Life on the road in your Wicked Cool Van can be a culinary dream. With a few portable tools breakfast lunch and dinner will be like dinning out at the best restaurant. You can create your own view and enjoy your meal.
We like this portable cooktop for fast easy cooking. Small enough to store yet big enough to cook a great meal for you and your guest. You can get the grill alone or add some accessories. The Blackstone 22″ griddle has 330 sq. inches of cold rolled steel. 24,000 BTU’s for fast and even cooking. Clean up is a breeze with the rear grease tray. The platform has adjustable legs so no matter where you decide to cook, the griddle will be level. Collapsible legs and removable shelf make it easy to store when not in use.
Perfect for cooking burgers, hot dogs, steaks, stir fry, sautéing mushrooms and onions, bacon, eggs, hash browns, pancakes, and so much more. The H style burner provides even heat distribution for optimal cooking across the whole griddle.
You are excited and beyond thrilled. Ready to make that dream come true. The van is yours now. Time to start your build. Where do we start. What do we do first. So much to think about.
If you are anything like us you follow hundreds of people that build and live in a van. You watch youtube videos all the time. Stalking #vanlife on instagram is your new hobby. Work countless hours putting together a list of everything you want out of your new home on wheels. Where to start.
Our advice is start a list. Add everything to your list you could ever want in a tiny home. Think from the outside in. Yes you will probably eliminate items from your list after you find out the cost involved. My advice is to be prepared to have as many items on your list as you can. Adding items after you have started can, more times than not, be more expensive than if you had just done it from the start.
You will want to now choose if you will be the do it yourself-er or have a builder, like Wicked Cool Vans, build for you. Do you have the tools needed to do a quality job yourself? Tools can be expensive. Do you have the know how to do it yourself? Do you have the time to do it yourself? Time is money. Lots of questions to answer before you start.
Here at Wicked Cool Vans we encourage our clients to do things themself. We also encourage our clients to have Wicked Cool Vans do the jobs they don’t have the time or tools to tackle the job. We try to provide tips and list of how to do it yourself.
You will find below a list of basic items used in a van build. This is a suggestion list. You will definitely need more items not listed. If you find you need a suggestion send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org we will try to help out if we can.
Wicked Cool Vans rear windows install on a Ram Promaster Van. Follow Wicked Cool Vans on facebook at http://www.wickedcoolvans.com and check out our website at http://www.wickedcoolvans.shop Contact us today to complete your custom van build. Thanks for watching please like us and subscribe for more DIY videos.
Solar power gives you power from the sun. Building your solar system for your particular needs is the goal. Here are some tips from Wicked Cool Vans.
What items will you need power for? How much sun where you will be traveling? Do you have a maximum price you are able to spend on your solar system? Are you going to depend entirely on solar power? Will there be a back up plan for power?
Food for thought. Will you be shopping for food often? If you need to keep food cold or frozen you will need a place to store such items. A refrigerator is most likely an item you want in your van. Refrigerators draw a lot of power. The option of a smaller 12 volt refrigerator is your best choice. The 12v systems can keep your items cold or even frozen. Having a small refrigerator can let you stay away from civilization longer.
The unit above is calculated at 45 watts of power. The motor only kicks on when the temperature falls below your settings. We find it a perfect unit for our needs and solar system size.
There are other options for cooling your food. We recommend one like this cooler style refrigerator. Cold air sinks. With the units that have a door on the front tend to loose the cold air faster. This makes your unit turn on more often. In turn this uses more power and is less efficient.
Other power items we use are water pumps, water heaters, USB ports, lights, heaters, cooling systems and fans. All of these items can be found with 12 volt power options.
The items require a draw off of your batteries. The wattage they use must be added up to find out what amperage you will need for your system. After you come to that number you must choose your batteries. Lithium batteries or sealed gel batteries? What will your budget allow? We personally have sealed gel batteries in our Wicked Cool Van. We suggest to our clients to go with the lithium from the start if your budget allows.
Battle Born LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery – 100Ah 12v with Built-in BMS – 3000-5000 Deep Cycle Rechargeable Battery – Perfect for RV/Camper, Marine, Overland/Van, and Off Grid Applications https://amzn.to/3cfdQe8
After you find your wattage needs you will be able to pick your solar panels. We like the Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel, Compact Design 42.2 X 19.6 X 1.38 in, High Efficiency Module PV Power for Battery Charging Boat, Caravan, RV and Any Other Off Grid Applications https://amzn.to/31dG0jv we have four on our van.
Size of the panels and your roof top application can determine how many you can fit. We have four 100w panels on our van. More could fit if we needed extra charging power. The Renogy panels are a good size for multiple configurations.
Renogy Rover 40 Amp 12V/24V DC Input MPPT Solar Charge Controller Auto Parameter Adjustable LCD Display Solar Panel Regulator fit for Gel Sealed Flooded and Lithium Battery https://amzn.to/3vYgzAv is needed to connect your solar panels to your batteries and other equipment.
