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Old 01-10-2019, 07:02 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
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Hello :)

Hi everyone!

I've been interested in alternate living since I graduated high school but like a lot of others, I was in a headspace of you have to go to college, or the workforce to be a contributing factor in the world. I decided this year will be the year that I will just say f*ck it & do what I want!

A little background, I'm 23, a wife, and a mama to an incredible 15mth old girl + a handsome great dane, so we will be on this journey together! I just recently separated from the military (air force) and while that was an awesome experience i never felt truly happy or myself. so here we are making the steps for this skoolie life and I can't wait

I've been doing research for a couple of months trying to decide if we wanted to be in a van or bus and i've come to the conclusion a bus it is! I've been recently looking at craigslist for different buses but just having a hard time deciding on the size.

any suggestions would be helpful!
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:52 PM   #2
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Welcome! Always great to have another Vet on board.


One way to begin playing house in a bus is to simply sketch out some very basic layouts on graph paper...then start filling it in with whatever you need/want. From there you can get an idea of just how much length you need.



All Skoolies are basically 7-1/2' wide inside so start there and lay out maybe 36' of "living space" length. If you can cram everything into less...great. Things like the wheel wells and widow height will come into play on a real bus but a generic start will get you in the ballpark.



Graph paper is way quicker & easier than fancy 3D programs at this stage. And if you can find a large enough graph pad, you can just use the squares as 1" or 2" units so you don't even need to measure.


But once you get a basic plan, figure on moving to very tight measurements. This is just to get an idea of your basic space requirements.


Once again...Welcome!
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:05 PM   #3
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Like Tango said, lay it out on paper and play around with the design a bit. Are you planning of full-timing? Traveling or being mostly stationary? Figure out what your lifestyle will be and what your needs will be. There are a lot of great Youtubers out there, in addition to the many build threads here. Looking at other people's buses, in person or online, is a great way to visualize what the space will look like.
We're two retirees planning on full time traveling and we put together a pretty comfortable space to live in an 11 window bus. We're wondering if we could have gone smaller, but we haven't started our adventure yet we've only done short trips. Very important to not just jump on the first Craigslist ad you see without knowing about the mechanical aspects of the bus and the desirable drivetrain, lest you end up with a bus that won't be up to the tasks you ask of it (mountain driving, highway driving, etc.).
Welcome aboard!
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:27 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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thank you both! the graph paper is something I'm definitely going to do asap!

we definitely want to do it full time for travel! I really don't want to go too big since we plan on selling everything and renting out our home while we travel (which im not sure how even long we want to do it) but I for sure do not want to have a lot of unnecessary belongs with us in the bus!

I have went down the youtube rabbit whole of videos which just gets me super pumped!

quick question: does any of your skoolies have toilet/shower? --- those are things I feel is a need for us. & I see most people don't typical put them in their layouts if they have a smaller bus.

the craigslist in my area doesn't have many school buses for sale so we might have to travel to find one or to even find someone who has one to look inside. we live in Oklahoma and I actually don't know anyone who's converted a skoolie but there is a ton of our neighbors with RVs and we live right by a camper site so maybe I should stop by there and see (without being a total creep haha)
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew Bru View Post
Like Tango said, lay it out on paper and play around with the design a bit. Are you planning of full-timing? Traveling or being mostly stationary? Figure out what your lifestyle will be and what your needs will be. There are a lot of great Youtubers out there, in addition to the many build threads here. Looking at other people's buses, in person or online, is a great way to visualize what the space will look like.
We're two retirees planning on full time traveling and we put together a pretty comfortable space to live in an 11 window bus. We're wondering if we could have gone smaller, but we haven't started our adventure yet we've only done short trips. Very important to not just jump on the first Craigslist ad you see without knowing about the mechanical aspects of the bus and the desirable drivetrain, lest you end up with a bus that won't be up to the tasks you ask of it (mountain driving, highway driving, etc.).
Welcome aboard!
looking at your website now and omg so informative thank you so much!
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astoldbycoco View Post
thank you both! the graph paper is something I'm definitely going to do asap!

we definitely want to do it full time for travel! I really don't want to go too big since we plan on selling everything and renting out our home while we travel (which im not sure how even long we want to do it) but I for sure do not want to have a lot of unnecessary belongs with us in the bus!

I have went down the youtube rabbit whole of videos which just gets me super pumped!

quick question: does any of your skoolies have toilet/shower? --- those are things I feel is a need for us. & I see most people don't typical put them in their layouts if they have a smaller bus.

the craigslist in my area doesn't have many school buses for sale so we might have to travel to find one or to even find someone who has one to look inside. we live in Oklahoma and I actually don't know anyone who's converted a skoolie but there is a ton of our neighbors with RVs and we live right by a camper site so maybe I should stop by there and see (without being a total creep haha)
Most of us find a way to incorporate a "bathroom" of some sort. You need to start looking at the auction sites, you'll find a better bus that way usually. Mine came from Craigslist in Butte Montana, drove home to north Ga. with. I got lucky, one, because I waited and didn't just jump right in, wait that's a lie. I jumped right in on one from the auction in OKC, turned out to be junk and fortunately was able to get my money back. That taught me a lesson to do more due diligence and not be in a hurry. I plan on putting in some substantial money in this thing and don't want at I start with to end up having issues when it's finished. Search the site here for threads on auction sites, there's a good list of them.
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:54 PM   #7
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We started with a skoolie idea, then visited RV dealers every couple weekends for a few years before we decided to circle back around and do a bus conversion. You get a good sense of space when you roam around RVs. We used a composting toilet (so no black tank) and we used a 24" utility sink for our shower stall. It's a small-ish bathroom but probably too big for a shorter bus. We probably could have found a way to make it smaller. I can't imagine not having a toilet, but a shower we might be able to do without....esp. if we had a gym membership or something.
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:59 PM   #8
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As a matter of fact I'm on Pinterest right now viewing the skoolie bathrooms they sent me,

https://www.pinterest.com/search/pin...e=31&e_t_s=cta
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:08 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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not in a rush at all since we don't plan on actually hitting the road until i finish school which is in two more years but I would like to at least get a head start.

will look into auctions as well!

the only thing im worried about with having a bigger skoolie is just maneuvering it around in certain areas that might be busy, beaches, parks etc. My husband has his CDL so im sure he'll be fine driving it but Im just being cautious not to annoy others.

