How I Converted A VAN into an OFF GRID CAMPER for under $3,000

How I Converted A VAN into an OFF GRID CAMPER for under $3,000

Here’s a time-lapse of me converting my 1997 Chevy Gladiator into a cozy, livable space. It’s a pretty simple build but I’m here to prove that you don’t need to have any experience in building things to make yourself a nice little home in a vehicle. AND you can do it pretty inexpensively as well…

check out my website page where I list all the the supplies I use and give very in depth instructions on how I did the conversion:


Prepping for the conversion:
Buying a van:
Van Tour:

How I saved up + made $$:

First Day in the Van:
the only vlog i enjoyed making (Badlands):
Seattle vlog:
Grand Tetons:
Black Hills:
First couple days in the van/Minnesota:
Van Life Q&A:
Pros and Cons of Van Life:
Meal Ideas:
How I dealt w/ my period:



0:00 – Intro
20:09 – CEILING
23:03 – WALLS



1. it is important to use grommets where the holes are for the solar panel wires to come into the van so the metal of the roof doesn’t cut through the wires protective coat. I didn’t use any because i couldn’t find any but you can order them online if you can’t find any in stores.

2. i do say in the video that i recommend putting fuses between all electrical components. its a long story but in my situation i didn’t really have that option.

3. if i had to go back and do one thing more carefully it would be the window covers. If you make ones the same way as mine, try to make them as perfect as possible, and a little bigger than needed. I’ve found if I leave them up in the morning for a bit and the sun starts to shine on them, they can actually fall out. One of my back ones and one side door one have done that and those were the ones that fit best. If you mess up you can always duct tape more cardboard where needed!

4. The battery I have is actually ‘sealed’ not ‘GEL’ as a few commenters have told me.. i tried doing research and its not super clear anywhere which it is but I’m like 90% sure it’s sealed so I did change the battery indicator light on the cc.

5. For most, it will be important to strap the battery down. Many people have told me that I should’ve done that and I see where they’re coming from but it’s really highly unlikely that even if my van flipped in an accident than it would even go in there, it doesn’t have really anywhere to go considering its secured tightly on all the sides and the bed frame extends over it.

6. Like i say in the video, i do know the carbon monoxide is not in the best spot but i did read the manual and according to all the places it said you shouldn’t put it, theres literally not a single place in the van that would be ideal.

7. Some people have told me to cover the battery terminals so if something falls on them, nothing bad happens, so I would recommend doing that.

8. Dicor Lap Sealant is a stronger, more reliable caulk to use in place of silicone when it comes to things covering hole in the van like around the fan, panels, and panel cables.

9. Many have told me fiberglass insulation is not good to use in vehicles because it will get moldy from the moisture but the insulation i used was what came in and got ripped out of the van. It had been in there since 1997 with no mold so it seems like it should be fine for a bit longer.

10. All the products I use and show in the video like my fridge and solar panels are listed on my website.


» IG:
» website:


❂ Music

Vibrant – Lofive
Good For You – THBD
Stay Around – THBD
Runaway – THBD
Courage – Calico Cactus
Satellite – Onda Norte
Skylight – APOLLO
Dryland – Nebulae
Too Bad – Lakey Inspired
Getaway – Lakey Inspired
Leaves – [ocean jams]


  1. Juliana Self on January 25, 2023 at 5:03 am

    You rock!!! Can’t wait to start my build. Thanks for gearing this toward beginners.

  2. Marcus Williams on January 25, 2023 at 5:03 am

    Im a 47 year old male contractor who has been stuck in my van build. Until now. Thank You for the information. You may find fancier vans being built but you wont find anybody better at showing how it really gets done. I dont know you and im proud of you.

  3. K Jenkins on January 25, 2023 at 5:10 am

    Well bless your heart! This is much ore then I could do! Fantastic job!

  4. Paeng Solo on January 25, 2023 at 5:11 am

    Great job young lady

  5. Juliana Self on January 25, 2023 at 5:11 am

    How do I find your website? Non tech savvy GenXer here.

