My camper is a 2017 RAM Promaster 159” cargo van (notes on how I made this choice). It has served me very well indeed.


This pic from the build shows the basic interior layout (looking back from cab):


  • Water and galley on the passenger side
  • sleeping platform and “basement” storage in the back
  • easier-access storage (food, clothing, etc), solar components and battery bank on the driver side
  • light and frequent-access gear in crude shelving along the sides


There are 4 sources of power:

  1. main solar array mounted on roof, 750w. (3x 250w Trina poly panels, 50A mppt controller)
  2. alternator, via voltage sensing relay (Battery Doctor 75A isolator).
  3. DIY converter (10A 24v power supply, 10A MPPT). I used the converter extensively during the build before panels were mounted but it has not been plugged in since 2018. Note: the MPPT input is on an A/B switch so it can be shared with the portable array below.
  4. portable solar array, 200w. (2x 100w Grape poly panels). Stored 95% of the time, deployed when conditions necessitate.

Power is stored in a 100Ah LiFePO4 bank from Rebel Batteries.


This pic shows the basic exterior layout:


  • maxxfan
  • solar array mounted on rack and square-tube steel post material

philosophy / intended use

The camper is my retirement vehicle (figuratively and literally). Retiring early requires a tight budget, which in turn requires moving minimally, cooking for myself, and not paying for campgrounds.

The answer at the center of that budgetary Venn diagram is boondocking (dispersed camping). I generally stay on BLM/USFS land for 14d then relocate and reprovision (food, water, laundry, and packages) at some point along the relocation route. This simple life makes it possible to live on $500/mo.


[see the semi-complete parts list]

I bought most of the physical stuff off Amazon, but some came from eBay etc when it was cheaper that way.