Meet Sydney, a solo female traveler touring the USA in a white Ford Transit. Although previously Sydney had ventured in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, she found that the Ford Transit offered the utility, usability, and ease-of-repair that she needed in a vehicle for long-haul adventures. Measuring in at 220 inches long and 81 inches wide, the Transit is no doubt a cozy vehicle, but Sydney has managed to economize the space and transform hers into a remarkably spacious home on the road.
To make a compact space liveable for the long-term, Sydney designed the entire interior and had it re-built from the ground up. Although such a labor-intensive project took patience, determination, and lots of help, the end result was well worth it.
For security reasons, she sectioned off the front of the vehicle with a locking, sliding door. The interior of the cabin sports a sleek modern style, with a pastiche of white panelling, octagonal tiling in the kitchen, and charming wood accents along the walls. Up above, the high mint-green ceilings keep the area feeling spacious and serene, while recessed LED lights throughout the van provide a bright and inviting atmosphere.
For Sydney, living tiny did not mean skimping out on the kitchen. For a relatively small space, her Transit boasts a surprisingly robust kitchen, including a sink, running water, a pull-out cutting board, and multiple drawers for kitchen supplies. Instead of installing the usual propane stove found in most tiny vehicles, Sydney decided to go with an induction stove; it’s more compact, works just like a conventional stove, and can be used about 2 times a day with her current battery set-up, which is plenty for her. Up top, the open cabinet space provides ample room for her cooking ingredients and any extra amenities.
Across from the sink, the vehicle is equipped with a 110V Magic Chef Fridge—a much cheaper alternative in this case to the costlier 12V fridges that usually come in such converted vehicles. The fridge includes a freezer compartment, and next to it are three angled wine bottle holders.
Sydney's vehicle contains a portable composting toilet: a subtle enough addition that stays inconspicuous yet enables Sydney to have the comforts of home. For showering, Sydney hangs a portable solar shower at the back of the van that heats 5 gallons of water in a thermal bag using the heat from the sun. It may not be a conventional bathroom, but it gets the job done and keeps her connected to the great outdoors!
At the back of the van, warm wood panelling provides a homey feel for the bedroom. The dinette area converts into a bed that’s just larger than a queen-size mattress, giving Sydney plenty of space to lounge around and stretch out. Hanging just at the foot of the bed, a pair of book racks allow the bedroom to double as a cozy reading nook.
Sydney’s van has had a few makeovers, but throughout its journey it has remained her personal space customized perfectly to fit her needs. Near the front of the vehicle is an illuminated “glam mirror,” which Sydney uses for getting ready for the day. At the back, the booth-style dinette area provides ample seating for herself and a few guests. The two couches can fit up to 6 people around the fold-out Lagun Table. 4 power sockets were installed within arms reach to offer a perfect space for work, dinner or board games.
One of the best parts of van life is how close you are to the outdoors. With her vehicle, Sydney wanted to integrate her living area with the space outside. For that reason, the van includes a pull-out table that extends six feet beyond the rear of the vehicle, providing an ideal outdoor living space for guests or for soaking in the scenery. Likewise, an eye bolt above the rear doors allows Sydney to hang aerial silks or resistance bands for her yoga and work-out regimen.
The van is equipped with two 95-amp batteries, a 1500-watt inverter, and cold running water. Up top, 400 watts of solar roof panels help provide the power needed for all the amenities inside the van. To ensure her batteries are always full, Sydney installed a battery isolator to enable her car battery to charge her leisure battery. Up front, a sleek control panel turns on and off the van’s lights and running water, and a utilities closet makes it easy to check on all the electrical equipment. When in cold areas, Sydney has an electric heater to keep her space warm and cozy.