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Exploring Alternatives – Camper Van on a Budget

We built this simple stealth off grid camper van with a 2002 Ford E-150 cargo van. The conversion was pretty cheap and affordable, except for the solar power system we installed which cost around $1500. To make it even cheaper, we could have skipped the solar panels and hooked up the battery to charge off the van’s alternator.

We built a simple plywood platform bed with an adjustable backrest so that we could sit up and work, sit back and read, and lie flat for sleeping. This simple addition to the bed made our time in the van SO much more comfortable than it would have been with just a flat bed.

We use a butane camping stove, and a regular non-electric cooler for our “kitchen,” and we also have 2 x 10 L (2.5 Gallon) water just that we fill up every couple of days.

We used a cloth shoe rack and cut it into pieces to create soft storage all over the van so that we had easy access to things we needed every day. This helped us stay organized in a small space that otherwise would have gotten really messy, really fast. Well, it still did get messy but it was easier to clean up 🙂

We also installed a simple roof vent that’s plugged into the house battery which helped us control the temperature in the van. Especially when we had to leave it parked in the sun for several hours at a time. We could just leave it running and have it suck all the hot air out of the van, which helped keep it 10-20 degrees cooler than it was the first summer we had it.

We’ve had 3 great summers in this van and we absolutely love living and traveling in the van, even if it’s definitely not the most comfortable or practical way to live sometimes. Every little thing is a challenge in the van, like getting water, emptying the grey water bottle, finding places to park, etc. But it all becomes part of your daily routine after a while and then you start to appreciate the simplicity of taking care of your everyday needs. And it also makes you more aware of what you consume, and what you can life with/without.

We hope you enjoy touring our campervan and that it gives you some ideas of what you’d like to do (or not do!) with your own adventuremobile 🙂

Thanks for watching!

Mat & Danielle

  • First Name: Mat & Danielle
  • Van Type: Ford
  • Van Model: E-150 Cargo Van
  • Van Year: 2002
  • Youtube Link: Video Link