Make the dream reality
I had the thought to buy a van. Just a normal van, nothing special. I started to make some research and found a lot of very good looking, and damn expensive vans. Okay. Nothing for my wallet…
I told my dad about my dreams and thoughts. Like always, he surprised me with better ideas. Some days later I found myself at a car dealer. He showed me one and I thought: definitely not. I wanted a other van, older, cheaper and smaller!! Not that flagship.Just a van for me and my dogs: four wheels, two seats, two dog boxes and one bed. That was my definition of a mobile home. Oh I was so wrong…
Take your time and choose wisely
Don’t be to quick to buy a van. Take your time and choose a van that suits you. It should be a home in the end. A mobile sleeping room, kitchen and living room. A home on wheels if you want. Something where you feel comfy and where you also could stay for some days, if it’s raining like hell – or something.
I originally had the thought of buying and converting a van long time ago, taking it on the road to be free and not a care in the world but I never really went through with it. After three years with my two Alaskan Malamute Quebec and Kenai, I decided to do it now (summer 2016)!
I told my dad about my idea and we started to search. When it comes to deciding what you need, I think first and foremost the most important requirement when buying your van is to get something that is going to be reliable. I want to own this van for the next years.
Before you buy a van, you have to ask yourself some questions :
- size? For me it was important to stand up comfortably, but that the van isn’t „length 2/high2“. Furthermore I want to have enough room in the van to store all my stuff (and the dogs` stuff) and install some units. I also need two dog boxes in the back, so that the dogs are safe during the trips.
- age? I think it falls down to the make and model. It could be and older van, with low miles, but also a new van, with higher miles. For me it was important to buy a new model.
- price? The price is decisive. Don’t forget that you also need some money for converting your van!
Plan your van wisely
When your van is empty it looks like much place – but please plan wisely. The planning of your future van does take a lot of time!! I want a space that gives me the room to cook, eat, sleep, relax and of course for the dogs! As well as having storage for my clothing, equipment, cooking things, food and for all dog gear – and believe me – the dogs have more things on a journey with them as me…
First I planned the dog boxes and a bed above them. The dogs need some place, because when we’ll go on a longer trip, they need the space to stand up, turn around and to sleep. Further the boxes shouldn’t be to huge, because then the safety during the journey is gone.
I have willful planned the dog boxes in the back part. Once they can get into their boxes by the back doors and they haven’t go each time through the living area (paws everywhere!). Furthermore I also made a grille into the living area to have the chance and let them also into it. The reason was, if we ever have an accident and the back doors are not working, so I get the dogs outside through the living are.
The bed would be located above the dog boxes and should be for two people. Because of the rare space I have to make a bed to extendible from 90×200 cm into 140×200 cm. My dad showed me a perfect version.
It’s perfect to sit upright in the bed and as a bonus I can get in and out of both sides without compromise. Another beauty os installing the bed here is, depending on the weather, when I’m chilling on the bed, reading a book, I can open the back doors and have a perfect place to relax with the best views that are always changing.
Eat & Cook Area
It’s hard to believe but I have a great eat and cook are. The place where I installed the kitchen is just behind the drivers and co-drivers seat. It’s probably the most practical place to install all you need to cook. So the gas hob, running water and the independent vehicle heater is all together in one unit. There I also can storage the food, the cooking utensils, and much more…
Under the bed there is a extendible table leaf and two seats. It’s very comfortable and I really love this area.
Living in a van? Then plan some storage for your equipment. I could have been more, but it is enough. I have some storage in the kitchen unit, some in the seats and some storage for the dogs equipment next to the dog boxes. I have no experience if it is enough for all of us, but actually it is. Maybe I’ll buy a roof box for the van next year.
Make a start
There are different ways you can isolate a van. It’s important that you use a isolation, which don’t loose their density with vibrations. I decided to buy amaflex. But first I stick little black plates on each side of the van, to minimize the sound during driving.
Then we start to stick amaflex in every cavity we found. I didn’t count the days, but I’m sure it was more than four…
For the floor I decide to use a three-layer plate. Although this one is heavier than other floors, but it is durable and water-repellent. However, make sure that you know where you’ll have your water and gas station later. After we cut the holes in the floor, we stick the polystyrene and the plate into the van.
Do you miss windows? I did!
After the wooden walls were assembled and the lights installed, the interior of the van could be made comfortable: Get water tanks, test the parking heater, set up shelves, install a sink, get a mattress and much more.
Our first adventure w/ the van was in Sweden. If you are interested, you can find out more about our adventures on our second blog: www.wildstories.at