I have undertaken a cargo van conversion project which has proven interesting. A cargo van provides about 60 square feet in the cargo bay that can be converted to living space for weekend trips saving $100 a night hotel charges.
The tasks to be accomplished: Chevrolet G1500 Cargo Van
Insulation of walls and roof – we used Reflextix double bubble insulation with adhesive in both areas.
Wall covering – we used ¼” smooth finished plywood to cover the walls secured to 1’ x 3” wood furring and then mounting our electrical outlets and appliance connections beforehand
Flooring – a ¾” thick fitted rubber mat give cushioned support and prevents slippage of items
Bedding – a 80-inch x 37-inch hinged platform with a 6-inch memory foam mattress – the platform is 20-inches off the floor offering enough usable storage for four (4) 60-quart Coleman coolers for food stocks for three (3) months and eight (8) 35-bottle case of drinking water (38-gallons) enough for two plus months.
Cabinets and shelving – I bought two cabinet bases with drawers and under storage with doors and installed a countertop with a single sink opening. It allows four (4) pullout drawers and two open areas for usable items to be out of the way. There is a space between the bases about 30-inches where I have two five gallons water jugs with a 12-volt electric pump attached to the sink for running water for daily cooking, drinking and hygiene.
Hooks on walls for gear – I have a Bug Out bag fitted for a 2-week hike totally self contained if ever necessary that mounts on wall attachments, along with 100-feet of ½-inch rope and other useful items.
Auxiliary power – I have two 100-watt solar panels mounted on the roof, with a 1000 watt inverter and charger controller and two 12-volt AGM deep cycle batteries in a sealed containment box to store electrical power for 12-volt lighting and appliances (stove, refrigerator, frying skillet)
Food – I have 3-months supply of foods that I normally eat and like both canned and dry goods with plenty of salt, sugar, honey, oils and spices.
Fuel – I have a 31-gallon regular fuel tank with a 24-gallon external tank that gives me the driving ranges – local (825 miles) and highway (1,100 miles)
Lighting – I installed four directional spots for reading in different areas and low level lights to see what I am doing
Desk and chair – a wall mounted desk that folds down allows me to use my laptop and write with a single comfortable fold-up chair and another for sitting outside with company
Porto potty – yes we all have to go several times a day and this unit is a self-contained no odor system
110-power – the solar array and a 12-volt to 110 volt inverter allow regular 110-power for recharging my Surface Pro 2 laptops 10-hour battery and other electrical needs I may have such as power tools for repairs and a compressor for tire inflation
The purpose: To be able to travel in relative comfort on short and long trips with no need to stop at a hotel other than to stealth camp as the exterior of the van looks like any other not to arouse suspicion that someone is inside. An average decent hotel room in any city USA is going to cost $100 a night which if you look at the economics of it would provide for 40-gallons of gasoline – local (600 miles) and highway (800 miles), to me this traveling arrangement makes sense.
Cost and time for cargo van conversion without van price – 6-days and $1,200