I have been living in her while building her out, and I have gone through many stages. At first it was “stuff the van and go.”
At one point, my entire life was spread across the Marina beach in Hood River as I insulated my floor.
I hit the functional but disorganized stage, where my essentials like running water and stove were dialed in, but my stuff was still in totes and bags.
Now, I have drawers and jar organizers. Shelves and cabinets. Insulated and finished doors.
LIVING WHILE BUILDING
I bought the van used at 65k miles. I had about a week before my planned migration from Salt Lake to Hood River, so step 1 was build a hasty bed platform for my paco pad, and enough shelving for my gear.
The high bed was tough to climb onto. Being able to put my feet on the ground was an easy and essential early upgrade.
I built the final bed platform using Skorva beams from Ikea. They are strong, light and cost effective. They also have a flange that easily sits on the L-track. Bolts hold the beams in place, and the bed platform is comprised of four 1/2 inch AC plywood panels. Everything is bolted together, so the bed can be removed to transport large items. It takes about 20 minutes to assemble/disassemble.
- 3M Thinsulate. Most effective to fit in strange spots.
- Polyiso foam board. Most effective R value for cost.
- EZ cool. The combo of air pockets and reflection boost thermal resistance.
The floor gets 1/2 in Polyiso. Heat rises, but I still need to protect from convection under the van.
The ceiling gets the most, with a layer of 1 in Thinsulate, 1 in Polyiso, and EZ Cool to hold it all in. I use 3M 90 spray adhesive to stick the layers up initially, and the EZ Cool gets stuck up with reflective tape. The tape gets covered with the wooden slats, so everything is held up mechanically.
I use CRL 10×30 windows. It’s a dead giveaway that you’re not just a cargo van, but so are the kayaks and rocket box on my roof.
I make a template out of Masonite. Masonite keeps a good smooth edge, and is far more accurate than cardboard, especially after repeated use. It’s also far less expensive than MDF.
2. Mask and Jigsaw
Mask both the van and the jigsaw base. Cutting is straightforward. There is a forgiving tolerance with the window flange, but I aim for tight tolerances regardless.
Once cut, make sure to paint the raw steel edge to prevent rusting. I use an epoxy based appliance touch-up made by Rustoleum.
3. Insert and screw in ring flange
CRL windows come with a foam gasket. Make sure the gasket is neat and flush against the flange. Double check for wrinkles or overlap where it meets itself. No need for additional sealant, but do make sure to tighten the screws all the way so the gasket compresses visibly.
This porthole is also from CRL.
No template here, just trace your line with a compass
CRL does not include a gasket on this window. You can purchase a gasket from them separately if you like. I use butyl tape since I have it in stock for fan installation.