How I Spent My Pandemic Downtime Building a Campervan in 2020

When Covid-19 forced me to shelter-in-place I took advantage of the downtime, paid in cupcakes and beer for help, and built a home-on-wheels for #vanlife

Erik Blair
Sep 23, 2020 · 22 min read
The night I turned on the lights for the first time during the campervan build

Pandemic Woes, Everything Slows

An empty canvas

But “Why” Build A Campervan?

Searching for a friend for the end of the world

There’s No Cookie-Cutter Perfect Way To Do This

This is how it looked at the used car lot before I bought it, Cir. 2019

Starting With A Cargo Van

The Basics

The Aerocell by Unicell

The Best Laid Plans

Scrawled on napkins, scribble notes, diagrams and drawings…

The Plan Went Something Like This (April through August, 2020)

Setting the curve on the solar panel to contour the roof

Flashback on the Van Build

A proper worksite is never completely clean till it’s over

“I built a campervan using power from the Sun and labor paid for in cupcakes.” Not many can say that.

I had lots of help building the campervan

Never A Dull Moment

The Quest For Materials and Components

Rigid Foam Board Insulation
Renogy 200amp Battery. Photo of it in a box.

Rough Van Build Cost Breakdown

Artistic Rendering of how the campervan looked during the entire van build

Primary Building Materials, $1,257

Most of the lower structures at 3/4 inch, and the upper, 1/2 inch

Cabinet Hardware & Interior Components, $243

Propane System (mounted under van), $254*

The newly upright mounted propane tanks as of 10/15/2020

Electrical System, $656

Solar System, $1,135

Venting System, $151

The water pump is under the counter and the water tanks are under the van

Water System, $367

Misc Safety, Utility, & Convenience, $1,201

Interior Paint, $171

Total Estimated Van Build Materials Cost: $5,435

Labor Hours

The final interior with bed on the right and the Buddha on the counter
The stove and refrigerator are hid under the counter

What’s next?

EscapePod.One is Born!

EscapePod.One

The Campervan Build Gallery

Note the low profile solar panels can hardly be seen because they contour the roofline
Before and After

Thank you for joining me on this journey!

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Erik Blair

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Erik Blair

Written by

Finding people, places and experiences that warm your heart, wake your mind, and move your spirit

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +789K followers.

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