Articles

I spent ONE MONTH CONVERTING my VAN into my OFF GRID MICRO HOME


Music Playing♫ I bought a van. That’s the van that I bought. ♫Music Playing♫ June 6th, 2016 marks the day that I gave
some sucker 2000 pieces of paper for this Chevy 1994 G20 Gladiator Edition
that I named Gladys, that is my home. She came fully loaded, one might say like a baked potato, with a fully functioning wheelchair lift and 65,000 miles. I camped around New England in practically just a metal box with a mattress and a cooler.
This is Alex. Can you see him? There he is. He’s got a bed right there.
I’ve got my bed over here and then, yeah, there’s the lift. And then in August I
took her back to Kansas and I built out the inside. This is how that went. Today
is Day One of my van build. Today the only goal is just to strip everything
out of it, get it all completely gutted. ♫Music Playing♫ I’m going to need help getting the
wheelchair lift out. ♫Music Playing♫ My friend Lindsey’s been helping me for like the past two hours and we got the wheelchair lift out! That is all of the garbage. With the
help of Waboosh *Michael Kelly *, and Lindsey, we installed the sub floor. ♫Music Playing♫ Boom. There we go. We got in the floor. Sub floor is in completely. ♫Music Playing♫ I framed the walls with two-by-twos. That
was confusing. ♫Music Playing♫ Not perfectly square. But um, neither is the van. ♫Music Playing♫ I insulated with R-13 fiberglass. We had it in the basement and so it’s free. So that’s what I’m going to
use on the walls. ♫Music Playing♫ I then installed laminate flooring for one of the walls. I wasn’t even close. Boom. Much better. I have to take all that off. The laminate apparently expands and contracts, and as soon as I get into cold weather it’s going to contract and pull
itself off the wall, basically. And so, instead of having to replace it in six
months I should just take it down now. Instead chose to install cedar paneling… ♫Music Playing♫ We kind of insulated the ceiling and then installed a piece of plywood for the ceiling. ♫Music Playing♫ I bought the wrong side swivel
seat and installed it anyway. The base of the seat is wider than the swivel. That’s
how I fixed it. Two straps, two holes, two bolts, and then the same thing back there.
I had to cut it off with the saw zaw in order to be able to swivel around that.
It was getting stuck on it. And I fixed it. So, four straps, four bolts, four nuts and a lot of washers. ♫Music Playing♫ I built a bed frame. ♫Music Playing♫ Installed a max fan. Not to be confused
with the fantastic fan because the max fan is better. I went down to the basement and I started working on my floor. ♫Music Playing♫ My solar panels just got here. Got the charge controller. I got the cables, the brackets, the panels, the fan is installed and I got
solar panels. And, in a few days, I’ll have power because I don’t have the batteries yet, but these are getting instal led today. ♫Music Playing♫ Got that 200 watt solar system and a 200 amp hour battery bank going on. ♫Music Playing♫ I struggled to build a cabinet. ♫Music Playing♫ It’s not the prettiest cabinet in the world,
but I made it and it’s in my van. And then I built another one that was definitely better. That is getting that put on it in and that and it’s going to go over that and that’ll be my
counter top. ♫Music Playing♫ I made Lindsey do the staining. Thank you for doing that Lindsey. I installed a Spalted Maple counter. ♫Music Playing♫ I shredded foam for the cushions. That was fun. ♫Music Playing♫ Sweet, dude. And it was done. So this is the great unveil. Dun dun dun. ♫Music Playing♫ From getting to on the road was about 35 days, August 3rd to September 6th. I did not work every single day. ♫Music Playing♫ So now it’s been pretty close to a year
since I bought Gladys. We’ve been on the road. We’ve literally gone coast to coast
and now we’re headed up to Alaska. Gladys is by no means perfect, but she is my home and I did build her and so I love her. I have considered driving her off a
cliff before, but I didn’t do it. That’s what actually matters. Anyway, I’m working on adding some additions to Gladys like something like a light bar and I also
want to change the fridge situation and since we’re talking about the fridge I
should probably tell you about that situation. That’s a freezer because it has more insulation and there’s a relay that runs the inverter because there’s a temperature probe inside of the freezer and that keeps it at refrigerator temperature. Doing it this way, it’s
pretty efficient, but it’s way cheaper than buying a DC compressor fridge. This
way is about $230 opposed to like 600 plus for a DC compressor fridge. A
downside is since it’s side loading every time you open it, it cycles on because
all the cold air falls out. So what I want to do is I want to get rid of the
box and possibly put like a DC compressor fridge or at least some sort
of fridge that is top loading in that space and then where the fridge is now, I
would remove that obviously and turn that into a cabinet and then I could
move all my food that is in that box into the cabinet and that would free up all of
that space and it would be a lot nicer. That’s what I want to do, but
obviously I haven’t done that yet. I have one gallon of propane for cooking and
that lasts me about three months and then I can carry 7.5 gallons of water
and I can go completely off grid for a week without having to resupply. I
average about 16 miles to the gallon depending on the terrain. Under the bed
is all sorts of storage. That there is my pee bottle. I can’t stand in here so I
have these towels that I kneel on. I also have two anchor points where I can set
up a hammock in here and recently I’ve been sleeping in the hammock and I have
been enjoying it. I want to redo the cushion situation because those are
lumpy. Whenever I built this van I was pretty tight on cash and so I did
everything as cheap as possible. Hence the lumpy cushions. I bathe
whenever I can and sometimes that ends up being in a river and toilets are
actually surprisingly super easy to find. They’re everywhere. We live in a land
full of toilets. Seriously though there there’s an absurd amount of toilets I
think sometimes. The build cost me about three and a half
grand and almost all of that went on credit and that’s just reality, that is
not advice. The van, the build, and any mechanical fixes have cost me about
seven thousand dollars. So seven grand for a home on wheels and I don’t pay rent. I think, I think that’s pretty reasonable. ♫Music Playing♫ I really think that this
lifestyle, the van life lifestyle, is the most attainable as far as like
whatever’s put on the internet and is super attractive. I think van life is definitely the most attainable. It’s super affordable. Once you get into the van and after you have the build, expenses are like nothing. You have no
rent. But, van life is totally not for everybody. The road can be a hard place
sometimes and it can get pretty lonely, but it’s allowed me to create the life
that I want to live and I know for many others that’s what it’s allowed them. It
allows you a freedom that you wouldn’t have living in a conventional housing
unit. There’s no leases. You own the van
outright. You can go where you want. You can stay where you want. You don’t have a reoccurring payment. There’s just so many benefits to living in a vehicle or just
living smaller. To live in a van you totally need like a level of resilience
and a pretty high tolerance for being uncomfortable because, I can’t even stand up in my house, like that’s a thing that I have to deal with every single
day. And that’s not the best thing like there are totally some downsides to
living in a van, but the upsides that it offers me personally are totally worth
it. Without my van and without this channel I have no idea what I would be
doing with my life, but I don’t think I would be enjoying it as much as I do now.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter @Dylan Magaster. I will be
doing a Q&A here in the near future that will be announced on Instagram and
Twitter so if you have questions that you would like to ask, be sure to follow
me on those two platforms. Plus I’m just trying to get the numbers up
because they’re pretty weak over there. Together we’ve made it to over a hundred
thousand subscribers, that is quite rad, so welcome everybody. I’m Dylan Magaster, for those of you that don’t know, welcome to the family and let’s let’s get to a
million aye! Why did I say aye? Am I Canadian?

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