A custom van to make the case for seasonal West Coast nomadism

was tired of paying San Francisco rent and he wanted to travel more, so he bought a 4×4 Mercedes and converted it into his new . The loan payments (over 5 years) were half of what he had been paying in rent and since his job as a software developer allows him to work on the road, he could swap high-priced Silicon Valley for free Forest Service and BLM campsites.

To survive as an off-grid (he pays the premium for plug-in sites only occasionally), he relies on (to avoid snow and ice issues with the roof-mounted option). His Isotherm 130L drawer fridge is the biggest power draw using 430 watts in 24 hours (34 amp-hours at 12.6+ v), and he only runs it to keep fruits and vegetables cold (it is on a seperate cycle). “I can stay parked for 3 nights without draining the 310 amp-hour below 50%. I verified this at Denali where the van sat for 96 hours before briefly recharging it on a 15 mile drive”.

Kennedy finds working from a campground surrounded by nature much easier than from a crowded office filled with distractions. He says that tech companies are also more willing to hire remote workers, given the difficulties they have recruiting and retaining talent in major urban centers.

He converted his van with high end materials (stainless steel, solid walnut heartwood, and aluminum angles) to create something that would hold up over rough roads (He has spent one summer in Alaska). He and his mother built custom walnut soft-close drawers with clearances within a millimeter (without the help of CNC cutting). He added a on each side to prevent the drawer boxes from launching with the vans turns (and to deter theft).

Kennedy now spends his year chasing good weather and good skiing. To insulate for the latter, he outfitted the van with Thinsulate insulation and trunkliner-covered plastic interior panels. He also uses a diesel-powered heater.

http://erickennedy.org/Sprinter-4×4-Camper-Van-Conversion

21 Comments

  1. Having the hot side pins exposed on the solar plug makes me nervous, but I guess its only 12 volts. really like the off-road capability

  2. Kudos for making the switch to van life. Can’t wait to see how it evolves into something more convenient. All those little things (awkward sink, hand-powered water siphon, drawer locks, solar suitcase, heater/fridge proximity, light switch locations, power box set up and location, etc.) were setting my OCD off. *reaches across entire van from bed* “yeah, I have access to the counter”. Can’t despise humble beginnings though. Way to go for it!

  3. when a software developer saying he cant pay the SF rent you shit got serious cuz normal here in SF bay area, software developer starts at $140k a year

    • For what most people pay for a one bedroom apartment you can buy a pretty expensive van. You don’t HAVE to buy a 4X4, and you don’t have to buy new either.

  4. THIS is the proof that if one can be happy or be nice living as u want, and this guys gives good vibes, whereever you are, a big huge and all of u are watching this great kristen channel,,

  5. I agree with him. If I also were to live the a nomadic lifestyle, that I would like a small home base (especially for mail and orders or if family would like to visit once in a while).

  6. Waw !!,que idea tan maravillosa para vivir…😅🤗 Me encanta tu canal y las formas e ideas tan creativas y bellas que documentas ,felicidades !!!

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