How to Build an Adventure Van

Hi, I’m Dave. I own Dave in Action and
this is how we build adventure vans. step 1. Plan and plan and plan some more. You
want to have an overall vision before you start any work. You’re going to want
measurements and sketches and diagrams. Inspiration photos are great too.
Skipping this step may result in time-consuming and expensive lessons.
Step 2. Gut the van meaning remove everything. Anything removed from the
van should be saved for later. You may be able to reuse or resell any extra
parts. Remember kids safety first. If you’re dealing with
an older van you may run into rust. You’re going to want to fix that. Step 3.
Frame. Inexpensive two by fours and self-drilling screws, not self tapping,
are the way to go here. Step 4. Electrical. With the walls bare
now is the time to run your wires. You want to do this after framing to reduce
the chance of running a framing screw through a wire.
Step 5. Insulate. Installation provides sound dampening and temperature control
in your van. The best method is the one in your budget. Fiberglass and foam board
from your local home improvement store are the most cost effective. Other
options are available such as denim heat shield, film back adhesive foam, and
Reflectix. A little internet research will provide a lot more information on
the insulating properties of each. Step 6. Floors and walls. In this van the floor is
going in as one piece because we’re reusing the original floor as the
subfloor. If you don’t have an original floor use half inch plywood. Large
sheets of cardboard are great for making wall panel templates. Remember, measure
twice, cut once. Step 7. Finish electrical. If you’ve
planned properly you should be able to hook up your switches, lights, outlets, and
finally the battery. A voltmeter is a great tool to have in your kit if you
find yourself troubleshooting any issues. Step 8. Bed. Build your bed platform. The
height is dependent on what you plan to store underneath it and keep in mind
headroom for sitting comfortably on the bed. Our bed platforms are built out of
tube steel for strength and weight savings. Step 9.
Cabinets and kitchen. Cabinets are just boxes. The quality of your cabinets
depends on straight lines and square corners. 3/4 plywood is good for the
exterior structure and half-inch works well for shelves. Step 10. Enjoy. It’s time
to move in, go on an adventure, live the dream. I hope this helps all you do it
yourselfers out there and for those that are interested in having a van built you
can find us at As you can see by the status of my
breath, it’s cold out. If you enjoyed this episode like the video, subscribe to
the channel, share it with a friend. If you want to be a baller, join the
Patreon page and if not, I still love you, but until next time I’m going to
drive to New Mexico because at the point of filming this
I’m in basically Frisco, Colorado, but I’m headed to Taos. By the time this will be
posted, I’ll be in Taos, New Mexico. Peace!

68 thoughts on “How to Build an Adventure Van

  1. Very good info, but when you referred to us as kids, I had a very big laugh.. lol. at 59 years old, nearly 60, you appear to be a kid to me. But carry on, you have many, many years to grow old and wise. :-)) ✌

  2. Very cool. Great layout of the process in a quick concise format. That's basically our 1,2,3 plan we had when we built our camper for Overlanding The Pan American.

  3. Great video man. I've been looking for a van with an interior height of above 6'6 so after flooring and ceiling, I can stand up straight at 6'3… I've yet to locate something in my budget. The search is ongoing. My girlfriend and I will have either a converted van or tiny house by end of 2017 (as long as finances play out the we we plan). I'll be saving this video, in case I find a suitable van!

  4. Can you give a ballpark of what you charge? Say someone comes to you with their van…. an average interior production?…. Website was pretty…. but no real information.

  5. Ay I'm headed to Taos next month for a internship. Hopefully I'll catch ya there would love to sit n chat… Earthships are the future. Lol

  6. i'm a german looking to start the vanlife soon, any recommendations for facebook groups and forums, preferably about vanlife in europe and van conversions in general? i always felt like the weird one, lol, but this really feels like another level. i'm ready.

  7. a peugeout boxer or citroen jumper are also good options if you are in europe not this place full of backwoodsy renegades and rebels who dislike our queen elizabeths reign rule!! of her once fine n american colony! its nice to know that we still have colonists!!

  8. hey brother!! im located in santa fe new mexico. taos is so awesome!! <3 not sure if you like bass music… but if you do! theres a show coming up february 3rd in abq at dual brewing co thats going to be awesome!! bleep bloop is playing as well as live painters and other musicians! guna be everything from chill groove to headbangers. <3 blessings on your travel through this beautiful land and hit me up if you want to meet up with a local who knows the area. been living here since i was 6 months old. peace!

  9. Thanks for the video. Help me out with something: Wood is so heavy. Why not replace the original inside panels after insulating?

  10. What is that sink/stove shown in this video? I've seen it before in a different video and it looks really nice. I would love to know the name/model!

  11. That sure looks like boxed aluminum at 1:57, but you said steel, I would think aluminum in that dimension would be strong enough

  12. Cowboys! Running wiring through steel body channelling without armouring or sheathing. fire risk waiting to happen. Can tell they are cowboy carpenters, not vehicle builders.

  13. Did you already do a video showing your van? Because I can't find it. If not, are you planning to do it?
    Btw, I recently found your channel and I really like it. Keep it up! 👍👍 Greetings from Spain 🇪🇸

  14. Hey, so I live in south-east Asia, where I can say it's pretty much hot all year round. Do I need to have insulation? Since we don't really need it to block out cold or something. I get it, it could be for sound-proof thingy, but really what are other options suitable for us where the sun is out all year round?


  15. Actualy you might wanna strip it before you plan because imo a stripped van is the best way to imagineer your travel van.

  16. My English is not the best but maybe someone has an answer for me….
    when do i install the water "stuff" and the shower and all the water tanks and pumpsystem?

    ty for help guys <3

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