Renogy 3000W 12V Pure Sine Wave Inverter 3000 Watt Solar Power Battery Converter 12VDC to 120Vac ETL Listed https://amzn.to/3tTkDjA is needed if you intend on using items that require a 120v plug. The inverter allows your solar to power most any lower wattage plug in items. If you intend to charge a computer, plug in a cooktop or run a water heater an inverter is needed.
Multiple breakers and fuses are needed in any system. This allows the proper amount of energy through your cables. If the cable is overloaded the breakers or fuses with break/stop. Helping your system perform in a safe manner.
Wire Lugs Ring Terminal Connectors AWG8-2 Ends Heavy Duty for Battery Cable Lug tinned Copper Tubular Wire Electrical Eyelets Terminal 12Size 120PCS with 3:1 Dual Wall Adhesive Heat Shrink https://amzn.to/2OVXz5g
Hammer Battery Lug Crimping Tool for 8, 6, 4, 2, 1/0, 2/0 American Wire Gauge (AWG) Wire and Cable https://amzn.to/3rfvKld
100FT 14 Gauge 2pin 2 Color Red Black Cable Hookup Electrical Wire LED Strips Extension Wire 12V/24V DC Cable, 14AWG Flexible Wire Extension Cord for LED Ribbon Lamp Tape Lighting https://amzn.to/3lNBPEk
4 Gauge 4 AWG 25 Feet Red + 25 Feet Black (50 Feet Total) Welding Battery Pure Copper Flexible Cable Wire – Car, Inverter, RV, Solar by WindyNation https://amzn.to/3tNm2by
ALOVECO LED RV Lights, 12V Led Lights Dimmable Camper Interior Lights 3000K Ultra-Thin RV Lights Interior Waterproof 12 Volt LED Ceiling Lights Motorhome Sailboat Yacht Case of 8 Packs https://amzn.to/3d3NACF
Ulincos Touch Switch UT19T1 Stepless Dimming Switch DC 6V to 24V Blue LED Suitable for 19mm 3/4″ Mounting Hole https://amzn.to/3chjjkX
HBOX Solar Panel Connector Y Branch Connector 1 to 4 Solar Connector Solar Cable Combiner – 1 Male to 4 Female(M/4F) and 1 Female to 4 Male(F/4M) Solar Panel Cables and Connectors (1 Pair 1Y4) https://amzn.to/31gZow5
Quick Charge 3.0 Cigarette Lighter Outlet Splitter, 12V USB Charger Waterproof Power Socket Adapter DIY Kit with Blue LED Dual USB Ports for Rocker Switch Panel on Car Boat Marine RV, etc https://amzn.to/3tQZVRG
Link Solar Weatherproof ABS Solar Double Cable Entry Gland for All Cable Types 2mm² to 6mm² for Solar Project on Rv, Campervan, Boat https://amzn.to/3tOvStD
If you are going to add a 30amp service to your electrical here are the item we suggest:
3-Bank, 30-Amp (10-Amp Per Bank) Fully-Automatic Smart Marine Charger, 12V Onboard Battery Charger, Battery Maintainer and Battery Desulfator with Temperature Compensation https://amzn.to/3lTJYaE for lithium batteries
You can choose a few different sources for back up power. The most popular is a generator. This option can be less convent. Generators tend to be noisy and not always welcome. Champion 4000-Watt RV Ready DH Series Open Frame Inverter with Quiet Technology https://amzn.to/3w3JXpl large size one like this. To smaller options – 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator w/Fuel Shut Off, CARB Compliant, Ultra Lightweight https://amzn.to/2P42Asf
We find staying parked in the sun gives us enough power for our needs. This way we are only drawing excess overnight from our batteries. Recharging again in the morning.
The links provided in this post will help you build your system. Links will bring you to our affiliate program. You many need more or less of our suggestions. If you would like Wicked Cool Vans to build your solar system send us an email email@example.com
Maine, the way life should be. True statement. Visit and explore. Beauty where ever your day takes you. From sea to mountains to the wonderful lakes. You could explore for years and never see the same thing twice.
The coastline of Maine is something that never gets old. You are able to find quiet places just to soak up the view. Mainers are friendly outgoing folks. Be prepared to have a conversation with complete strangers passing by.
Lake side is defiantly a breath of fresh air. More than 6000 lakes located in Maine you are sure to find a favorite. We personally live near Lake George. Lake George in Canaan Maine consist of 335 acres. With its tranquil surroundings you can swim, boat, fish or just lounge at the beach. Perfect place for a picnic. Lake George provides year round enjoyment.
Spend your day driving through the mountains with million dollar views. It is truly breathtaking at times. Tranquil places to stop on your journey. Just pull off the road. Many road side spaces available along your way and take that beautiful photo. Make memories that will fill your dreams.
The thought of doing plumbing can be a scary thing. In a van build it is fairly easy to complete your own van plumbing. I am sure you can find plenty of youtube videos. We use pex pipe and parts for our Wicked Cool Vans water systems. We plan to have all water components on one side of the van.
In the photo above we are making our plan. We will have the sink and all plumbing on the right side of this van. The hot water heater, pipes and pump all need a place. In this build we will be placing the diesel heater in a compartment behind the water system.
