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Van life is one of the most fascinating, liberating, and exciting movements that’s been happening in the last few years. People are packing up their clothes and selling their furniture to live a more simplistic and travel-focused lifestyle from the comfort of their van or similar vehicle.
If you’re considering making a change and starting van life, have already bought your dream van, or are just curious about what it takes to convert a van into a home, there are several books on the topic. Here are the seven best van conversion books you need to read.
1. Van Build by Ben and Georgia Raffi
Georgia Raffi’s book about converting a van might be one of the most popular out there, so you know we couldn’t leave it off the list. The book is all about how to design your dream van and then how to make that dream a reality.
The book showcases different design options, how to convert the van with all the amenities you want, and more. Something we love about this book is that it’s even helpful for those who haven’t bought a van yet because it has helpful tips on choosing the right one for your life.
As you look through the book, you’ll see checklists, shop options on where to buy supplies and your van, and even a list of all the tools you’ll likely need.
With this book, you’ll be able to save months of research and get started on your new adventure quicker than without it.
2. Skoolie! by Will Sutherland
Technically this book is more about converting a school bus, hence the name, but it still applies to those converting a camper van into their new tiny home.
The author, Will Sutherland, is a professional and experienced builder, so his helpful tips and instructions will make the conversion process feel easier and less stressful. Besides building tips and tricks, the book offers pictures of beautiful interior designs that might inspire you for your new home.
You’ll be able to learn more about how to install flooring, insulation, and heating and cooling options in your van, which are necessities before you move in and hit the road.
Other aspects of the conversion process you can learn from this book are how to install bathrooms and functional kitchens and how to make the most of your tiny space.
3. Off-Grid Solar Power Simplified by Nick Seghers
The next book on our list is a little more specific to one part of the van conversion process, but we think it’s still a book worth reading as you start converting your van.
Nick Seghers’ book is all about adding solar panels to your van or another tiny home, so you don’t need to rely on other energy sources to power appliances and electronics inside your van. The author is somewhat of a solar panel expert, so his helpful information about solar panels is a must-read if you want to use solar power for your van.
The book will guide you through the different types of solar panels that might be options for your van, where to purchase them, and then how to safely and properly install them.
This book might not be the best option for every van-lifer, but if you’re considering harnessing solar power, you might want to give it a read as you start converting your van.
4. How To Live The Dream by Kristine Hudson
Kristine Hudson’s book, How To Live The Dream, is excellent for those getting ready to convert a van into their new home or curious about the lifestyle.
The book is more than just a helpful tool for converting a van. It can help you better understand the lifestyle and if van life is the right move for you. Besides talking about the realities of van life, the book talks about converting the van into the mobile home of your dreams.
Unlike other books that talk about how to install different aspects of your home, like insulation, flooring, etc., this book talks about the conversion process in a more organized way.
She provides organization and practical storage solutions that won’t take away from the beautiful interior you decide to go with. You can even read about how to budget better during the conversion process and as you transition to life on the road.
5. Self Build Campervan Conversions by Kenny Biggin
If you’re looking for a book that’s strictly about the van conversion process, then Kenny Biggin’s book will probably be the best option for you.
The book is filled with photos about how to install different aspects of your camper van, as well as design inspiration. Besides the stunning photographs, you’ll be able to read detailed instructions on installing essential features.
Kenny Biggin offers some of the most thorough instructions for the van conversion process, which can help you be more independent and get the job done on your own rather than hiring a professional.
He even provides vehicle comparisons to help you choose the right vehicle if you haven’t purchased one. It’s a great book to get you excited about converting and living in your van.
6. The Van Conversion Bible by Charlie Low and Dale Comley
Two iconic van lifers teamed up to write The Van Conversion Bible to help others live their dreams of traveling in a van and seeing new sights. The book has everything you need to get started on van life.
You’ll find details about choosing the right camper van, building from scratch, or renovating a previously used van with features you enjoy. It really is a book that has everything you need to start converting your van.
The book provides detailed lists of things you might want to incorporate into your conversions, like functional kitchens, benches, and different setups. You can look through them and determine which interior setup will be best for you.
They offer instructions on water, gas, heating, and cooling installation, which are all necessary for living comfortably on the road.
7. I Want a Camper Van by Summer Bourne
Lastly, we have I Want a Camper Van by Summer Bourne. You’ll want to read this book before you begin the conversion process or even before you purchase a van.
Summer writes all about the idea behind van life, how to choose a great van and conversion tactics that you’ll want to consider before you begin. She includes several questions, like your camping style, to help you list all the features you’ll want to include in your conversion.
The author touches on interior design, where you’ll place certain aspects of your tiny home, the color scheme, and more.
We love this book because the author, who lives van life herself, provides guidance and plenty of inspiration for those who are considering or are ready to hit the road.
Luckily, a huge community of people living out of their vans is more than willing to offer some guidance.
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