  6. Robert McCann on January 25, 2023 at 5:13 am

    Absolutely awesome – inspired!!

  7. James Hunt on January 25, 2023 at 5:16 am

    Good for you it’s all a learning curve keep going u now can say you built your own mobile home

  8. The Toon on January 25, 2023 at 5:18 am

    So 8 racks

  9. sheryl turner turner on January 25, 2023 at 5:18 am

    Thank-you so very much for showing your build. I’m 62 and really nervous about building my van and have zero experience. Because I’m in Canada and have to get it right. I would pay someone but don’t have that kind of money. Thanks again and enjoy the journey.

  10. Harley Memphis on January 25, 2023 at 5:18 am

    mistake are mistakes we learn trhough them congratiulations on your build be proud of the job you done you have a life time to enjoy everyday

  11. Angel Alava on January 25, 2023 at 5:19 am


  12. Skeeter W on January 25, 2023 at 5:19 am

    Anybody who has a van like that for sale I’m looking to buy one. I’m in the states.

  13. Shirley Laracuente on January 25, 2023 at 5:20 am

    Your did an amazing work on that van. looks very pretty and cozy thats important.

  14. Sora San on January 25, 2023 at 5:20 am

    total: $9765.21
    title: under $3000
    us: clickbaited
    her: master u tuber
    hotel: trivago

  15. steamdean100 on January 25, 2023 at 5:21 am

    Well done Anna on a great van build. If I was building this van now, I would do it completely different, but if I was doing it 35 years ago when I was your age. I would have done it exactly how you did it. Good on ya girl.

  16. Timmy Infinity on January 25, 2023 at 5:22 am


  17. Xa Ya Za Za on January 25, 2023 at 5:22 am

    Badass Anna, Badass!

  18. Milantique Studios on January 25, 2023 at 5:23 am

    Good job.

  19. limpqizbuit on January 25, 2023 at 5:25 am

    As a 33 year old man who’s a carpenter and an electrician, I approve of your general message. 👏 you’re going places young lady. Litterally.

  20. Brian Knight on January 25, 2023 at 5:26 am

    This is so motivating! Thank you and amazing job!

  21. Chris Locke on January 25, 2023 at 5:26 am

    Great Job.. Let’s not forget cost on labor. This build would of cost $13/15 thousand without friends and family labor being free.

  22. Linda Tyo on January 25, 2023 at 5:26 am

    Did you have a stove and toilet? I didn’t see those parts included in the build

  23. Colleen Howard on January 25, 2023 at 5:27 am

    WOW! Great job. How long did this take?

  24. Megan Mercier on January 25, 2023 at 5:27 am

    Can you send a link where you got your solar panels

  25. Redfish Incorporated on January 25, 2023 at 5:27 am

    So impressed with your design and solutions. Young people such as yourself give me hope for the future. Good luck to you and be careful out there on the road… …and have fun!

  26. james cabaniss on January 25, 2023 at 5:30 am

    Your only 18 and you undertook all that? Kind of mind-blowing. It is funny, the only thing I would find comfortable to construct is the electrical, everything else I would have no idea. I only know a little electrical because I got interested in building power stations with solar a few years ago and have built several of them for my home and my RV.

  27. MrsS on January 25, 2023 at 5:30 am

    This is fabulous! I have watched more than 500 videos on all kinds of builds and yours is the first one that shows how to do the insulation and ceiling and the floor. I’m keeping this video for when I need it for my own van which I hope is next year. Excellent job you should be proud of it. I hope you are enjoying the van life.

  28. Helene D on January 25, 2023 at 5:33 am

    My goodness, Princess. You seem brilliant, very orderly and highly responsible. Parents, take a big bow.l, because your Anna has really wowed us!!! I know you got started in 2018, but I just found you. I’m going to look for your ventures now. Best wishes and thk you for sharing your experience.

