Our van is Tara, we bought Tara in May 2018 in Nottingham. She was called Betty and her previous owner would use her to go to festivals. When we bought her she had units built in; a kitchen, a toilet and an old mattress on the floor.
We decided to remove the wall that had been build between the cabin and the rest of the van. We think it makes the van brighter and it looks bigger. Also, in the near future we would like to replace the double passenger seat for a single seat and put a swivel base on both.
Before & After taking out the wall
Bench / Bed
Tara didn’t have a bed – just a mattress on the floor. After considering different options, we decided that the best option for us was to build our own bench will pulls out into a bed. This bench-bed would be easy to close, wouldn’t need a lot of space and would give us the chance of saving a lot of things under it. Now it’s built, we save the fridge, the duvet, two batteries, an inverter and the rest of the electrical setup underneath – so, yes, a lot of space 😂.
Before & After of the bed
For our tables we are using two basic chrome table legs (see them here on Amazon) with two IKEA table tops (£5 each). Because the table tops that we are using are hollow the screws are not really effective, so we will need to replace this at some point – but its good to get us started.
Before & After of the table
As a fridge we are using a 24L Cooler Box Outwell Ecocool 24L. It’s working very well for us, it dosn’t seem to use a lot of battery and it’s big enough to save food for both of us. It has a freeze pack which helps keep it cold, so we just turn it on when we notice that it need it – the rest of the time we can leave it off. It’s can be a bit noisy, but it just becomes a gentle humming underneath the bench!
Because we are both vegetarians, it’s much easier to keep food in good condition without the need for a powerful refrigerator
In my opinion the most difficult part of make your own van is the electricity, unless you already have some knowledge about it. David spent hours and hours studying about how to set up all the power in the van before we did it. At some point we will make a post about exactly what we did which may be helpful when you’re converting your own van!
For now, here’s a basic run-down and a list of our current equipment:
- We’re using two AGM Batteries, 100Ah capacity. (See them here on Amazon)
- We charge those batteries with a Split Charge Relay Kit (See them here on Amazon).‘ We like this because your batteries get charged while you drive.
- To charge our batteries we also use a 150 Watt Monocrystalline Solar (See it here on Amazon)
- Instead of fuses along our wires we’re using Circuit Breakers (See them on Amazon). These are more expensive than a basic fuse & holder, but as they just break the connection instead of breaking the fuse, you won’t need to have spare fuses it it blows.
- We also use a Fuse box. (See here on Amazon)
- We use LED lights, which use very little electricity, but light up the room very well! (See these on Amazon)
To paint the interior of the van we used the Silver Birch colour from the brand Cuprinol for the covers and some decorations. We used Dulux White Egg-Shell paint for the rest of the van as its easy to clean and dries fast! We haven’t done anything paint-wise with outside of the van yet, but we would like to do it in the near future.