I’m not sure what it is about telling people you are staying/living in a van, but usually women’s minds immediately go to beauty and hygiene questions. How do you wash your hair? Where is the toilet? How much water do you have?
Now, we don’t live in the van full time (yet), but I (Tricia) like to have it fully stocked with all of my skin care needs. The whole point of the van was to not have to “pack” to go on weekend getaways or weeklong trips. You can argue, why is your skincare routine any different when staying in a van? Well there are some additional things when staying in a van that you need to worry about. The number 1 item being water. Our van only has a 10 gallon water tank which goes FAST (the average American uses about 17 gallons per shower). So my skin care routine typically revolves around keeping my water consumption down. Here is how I do it, plus some other additional items I keep in my beauty bin.
Originally we installed the bed perpendicular to maximize the space in the living room of Gidget. This was never ideal as we are both pretty tall (Matt 5’11” – Tricia 5’10”), but we could have made it work. After the original install it squeaked like crazy so we even redid the whole platform.
When we installed the folding bench seat, we were left with a large gap between the bed and the seat. This created the perfect opportunity to turn the bed parallel in the van to give us more sleeping room. Third time’s a charm, right?
The biggest con of getting the cargo version of the Ford Transit is that it only comes with two front seats. With only two seats it makes hanging out in the “living room” hard to do. It also prevents us from taking friends with us on adventures.
So we added a Freeman Handi-Flip folding bench seat. Now Gidget has a total of 4 seats with seat belts.
We had help with the install to make sure it was safe. If you decide to install an aftermarket seat we strongly encourage you have it done professionally.
Any respectable adventure van needs a light bar, it’s just a given. And now that Gidget has a rack to mount lights on there was nothing stopping it from happening.
There are some very expensive light bars out there and they are probably great but would be serious overkill for our needs. We just need a little extra light when traveling on dirt back roads, particularly in Baja.
So we found some affordable ones on Amazon that had decent reviews and so far we are very happy with them.
For extra storage and a place to mount the solar panel we decided to install an Aluminess roof rack and ladder. From order to install took about 2.5 months. Actual installation took about 5 hours at the Aluminess headquarters in San Diego.
Ford Transits come with 1 60A fused Customer Connection Points (CCP) as standard and up to 3x 60A may be fitted depending on vehicle configuration. If you are ordering a custom Transit you can get 3 CCPs by ordering the upfitter switches (option 67C).
If your Transit only has 1 CCP you can add the missing 2 by ordering kit part number BK2Z-14S411-A. CargoVanConversions has a good write up covering the installation process.
When ordering a custom Ford Transit you can add Upfitter Switches, also called auxiliary or accessory switches. These switches allow you to control accessory items like lights, winches, or inverters with factory looking switches.
The switches are simple on/off style with an indicator light located in the center console between the driver and passenger seats. If the key is in the ignition or run position and the switches are turned on (flipped up), they provide a 12 V and 20 A max output.
After we finished up our time in Singapore, we headed to Padang, Indonesia. This city is where most of the charter boats to the Mentawai Islands leave from. We decided to stay in Padang for 2 nights. One to make sure we didn’t miss our boat, and two to make sure we were well rested before getting on the boat. Once we got off the airplane and got our bags, the Tengirri boat crew was waiting to take us to the hotel.
Building a surfboard rack for your van allows you to pull up to your favorite break and pick the right board for the given conditions. It’s pretty awesome being able to do a surf check and have a large part of your quiver available.
After watching a couple Youtube videos it was pretty easy to come up with the plan for Gidget’s surfboard rack. It’s basically just your typical wall mounted rack, but mounted to the floor. The boards are being stored horizontally under the bed, so we created 2 racks to keep them in place.
One of our bucket list trips was going on a surfing boat trip around the Mentawai Islands off the coast of Indonesia. The boat trip was 12 days, so we decided to make it a long vacation and stop in Singapore on the way there.
Unfortunately this trip required us to leave Gidget in Southern California. I’m sure she was lonely sitting in the LAX airport parking lot for 3 weeks. It made us sad to leave her there, but sometimes you just got to get away.
We started our trip off by getting on an A380 double decker Singapore Airlines flight.