I’ve been meaning to do this since before I left New York, but I’ve finally recorded a video tour of Hayduke, my 2000 Chevy Express van-home. In hindsight I’m glad I waited a while, because I’ve had time to perfect the organization of the van’s interior.
If you’re wondering about anything I didn’t include in the video, or you want something from the video explained more, please ask in the comments section.
More on modifications
As I said in the video, I was lucky that the van was already partially renovated when I bought it. The back seats were out, it had carpeting installed, and there were a couple of shelving units.
My dad and I disassembled one of the shelves and altered it to better fit a living space. We reassembled it from a floor-to-ceiling, two-shelf unit to a floating one-shelf unit, allowing a cot to slide underneath it. It was also shortened to prevent unfortunate head-smacking. We didn’t have to buy any wood — we just recycled the wood from the original set-up.
I also added hanging hooks on either side of my larger shelving unit, which created more convenient storage space.
I purchased four sets of blinds for my van — two large blinds for each of my side windows and two smaller blinds for the back doors. They were easy to install, and the blinds have been essential to creating privacy and a comfortable living space. I can sleep, change, and have company in peace. I use a sunshade to block the front windshield of my van.
I’m also glad to have these when I leave my van parked somewhere. They prevent would-be robbers from seeing what I have in my van. Still, I take my valuables — like my wallet, phone, and laptop — with me whenever I leave the van.
My van has some rust on the body around the lower edges, a casualty of having spent its life in New York. We covered the worst of it with anti-rust paint and then layered over top with black paint. So, there are small black stripes around the base of the van that are not very noticeable. It’s not a permanent solution, but looks better cosmetically.
My favorite features
- Ample storage space: with shelving, pockets on the doors and the backs of the chairs, and a raised bed, I can tuck all my stuff away and have plenty of room to move around.
- A great sound system: my van has speakers all the way around, so when I’m driving in the front, lounging in my bed, or cooking dinner out of the back, the radio still sounds great.
- In addition to the speakers, I also have a cassette tape converter that allows me to play music from my iPod.
- Two charging ports (when they’re working): I can charge my phone, run a fan while the engine is off, and/or plug in an inverter to use standard charging outlets for things like my laptop.
- Coleman two-burner stove: essential for making substantial, tasty meals. Easy to assemble, store, and clean.
- Solar panels and back-up battery: having an alternative and reliable power source would allow me to upgrade from a simple cooler to a mini-fridge, and then I could keep food for longer and save money on buying ice all the time. I could also enjoy my electronics without worrying about killing my van’s battery and not being able to start it.
- I really, really, really miss my charging ports. Can’t wait to get those fixed.
- Netting: I think it would be cool to install some netting into the ceiling of my van, creating more storage space and allowing me to tuck items away up over my head.
- A gas can and external storage: My van goes through gas pretty quick, and it would be great to have a gas can that I could store on the outside of the van (to prevent fume inhalation) so I could buy more gas where its cheap and more effectively avoid places with expensive gas.
- A camping hammock.
- A kayak and roof rack.
- A bike and bike rack.
- A dog. Dogs make everything better.