DIY Camper Van with Indoor Shower & 100% Solar (no propane) – Van Life Tour


>>MAT: Hey everyone! In this video, we’re gonna give you a tour of this awesome DIY camper van with some pretty unique features, including an indoor hot water shower. It was built by a young couple in just two months and a half. They’ve since moved into the van and traveling all the way down to Central America. In this video, they’re going to give us a full tour. They’ll also go over the challenges of the building process and they’re also going to talk about their budget for building the van. So let’s go meet up with them. This video is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. We’ll give you more information at the end, plus a link to a free trial. [Music Playing]>>MARJOLAINE: We decided to build the whole thing ourselves and not having any experience really. We decided we’d give it a shot. And so far, we’re pretty happy with the way it turned out.>>ALEX: It turned out a bit better than we thought! You don’t really know what you’re getting into once you start building and thought it would look a lot worse, but after two and a half months of work put into it, I think it it turned out pretty great. We’re both really happy about the results. So we got our van about two and a half months ago. We started doing the build as soon as we got it. We both work full-time. So we do it mostly at night and on weekends. We have two weeks left of van building. We have a few things left to do mainly the electrical systems. It’s not 100% yet! We really went all out, I think on the design of the van. We really wanted to incorporate a lot of things that a regular house has, so we have the shower. We have a full electrical system. We can cook. We’ve got full plumbing, great water system, all that kind of stuff in here. So we’ve got the bulk of our plumbing underneath here. So we’ll move the table around, open these guys. We got the 30 gallon freshwater tank out in the back and we just fill it through this pipe right here through in the back, just like a gravity feed. And then we’ve got the hot water tank. It runs on 120 volt system instead of the 12 volt. Then we got Shurflo water pump right there with a little pressure vessel and a little filter down there. This kind of feeds everything. There’s a line that runs to the sink here and another one that goes underneath of my feet here, under all this stuff and then back up in the shower over there.>>MARJOLAINE: I’ll show you our kitchen. We’ve got an electric 12 volt fridge here. It’s a Dometic DC 400. We’ve got the little lock on the side there to close it so it doesn’t open when were driving. We’ve got a little storage room with our electric induction stovetop there that we can take out and we’ve got some plugs on the side right there for that. So we’ve got the sink here with a seven gallon grey water tank that we really wanted to put in here so that we can use it four seasons. We’ve got this bigger gray water tank under the van that Alex will talk about later, that isn’t four seasons because we didn’t insulate it and then we’ve got our fresh water that comes from over there. Here, we’ve got some more storage. We’ve got a pretty big closet that we put a pole there to hang some clothes that we don’t want wrinkled because we won’t be ironing anything. I also got a little hand vacuum. I got another pretty big drawer in here and everything electrical is in here and in here. So over here we’ve got our dining table and the pole underneath we can take it off and that will become our bed. We don’t have our mattresses yet, but they will come down and then make a queen-size bed. So we decided to get our van with wraparound windows. We really wanted a 360 view, it’s almost 360. We also were able to get them with little latches that push them they open so it’s really good for air circulation with our fan in the ceiling, I think we’ll be able to cook and for the heat, it’ll be great in the summer. We also got these really great screen doors in the back here. We got them from Amazon. Somehow the back ones fits great. It’s just for regular patio doors. So I’ll show you guys the shower. So we fit our portable toilet right in there and then we’ve got a little shower over there. So we put the drain on the right side here. It’s right under the toilet. We think we’ll be able to shower with the toilet in but if we want more room then we can just take it out.>>ALEX: We have a four gallon hot water tank out in the back there and all the plumbing goes underneath and comes up here. We’ve got a gray water tank underneath. It’s just mounted by the gas tank underneath and all the plumbing just goes right down there. We got a little shelf there to put some soap and what not. We got this Thetford toilet. Let’s just say, it’s kind of like a little porta potty. The cassette toilet, they call it. You just do your business. It’s got the fresh water on the top and it’s got like a little black water on the bottom. You just take the cassette out and you can go dump it in an authorized dumping site. [Music Playing] We have one solar panel mounted. It’s a 270 watt panel. We got a second one that’s going to go in the back. And after that, we’ve got our battery bank all underneath here. We can open this as a fake drawer, just that we can have access to everything and in there we have two AGM batteries. They are 250 amp hours each and we hope we have enough power with that. It’s a bit bigger than most systems we see but main reason why we wanted so much battery power is that we didn’t want propane at all. It’s somewhat sketched us out a little bit to have propane in such a small space. So even the cooktop, we have an induction cooktop that runs on the on 120. So in our van we have two electrical systems. We’ve got the 12 volt and 110 or 120. So you can see it a bit with the plugs. We’ve got the standard house plugs that you can kind of see somewhere around here. And then we’ve also got kind of a unique feature. We have the electric hot water heater and that also runs on the 120. It does take up a lot of power, which means we had to spend a lot of money on electrical. We have a big power inverter and then you can kind of see the 12-volt stuff sort of runs like the little water pump. It runs