A Beautiful Home-Built Camper Van

The new kitchen

My sister Gail and her husband continue to improve their van.  Gail has tweaked the insulation and done a lot of interior upgrading since I last posted pictures of their project.

The photo to the left is the kitchen Mike built in time for their Labor Day camping trip.  It has a hand pump water system,

Storage unit at end of bed

small gray water tank, microwave, refrigerator, and a 15″ round, deep sink.  Their stove is a camp stove that can be used indoors or outdoors.

They also built a new shelf unit at the end of one of the beds to hold shampoo, soap, and other supplies.  Clothes and other necessities are stored in bins under the beds.

The ledge above the cab is a storage area which also holds and supports their solar shower when in use.  They can let the sun warm the water, or they can fill it with warm water from the stove.  Because the water bag lies flat on the shelf, it’s well supported.  And water pressure is higher than if the bag hung down on a hook.  They clip a shower curtain to hooks on the ceiling, stand in a plastic pan, and can enjoy hot showers inside!  The pan is small enough to easily pick up and carry to dispose of their gray water.

Another view of the kitchen.

I am in awe of all they have accomplished, starting with a used cargo van.  It suits their style of camping perfectly.  And best of all, they don’t have to worry about potential plumbing problems associated with a a pressurized water system.

The van's twin beds

They have a small, free-standing air conditioner/dehumidifier that vents out the side.  It’s so efficient that they were able to nap and sleep very comfortably in Texas heat last weekend!

[on edit — click here for full details of Gail’s camper van build.]

If we are able to get our next camper before Thanksgiving, they plan to meet us at Mom’s in Florida for a family campout!

Now back to my mundane little world.  The doe and two fawns that Ron saw in our yard yesterday morning sampled the toy garden’s lima beans and collards last night. 🙂


  1. That is exactly what I have in mind. Problem, some one to do the work without it costing as much money as buying a Road Trek. I don’t even need all that beautiful wood working but it sure would be nice. Your Sister and brother law did a beautiful job.


    • Thanks for your comments, JoJo. When they first started working on it, they were afraid they made a big mistake buying it. But little by little, they turned it into an RV they are very proud of.

      I do hope that you can get your van soon. One of the things that kept costs way down was keeping their design as simple and basic as possible.

      Good luck! 🙂


    • allen

       /  April 5, 2012

      is there a video on tinycamper anywhere.i would like to see a video on her van


  2. Yes that is the way to go simple and basic. I have a bed that can be bolted to the floor or wall. Some plastic drawers to go under the bed and some type of counter with electrical outlet for my coffee maker and maybe a micro wave. And of course a porta potty. I have lots of camping equipment to use in a screen room off either the back or side door. I even have the solar shower. Just have to find the right van and sell the motor home.


    • I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but there are some blogspot blogs that I am not able to reply to. I type my reply and it just disappears. I did want to let you know how much I enjoyed your beautiful photos.

      It seems strange to me that you want to get rid of your motor home and get a van. But if what you want is simple accommodations that can go anywhere you choose to wander, it makes sense. I also prefer tiny trailers! The miniature micro-houses on wheels make me happy! 🙂

      I agree with you about plastic drawers or bins under the bed. It makes everything so easily accessible and hassle free. And porta potties are nice because you can dump them in almost any public restroom. We loved our cassette toilet (glorified porta potty) in the Aliner, but with the two of us, we did wish it had a bit more capacity sometimes.

      I’m looking forward to seeing what type of van you end up with! The above link to your blog didn’t work, but I googled the words in it and found it!


      • Seems blogger is giving quite a few people a hard time. My system needs to shut down to complete and upgrade and I will be losing my account again and have to file a new password again. Gee what will that be #12 :(P At least you are able to follow along with me on moms little run away. Thanks for checking me out.


  3. Whoa! What a setup! Very cool!


  4. JoJo, your abandoned barracks photos are haunting and compelling.

    Sure hope the blogger problems get fixed soon.


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