Stealth camping is taking the world by storm. The concept of converting vans into a hybrid, of both vehicle and living quarters, has you-tubers clamoring for more. “Stealth camping is the act of sleeping in non-conventional areas without trace or discovery,” according to StealthCamping.com.
But what if you need your vehicle during the week, and don’t want to climb over pillows, beds, and a kitchen? Is there a way to work your 9-5, and still camp on the weekends– without owning two separate units?
One Australian couple has created the perfect way to combine the best of both worlds. Take a look at this:
Start with paper and pencil. What would you like in your van? Where will you relax? Eat? Watch TV? You will need an area for a bed, drawers, a kitchenette, plus water and electrical systems. A van is a small living space, so every area of the floor plan is important. What do you need? What would you like? Where are you willing to make compromises? You won’t have space for non-essentials so every choice is important.
Now that you have a rough idea of your needs, ask yourself the big question. Where will you put your bed? Your bed is the largest factor in the floor plan, and everything else will adapt around it. In the video above, this couple found a way to use wall space for their bed. Other people use convertible couches, and some rig Murphy-style beds.
Once you decide on the type of bed you need, the rest of the design must work around it. Remember, you are going to need storage. Is there a way to use the space under or over your bed to hide things from sight?
The height of your van’s interior can be a major factor in planning. Be sure that you have enough room to make your bed, and deal with blankets, pillows, and sheets. This is a continual frustration for many van dwellers. Think ahead and avoid this problem.
You will need accurate measurements of the interior of the van, the wheel wells, and the height of the ceiling. Are you planning to leave any of the seats in? If so, you must plan around them.
Create several versions of your dream home, then look at each for potential flaws. If you don’t need it, remove it. It’s important to have a simple floor plan.
The kitchen is the second most important area of your van home. Will you cook inside or out? In the video, our Australian couple made a fun, tailgate kitchen that provided instant ventilation. This will only work well if you live in an area with warm weather year-round. If you need an indoor kitchen, remember to consider both safety and expense. You are in a tight space, and it’s easy for everything you own to smell like pizza, popcorn, or Chinese take-out. Cooking outside removes the smell factor, but you may want to consider an awning or a pop-up tent for cover.
Custom-made kitchen inserts are expensive, but are available on ebay. Not in your budget? Check out Pinterest for clever ways to re-purpose furniture. Re-purposed furniture is a great option for storage. You will need the kitchen and food storage to be easily accessible inside your rig.
Finally, don’t forget the insulation. If you plan to live in your van, you will need to insulate. If you don’t take the time to do this, your van will be burning hot when it’s warm outside, and frigid when it’s cold. Most people use a basic silver bubble wrap insulation. It’s easy to install, and doesn’t take up a lot of space.
Stealth camping (also called: van dwelling or van conversion) is a lifestyle change with a bunch of benefits. If you have a full-time job, it may allow you to drastically cut your expenses and pay off debt. It provides mobility and simplicity, and is certainly a step-above living in your car.
There are many stealth camping and van-living Facebook and Youtube communities. Join a group and ask for help planning your big adventure. Whether you plan to full-time it, or you want a simple weekend getaway, a converted van offers amazing possibilities.