Sprinter Van Conversion 2021



Hello there!  Welcome to Ashley and I’s van tiny home; we cant wait to show you around!  Follow along with this Q&A-style post to learn all about our experience with van life!  



What kind of van do you have?

Our van, Little Galena, is a 170 Mercedes Benz Sprinter.  It originally started out as a cargo van but we have since converted it to fit our accommodations.  



How do you make the van feel like home?

Ashley loves decorating with fake plants!  Unfortunately, the three real plants that started with didn't make it so we now opt for ones that don't require as much attention.  The plants give our van a nice homey feel.  Ashley also styles potpourri in with our plants to keep the van smelling fresh.  



How do you cook?


We decided on using a portable induction stove to cook in the van.  It’s nice because it doesn't take up counter space and can be easily stored in a drawer.  To use the stove, we have to turn on our inverter to get AC power.  Cooking like this takes a lot of solar energy so we have to be very mindful of what we are cooking and always try to keep it down to just one dish.  



What do you keep in your cabinets?  

In our first overhead cabinet, we store our plates and bowls.  We have four of each.  Our second overhead cabinet is where anything coffee or cocktail related goes.  We also keep cooking essentials like avocado oil, cocoa, vanilla extract, honey, and salt up there.  

In the drawer that houses our induction stove, we also store our silverware and some random kitchen gadgets.  

Lastly, in our bottom-most cabinet, we store spices; our favorites are garlic, parsley, oregano, and paprika.



Where do you go to the bathroom?


Yes, we have a toilet in our van!  It is a composting toilet meaning that it turns our number two into fertilizer — pretty cool, right?  Emptying our compost bucket is one of the more unpleasant things we have to do.  Ashley and I switch off back and forth on who has to do it so it’s really not that bad.  



How do you shower?

Our shower is in the same little cubby that our toilet is in.  Like the stove, our shower takes a lot of solar energy to heat.  Because of this we often take cool showers to save energy!  



How much solar energy do you use?

After a few months of van life, we have the numbers down to a science.  Coffee takes 5%, cooking usually takes 15% to 20%, and a hot shower takes 30% to 40%.  



How do you do laundry? 

In our van entryway, we have a retractable cable that we use to dry our clothes.  



Where do you sleep?


One of the biggest decisions you have to make when converting a van is whether you want a fixed bed or a convertible bed.  A fixed bed stays as a bed.  A convertible bed can usually convert into a little dinette.  We decided to go with a fixed bed model because both Ashley and I are really big on getting a good night’s sleep. 

Where do you park?

People always ask where we park and if we are going to get robbed.  No, we have not gotten robbed.  We park anywhere we think is beautiful.  We have parked next to mountains, oceans, lakes, etc.   Most of these stops are on campgrounds or BLM land which is government-owned.  The United States is so vast and it’s been a joy to explore the country!

That being said, we are very conscious when making sure where we park is legal and safe.  We never park in a place that we don't feel comfortable in.  We will always pay the extra money to stay at a state park as opposed to a parking lot.  



Where do we put our clothes?

We have two areas for closet space.  Ashley and I were very deliberate on how much space we each got.  Fun fact, we share the space equally!  

Our undergarments are in two overhead cabinets.  We keep them organized with small bins.  As for our regular clothes, we each get four “squares”.  Our square bins live under our bed.

Now, shoes.  Ashley always gives me crap because we made it a rule to each only bring four pairs of shoes with us in the van.  While Ashley stuck to this rule, I may have accidentally brought a few extra pairs along.  In my defense, do sandals really count?  



Where do you eat?


Since we have a fixed bed, we do not have a table inside our van.  Instead, we have one that pulls out from the backside of the van.  This makes a great place to eat and relax, especially when we are out in the boondocks.  



Do you have extra space for miscellaneous items?

Yes!  Right above the pull-out table is a cabinet that we call our garage.  We keep our scooter, winter gear, exercise equipment, etc. in here.  



Where do you work?


We both knew going into van life that working was still really important to both of us.  In fact, it was one of our top two priorities along with getting good sleep.  So, we decided to convert the front space of our van into an office space.  The driver and passenger seats swivel around to face the back of the van.  From here, a “desk” folds down from the wall and the monitor can be swiveled or turned as needed.  Ashley loves this setup because she can have both the monitor screen and her laptop screen open at the same time.  

My desk looks a little different.  I have a small table that screws into the floor of the van and can be set up or taken down as needed.  My main monitor is portable and I can use my MacBook for a double monitor system.  This design works great for us! 

Thanks for coming along on our van tour!  We hope you enjoyed seeing what life is like for us while traveling across the country in our Little Gelena.  If you have any more questions about van life, be sure to comment below!  We’d love to answer them.

For now, peace and God bless.  

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