There is no such thing as a flat wall in a van build. Most vehicles have
stamped panelling that tapers, curves and kinks, making it difficult to
design furniture and systems to fit. Also, the thin sheet metal
makes it difficult to affix wall treatment and fixtures.
If you want to renovate a 35-year old RV, it’s best to
let it sit behind the house for five or six months to make sure you really want
Originally we wanted to buy a late model work van, specifically a Dodge
Promaster, as is the trend. It would be a blank
slate of sheet metal with few windows for one to apply megawatts of solar, a bathroom and his and
her’s iMacs and live out the #vanlife fantasy. Just kidding.
“Van Life” fits so easily into the wide genre of aspirational media to arrive
online in the last decade. It combines our institutional dissatisfaction with our current
situation with the American love of gear, and if this bro with dreads and
a chestpiece can do it, so can we.
But our plan is more humble—to build a practical base for camping, canoe trips
and possibly a temporary home for us when we move out for some
planned renovations. We don’t plan on living in it full time. So when our vintage
Chevy showed up on Kijiji we did some math. We figured it would save us a lot
of money up front, probably cost a bit more in maintenance in the long run, but
for the amount we’d use it, it would be worth it.