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  • Writer's pictureRoad Dog Vans

Designing the Van

This is only our second post, so you haven't missed much. The first blog focused on the first step in a van build - the identification of must-haves, must-not-haves, and would-likes. This newsletter is going to focus on the design itself, and then we'll move through the selection of vans and the build itself. Once you’ve created your list of wants and needs for your dream van, the next step is to start the design process. There are lots of design software options on the market, but if you’re going to be working with a conversion company, it’s best to work with them to get designs completed, since they’ll likely have a favorite software. For dog owners, we generally start the design with the type/style, size, and number of crates that will be needed (including number of doors per crate, access style, stackable, etc.). After the crate locations are decided, the next step is to determine the space requirements for the electric system. We’ll talk about this in greater detail later, but with the technology that’s now readily available through multiple Lithium Ion battery manufacturers, but now it’s even possible to run a supplemental air conditioner (like the Coleman Mach 8 cub) on house battery power alone. So, with that in mind, the type of systems (number and size of batteries, size and location of fresh water tank, propane or diesel heater needs) you need/want in your van are critical to design and space considerations.

Bed size, orientation, and type (permanent, slide out, murphy, hydraulic lift), number of upper and lower cabinets, sink and shower locations, “garage” storage, and kitchen cabinetry can then be determined and placed into a 3-dimensional design to make it easier for the client to visualize their van.

Once the design is complete (and the locations of the fun things and the not-so-fun, but necessary, system components and guts of the van are finalized) the next step is either to select the van itself and buy it, or, if you already have a van, to move into the build. We generally recommend that, if you can, you should wait on purchasing the van until the design is complete so that you can be sure that the size/height/specs of the van you choose will be the best option for your design. Next newsletter, we'll go into a really high-level summary of the types of vans on the market (we know, very exciting). If you want to see cool photos of some of our recent conversions, follow us on facebook and instagram. Happy holidays and stay safe, Steve and Brooke

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