If you’ve been keeping up with Content over the past 5 years, you’ve seen a fare amount of DIY projects. Mostly interior design, house maintenance, construction and renovations.
In the coming year, we plan to take on a full, house renovation, but until then, John has a fun, side project he’s been itching to do - converting a van into a camper!
He’s been toying with the idea for YEARS. Our come-to-Jesus moment was one night, after dinner, last winter. I’d listened to the riveting banter of back-up battery systems, mobile kitchen components and maximizing storage potential, for as long as I could take. I snapped and said, “Just buy a van, already!”
In truth, I love the idea. Just not as deeply as John…
I visited a psychic recently who described John as not just a Jack-Of-All-Trades… But a Master-Of-All-Trades. I take this to mean, when he wants to do something, he really gets into it. Not just to do it, but to own and understand every, single detail. Researching late into the night, watching countless hours of YouTube videos, getting advice from anyone who will listen.
And then, suddenly, just doing it. As if he’s been doing it for 10 years.
The van idea has lots of potential in the scheme of life at Content.
For one, John and I are huge fans of camping and nature, in general. Often, when the full house is rented to vacationers, we use the exodus as an opportunity to go camping. During the summer, our camping destinations are typically less than 30 minutes from the house, but we enjoy the simplicity and minimalism of living in a tent.
In the off-season, we plan to use the van for our own travel, with our inaugural trip spanning 6-weeks on the wide open road. I’ll share our itinerary in a future post!
We also plan to rent the van to other would-be campers through Outdoorsy.com, which is the RV equivalent to Airbnb. Stay tuned for that!
But, before all that can happen, John has a lot of work to do. I usually try to take some sort of royalties, but this van conversion is John’s brainchild, and he deserves all the credit.
Without further ado, here she is. Our 2010 Ford Transit Connect XLT, in all her original, factory glory. Purchased from a used car lot in South Amboy, NJ for $5,000.
If you’re unfamiliar with the first generation Ford Transit Connect (2002-2013), they’re often owned/operated by tradesman (painters, carpenters, HVAC). They’re sporty enough for city driving, but have tremendous storage capabilities.
Our used Transit was previously owned by a painter and evidence of that is pretty much all over the interior.
In terms of a camper conversion, the features that attracted us to the Transit are:
petite, overall size
great gas mileage
high interior head clearance
passenger vehicle registration
low ground clearance
double sliding doors
dual back doors
Here’s a run down of our basic van > camper conversion plan:
General vehicle maintenance and service
New wiring and secondary battery for electronics while parked
Wood base for raised bed and storage underneath
Interior and exterior area lighting
Entertainment: Seating area, satellite radio
We can’t wait to share this new project, step-by-step! Do you think we’ve forgotten any upgrades? Do you think you could live in a camper van?
Share your thoughts below!