So if you’re visiting this site, you may already know that I’m a pet photographer based in the Phoenix, AZ area. However, did you also know that I travel all over the country for photo shoots? Well I sure do! And you know how I get around? In my lovely home on wheels…a 2016 Roadtrek Zion, a Class B full-size camper van.
I encourage you to follow me on Instagram where you’ll see many of my camping spots, hikes, adventures, and photo shoots. I also announce my travel destinations. I love sharing it with you!
In the time I’ve had my van (since July ‘18), I’ve had many requests to do a van tour. Now that I’ve made some tweaks and decorated a bit, I’m happy to take you on a tour! Excuse the crappy cell phone pics…I really just wanted to get some content up here for you!
So here we go!! Click on any image so see it larger…
If you check out the pics below, you can get an idea of the overall layout. I have a wet bath at the front of the van followed by the kitchen, then storage, then a dual couch that converts into a bed.
So this is my idea of a living room! 😂 I actually really, really love this layout. It was super important to me to have an open concept where I could walk in and out of the van from the rear doors. I’ve never regretted spending more time finding a used van with this option.
In my layout, I have plenty of room to entertain a group of people. I have the option to place my table right in the middle of the sofas with a standard pedestal mount. But….. I added an amazing swivel Lagun Table to the end of the bench for when it’s just me or one other person. Plus, it acts as a night stand or swivels around to outside the van for even more variety. I seriously LOVE that thing. It’s the small things in life, ya know?!? And when I’m not using the table, it stores in a pocket in the back door. Genius!
I actually removed the TV that was mounted on the side of the closet because, well, I just watch Netflix on my laptop. That allowed me to add in a couple decorative shelves and my fruit hammock. I really wanted to make it feel cozy.
Above the sofas, I have plenty of cabinets for overhead storage. Below, I have 6(!!!!!) drawers. There is sooo much storage in this thing!
I also love all the windows. I have windows on the back doors, two on the driver’s side, and one on the passenger side. The side windows open and have an integrated screen/blackout shade. I added a “curtain rod” (aka, a painted piece of metal conduit) across the back doors. This is for an extra layer of insulation and light control. The curtains are blackout and help with drafts on cold nights. Plus, they allow me to open the back doors and control light or allow for privacy when it’s gorgeous outside! One of my favorite additions!
Below the power sofa, there was extra room for a couple baskets. The perfect little spot to hide dirty laundry!
Another one of my favorite things about this layout is the bedroom conversion. There are 3 options for setting up the bed at night. First, you can leave the sofas as-is and have 2 small twin-ish beds. The second option is to lower the driver’s side power sofa into a larger bed. This allows me to have a larger sleeper area but still have access to walk through the mid isle. How awesome is that?!? The last option is to slide out the passenger side sofa to make an almost king size bed. It’s super huge!!!!
Moving into the galley, you’ll notice I almost have a full kitchen. The only thing missing is an oven. But I make do with a sink, 2-burner propane stove, microwave and huge (for a van) fridge. I mean, I certainly no chef!!!
Both the stove and sink have flip-up covers that allow for more counter space - something that is lacking in my van. There is a counter extension that is super handy for when I’m cooking, etc. That is a game changer for sure!
I must say I absolutely hate the sink. It’s waaaaaaay too small and it’s damn near impossible to wash dishes in. If I were to design it, I’d put a deeper sink in with a counter mounted home-style faucet - one that can swing around and pull out if I want to rinse dishes off outside the van. Maybe one day I’ll have someone rebuild that area for me. 🤔
I really love the pull-out pantry and all the cabinet space in this area.
Some tweaks I made in the kitchen were swapping out the hardware and tiling the backsplash. Those two things really made a huge difference in making it feel more like “me”. The backsplash is this peel-and-stick tile from Home Depot. It’s kinda cool because I just placed it over the existing stainless steel backsplash. That meant my magnets would still stay up! I was able to keep my pretty spice jars from Gneiss Spice.
If I rebuilt the kitchen, I’d swap out the granite counter for butcher block to warm it up a little more.
DETAILS & BATHROOM
When you live in a van, every little spot matters. I’m really happy with the use of space in this Roadtrek Zion.
The hanging closet is a nice addition and hold a surprising amount of clothes. Between that and the humongous drawer under the fridge, I have all of my clothes!!! 😳 Now shoes….those may take up a couple drawers under the sofa. 😜
The shelves I added in the living area are soooo fun to have. They serve as a nice place for decor and hold my 12-Volt essential oil diffuser. I get it smelling like a spa in minutes with that thing and some lavender. Total zen time.
In the kitchen, I made some water and food bowl holders with plant wall mounts. Now the bowls don’t slide all over when driving down the road. It makes TJ way happier. I’m kinda proud of my little invention there. Haha!
One other thing I made was my table top. The original one was not attractive and a little smaller. I wanted the wood to warm the space up some. I kept the old post mount attachment and was able to add the Lagun mount to it at the same time. I may go back and make an even larger table now. We’ll see…
Lastly, the bathroom! Everyone has questions about it!!! So on the outside of the doors, they included a little magazine rack. It’s a cute spot for books or things you want to grab real quick. I again swapped out the hardware on the doors to a black, more modern option. The mirrored doors are also nice. May seem weird at first but they’ve quickly become a must-have. Inside the bathroom I have a traditional toilet attached to a black tank, a shower, and a sink. Now that sink…um, no. I would remove it completely. It’s so tiny and I don’t EVER use it. I’d rather have the elbow room for the shower. That being said, I don’t know how some van-lifers do it without a toilet. And I for sure knew I didn’t want a cassette or composting toilet. I’ve very, very happy having a black tank.
Oh, and I added an extra image in there for you. That’s TJ, my traveling cat and adventure buddy. :)
So the more nerdy stuff is as follows. Who knew you’d learn so much about AC vs DC power, solar chargers, inverters, tanks, etc when getting into this lifestyle. Sometimes I surprise myself when I start talking about it all. Agh!
My van has 200 watts of solar and an underwood generator. That means I charge my coach batteries by either the sun or just turning the engine on. I don’t have a seperate traditional generator and I find that I have more than enough power, especially on sunny days here in Phoenix. I have a 2000 watt inverter that I can run my microwave, A/C, and any “regular plug” stuff through.
As far as water and tanks go, I have a 37 gallon fresh water tank. My grey tank (shower and sink water) is 23 gallons while my black tank (toilet water) holds just under 10 gallons. I have a macerator pump when I’m ready to dump my tanks out. The hose always remains attached to the van so it’s super quick, clean, and very easy to do. I just attach the open end of the hose to the dump station, pull the valve, and push the macerator pump button. I have a gravity dump option as a back up should the pump ever go out. Good to have options.
I have a 7 gallon propane tank - I think that equates to 40 pounds?!? I can’t remember. Anyway, it fuels my heater on those chilly nights as well as my 2-burner stove and on-demand hot water heater.
Other cool things I have are an outdoor shower, a 12-foot electric awning, a Fantastic Vent Fan with rain sensor, swivel front seats, and automatic steps at all three side doors. There are power stations ALL over the van - 12-volt, USB, and 110.
I think that about sums everything up! I hope this helps anyone looking for a van and I’ll be MORE than happy to answer questions if you’re thinking about RVing. It’s kinda overwhelming at the beginning - especially when you don’t know what you want or what things even mean.
Thanks for checking out my van!!!
PS - she/he doesn’t even have a name yet. Any ideas?!?!
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