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Digital Nomad’s Cargo Van Conversion

This is a Cargo Van Conversion built by Ross Lukeman of Alternative Homes Today.


He has been living and working out of his converted van for the past year.

Please enjoy, learn more, and re-share below. Thanks!

Man Travels around US while Living/Working from Cargo Van Conversion

Digital Nomad's Cargo Van Conversion

Photo Credit: Ross Lukeman

Digital Nomad's Cargo Van Conversion

Digital Nomad's Cargo Van Conversion

Digital Nomad's Cargo Van Conversion


Digital Nomad's Cargo Van Conversion

Digital Nomad's Cargo Van Conversion

Digital Nomad's Cargo Van Conversion

Photo credit: Ross Lukeman

Video Tour: Digital Nomad’s Hybrid Live/Work Van Conversion

Learn How to Convert Your Own Van

Ross of Alternative Homes Today is showing you how to convert a van yourself. He has created a 15-module online video course called The Cargo Van Conversi0n Course. Learn more about it here.

Resources:

  1. YouTube
  2. Alternative Homes Today
  3. Instagram
  4. Cargo Van Conversion Course

Our big thanks to Ross Lukeman for sharing!

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!




{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Kyri Comyn July 21, 2017, 4:06 pm

    That’s the best van conversion I’ve ever seen. It really looks livable!

  • Kim July 21, 2017, 5:05 pm

    I sure would like to know if someone can tell me how to have A/C in a van. One to run while sleeping in hot weather that will not run the battery down. How would this be set up? Any ideas?

    • James D. July 22, 2017, 9:25 am

      Depends on your budget and how much space you’d need for other things…

      You can start by doing what you can to limit the need for AC… Properly insulated roof, possibly with heat reflective light color paint or other way to keep the heat off the roof can significantly keep the interior temperature from going up during the day.

      Some would argue that too much insulation may not be good because it can take as long for the interior to cool down as it does to heat up and insulation basically just slows the process… So depending on how you plan on living in the van and where can determine whether you insulate the rest of it or just the roof and floor…

      The floor insulation is because cold air can flow underneath during the winter and you’d want to buffer yourself from that…

      Typically, you can take advantage of the cooler nights and just use a good 12v RV fan, Fan-Tastic vent, etc.

      Small spaces are easier to heat and cool, so you won’t need as high a rated AC as you would with a bigger space, but if you think you really need an AC and the van AC isn’t good enough then it may be preferable to completely insulate the whole van…

      Other options, as long as you’re in a dry and hot climate, then a swamp cooler is another low powered solution… Basically just needs water and a fan… You can also modify a cooler with a water pump and run cool water through a tube over the fan to cool the air that way… Just add some ice to the cooler to boost the cooling if you need it… These just don’t work as well in humid climates and you’d have to watch out for moisture build up inside the van…

      While it is possible to set the van up with solar… You can get up to around 900 W on the roof… More if you have panels you can lay on the ground while camping… So with a good array of batteries you could run a AC for a few hours at least…

      Lithium Iron batteries will cost more but they are better for size, weight, and capacity than lead acid based batteries… Especially as you can usually only drain lead acid batteries up to 30%-50% of their rated capacity but you can drain a lithium battery down to 90%-100%…

      Though, there’s some Nano Carbon enhanced lead acid batteries available that increase the life of the batteries by up to 40% and allow safe draining to 80%-90%…

      Keep in mind the batteries will be the most expensive part of setting up a solar system and you’d have to consider also what it will take to take care of the batteries…

      Regular lead acid will give off gas and need maintenance… Lithium needs to be protected and can get too hot… Among other considerations…

      Alternatively, you can simply use a generator if you’re in a place that the noise won’t be a problem or if you can see about finding places where you can get grid-power…

      If you really need a stealth solution then a Box Truck or Step Van may be better solutions as they give you more space to work with but the conversion will require more work…

      Though, you could consider that a cargo trailer may also be stealth converted or you make a regular RV look like a commercial vehicle as another way to go at it…

      • Kim C July 23, 2017, 9:45 am

        Thanks for your help James. It almost sounds like I can’t make it work. I do need A/C without having to go the small RV route. I prefer to just have a van, it would be perfect for me, but I don’t think it will work for me. I didn’t want to have a generator as it defeats part of the purpose of a van, and sleep anywhere idea. Someone mentioned a remote start for your vehicle that starts and stops automatically at the temperature that it is set at. I have googled it, and can’t find that product. Thanks for your ideas.

        • James D. July 23, 2017, 10:21 am

          Kim C, there are small portable personal AC units… Could be enough if it’s just you…

          While there may not be a commercial product to set up for auto starting the Van’s AC, though there are products for generators… But you could wire a thermostat to a vehicle auto starter and just leave the AC turned on… The thermostat and auto starter, which would also be able to turn the engine off, would just turn the engine on and off as you need to keep the temperature in range…

          While it is possible to make a more advance system that’ll directly run a AC…

          Mind, as long as you’re not parked someplace with a lot of thermal mass… Like concrete… Then it can get much cooler at night… So a fan can usually be enough…

          You should check out some of the Van Dwellers channels on youtube… Most of them get by with pretty basic setups…

  • keepyourpower July 21, 2017, 7:39 pm

    Where do you bathe? Where do you poop/pee? Where do you cook? What do you use for all of these? Do you have a fridge?

    • James D. July 22, 2017, 9:02 am

      It’s a van, not everyone sets them up to be complete self contained homes… Keep in mind for many it’s just a means to obtain a lifestyle where they go out most of the time and basically live a nomadic lifestyle…

      So they tend to spend very little time actually in the van except when traveling and sleeping.

      This particular set up, has some propane and butane cookers he can pull out when he does want to eat in the van…

      The water supply he has is limited so he probably only uses it for basic cleaning… Many van dwellers usually use public restrooms and usually have something like a gym membership to a national company that lets them shower wherever they go…

      Others have rigged outdoor showers, among other solutions… Depending on where they plan to be keeping the van most of the time…

      He didn’t mention it but he may have some emergency solution in case he does need to go in the van… A small camping porta potti can usually be stored away somewhere, but if you’re camping outdoors in nature then there’s always the campsite solutions…

      This particular van doesn’t have a fridge but you could get your typical car and RV options… Or just a cooler if you usually eat out…

      Generally, the layouts are pretty basic… Also keep in mind that these are usually done with a limited budget. So not all of them are going to be as well developed and have everything you may expect from a RV…

      Though, there have been some who have managed pretty advance layout designs that pretty much has everything you’d expect from a Class B RV…

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