AS I EXPLAINED IN MY PREVIOUS POST Cargo Van Conversion V2.0, BEFORE CONVERTING A NEW VAN, WE CAN REVISIT OUR EXPECTATIONS AND BUILD ON OUR ACQUIRED EXPERIENCES DURING OUR FIRST VAN CONVERSION.
Define Van Use
Intended use may take precedent over other uses. With solar panels on the roof, a roof-top kayak is out-of-the-question. Some uses like a private shower, require a medium-or full-height van and thus rule out the standard low-roof models. We first have to prepare a list of desired features and determine what can be included in the design of the new cargo van. When these requirements are set, their impact on the specifications of the new van will narrow the selection of available models.
Long desired to reduce use of the van, both at home and on trips, battery technology is still in a state of flux with new technologies quickly replacing old. The electric feature would work well with the solar panels on the van.
As it can be added on a rear-rack, it has no real impact on the van model, but adjustment of the solar specs should be explored.
A bike can easily be included on a rear-mounted bike rack, but would, of course, exclude a possible scooter/moped. The outside rack would also impact the ‘stealth’ properties of the van and is something I would like to avoid.
Recently I found some interesting pic’s of a van conversion that moved the bike(s) inside, by raising the bed. Not a real option in the low roof van models, but it doubles the use of the same floor space in the extended roof vans and creates a great amount of floor space for batteries, water tanks and alike.
As I intend to primarily make extended trips with the van, the inclusion of a kayak would be phenomenal. As rooftop installation is not an option with solar panels, either a short kayak i.e. 10” length, could be fitted inside, partially under a raised bed and extended behind a row of cabinets. Another option is a standard length 14’/15′ foldable kayak, that could do the job. Not every trip would involve paddling, but in the end it is all about price or comfort.
Many of my trip destinations will end up as hiking or backpacking trips. The only impact that has on the type of van, would be considerations such as 4WD (n/a in most models), diesel (only if you expect to pull a trailer) and front/rear wheel drive. I expect to explore somewhat remote locations, that may require high clearance or 4WD.
To prepare for these trips, I already started and will continually add to the descriptions of these planned trips on the Pet-Friendly Destinations pages. They include directions, trail descriptions, photos and maps to some of the lesser known places that make America The Beautiful.
My Retriever mix will always hang out with me and some adjustments to the interior have to be made with regard to his safety while driving and his sleeping arrangements.
The van conversion should offer a level of comfort that excludes cold (built-in heater) & humidity (insulation) and includes regular use of perishable foods (fridge) & use of a toilet & perhaps shower and the use of an appropriate amount of electronics gadgets, such as laptops, tablets, phones and TV.
Self-Sufficient and Independent
Energy independence plus the ability to store food and water for prolonged periods of time are at the top of my wish list. Electrical use can be covered by solar and supplemented by propane. Storage of perishable food products in a fridge and sufficient water tanks to store drinking water.
Daily Van Use
Despite the planned extended use of the van for long trips around the country, I will end up using the vehicle for many months out of the year for personal use at home. Preference would then be that the interior, or large part of it, could be removed for better fuel efficiency and greater ability to use its payload space. Removable cabinet units should be explored.
Any of these issues may have an impact on the type of vehicle that will be most suitable to purchase. For example, a low roof model would fit in a regular garage, a medium-or high roof model would accommodate a shower.