 Stay tuned!

9- Next Month Priorities

  1. Revise and update our Electrical System Guide page.
    • It’s been a while, we’re due for an update!
  2. Test nut inserts (cross nut, rivet nut, etc.) in different conditions (oversized hole, washer, adhesive) and share findings to prevent “spinners”.
    • Lurking on forums, I realized people still struggle a lot with this.
    • Already started with mapping and categorizing unthreaded/threaded holes:
  3. Isabelle is going to visit her family back home for 3 weeks, so realistically we won’t do much work on the van this month. But I’ll take this opportunity to work on the website.

– Thanks for reading! –

See you next month for the November 2022 update.

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About us



Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017, we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers, and moved into our self-built campervan. Every day is an opportunity for a new adventure... We’re chasing our dreams, and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

Heads Up: Exclusive Deals!

Thanks to all of you, we managed to negociate group discount on these. Strength in numbers!

3 thoughts on “Van Conversion Update: 1 Year in the Making”

  1. So funny.

    I said in 2019 I would send you picts of our build in 6 months, but never did, cuz so slow, so little progress. We are now done (the pandemic), will try to send something.

    So you renting or buying a place there? And are you working, in the normal sense of the word. (my wife, Rachel’s, question).

    We have “advanced” to gravel bikes this fall. So we are more close to your biking. But it seems we need to teach you a few things about XC skiing…




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