The "van-life" notion of living comfortably while hitting the road is resonating with a growing number of people, both young and old. But for many of us who might dream of creating such an ultra-mobile tiny home-on-wheels, the idea of doing a van conversion from scratch can seem daunting.
But with a DIY van conversion kit -- like those being offered by Portland, Oregon's Zenvanz -- that elusive dream seems a little more within reach. Made with durable bamboo and lightweight aluminum, these elegant kits are designed and made by vandwelling and small space design power couple Bryan and Jen Danger, who also created this clever van conversion and renovated their garage into a modern home.
Our decisions on materials were mostly made from trial and error and our personal experiences living in the road. We didn’t create the kit to start a business, we created the perfect solution for our van and then others asked us to make it for them as well... so we did.
The materials were chosen for their durability and weight, says Bryan:
We love the fact that bamboo is a green/renewable resource, but it also proved to hold up to the extreme conditions inside of our van better than anything else we used/tested. The aluminum frame is simply the best way to create a rigid and durable frame for the bamboo that is both lightweight and resilient to the high moisture inside of a van. Doesn’t hurt that the two materials are absolutely beautiful apart, and even more so when used together!
Seen here, the kits consist of a nice array of cabinetry with rounded corners (reminiscent of airplane interiors and crucial if one wants to avoid head injuries), kitchen unit, a platform for a bed, as well as mobile items like the storage box that double as a seat and step up to the sleeping area. All the components can be installed using the existing factory-made holes in a Sprinter, which is one of the more popular vehicle choices for a van conversion project nowadays, due to its high-top and optional all-wheel-drive.
Pricing for the Zenvanz conversion kit starts at USD $18,000 -- it's not cheap, but these streamlined, high-quality kits are built to last and are specifically made for people who have little to no construction experience, and are reverse-engineered to make it easy to install and uninstall. It can get even easier, notes Bryan: "We also have several companies who are willing to do the install work for the cabinets (as well as other 'systems' in the van like insulation, heat, water, electrical) and often help connect our clients with those installers if they'd rather not do all the work on their own."
It doesn't get easier than that. To find out more, visit Zenvanz.