The thing we dislike the most is to start a project and not have all the parts on hand. Missing one part holds up the entire production. It is good to have a drawing of your plan. Nothing fancy, just a drawing of how you plan to place everything.
We work as a team and it is easier to visualize this way. By the time we are done with the drawing we both have scribbled all over it. After we have a plan that will work we bring it to scale. One key to an entire build is proper planning.
Now build the cabinet. Here are a list of supplies we have on hand for plumbing.
https://amzn.to/3lKbmHU 2 PIECES XFITTING HOT (RED) AND COLD (BLUE) OF 1/2″ PEX BRASS FULL PORT SHUT OFF BALL VALVE – 1/4″ TURN. We have at least 4 sets of these on hand. It is a good idea to have shut offs if there is ever a leak you are able to keep it under control while you repair it.
https://amzn.to/3vY16Am 5 Plastic Poly Alloy 90 Degree Swivel Elbow Pex x FPT Barb Pipe Fitting, 1/2″ x 1/2″ 5 pack. You will need two packs at least
https://amzn.to/3f9Uidh 5 Plastic PEX Poly Alloy Tee Barb Pipe Fitting, 1/2”, White, 5 Pack you will need at least two 5 packs of these.
https://amzn.to/3f74PWB 5 Plastic PEX Poly Alloy 90 Degree Elbow Barb Pipe Fitting, 1/2”, White, 5 Pack, you will want a lot of these on hand. it helps you have a clean look to your plumbing. I would say have five or six 5 packs on hand.
https://amzn.to/3tNqRSc 5 Plastic Poly Alloy 90 Degree Elbow Pex x MPT Barb Pipe Fitting, 1/2” x 1/2”, White, 5 Pack
Pick the size of your tanks. We try to get the same size for both if it will fit into the plans of the build.
You just brought your new van home. The first thing in a build is to put holes in your new van for windows, vents, air conditioners, heaters any outer device you are planing in your build. This requires cutting a big ole hole in your new van. A scary thing. No turning back now.
Most items you will be installing will have a template. The key is to make sue where you are cutting does not have any structural beams in the place you would like your new product. At times you may have to place the new item in a different place. Research is important. Reading the description and measure for placement ahead of time to make sure your vision can be accomplished. The reason why these items must be installed first.
You have to be prepared for the item to come without a template. The cardboard box it came in will work. Read the instructions and watch a video on installation. This way you can get tips on what not to do. A lot of videos will share their mistakes. That way you don’t make the same ones. One thing we always do is make a practice cut from our template. We will take a piece of scrap wood. Trace out our template on it. Make the cut. Fit the item in the cut hole to make sure your template is spot on.
We make sure the area is clean and free of any debris. Check you are not placing it where you will interfere with a structural component. Measure many times. You will want to make sure you are placing the hole level and even. Draw your outline. Step away. Make sure it looks right. Take some final measurements. After the outline we always place tape on the outer side of our outline. This helps prevent your tool from making scrapes on outside of your cut.
Make sure you have a new blade for your saw. This will insure a clean cut. After the cut you will need to file the edges and paint with primer. This helps avoid rust from exposed metal.
After the paint dries dry fit your item. If all looks good you can start your placement. Butyl seal tape on the edge of the item before we do the final screw in. Here is a link to some on Amazon https://amzn.to/2OVatR2 the butyl seal tape is a great thing to have on hand for your build. If it is an item on your roof you will want lap sealant on hand as well. https://amzn.to/39cEhzf Here is the lap sealant we recommend. The final step is to secure your item into place. Make sure you are plumb and level. It wasn’t that bad was it?
Here is a list of item I would have on hand for putting holes in your van:
Miss Tessa our Bullmastiff. She is five and full of spunk. In fact the day this picture was taken she decided to get into it with a porcupine. Which left us spending all night at an emergency vet to get her de-quilled. Lesson learned, don’t let her explore in the woods on our walks.
We have five big dogs. Three Bullmastiffs and two Boxers. Never ending love in our house. They all love to go camping or just for a ride. As soon as they hear the engine start they are ready and waiting. Most think we are crazy but we disagree. Well maybe a little crazy. Both breeds are full of love and loyalty.
We try to always take them with us. Sometimes we just take one or two. It is important to us to try and give them each one on one time. We get someone to stay at our house. It is always someone we know and are familiar to the the dogs.
A van fits right in with our lifestyle. What else can you fit this crew in? The van is perfect. Not that they need a lot of room. Definitely lovers.
Do you travel with animals? There is no way we could just check into a hotel. Having a Wicked Cool Van or our RV makes it like we never left home. Living the dream. Wicked Cool Vans keeps us close to home lately. Every spare moment we get we hit the road. With the entire crew.
If you are looking for the perfect pet bed for travel we love taking a cot. It can be taken a part for easy storage. Perfect for when you’re stopped at a place where the ground is rocky and you want your pup to lay down and relax. Here is one we use for you to check out https://amzn.to/3d4k67W or check out more https://amzn.to/3ciumKx