Meet Nate Murphy, the mastermind behind the popular YouTube video with over 8 million views, “How to convert a Van in to an Off-Grid Camper in 17 Days!” This avid outdoorsman converts a Ford Transit into a camper van in only 17 days to support his multi-year climbing trip around the world! The feedback and success of his video inspired the creation of his blog “Nate Murphy’s Van Conversion Guide,” which provides tips and tricks of how to DIY van conversion and downloadable eBook that only costs about as much as a cup of coffee. This eBook includes step-by-step decision-making materials, component specs, supplies, pricing, electronic diagrams, and other tips for ways to improve your next build.
Why go overlanding?
With the summer weather approaching (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least!), many outdoor enthusiasts can forget about the snow and go on an overlanding adventure. Many in this community view overlanding as a way to simplify their living situation on the road, focusing more on adventures instead of setting up and tearing down a campsite. As van conversions become more popular, people are seeking self-reliance-focused travel to remote destinations where the journey itself is the principal goal.
What is it?
Fun fact: In Australia, “overlanding” is a term used to signify the herding of livestock over very long distances. In current times, overlanding has become popular with the arrival of commercially available four-wheel-drive trucks – including Mercedes-Benz G-Class’s, Unimog, Jeeps, and Land Rovers. However, the earlier pioneers of overlanding traveled in much less upgraded vehicles. In 1954, notable overlanding adventurers Helen and Frank Schreider drove and sailed in a sea-going ex-army jeep from the Arctic Circle to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego which is located at the southern-most tip of South America.
The Overlanding Association was established in 2015 as a not-for-profit collective community, with goals to provide inspiration, support, and information to overland travelers. Partnering and sponsoring the overlanding community, they provide assistance to websites, forums, and overland groups around the world.
Highlights from Nick’s Conversion Video
The conversion video is thorough, with more than 30 minutes of instruction. But for a quick overview, we’ve pulled out the highlights below:
- Prep the van for installation by removing all components inside and giving a good deep clean.
- Prep the interior for insulation, which acts as a barrier to heat loss and heat gain, particularly in roofs and ceilings, walls and floors.
- Electrical and wood panels can be added in by Day 5 to begin the construction of the cabinets and bed frame. This leaves room for electrical components and battery installation.
- Using a recycled foam futon as the mattress and gas tank strapped for safety, this build is making huge progress by Day 11.
- Final touches including adding solar power brings this build together and ready for the road in 17 days!
Watch the entire video of Nate’s conversion installation below.
Follow more of Nate’s outdoor adventures and RV renovation blog at Nate Murphy’s Van conversion guide, located here.
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