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Van Conversion: The List

Van Conversion: The List

Admittedly, Van Conversion: The List has most likely been done (mentally) but not officially. What makes it official is writing it down. You can make changes later to your list, nothing is set in stone. Also, when you make a list and then actually go to convert your van – you realize your van is not as large as you thought. I have these great ideas and then when I go to the van the next day I am, “oh…”. My mansion van quickly shrinks.

Van Conversion: The List

Step One

What is the lifestyle you are dreaming of? Capable of traveling with business cargo and be a living space, means I will have to give up some things. I won’t be able to fit that traveling shower and bathroom inside like other people have. Cooking inside isn’t reasonable. And having a built in bed structure won’t work. As much as possible, I desire a front to back clear traffic way for my pups.

Remember, our space is our own. What other people do or have doesn’t matter. Creating a list helps to stay focused.

Step Two

When I build my van, I think of the long term. Can I sell it? Maybe I want to upgrade later or do something different. As people are adding $30,000 in conversion costs – do you think a buyer will pay that much? Would they rather purchase a RV as compared to a van that has been converted or buy something that fits their vision? I look at not only wanting something – but can I explain it as an investment or that on paper it makes sense?

This in no way minimizes the value of van conversion.

Step Three

You have now thought about the lifestyle you want. What the use of the van is for. Whether you are going to be traveling for days, weeks, months, or even years. What is important to you and how much space you have. Of course, you probably have your van at this point. I selected a new cargo van for business and travel and being single, I pray the newness means that I will have less repair costs. Another person may find that an older van offers a certain vibe and they are proficient in converting it the way they desire.


I have evaluated how long I will be traveling and what is important to me. What I can’t do inside, I must be able to do outside – like cooking. If I cook outside, I still need room for cookware and a kitchen set up.

Here is what my Van Conversion: The List looks like. I will update this as I go along because it is ok to change my mind and fine tune it to perfection. My vision is a traveling condo, a very – very – minimalistic mobile condo. I have to fit two dogs and two elderly cats. We like to eat, explore, and have a great sleeping space and place to kick back and relax. A working space is ideal.

The List

  1. Garage: A storage area for stock, shelving.
  2. Sleep/Live: A living room by day and a sleeping area by night. I don’t mind pull outs or the work it takes to turn it into a bed. I can live with that.
  3. Kitchen: Space for culinary supplies and a slide out kitchen would be ideal. This space would have to be used constructively when not pulled out as a kitchen.
  4. Library: There is something about having a visual library that makes me happy and feel alive.
  5. Closet: This is one thing that some people will give up in order to have a bathroom/shower combo. I enjoy having a choice in apparel for different weather and want to have an official area designated for a closet.
  6. Pantry: I love to cook and I will need to have room for food storage.
  7. Toilet: I need a space for a composting toilet. This will most likely slide out from some other space.
  8. Throw rugs, pillows, and a plant. I want my mobile condo to feel like a home. I don’t like a lot of nick knacks but these I already have and can use while traveling.
  9. A space for a janitors closet. I need to be able to clean and have supplies on hand to accomplish this.

That’s all for right now for my van conversion step two. I reserve the right to change this list as I further my van build.

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