V&M Van Life

Madison writes occasional blog updates. Read the latest.

Living in a van in Canada. Passionate for off grid solutions and building a life you don’t need a vacation from, V&M set out on a mission. They seek work and life balance in the rising era of the “gig economy”. This couple upfitted a Mercedes Sprinter van to meet all their needs, independent of location. The mobility affords them flexibility, adaptability and a lower cost of living. Raynor is an analog nomad and the name sake of Ray Outffited. Madison is a digital nomad with a B.MGMT, a resume of corporate experience and the business manager for Ray Outfitted. Together they are building a life - and taking a road less travelled.

My wife and I travel full time in our self converted camper

Van: 2017 Mercedes Sprinter 2500 170WB Full Height

Interior Priorities: No propane or additional fuel sources, fixed queen bed, desktop workstation, ample storage, ability to carry bicycles & winter gear.

Exterior Priorities: Tiltable Solar Array, Ability to Carry Adventure Bike and/or tow.

DIY Camper Layout

Custom Camper vans can be a larger investment than a factory RV - however conversion and upfitting allows owners to build to suit their specific needs and lifestyle. There’s no one right approach to van life and van builds in Canada.

Van Life Safety - It is essential to remember at the end of the day, these are vehicles. Household standards do not apply particularly in electrical, water and some of the fundamentals behind insulation. Upfits needs to be removable, repairable and all contents must be secured in case of accidents.

Canadian Winter Van Life - Canadian vanlifers know it’s very difficult to escape all cold weather. Unlike our Southern Friends and the Land Down Under - Canadians have to prepare for freezing temperatures. Insulation, heat sources, placement of water tanks and batteries — all need special consideration thanks to the climate of Canada. Solar panels do less work in our Northern region but tilt and movable panels can provide some compensation if desired or required.

  • V&M’s Canadian Van Build:

    • Two Swivel Seats

    • Full queen size, fixed bed

    • Full length closet

    • Heating & Cooling:

      • Espar D2 Diesel heater

      • 2 MaxxAir Fans, 2 internal fans

    • "Garage":

      • Six 5 gallon fresh water jugs replaced with RV water tanks after 14 months. Same 30 gallon capacity with an added 3 gallon 12V hot water tank

      • Two mountain bikes on custom slide out drawer

      • Tools for van maintenance

      • House electrical setup

    • Kitchen is all electric

      • Induction cooktop

      • Electric toaster, kettle and milk frother/steamer

      • Chest style slide out fridge

      • 12V 3 gallon hot water tank

    • Workstation:

      • Ultra Wide Screen monitor on pivot mount

      • Liquid cooled desktop computer

      • WeBoost to improve cellphone reception

      • WiFi Antenna to increase WiFi connectivity range

    • Composting Toilet

      • Installed on slide out tracks, stores under platform bed

    • Electrical System:

      • 960 Watt Assisted Lift, Tiltable Solar Array

      • Three 200ah AGM batteries replaced with 700ah of lithium after 14 months

      • 60amp MPPT charge controller replaced with a 70amp MPPT charge controller after 14 months

      • 3000w Pure Sine Inverter/Charger

      • Battery to Battery Charger replaced with lithium alternator relay

      • Electronic charging drawer for personal devices

      • Added 3 gallon 12v 300w electric hot water tank (marine grade)

      • Added Victron Battery Monitor after 14 months

Updates from the Road

Ray’s wife shares the stories of their travels and full-time RV living. Visit www.VandM.ca

Click to visit V&M’s Personal Website and Blog

Click to visit V&M’s Personal Website and Blog

Sprinter Van Conversion in Canada custom built and upfitted by Ray Outfitted