  29. Jimmy Sturman on January 25, 2023 at 5:34 am

    Very impressive young lady your courage and enthusiasm is very inspiring
    Keep up the good work and good luck on your journey

  30. Val Appleby on January 25, 2023 at 5:34 am

    Absolutely amazing girl!!! Love the way you worked so hard AND the way you kept track of all your finances!!!

  31. Ray Harth on January 25, 2023 at 5:34 am

    Great job Anna

  32. Jan Willem v.d. Gronden on January 25, 2023 at 5:38 am

    a few seconds in and all I can think is: 18 years old, budget of 10.000? Raised money by yourself? HOW?! Not second guessing, simply flabbergasted that is even possible. My son has a savings account where we as a family put money on, so by the time he is 18 he could do that as well. But raising that kind of cash sans help? I simply can’t wrap my brain around that one…

    But good for you! Hopelessly jealous, in a good way. And please take care of yourself… Jinx… Sorry.

  33. Jackson on January 25, 2023 at 5:38 am

    Thank you

  34. MrBNARick on January 25, 2023 at 5:42 am

    Anna… for being only 18 when you did this, I am quite impressed. Great job and a great video.

  35. Brotherofjaredyt on January 25, 2023 at 5:42 am

    Tragic homeless as a Teen. This is America. 🇺🇸

  36. CARPO719 on January 25, 2023 at 5:43 am

    That is awesome Anna! I have watched your channel for awhile now, but never knew you had converted a Van. My wife and I converted a short school bus, and I build tiny homes for a living, so I know that work that goes into it!

  37. Kade for Short on January 25, 2023 at 5:43 am

    Thank you so much! This so far is the most helpful detailed video I’ve ever seen. Getting prepare to do my own build and I really appreciate this!

  38. kut on January 25, 2023 at 5:43 am

    love this vid man

  39. BoredHappy on January 25, 2023 at 5:44 am

    Where can I get those lights u put in the ceiling?? Really interested in starting my own van build soon

  40. Chris Wells on January 25, 2023 at 5:48 am

    No grommets protecting the solar panel wiring through the metal roof is just scary. Vibrations will 100% cut through those wires eventually and either short and destroy the system or seriously injure someone. I am all for self builds but these are the kinds of mistakes that can cause serious damage.

  41. Jenny Anderson on January 25, 2023 at 5:49 am

    Not to smart leaving windows uninsulated , more of a ( oh look at me i live van life ) type build .

  42. Harley Memphis on January 25, 2023 at 5:49 am

    my first van I converted was a window van ihated the windows so broke out the flay black spray pait went ti town hahahha can you say hugher thena kite wel i ended up insulating all window cavities and paneled the entire enterior whoaaaaaaaaa was I stoned for 2 days hahahah trippin hahahaha

  43. Forest Sky on January 25, 2023 at 5:50 am

    Wow!!! 4.1 million viewers!!! You deserve this plus many more! And again, WOW…what a GREAT build of your van!!! And what…17, 18???
    Pkus, your Humbleness and tact, super cala fraga listic expiala doctious Anna!!!!!
    And on top of all this quality, you are sooooo attractive and intelligent.
    Great vlog👍
    Wow …4.1 MILLION!!!

  44. Nathan Boyer on January 25, 2023 at 5:52 am

    no hole has ever, is ever, or will ever be PRE drilled. the hole is drilled or it is not.

  45. Brittany Bell on January 25, 2023 at 5:54 am

    I would just have to have a powerful solar generator like a jackery or something for electrical 😂😂 this is complex

  46. Kim Price on January 25, 2023 at 5:54 am

    You’re an articulate, talented, smart young lady and will go far in life. Continue to bless and be blessed. 😇💙🙏

  47. Albedo on January 25, 2023 at 5:55 am

    yes I would like a van to ride with you 😁

  48. Paul Werner on January 25, 2023 at 5:56 am

    Great job thanks

  49. Hope H on January 25, 2023 at 6:00 am

    Thanks for all the help!! It’s much appreciated

  50. Brownmahfun on January 25, 2023 at 6:00 am


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