Living off-grid and staying up to date with your favourite TV shows typically aren’t things you would put together. But if you think van life means you have to sacrifice home comforts, think again!
About Alba and Luke
When Alba and Luke first started dating several years ago, one of the first conversations they had was about van life and off-grid living. It was something they’d both dreamed of doing, so it was non-negotiable when looking for a prospective partner. Thankfully, they were both on the same page.
A few months down the line, they decided that the time had come. Bored of their day jobs, it was time to follow the sun south across Europe and live a life of exploration. So they quit their jobs and purchased a 20-year-old LDV Convoy from an English couple who weren’t getting enough use out of the van.
Initially, the van was used as a minibus for transporting elders to and from the town centre. The previous owners, however, had converted it to a mini home on wheels. The old layout worked well but it wasn’t exactly what Alba and Luke were looking for. So after they purchased the van, they travelled to London, got the ferry to France, stopped off at Paris, and then drove across to Barcelona. It was in Barcelona that their van renovations began.
Subscribe to Alba on YouTube: @sunnysoul
Subscribe to Luke on YouTube: @luke0510
- 2000 LDV Convoy.
- 2.5-litre diesel engine.
- 5 meters long x 2 meters wide x 2.8 meters’ high.
- Standard right-hand drive.
- Parking sensors – This is one of the first things they changed. It’s a big van so parking sensors make it a lot easier when they’re reversing or trying to park in a tight space.
- Custom painted in baby blue and white – Beforehand the van was a royal blue colour with white decals.
- Custom painted fuel cap, wing mirrors, wheels, and bumper in a chrome grey colour.
Kitchen and Appliances
- Extractor fan.
- Lots of countertop space – This was really important for Alba and Luke when they were designing the layout of their van. They’re both vegan and spend a lot of time cooking.
- 2-burner gas hop.
- Normal-sized sink.
- 2 taps – one for drinking water and one for normal water.
- Wooden shelves for herbs and spices.
- Wooden holder for their reusable water bottles.
- Kitchen worktop extender – This piece of wood hides behind the drivers’ seat. It’s great for when they’re cooking a big meal and need the extra workspace.
- 40-litre fridge
- Sofas fold out into a double bed – They decided on this layout rather than a fixed bed due to space. They wanted a feeling of space in the van and really enjoyed being able to walk all the way from the front all the way to the back. The bed is built on a split frame so you can pull just one side out and make the sofa into a U shape.
Power and Electrical
- Built-in speakers above the front cabin seats – They use these for GPS while driving, music, and their projector cinema system.
- 4 x 110-amp hour AGM batteries – Altogether that’s 440-amp hours. They are mostly charged by the solar panels on the roof but they can also be charged by the engine if they’re in a cloudy climate where there isn’t enough sun.
- The batteries connect to an inverter.
- 2 x 100-watt flexible solar panels – These are located at the front of the van.
- 1 x 150-watt solar panel – This is located at the back of the van. This can be tilted and adjusted so that it’s always getting maximal sun exposure, which can make a huge difference in winter. Altogether the 350 watts of solar panel are connected to a solar charge controller inside the van which then passes charge onto the batteries.
Heating and Cooling
- Diesel heater – They find this very efficient to use.
- Aluminium insulation for the windows – This is the same insulation they used in the walls of the van. It’s great at keeping the van cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
- Roof vent – This is an original feature that they haven’t altered. In the future, they may decide to replace it with an automatic fan that sucks the air out.
Cabinetry and Finishes
- Wooden cladding
- Click mechanism on the cabinets and drawers – To open the cupboards and drawers you have to push them in then pull them out. This locking mechanism prevents them from opening and their contents flying around while driving.
- Bookshelf – Where possible they’ve recycled wood from the old van or from wooden pallets.
- Ukulele shelf.
- 25-litre drinking water tank – This sits under the sink.
- 75 litres normal water tanks – This is split up into 3 x 25-litre tanks. One sits under the sink and the other two sit on the opposite side of the van under the cupboard. They chose this design as a money-saving hack, to get one 75 litre tank that is the right size to fit under their sink they would have to pay extra to get it custom-made.
- Outdoor shower attachment.
- Passenger swivel chair.
- Two sofas double as dining chairs and a double bed.
- Fold up table – They mostly use this as a dining table but it’s also great when they both have big days working at their laptops to have a proper desk space. They needed somewhere comfortable where they can sit and work.
- Hidden projector – This clicks down from the ceiling at the back of the van and down the front between the kitchen and cabin seats they have a pull-down screen.
To see the Alba and Luke's full van tour, head over to my YouTube channel: