The Build

Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans

John Lennon

1st layer of insulation, sound deadening and floor.
Wheel arches boxed, floors in garage carpet and the storage drawers installed.
So far everything has been sourced secondhand
Learning by doing. Sorting out a board to house,
water filler, water gauge and water outlet for shower
The rear deck and shower tray under construction.
Rob pretty happy that the plan worked …. so far 👍
Measuring up the kitchen area for the 100th time before ordering.
Measuring the water lines for kitchen and shower for the 100th time.
Building the storage box to house, annex, pump, kayak, privacy screen, hot water system, paddles, hammock, hammock chair and just about anything else.
Fitting the box to the drawer slider.
Fitting the toilet into the sliding drawer.
Wiring time
Everything was drawn on the plywood where it would eventually be installed. This would be covered by carpet so it didn’t matter how much we scribbled.
12 volt Cables were insulated from the vans cab lining
Wherever the cables had the potential chafe against the cab we insulated.
Water tank time. We will have the ability to carry 186lt
of water for longer periods of off grid living
Building the water tank box. we wanted the fridge box and water tank box to match the overhead cupboards so we needed to cover them in rattan and then use decorative pine to finish the look.
We found the cheapest place to by the rolls of rattan was at Kmart.
Installing the deck.
Deck installed
Toilet slides over rear deck. 2nd and 3rd layer of insulation installed on upper walls.
Cargo barrier removed
Installing the new barrier between cab and living space.
The all important gas locker.
The gas locker is vented to the exterior and holds a 4.5kg bottle.
Right on sunset we finish this job. not the easiest bu worth it.
Not only did we cut holes in the side of a perfectly good van,
now we took a 1mm blade to the roof to fit the MaxxFan
Installing the MaxxFan is no for the faint hearted.
If you get this bit wrong you will be chasing leaks forever.
It seemed the electrics were the never ending story
Karen wiring the water gauge and water pump. You can see on the panel board to Karen’s left the water filler, water level gauge, and quick fit fitting for the Joolca to the water pressure pump.
This is where we will give those who have paved the way before us a plug. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel pay a few buck to get the info 👍 Explorist Life
Now that the electrics were all but in, it was time for the bed base. There is plenty of room for Karen, the sparky or the auto-electrician to finish off the electrics later. This crawl space also enable plenty of airflow.
We have chosen to do a length ways raised bunk with garage storage
under and upper storage above down one side.
The plumbing is as simple as we can make it. Inlet filler at rear of vehicle to tanks. Water drawn up by pump which services the Joolca hot-water system and the kitchen sink tap.
The flooring in the living area was next closely followed by the kitchen cabinets. You can see part of the water tank box which will serve as a seat. It has been finished in Rattan and Pine mouldings.
Gas lines were now fitted. From the gas locker three outlets, one for the fitted stove, two quick fix fittings one for the BBQ under the sliding door entrance and one for the Joolca Hot Water system at the rear of the van.
Quick fix fitting for BBQ and Joolca with secure caps so no creepy crawlies can get into the pipes.
The stove cabinet area was insulated for extreme heat.
And just like that we were cooking with gas.
The Stick on Luxury tile splashback was something that Karen was eager to put in, however Rob reserved his judgement. Now it is one of his favourite features of the build.
The ceiling went in using pine VJ lining boards. These were primed and undercoated before 2 coats of gloss white paint were applied. Next we started working on the flat pack furniture that would become our storage beside the bed and form the overheads in the kitchen.
We used vertical VJ Lining boards to finish the walls. the boards were pliable enough to bend to the slight curve of the van walls. they were fixed with metal screws to the vans structural beams.
The bed base looks like Swiss cheese the holes are for airflow. The electrical fixtures such as light switches, PowerPoints and gauges were fitted off by qualified electricians.
Time to do all the finishing off. So we took the van into Bunnings Warehouse and tried out different timber mouldings, paint swatches and timber finishes for the bench tops.
The overhead cabinets were Kmart bedside tables reinvented.
We used flat pack furniture such as the storage cube system, reinvented them as storage for clothing and a simple bookcase.
Artwork is something we are both passionate about. Having beautiful pieces hanging in our space makes us feel at home. This piece was especially commissioned of our Grandchildren.
A timber mural Karen designed Makes good use of the sliding door.
Rob hanging two prints of Karen’s very large original oil paintings.
The kitchen cabinetry is Ikea. We used wall units so they were only
37cm in depth instead of the standard 60cm. A lift up top on
the stove gives extra bench space when required.
The bed is length ways in the van. A couple of reasons we decided on this. We wanted all walls to be heavily insulated, we could have the full length of the bed for storage down the side and underneath. we want to both have access to the toilet through the night without disturbing each other.
The back deck has multiple purposes.this setup is ready for the shower screen to be lowered, or the toilet to be slid out, the annex gives total privacy with screens and curtains. Curtains can also be drawn on the back of the van for extra privacy if necessary.
The slide out table for intimate dinning for two inside is ideal, or we can turn around and pull down the movie screen watched through our blue-toothed projector anything that can be streamed from our iPad or iPhone.
The stand alone fully screened annex might be a little extravagant to some but it really works for us. It takes 12 minutes to setup, we can unhook the van and drive away touring for the day, arriving back to our secured spot and the fold down, slide out ensuite gives us so much more liveable space.

If you would like to know about the products we used you can find a full listing here 👉

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Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.

Roy T. Bennett

Photos from around Queensland

We will endeavour to include the location so you can find it on the map. However each blog post on the sites we visit
will have a location map.
Waterfall Creek Road Reserve – 70klm sth west of Ipswich
in the Mt Barney National Park
Waterfall Creek Road Reserve in the Scenic Rim.

Macksville NSW

Free campground Ferry Road
Sundowners ready
The view
Dinner fresh fish

Gundagai NSW

Free Campsite Oiball Road
View from the campsite