New Hampshire, United States of America
You have stumbled upon the coziest cabin in the woods! Or should I say cabin the city or maybe cabin on the beach or cabin in the mountain? You get my point, this is the cabin you have always dreamed of anywhere you want to be! For sale is a fully converted, 2017 Ram Promaster 2500 159WB. You will not find a van with this much coziness and love put into it. If you are a “woody” enthused, you know, like a Jeep Wagoneer, you will love the look of this van! I have been living in this for over a year now and it is time to downsize.
THE VAN: I purchased it November 2017 with 17,000 miles and now still only has 34,700 miles on it! But it rises everyday as it is my daily driver. But not much per day as my drive time to work and where I park is only a seven minute drive. I have gotten oil changes every ~3,000 miles since I have owned it. The breaks are still solid but the tires are starting to get a bit thin in the tread, but still a lot of life left in them. It did not come with a rear view camera, but I have installed one myself that works flawlessly. Other than that, I have made no alterations to the van itself. It drives like new and gets about 14.5mpg on average. I have gotten about 16mpg on a trip that was all highway miles. It is front wheel drive, and has trudged through epic snow storms among other rough weather conditions.
THE BUILD: My motivation to going into van life was not only the idea of making weekend trips to the mountains or wherever I wanted, but really I wanted to live minimally and more sustainably. So a huge portion of the build was done with that in mind. Much of the material used was recycled wood from pallets, cabinets and doors from Habitat for Humanity, wood from old projects and much more! Of course there is lots of new material used as well. But the amount of character and soul this van has is something that can only create great memories and epic journeys.
The walls and floor are fully insulated with 1” rigid foam for the all of the flat wall surfaces. In the nooks, crannies and odd spaces I used a wool and fiber glass blend. Over all insulation I used reflects. The wall paneling is the most pleasant site of the van. The boards all came from pallets which I sanded down, coated with a hazelnut oil and then a top coat of polyurethane. One thing to note is because of many of the odd shapes of recycled material, you will see that there are few straight lines. But the perfection in the imperfection is again, the character of a beautiful van. I survived quite well this past New Hampshire winter with just a tiny space heater. The door only has 1” rigid foam on it, as when I put more insulation on it, it stopped locking, so I removed most of the insulation from the sliding door.
The kitchen has a propane oven and stove top from Camp Chef. The countertop is made of copper, another restored material from an old planter that was in my parents house. I removed all rust, shined it up nice, and coated it with a high gloss epoxy created a solid water tight counter. The sink has a hand pump water faucet. A 10 gallon water tank and a 6 gallon grey water tank. Above the kitchen is a large cabinet that I used for dishes but can hold whatever.
Storage is not not a problem in this van! Because my intention was to live full time in this van and that I am an avid outdoor recreationalist, I needed storage for my gear and all of my life things! The cabinet next to the kitchen has bungee cords to keep things secure, and the bottom half of that cabiet has a pretty door which opens to a large compartment which I used a milk crate to store things. But under that is a trap door which goes down almost 3 feet to what could be used as an additional closet or dirty laundry or whatever you would like! Under the bench there is tons of space to put things, all of the seats come up. Under the bed exposed to the living area are two large compartments which I used for clothing storage and wooden crates. You can fit two crates deep in both of them; the left compartment is slightly larger and can hold more. If you open the back doors you will find under the bed is the “garage.” I am able to fit two skis in the dedicated ski slot, but could fit more if you wanted. Check out the picture with all of my gear pulled out. The floors of the garage are lined with rubber mats to make sure melted snow or water from my wetsuit didn’t soak into the wood floor.
The bedroom has a 6” foam mattress. I am 5’10” and can spread out completely across the bed. If I point my toes, I do touch the walls. The entire bed is 6’ long and 4’8” wide. Over the bed on the left is some small cabinets. These cabinets are sturdy but with no doors on them, items can fall out if they are not low enough in the cabinet. I built the wall to separate the “garage” and living area for a few reasons. One, during the New England summers it can get very hot, and very buggy, this was my first issue to try and counter. Upon further thought, I knew the back doors were going to be a large heat escape during winter. So it became a no brainier, build the wall with a window so I could leave the back doors open and get fresh air at night. After installing the wall an amazing surprise happened! When turning on the ceiling vent and keeping the back doors open pulled air in through the window and across the bed. This created an amazing breeze for hot and humid summers that runs across your body when you are sleeping. So much of a breeze that you needed a blanket even on the hottest nights. An awesome unplanned perk of the wall and window.
Electricity was also a necessary part of this build. To power the living space I use two Renogy 100watt solar panels that run into a solar charger. I then have a fuse box to power the lights over the kitchen, the ceiling fan vent, and a 12v USB/cigarette charger. There are two 100amp hour AGM batteries and a 2000watt inverter for AC that runs to a power strip on the side of the benches. The lights above the bed are AC and connect to the power strip. The inverted has an on/off switch which is next to the light switch and USB charger. The solar charger has a % gage to tell you how much power is left in the batteries. I have never run them under 35% as I know that deep cycle batteries should not go that low. The batteries have an isolator switch incase you ever want to disconnect them from the solar charger. They are not connect to the vans alternator.
The bad things about this van do not take away from the functionality of the living space and drivability of the van itself. They are purely aesthetic issues. When I first built the van, I installed a very little wood stove. To do this I needed to put a hole in the sliding door for air intake and then a hole for the chimney out the roof. The woodstove was a really awesome thing to sit next to and warm up by, but turned out to be a little impractical as the fire would burn out quickly and by 3am the van would be very cold again. So I opted to remove it to make additional seating and some money. So, as you can see in the last two pictures, I had to patch the holes. They are completely sealed and water tight. I have had no issues of leaks during the entire wet and snowy winter. Like I said, it is purely an aesthetic issue. The other bad, which turned out to be a pretty cool thing, was I took a turn a little two sharp and scraped the bottom edge of the passenger side of the van. This ripped some of the plastic panels off the side of the van and put small dent in it. So rather than try and patch the plastic, I decided to make the van into a woody! I used really nice oak which I cut to size and coated a few times with outdoor use polyurethane. Amazingly, when attaching the wood, this pulled the majority of the dents out. To assure you that there is no need to worry about screws leaking water, I used a silicone based glue around each predrilled hole and again on the screws themselves so they would seal immediately. And you will see more of this glue around the edges of the wood to make sure water doesn’t get behind it.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions! I am sure I missed some things! This van is located in New Hampshire, about 1.25 hours from Boston. I am willing to work out a plan to drive across country to deliver it if so desired! Please give me an offer, I am also open to partial cash and vehicle trades.