Becoming a stealth, van dweller
will require you to have a vehicle, one that will become your home, refuge and shelter. To be successful in your new lifestyle, the choice of what vehicle your going to call home shouldn’t be taken likely. You’re very likely going to invest money modifying and setting up your new abode. If the vehicle you choose becomes a problem for you, this investment will have been wasted. Worse, if you modified the basic structure of the vehicle, it too may have lost all of its resale value.
Two limiting factors in which way you go will be the amount of money you have available to invest in a vehicle. Remember rule #1 from Prudent Financial Steps to Becoming a Successful Van Dweller carry no debt. Your choice should be limited to what you already own, or what you can trade or purchase without using credit.
Another consideration will be how many people will be living with you. By far the majority of people who chose to live this lifestyle do it in a solo situation. Admittedly quarters will be cramped, there is no better way to destroy a relationship then to squeeze two people into a space that doesn’t work for both of them. Sometimes the largest RV on the market just isn’t big enough.
If you are going into this project as a couple, both individuals must be totally committed to the project. All aspects of the lifestyle must be throughly examined and if both sides support the whole package then and only then should you move forward.
Large U-Haul Style Van:
Usually in the 24′ to 26′ length, with a large engine and rated at 24,000 lbs or there abouts. Just under the weight limit requiring a Commercial Drivers License. If you want space, this is the way to go. With over 200 sq to work with a comfortable layout can be established allowing 2 people to live comfortably. Readily available, a quick check of the Internet will get you the latest price from a U-Haul Service Center near you. U-Haul Truck Sales will confirm they can be had at a pretty reasonable price.
Before you head out to buy one be aware of the down side of such a truck. This thing will cost you plenty in fuel, at about 6 miles to the gallon you will have a hard time passing truck stops. Repairs and servicing gets more expensive exponentially the larger the truck you have. Don’t forget the whole purpose of this project it to be a “STEALTH” van dweller. Something this big isn’t going to blend in worth a darn.
Depending on your skill level when it comes to outfitting this sized truck, some very nice House Trucks have been built using these as a starting point.
Smaller U-Haul trucks, local delivery trucks, the commonly seen white box van trucks. They’re found in every city and urban area, almost as common as yellow taxi cabs. These trucks offer quite a bit of space while giving the occupant the opportunity to park in many different areas without being detected.
An important consideration when shopping for either of these styles of truck is the ability to get from the box area into the cab of the truck without leaving the safety found inside the vehicle. If Access isn’t already available, be sure it will facilitate this modification. It should be considered a mandatory issue, and if the vehicle isn’t adaptable you should pass it by. Safety must always be your prime motive, or you may end up trapped in the back of your truck in an unsafe location without the ability to easily leave.
The good old bread truck, ideally suited as you’ll have good access front to back, the truck is lower to the ground making access easier, and they are usually all aluminum. Strong, lightweight, and durable. Not the most deluxe cab accommodations, but with the modifications you’ll be making something fancier is bound to be the result.
Econoline, or Express Cargo Van:
Very popular in the stealth, van-dweller circuit. They can be out rigged nicely for one person and will fit into a regular parking space. Easily assimilated into the neighborhood, with normal caution you will be accepted as just another work van parked near a business or in a retail parking lot.
Club House or Passenger Van:
A window van can be an excellent choice. When done up neatly they can look as good as any ‘Class B’ RV and will be accepted into commercial camp grounds as well. While still maintaining their ‘Civilian’ look, they won’t stand out at all parked amongst cars in any neighborhood.
Not as common as their size will restrict your living space. Not hopeless either as by towing a small trailer behind you can reserve the van as your sleeping quarters and setup the small trailer as a small kitchenette or additional storage.
I’ll list it as an option, though would discourage its use. If you want to stick out as a Hippy Wagon and be continually harassed by the law, this seems like a likely candidate.
What ever type of rig you choose, remember your going to be making the modifications necessary to turn this into your home on wheels. Take your time in choosing your vehicle and take more time planning and deciding how you’ll fix it up. Remember clean and neat will help keep nosy law enforcement from tearing your domain apart looking for drugs or other illegal items. A well done conversion will impress them. Be sure to go to Stealth Van Dweller to get more information about joining those who prefer more freedom then the 9-5 world can supply.