Cue the jokes about raising the roof for a house party. After all, this old Ford E-350 cargo van is a full-time home, and that roof is seriously raised. The result is a relatively small camper that has nearly all the amenities of home, including a big kitchen, bed, and a toilet. And the entire build – including the cost of the van – checks in at $12,600.
The van was recently featured on the Tiny Home Tours YouTube channel. Built by its owners Ken and Laura, it is indeed their current full-time home in Oregon. Ken actually has a business doing camper upfits and in that respect, this project is essentially a rolling resume. We'll say this much: after perusing their Instagram page, it's clear that every inch of space in this standard-length van is utilized.
That includes the raised roof, which could be the largest fixed-roof addition we've seen in years of covering the vanlife scene. The video offers a glimpse of the van during the build process, which took two years basically working nights and weekends. The kitchen occupies much of the space, packing a two-burner stove with a large sink, lots of counter space, and a refrigerator that faces the sliding door so it's accessible outside. There's also a microwave, a pantry, a spice rack, and storage for fresh veggies. In a van this size, that's seriously impressive.
The back is home to the living and dining area, which in this case means a small sofa with a cozy table for two. It's also the foundation for the bed, which actually sets up across much of the kitchen in a north-south configuration. Thanks to the raised roof, there's space to have the bed elevated without fear of banging heads, and there's still room to access the cassette toilet stored at the front of the van.
Power comes from 400 watts of solar on the roof and a pair of 100 amp-hour batteries underneath. The van is wired for shore power when available, and it carries 25 gallons of water. Propane feeds the stove, and the van is obviously kitted out for venturing into the wilderness. Ken fabricated a custom rear bumper that holds the spare tire as well as mountain bikes, and though it's two-wheel drive, some gnarly all-terrain tires with modest ground clearance offer some off-road chops.
Ken and Laura love it, and it certainly qualifies as a budget build. They confess to wanting something a bit bigger; hopefully, they will share that adventure on Instagram as well.