You may be thinking outside the box if you want a tiny home on wheels or just a vehicle you can convert to live your best van life.
Most people do this by comparing “skoolies,” which are converted school buses, van conversions, and box truck conversions.
We’ve looked into all of these options so you can choose the one that fits your needs and budget the best.
Pros and Cons of School Buses for Conversions
With a skoolie, you can make a good amount of space in a school bus into a place to live.
If you choose a 40-foot bus, you’ll have an 8-by-40-foot space to turn into a living space.
One thing that could be seen as both a pro and a con of a skoolie conversion is that the space is basically just one big room that you can’t really divide.
If you plan to drive this vehicle, a skoolie is pretty safe because it is higher up and was made with the safety of everyone on board in mind.
In some states, you do need a CDL licence to drive a skoolie, which could be a con.
And it can be hard to get insurance for the skoolie.
If you want to park in neighbourhoods or business parking lots, you probably don’t want a skoolie, since a school bus can’t be made to look like anything else.
Most campgrounds won’t let you bring a skoolie, either.
When you’re driving and living out of a converted school bus, you can’t be sneaky at all.
Pros and Cons of Box Trucks for Conversions
Compared to a school bus, a box truck (also called a “box van”) doesn’t give you as much room to set up your living space.
A box truck, on the other hand, has two separate rooms instead of one big one.
You have one space in the box truck’s cab and another space in the back of the truck.
One thing to keep in mind if you want to convert a box truck is that the cab and the back of the box truck are usually not connected. This leaves you with 6 to 7 feet of wasted space.
Still, you might be able to add a sleeping area above the cab to make up for some of the space you lost.
A big problem with the box truck is that everyone has to be in the cab when it’s being driven because the cab is separate and the back isn’t made to keep people safe while moving.
This also means that if you need something from the living space in the back of the truck, you have to pull over and stop.
Another possible downside of a box truck is that it needs commercial insurance, which is more expensive.
If you want to park in neighbourhoods or business parking lots, a box truck conversion is a good choice because it is easy to hide. However, you have to leave the cab to get to the living space in the back.
Also, most campgrounds don’t let box trucks that have been changed.
Pros and Cons of Vans for Conversions
Like a skoolie, a van only has one place to live, so you can’t really have different places to live.
There are a lot of things you can do with a van conversion:
When you compare a van to a skoolie, the biggest problem with some vans is that they don’t have windows to let in natural light. But a regular cargo van or passenger van that has been changed doesn’t have this problem.
If you want to park in residential areas or business parking lots, you may or may not be able to do so with a van conversion.
You don’t have to leave the vehicle to get to the living space, which is good for stealth, but the light that leaks in around the windows can make it clear that someone is sleeping in a converted van.
But most campgrounds have no trouble with van dwellers.
Also, of all the options on this page, vans get the best gas mileage.
As you can see, there are many things to consider when looking for a vehicle to turn into a home.
Each type of vehicle has pros and cons, so choose the one that fits your lifestyle best.