THE BUILD

The Kitchen

Fridge [$670] [Engel SB70F Front Open Fridge]

I did as much research on choosing the fridge as anything else. And I mean A LOT! I knew I wanted a front-open fridge. A lot of builds I came across have the top-openers and I did not want one of those. Engel seemed to be one of the most trusted brands for top-openers. Other brands I was between included Dometic, Norcold, Isotherm, & Nova Kool.  I came very close to going with a Nova Kool fridge but after reading and reading, Engel seemed like the most trustworthy brand overall. The couple bad reviews I read about it state that it is very loud. I agree completely. That is my only complaint with this fridge. I need white noise to drown it out when I'm sleeping. Otherwise, it's been a gem.

Sink [$50] [15" x 15" Bar Sink]

It may not be the prettiest sink, but is certainly functional and fits our needs. It's also very cost-effective! This sink was only $50 and fits very well. I chose it not only because of the price, but it provides us with a small sink to maximize counter space. If you're going to have more counter space in your van, then I'd go for a larger sink. 

Faucet [$70] [Faucet with Pull Down Sprayer]

I wasn't super excited about spending more on a faucet than a sink but that's just the way it is. I really wanted a nice looking faucet and something that had a pull-out sprayer. So far, it's been a great faucet! On Amazon, it was highly reviewed and the price was reasonable compared to similar competitors.

Stove [$390] [Dometic Origo 4100]

Yes, $390 is quite expensive for a stove but it has been worth every penny. This stove runs on denatured alcohol as opposed to propane or electricity. This means I don't have to carry a large propane tank in my van. It also means I can cook even if my battery is dead. In my research, I read that it is a safer alternative to propane (honestly, I don't remember why). It is as simple as pouring the alcohol into a canister and lighting it with a match. If you're building your van, definitely consider this stove. I highly recommend it.

Water Pump [$58] [Shurflo Pump (3g/min)]

After a quick Amazon search, Shurflo seemed like the company to go with. My only choice was do I go with one that is 3g/min or 1g/min. I had no idea what that would look like when I turn on the sink. It turns out this one lets out good pressure but it is not too much. Seems to be working pretty good so far...can't complain.

Electricity

Solar Panels [HQST 200W Panels]

 

I chose to go with the HQST 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel Kit with 20A MPPT Charge Controller. I had narrowed it down to Renogy, HQST, & Eco-Worthy and after tons of research, the link above for the HQST was undoubtedly the best bang for my buck. So far (as of 8/1/18 (4 months in), I have been very happy with the decision. This particular one comes with a MPPT charge controller, which are superior to PWM controllers. I don't see any reason to spend more for Renogy, but if it makes you more comfortable, you can find the link here.

Inverter [Potek 2000W Inverter]

With the 2000W inverter, we have plenty of wattage to run everything we need to. The price difference between 1000W, 1500W, and 2000W inverters was not significant enough to buy one of lower wattage. Most of the inverters on Amazon had fairly poor reviews. I went with this one because it seemed like the best overall and the negative reviews were not as "bad" as the bad reviews for other inverters. So far, I have been happy with it and have had no issues to date.

Battery [StarkPower 100AH Battery]

The battery was another department that required a lot of research. I'm still working on this page. I will elaborate soon. Don't worry.

Outlets TopGreener Outlets

The outlets did not take a lot of researching. These had fantastic reviews and did not cost a lot more than the ones without the USB plugs so it was a no-brainer. We have 2 of these, as you can see in the photo. We put them where we did so we would easily be able to charge stuff from the bed or plug stuff in at the kitchen.

Recessed Lighting [$65] [Dream Lights]

I really wanted recess lights in the ceiling. It was a little tricky in the beginning of my search. Also, it was very hard to tell from searching online how bright they would be in the van. These lights are amazing. They are so bright and with these on at night, the van looks incredible! I would highly recommend these.

Fan [$180] [MaxxAir Fan with Rain Sensor]

It was really between MaxxAir and Fan-Tastic. I felt more comfortable going with MaxxAir for some reason, but I think both seem great. I've been happy with our fan. I think I paid an extra $50 to get the model with a built-in rain-sensor. We haven't been in a situation where it's kicked in yet but I could see it being very useful. 

About

We are both traveling physical therapists. Traveling since September 2016. And we have a camper van.

 

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