From Empty Van To Home-On-Wheels In Three Months

This is a very special week.

Our new home has arrived from the factory in Germany after months of waiting, and on Wednesday we accepted delivery. What an amazing journey it has been on already – but that is nothing compared to what lies ahead.

I did say ‘home’ but it’s not quite a home yet. Over the next 3 months I will be converting it from the empty shell you see here today to a bespoke abode for two humans and a cat.

The home that will see us into the next phase of our adventures – Steph, Willow, and I exploring the wilds of Australia for many years to come.

The Van

The van is a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 416 medium-wheel-base high-roof. Here are some of the features I’m particularly excited about:

  • Engageable All-wheel Drive with Low Range
  • 120kW engine with 7 speed automatic transmission
  • 93 litre long range fuel tank
  • Front swivelling seats
  • 4.1 tonne GVM with 1.9 tonne payload

The manually selectable 4×4 all-wheel drive system also includes a suspension upgrade and is sure to get us in and out of a lot of trouble!

Making a home

Over the next three months I will be sharing our experiences of converting the van into the home of our dreams starting today with a sneak peak at my secret plans.

The sketch below shows view into the van from the left-side sliding door. The workable space behind the seats is 3.4m long, 1.7m wide, and 1.9m tall. The swivelling seats make the are feel even roomier and will complement the bench seat at the foot of the bed.

The kitchen will have a sink, stove, and extraction fan. Cupboards above and drawers under the bench seat will hold our food and utensils. Under the kitchen there will be a 40litre fridge and plenty of room for Willow’s cat treats.

A swinging table will provide a food prep area and office space during the day.

Now, you may have noticed that there is a ladder in our ‘living room’. This will be accessible when the sliding door is open for gaining access to the van roof.

On the roof there will be a decked sitting area, 2 x 200watt solar panels, and plenty of room to attach lights and other accessories. There is also space for two roof vents with built-in fans.

Back inside, the sleeping area fits a double sized mattress with plenty of storage in the cupboard on the side for our clothes and camera gear. Shelves on the left side will give it a homely feel.

A 21″ TV on an adjustable bracket will mean lots of cosy nights watching cat documentaries on Netflix. Under the bed there is even more storage for larger items including surfboards and our inflatable stand-up paddle board.

How exciting! But what does Willow think of the new van?

I guess we will find out over the next 3 months!

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Van Cat Meow

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