Tiffanie and Will bought their Ford E 350 for $2,500 USD on a government auction and converted it into a home on wheels.
Quick facts Ford Econoline 350:
car manufacturer: Ford
year of construction: 2000
how many seats: 2
complete weight of vehicle: 8,500 lbs
how many kilometers: 270,000 miles
output of the motor: –
consumption at 100km: 10 MPG
driving license classify: none
top speed: 85 MPH
motor fuel: unleaded
price: $2,500 USD
costs of repair per year: $1000 USD
vehicle taxes: $35/year
So tell us a bit about you first!
I am Tiffanie, I’m married to my favorite vanlife buddy, Will. We are based out of Colorado and use our van to travel to all the new places I just have to see. We often combine our travels with our favorite outdoor activities, my favorites being rafting and paddleboarding, but also backpacking and bicycling.
What drew you to travel and live in a van?
I’ve always loved a good road trip! About 9 years ago I fell in love with a man who had a van. It was always our favorite vehicle for traveling because of the freedom it provides when you are all self contained. We can pull over almost anywhere, get some sleep, and be ready for a day of adventure without having to break down our camp!
What kind of van do you own and why did you choose this kind of van?
A Ford Econoline, which was an easy choice because it was the most common van in America. Also, we bought it for almost nothing off of a government auction, so it was too good of a deal to turn down! It used to be a prison van… I’m sure we have way more fun in it than the old occupants did!
Is the interior made by yourself or did you get a carpenter?
We did it all ourselves! This was the second build we did in it, the first one was much more austere. This time we wanted to go all out and make it feel as homey as possible. I love how it turned out!
How long did you work on your van until it was finished and ready to travel with?
Twice as long as we thought it would! It took us about 4 months, and we worked on it often. But, we are amateurs, so that didn’t help speed us up at all.
Tell us your 3 most important camping gadgets of all time!
Our Dometic refrigerator- it’s so nice not to deal with cooler ice anymore!
A CGear sand-free mat to lay on the ground. I won’t even go to the beach without one anymore, they are life changing!
And a cast-iron Dutch Oven- so easy to cook and clean with, and you can get really creative with your campfire recipes!
How do you earn money while traveling?
We both fly for the airlines, which provides a nice schedule for traveling, and allows us to commute by air when we need to get back to our home base!
Which countries have you seen already with your van?
Just America so far! But it’s a big country and we still have a lot to see! Our dream is to build another van and leave it in Europe, so we can start basing our travels there out of a van too.
How long are you on the road already and do you live in your vehicle full time?
I would call us part-timers right now, our full-time days are behind us. I’ve been doing it for 9 years, but Will has had a van since his parents gave him the family vehicle when he turned 16. Most of our adventures between work trips last about 2 weeks, with our longer trips lasting 6 weeks.
Some people prefer campsites for the night, others love free camping somewhere in the middle of nowhere. What do you prefer and why?
We almost always camp in the middle of nowhere. Campgrounds are too loud and crowded for us. We love the solitude you can find when boondocking off the grid.
How do you shower?
We have two systems, a basic solar shower bag, and a rechargeable battery powered shower head, which pumps it’s own water out of a bucket. We built a shower curtain that we can hang off the side of the van when necessary, but when you’re camping in the middle of nowhere, a curtain isn’t necessary at all! Also- if we are passing through a town, we will just stop by a gym, because that is really the easiest.
What kind of kitchen do you have in your Ford Econoline 350?
We built an outdoor kitchen that slides out the back of the van and has a propane stove. But we also like to cook on the campfire in our Dutch Oven. When the weather is bad, and we can’t be outside, we might just be stuck having a cup of noodles with some hot water from the coffee maker. Or- my favorite- dining out at a new restaurant!!
What makes travelling and living in a van such a great experience?
My favorite part is just being outside and enjoying nature everyday. Also, being on the move is so much fun, with new scenery to enjoy every day. We almost never spend two nights in the same place.
Nothing is perfect – what´s the down side of vanlife?
Finding your favorite campsite occupied! Camping and vanlife has become so popular that sometimes it can be hard to find some open space to settle down for the night.
What tips would you give new vanlifers?
Always respect the land you’re staying on, and always leave these places looking better than how you found them! We always do our best to leave no evidence of our stay, and are happy to pick up after people who may not have done the same before us.
Do you sometimes make new friends on the road/meet other vanlifers?
Sure! We love talking to new vanlifers and hearing all about their plans and adventures. But lately we’ve actually been doing our best to convert our regular friends, and many of them now own vans too! Vanlife is way more fun with friends!!
What are your future plans when it comes to traveling/living in your van?
Well, the coronavirus crisis cancelled all of our plans to travel through Canada this summer, so hopefully when the snow melts the virus will be gone, the borders will be open, and I can see every bit of British Columbia. A girl can dream, can’t she?!