If you've done any sort of research in #vanlife you've probably seen all sorts of facts and figures, especially surrounding how much it costs. We can't tell you whether or not what others have done is the right way to do it, but we can tell you how much our DIY conversion cost us.
NOTE: This is the cost breakdown from our first Sprinter Van Conversion.
Rather watch instead of read? Watch our budget video below.
Before we get started....
Prior to hitting the road we committed months and months to research. We decided what parts and components were right for our van, where to spend more money and where to save some, all while working within our budget. Something we considered and we strongly encourage other RV or van DIY-ers to consider is this: you can always add stuff later! We knew our budget and knew that we wanted top notch components that hold up best over time. However, we also knew that because we had a strict budget, getting everything on our wishlist wouldn't be possible all at one time.
So here's what we did: we decided to purchase our essentials first, followed by items that were secondary. Things such as an awning, running board step, and Nautilus shower curtain door were definitely on the wishlist, but didn't make the cut in our budget because they weren't essential to our everyday needs.
Here's how we're going to break it down....
Instead of walking you through our budget component by component and decision by decision, I'm going to list out all of the major components included in the van with the grand total spent on the van listed at the bottom. If you have any specific questions regarding why we chose the components we chose, please don't hesitate to reach out in the comments below or on Youtube or Instagram. If you have more extensive questions about our build or maybe some basic guidance with your own, we also offer 1 hour consultation calls.
Alright, let's get going!
- Solar panels: https://amzn.to/2IkTdyC
- Solar panel mounts: https://amzn.to/2UMHIXr
- Charge controller: https://amzn.to/2Up6nlA
- Inverter: https://amzn.to/2D8t4j8
- Battery monitor: https://amzn.to/2UPl8xg
- **These are just the main components in this budget.
- Sliding door screens: https://bit.ly/2UHJLMC
- Heater: https://amzn.to/2IbHpzM
- Fan: https://amzn.to/2G8qOZU
- Sound deadening wrap: https://amzn.to/2ULDZJI
- Reflectix for window curtains: https://amzn.to/2InFjMb
- Sprinter cab reflects: https://bit.ly/2Z2zn1h
- Lights: https://amzn.to/2IuSlYD
- Light switches/dimmers: https://amzn.to/2IpIFhF
- Outlets: https://amzn.to/2D8AdQw
- ** We did hire a local electrician for 1/2 day of labor to run wires for lights and outlets which is included in this number
- Roof rails: https://ebay.to/2GebqfV
- Ladder: https://bit.ly/2RfQ5Ja
- Sliding door window (t-vent): https://amzn.to/2GeExib
- Back slider window (driver side): https://bit.ly/2U2YPzX
- Back slider window (passenger side): https://bit.ly/2P2yWz8
- Back door window (driver side): https://bit.ly/2Qz7Dfi
- Back door window (passenger side): https://bit.ly/2TEbeKZ
- Driver’s side middle fixed window: https://bit.ly/2GcCw6Y
- Mattress: https://amzn.to/2D91JNP
- Swivel seat mount: https://bit.ly/2uYAoJC
- Bike fork mounts: https://amzn.to/2Geckcj
- 1” butcher block countertops - purchased at a local overstock lumber store for $89 each. We purchased two (one for the kitchen, one for the desk)
- Shower head & handle: https://amzn.to/2WWyS71
- Tiles: https://thd.co/2uWDsWU
- Shower gray water tank: https://bit.ly/2G4UTcN
- Toilet: https://amzn.to/2UtDhkY
- Water heater: https://amzn.to/2Kl3KfW
- **For more information about plumbing, checkout the kitchen section
- Fridge/freezer: https://bit.ly/2mhYQF1
- Stove/oven: https://amzn.to/2F9tb1j
- Water filtration system: https://amzn.to/2IvdIbU
- Faucet: https://amzn.to/2RErsCH
- Water filter faucet: https://amzn.to/2VzsbaA
- Soap dispenser: https://amzn.to/2IoUi8F
- Propane tank: https://amzn.to/2RMA2PX
- Propane regulator: https://amzn.to/2ImvcY4
- Kitchen sink: IKEA
- Water pressure regulator: https://amzn.to/2IqOCLt
- Strainer: https://amzn.to/2qAvEI7
- Water pump: https://amzn.to/2IbNJqU
- Accumulator tank: https://amzn.to/2UOfo72
- Water heater: https://amzn.to/2Kl3KfW
- Fresh water tank: https://amzn.to/2Du1FtT
- Lower cabinets: purchased from IKEA
- Upper cabinets: homemade
- Cabinet fronts: purchased from IKEA
- Fire / CO Detector: https://amzn.to/2PQGCY4
- Propane and CO Detector: https://amzn.to/2qDvGin
- **Our SimpliSafe security system is not included in this because it is something we owned and used prior to living in the van and will continue to use after van life one day.
MISCELLANEOUS / HARDWARE STORE
All items purchased at local hardware stores came to a total of $2,058.40. What’s included in this:
- Flooring: https://low.es/2VCZ2vd
- Paint & brushes
- screws - all lumber
- PEX pipes for plumbing
- cabinet knobs
- extra saw blades
- There are a million things that go into building a van, so if you think of something, chances are it’s something we picked up at the local hardware store and it’s included in the budget.
There it is, folks....
That's what it cost us to convert our van into the home on wheels you see in the pictures above. One final VERY IMPORTANT POINT we'd like to bring up: you can buildout a van for a whole lot less or a whole lot more than what we did. It's all up to you and what you are comfortable with/what you can afford to spend. Before you set a specific number to work towards as a goal budget, I strongly encourage you to work through a wishlist of must haves and wants to 1) figure out how much you need to save, and 2) set a plan into motion to reach these goals.
What you see in our photos and videos (as well as everyone else on Youtube and Instagram) is years and years of working, planning, and dreaming to get to where we are traveling full time. Be patient and be consistent. If you're not there budget wise yet--- keep at it! It takes time but you will get there! :)
**Some of the links above are affiliate links through Amazon’s affiliate program, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, we will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. All of the products we have linked to are products we use and can truly recommend. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.**