Before getting your hands dirty with a van build, it’s good to decide exactly how you’ll be using it. Will it be a weekend warrior, a full time house on wheels or somewhere in between? For us our van is going to be a for short trips anywhere from a weekend to a two week trip. With that we decided to build the van to be occupied as seldom as possible, mainly at night and in poor weather. That being the case, storage wasn’t in as high demand as other amenities like a fixed bed we had previously built (build post HERE).
First thing we did was add a drawer under the platform of the bed to carry everyday vehicle gear like jumper cables as well basic camping supplies. So using left over wood from the bed platform and some heavy duty drawer slides we got started and made short work of it.
After that was complete, we looked to some side table like storage to be used while camping, as well as somewhere to hold our Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Station. With the overall idea of this build being a budget build we didn’t want to spend too much on materials, so we hit the thrift store. Searching the local Goodwill turned out to be a gold mine, for $8 a piece we picked up a matching set of CD storage towers. These towers checked off all of our boxes: they were the right size, we could use CD cases to create dividers, and most importantly the price was right.
We got them into the shop and the first mission was to remove the top and base, add some additional support to the flimsy structure, and make new end plates to mount them to the van. Taking additional left over wood from the bed build, we cut 7 identical squares (4 for the end caps, 3 for the Goal Zero storage). To stiffen up the ends of the pieces as well as create new mounting points for the bases we cut strips of wood and brad nailed them in place. Attaching the ends and mounting blocks to both pieces, we test fitted them into the van to make sure we had room for the Goal Zero Yeti 150.
The next task was to build the box off the end of the driver’s side storage compartment and figure out how to secure the Yeti while leaving access for cords and removal. Taking the last 3 pieces of wood we created a bottom, top, and side to the box. Once built we came up with a to keep the Yeti in place by drilling shallow hole in the floor that corresponded to the rubber feet on the Goal Zero unit. The final piece of the puzzle was adding a floor to each piece, which proved to be more challenging than anticipated. The more we tried to attach a floor to these pieces, the more it fought us. Eventually giving in until a later date, we installed the pieces and called it good. With these pieces done, we are moving along at a steady pace to have this van ready for summer adventures!