The No-Build Van Build

This isn’t our first #vanlife rodeo. Before hitting the road full-time in Smokey Da Van, I dabbled with part-time van life in another van. The Black Pearl was a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 conversion van. Rather than an elaborate build like our current home on wheels, the Black Pearl was a “no-build van build.” Almost nothing that made it a camper van was permanently attached. I could convert it back into a regular van in 10-15 minutes. It was a simple build, with everything powered off a Jackery 240, a simple bed, and many items I swiped from my apartment.

Many of the items I used in the Black Pearl found their way into Smokey Da Van — the futon mattress, the Olympian Wave 3 heater, the GasOne butane stove… But more importantly, this gave me a chance to dip my toes into the shallow end of van life, and give it a try without the major commitment that a serious van build like ours takes. It gave me enough of a taste to decide I wanted to do this seriously, which meant starting fresh with a different van. Then, when the fire happened, it was a no-brainer to kick our plans to move into the van full-time into maximum overdrive.

This isn’t our first #vanlife rodeo. Before hitting the road full-time in Smokey Da Van, I dabbled with part-time van life in another van. The Black Pearl was a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 conversion van. Rather than an elaborate build like our current home on wheels, the Black Pearl was a “no-build van build.” Almost nothing that made it a camper van was permanently attached. I could convert it back into a regular van in 10-15 minutes. It was a simple build, with everything powered off a Jackery 240, a simple bed, and many items I swiped from my apartment.

Many of the items I used in the Black Pearl found their way into Smokey Da Van — the futon mattress, the Olympian Wave 3 heater, the GasOne butane stove… But more importantly, this gave me a chance to dip my toes into the shallow end of van life, and give it a try without the major commitment that a serious van build like ours takes. It gave me enough of a taste to decide I wanted to do this seriously, which meant starting fresh with a different van. Then, when the fire happened, it was a no-brainer to kick our plans to move into the van full-time into maximum overdrive.

Many of the items I used in the Black Pearl found their way into Smokey Da Van — the futon mattress, the Olympian Wave 3 heater, the GasOne butane stove… But more importantly, this gave me a chance to dip my toes into the shallow end of van life, and give it a try without the major commitment that a serious van build like ours takes. It gave me enough of a taste to decide I wanted to do this seriously, which meant starting fresh with a different van. Then, when the fire happened, it was a no-brainer to kick our plans to move into the van full-time into maximum overdrive.

This website is about Smokey Da Van, so I haven’t touched on the Black Pearl here until now. If you’d like to read more about my no-build van build, I recently wrote an article for FIXD about precisely how I did it. In fact, it was my editor’s suggestion that I write it, Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s