USB outlets that we have. All the lights, the fridge, the fan again on 12 volts. On the other side, we’ve just got a bunch of storage here. But right now it’s all our tools because again we are not done our build. We’ve got about two weeks left. But eventually, this will be bedding and clothes and stuff like that, that we will hide in here. Underneath here, this is just extra storage. We sort of lifted the bottom table to put some long stuff. Because most of the storage is already kind of used. There’s nowhere to put any long things. So we wanted to add a table that we can bring out on the beach and some chairs and stuff like that. So we’ve just got a little latch here. And there’s another one in the back as well and we can just slide anything long and that’s a full six and a half foot storage spot for stuff like that. So we have two insulations: foam board on the ceiling and foam board on the floor and then all the wall cavities are with Roxul Comfortbatt insulation. We have a reflectix vapor barrier, which also I mean it’s good for the sun and it also is a good vapor barrier, if it’s all installed properly and taped up. So we have that on top of that and then a bunch of furring strips to have air gaps and stuff that they recommend.>>MARJOLAINE: So, we tried to get as much storage in the van as we could. We were able to put five overhead storage areas. We’ve got these hydraulic cylinders that are really great because we don’t have to hold them up. We don’t know what everything’s gonna hold yet, but a couple of them are obviously gonna be a pantry and then probably some pots and pans. We also have the pot lights that we went a little overboard with. We’ve got a lot of them but we thought a lot of lighting was important. We got all of the ones underneath and then we’ve got these that dim and we’ve got two more there. Only thing we missed is the shower, but I guess I will be taking showers in the dark. So for the cost for the build well, there’s the van itself. We ordered it. It’s a 2018 Ford Transit like we mentioned. So we did get it financed. For us, it was the best option. We got really low monthly payments and then we were able to save up money to be on the road for a year. Down to the cost for the conversion itself I guess, we calculated $12,000 CAD. So that’s for everything: electrical, the solar panels,>>ALEX: plumbing, everything. We had budgeted $15,000 CAD for the conversion, kind of a guess that we took. So we’re almost done now. We’re at $12,000 Canadian dollars. The main thing is the electrical system because we didn’t want any propane. We had to spend a lot more money in batteries. So we spent close to $4,000 CAD just in electrical. So $12,000 CAD is just material and equipment and stuff like that. [Music Playing]>>MARJOLAINE: We’re taking a year. We plan on driving down to Panama. That’s as far as you can go without shipping your car.>>ALEX: So we don’t really have a game plan exactly; where we’re gonna be, which month, and how long we spend in every country but the main thing is just head south as quick as we can and then we’ll just take it from there and spend a few months and meet people and find things to do and go from there.>>MARJOLAINE: So we saved up enough we think to live for a year on the road and keep up our van payments. We don’t know what we’re gonna do with the van after. We would love to keep it, depends where we end up, what we’re doing, if we can afford to keep it. We would love to. [Music Playing]>>ALEX: So I think, the most challenging part about building a van is you see all these photos everything looks beautiful and it all looks easy but then once you start, you realize that there’s a lot of crooked corners and like weird areas that you have no idea how to get a piece of wood around it or something like that.>>MARJOLAINE: You can’t level anything for one because it’s a van.>>ALEX: Used to building with a level but you pretty much have to take your level, throw it in the trash and go from there. Because getting things straight, you don’t know what to measure off of, what to be square off of; and you just gotta take guesses and go off one piece and see where it ends up. Sometimes you make mistakes and either start over or you look at yourself and say well that’s good enough and we’ll accept that one. If you want to try and build a van yourself, do a lot of research before.>>MARJOLAINE: But also just do it.>>ALEX: That’s a good one. Just get started! You don’t need to have it all figured out on day one.>>MARJOLAINE: Because you won’t. Even if you think you do but you don’t.>>ALEX: There’s so many things that are just unknown and you just figure it out once you get there. And I think if you want to do it, it’s a lot of hard work but it’s very rewarding once you’re done.>>MARJOLAINE: Don’t be afraid, especially the van life community I think it’s so open and people are willing to give all their tricks out. [Music Playing]>>MAT: Hope you enjoyed this video and checking out the campervan. If you want to follow Marjolaine and Alex, you can check them out on Instagram @themarniehut We also want to say a big thank you to The Great Courses Plus for sponsoring this video. The Great Courses Plus is basically like a Netflix for learning. They offer a subscription to an on-demand video learning service with lectures and courses from professors and experts from places like National Geographic and the Smithsonian. The subscription gets you access to over 11,000 video lectures about all kinds of different subjects you might be interested in and you can watch the courses on pretty much all devices. They even have an app so you can stream your courses from almost anywhere. We recently re-watched some of the Spanish language courses when we were in Spain just to brush up on the basics and it was really helpful. The courses are very well put together. If you want to try some of these courses for free to see if you like them, The Great Courses Plus is offering our viewers a free trial. The link to get the free trial is thegreat coursesplus.com/exploringalternatives or you can click the link in the description below to start your free trial today. Thanks for watching and we’ll see you in the next video.

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