One of the first things I did to prepare for this trip was to buy a van to travel in and live out of. My van is a 2000 Ford Econoline conversion van. My van build has involved a good deal of customization and has given me a livable arrangement that is set up the way I want. I worked on 4 main projects during this van build.
Since I was planning to spend 9 months or 270 nights traveling, a bed was a big priority. This was the first thing I made for the van. The bed is made of 2×4 boards and Pine cross slats for sleeping on. The bed is big enough for 2 people to sleep on and also creates a ton of storage space below.
To save money on eating out, I wanted to be able to cook my own food. So i decided to install a kitchen. The kitchen is just a wooden box with a camp stove mounted inside. It is mounted on rollers so that it can slide out the back of the van for outdoor cooking.
I am traveling with my girlfriend so between us there is quite a bit of stuff that needs to fit in the van. In addition to under-bed storage I also built a large trunk and added numerous other storage spots around the van.
Solar Power System
The most challenging part of my van build was assembling a solar system to provide electrical power. When I started I knew nothing about solar panels, batteries, or how they fit together. But I knew that I wanted to document my trip and that meant finding a way to power my phone, cameras, and laptop.
My solar system includes (2) 100W solar panels connected to a pair of 6V lead acid batteries with 232ah capacity. It provides enough energy to charge all my devices along with lights and ventilation fan for those hot summer nights.