It’s one thing to buy a cool camper and embark on an adventure. There’s nothing wrong with that, and frankly, we’re a bit jealous of the folks who are able to enjoy such an experience on a regular basis. Building your own home-on-wheels is another adventure unto itself, as this video from Exploring Alternatives on YouTube demonstrates. Yes, we’ve featured many custom vanlife projects, but this one stands out to us for its simple solutions wrapped in a positively delightful package.
Mat and Danielle are the folks behind Exploring Alternatives and the creators of this custom 2015 Ford Transit. When we say creators we do mean exactly that – aside from some occasional family assistance on parts of the build, these two designed the Transit’s living space and built its interior from scratch. That includes creating a kitchen with a functional sink, a bathroom, a modular bed that can convert to a couch and dining area, and the gobs of storage you’ll find throughout the van.
Gallery: Custom Ford Transit Camper
That’s not necessarily the most impressive aspect of this camper. Innovative solutions are everywhere, not the least of which being a trick 12-gallon under-sink water storage setup that’s comprised of two six-gallon canisters. The water can be refilled from the outside, or if a hose isn’t available, the canisters can be removed and taken to the water source. A five-gallon bucket serves as the gray water tank, and it can be drained through the floor. Similarly, the toilet features a separator for solid and liquid waste with easy dumping when needed. The only thing missing is a shower, but with just 12 gallons of fresh water available, you can’t have everything.
The simplicity goes to another level when you learn most of the features are controlled manually. The numerous bed positions are handled by ropes and tie-downs, and the table mounts on a simple pipe stand that can swivel. Running fresh water in the sink is accomplished by using a manual foot pump, so you only get just as much as you need. As for lights, fans, and small refrigerator, a pair of 100-watt solar panels provide enough power to keep everything operating. It’s managed through an Inergy Apex system that includes a lithium-ion battery and the capability to add more batteries if needed.
The couple says it took five months over the course of two summers to complete the van, and it looks like an epic home in which to travel the world.