The Van - Ivan
Make & Model: Mercedes Sprinter 2009 315CDI
Size: L2H2 (L5910mm H2725mm W1993mm )
Weight: 3010kg (Maximum loading capacity 490kg)
Insulation & Paint
I used 6cm Styrofoam on the floor, although if I’d do it again I would use something a little thinner like this.
I used Fiber Glass insulation in the walls and ceiling, and added spray insulation in all the beams.
For paint I went with Jotun Lady, matte finish for walls and a semi-shiny finish for the furnitures to make it easier to wipe clean.
Fan & Heating
I bought a Dometic sliding window for my kitchen second hand but never used, although I’d probably look for something else in my next van – the mosquito net is very hard to clean.
I went with the MaxxFan Deluxe with the tinted glass for my fan which works very well. You can set the air on both in & out and you can adjust the speed as well.
After two years in the Van I got a gas heater from Sunwind which works great!
Floor, Walls & Ceiling
I bought a laminate click floor at a local hardware store with European class AC4, which means it’s very durable and good to use in rooms that are the most used – even in small stores.
The click floor is also super easy to install, so it’s great if you’ve never done it before.
For walls and ceiling I used 12mm Plywood, I kept the ceiling natural but painted the walls with a matte white paint.
Electrical, Solar & Lighting
I found a great package deal containing one solar panel of 135W, one 260aH AGM battery, a regulator and all the wires that you need, I added one extra 135W panel to get some extra solar. It has worked very well and I’m really pleased with what I chose. You can read more about my electrics here!
For lights I went with five Malmbergs LED downlight MD-99 white 5W, they are placed in a row in the middle of the van and are dimmable.
Kitchen, Fridge & Water Pump
I built the kitchen with 12mm Plywood and I bought a whitewashed countertop, I used the remaining material from the counter top for my table, and attached it to a Lagun table leg for a kitchen table, if you have the need for two tables you could always add an extra plate for your table.
I used to have a 12v 50 liters compressor refrigerator from Sunwind which was connected directly to the leisure battery. The fridge was amazing and was VERY energy efficient, but I have now changed it to a larger one with a little freezer compartment from Dometic.
I bought the faucet and sink at IKEA, the water pump is from a store with supplies for boats. It’s a 12V pressure controlled water pump called Flojet R3426148.
I have a portable gas stove, and I really recommend the Omnia oven which you can make pretty much anything in – Lasagna, nachos and even baking bread and cakes.
I built my bed from scratch searching for “pull out bed vanlife” or something like that on YouTube and then made something similar. I bought a foam mattress from IKEA which I cut in two – one half is 50cm wide for the backrest and the other is 70cm wide for the seating, then I made the mattress covers myself buying material at a local sewing store.
Inside my wardrobes I used mesh drawers to keep everything organized and accessible. I let them rest on wood strips that are angled inwards so no weight is on the doors while driving and turning.
I also have a safety box welded in my van in a somewhat secret location where I can keep all my valuables, which I really recommend so you don’t always need to choose between having to carry a heavy backpack with everything or worrying about someone breaking into your home and stealing things that you need – I promise you, the thieves know all the secret hiding spots.
I really recommend having leveling ramps if you want to be able to park leveled out in the wild. I also have a bug zapper which really comes in handy parking by forests and lakes. A lot of people also have magnetic screen doors – I might get some for my next van because they look very handy IRL.
Toilet & Shower
I bought a chemical toilet for about 50€ from a local store and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I later upgraded to a better toilet like this.
For showering I went with a portable shower head with pump at first. You charge the pump directly in your 12V USB outlets and it should last you at least 60min. You use it by putting the pump in a bucket of water and turning it on, it has a built in filter and it automatically stops if the battery level is too low. After two years I changed to this type of shower instead after losing the charging cord to my last shower twice before it finally gave up. I also bought a shower tent after two years which feels very luxurious.
To make a home on wheels feel like home I decorated it with things I already had, things I’ve made and some new things.
If you’d like inspiration to my interior, here are some pieces that I like; Fruit hammock, Wind chimes, Wall decorations, Posters, Laundry basket, Pillows, Carpet, Hooks, Flower pot, Macramé, Fairylights, Shelves, Curtains, Blanket, Pennant, Basket, Dreamcatchers.
To be able to spend even more time outdoors in a relaxed way I have a Ticket to the Moon Hammock that I really love.
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