I'd like to get everyone's opinion on my SMB design so far. I kind of want to run the whole thing by everyone here initially, even before SMB sees it, so I can be sure I'm on the right track w/ my thinking, decisions, etc. And you all are way more experienced than I am, so let the criticism (both constructive and destructive) begin!
This vehicle will contain many "firsts" for me:
- my first full-sized van
- my first Recreational Vehicle
- my first camping experience
- my first time needing to worry about battery capacity
- my first time needing to worry about water conservation and use
- my first 4x4 (if I go w/ that option)
- my first V-8 or V-10 vehicle
- (I'm probably forgetting a bunch, too!)
I'm guessing a list of "purposes" for the van is beneficial so you can properly critique my ideas, so here's what I forsee the van being used for:
- Daily Driver (to/from work, pick up my three kids a few times per week)
- Weekend Camper (for me and my fiancee to "get away" to local mini-vacation spots)
- Week-long Camper (for the annual one-week vacation somewhere)
- Cargo carrier (transportation for my mountain bike, furniture moving, etc)
- Mobile office (plan on putting a laptop in there and working out of my van part time)
- Secondary home (just to "hang" in occasionally, just for the heck of it)
- Tow vehicle (in the future - for a small pop-up for extra sleeping space for the kids)
- anything else I haven't thought of yet
Anyway, I've been designing via floorplan in both the DYO online and cut-n-paste paper pieces. I was originally planning on getting a regular body van, but after two designs, I quickly realized that the extra 20" is priceless, so I moved "up" to an extended body van.
So, the initial thoughts on the van are:
- Ford E350 EB V-8 gas
Anyway, my "reasoning" behind what I have so far is based on the potential uses for the van (listed above), and my attempt to keep the van as "light" as possible. It'll have A/C, heat, hot water, and an extra battery. I am NOT getting an awning. After seeing a "Dinette W" in person, I realized that those are NOT made for a 6'-0" tall person, so I'm going with the Gaucho sofa option for sleeping. Also inside, I'm going w/ Cabinet HA (A/C, frig, microwave), Storage J or K, Galley F (cooktop and sink), and a large table for eating at the Gaucho. I'm going w/ the penthouse and bed option as well, in case I need the extra sleeping space. I originally wanted a shower, too, but I'm really hesitant on this design working comfortably inside a penthouse top, AND having any sort of cargo space, too.
Here's my design so far, w/ my comments/questions in red:
What do you think? Will this work? Will it handle all of my uses? Is the "adaptable" open area in the back a good idea?
I have a few unknowns, so maybe my design will change:
- where does the heater go?
- where does the fresh water tank go?
- where does the water heater and pump go?
And I'm sure there are a ton of things I have not even thought of yet (which is why I'm posting this for all you SMB owners)...
Thanks for any input you can offer! I want to do this right the first time.