My neighbors have a pretty large RV so im sure they wouldn't mind us taking a look.

and totally wouldn't mind a smaller bathroom but definitely want some type of wash area with having a toddler that likes to get good & dirty
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:08 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
As a matter of fact I'm on Pinterest right now viewing the skoolie bathrooms they sent me,

https://www.pinterest.com/search/pin...e=31&e_t_s=cta
sweet, thanks for the link adding a bunch to my board!
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:31 PM   #11
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My tiny rig will incorporate a "wet toilet". That is a combination shower & toilet in a single, small space. You can use a conventional RV toilet that goes into a tank or, as in my case, I'm using what some call a composting toilet. Blue water sailors have been using this type for years. And my space is so small, the shower will be a sit down affair with a plastic cover over the toilet.


Lots of ways to cram things in. Don't waste a cubic inch!



Spend as much time as you can up front reading the build threads here and the ideas that will fit your lifestyle concept should pop out and begin to help build a plan.


Best of luck. Do it your way and have fun!
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Old 01-17-2019, 01:46 AM   #12
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My personal preference is a shorty bus, cut-away van, and a cargo trailer. Many folks try several rigs before keeping one. I guess thatís me also. But perhaps they rushed into it. Iím tall. If anyone is very tall I suggest being patient to find one with a raised roof.
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Old 01-17-2019, 10:10 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Doktari View Post
My personal preference is a shorty bus, cut-away van, and a cargo trailer. Many folks try several rigs before keeping one. I guess thatís me also. But perhaps they rushed into it. Iím tall. If anyone is very tall I suggest being patient to find one with a raised roof.
i’ve been actually looking into short buses but also mid sizes seems like a good size to be as well. anything but a full size lol. we’re pretty short my husband is the tallest standing at 5’9 and i’m only 5 ft so i think it shouldn’t be much of an issue with the roof?
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Old 01-17-2019, 10:50 AM   #14
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Tall buses are 78" inside (in the middle). Not-so-tall buses are about 72". The roof/ceiling slopes off at the edges/walls. To easily determine the roof/ceiling height from a picture of the bus, look at a pic of the curb-side of the bus. If the passenger window line is above the top of the main door, its 78" floor-to-ceiling. If the passenger window line is below the top of the main door, its 72" floor-to-ceiling.


Even if you don't think the ceiling height will be an issue, still try to get a 78" floor-to-ceiling bus. The extra headroom does make a big difference. (Also, there's always the roof-raise!)



If you want to see a family of 9 living in a school bus (along with a bunch of conversion videos), check out the "Good News Bus" (http://goodnewsbus.com), and on YouTube: (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPr...V-b6NYfat14N1A).


Believe me, there are a lot more - everything from vans to Unimogs to a double-decker transit bus. (My favorite right now is a tossup between the Good News Bus and the double-decker, but in a few months that will probably be different.)


Get ideas from all of them, see how others set their bus up. I've seen so many good ideas that I can't remember them all. I try to capture the ones that seem like they would work for me on my Trello board.



But most of all - enjoy the build!
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Old 01-17-2019, 01:21 PM   #15
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we’ll definitely go inside a few buses before we decide I imagine. all these different specs to look for is a bit overwhelming like geez where is the perfect bus?!? haha

just binge watched the heck out of the good news bus. i love their build! I just personally wanted something smaller so we can really minimize a bit. i did lurk at vans for A LONG time until i decided i don’t think a van could fit our “needs” & they’re a bit pricey.
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Old 01-17-2019, 01:23 PM   #16
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also what do you guys think is a good price for a bus? my max was about around $6k that we would want to spend
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Old 01-17-2019, 01:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astoldbycoco View Post
all these different specs to look for is a bit overwhelming like geez where is the perfect bus?!? haha

There isn't one "perfect" bus - its the "perfect" one for you.


Get a planner or journaling notebook. When you see something you like, write down information about whatever you saw (what it was, where to find it later, etc.). Do this over the next few months as you look and you will gather a great deal of information.


Once you have a few pages of information, follow "MoSCoW" rules to determine what is important to you. (No, I'm not part of the Russian disinformation campaign - ha!)


"MoSCoW" is a mnemonic to remember (M)ust have, (S)hould have, (C)ould have, (W)ant to have - its a way of categorizing your ideas so that you can get a handle on what you what your build to have.


For example, for my family, a (M)ust have was comfortable sleeping for 6, and since we would like to full-time at some point, a (C)ould have was sleeping for 8, and (W)ant was sleeping for 10. Also, a (M)ust for us was boondocking for at least 3 days, with a (S)hould for boondocking for 5 days, and (W)ant for boondocking for a full 7 days.


So now we have some high-level criteria for comparing possible buses. Our criteria led us to larger buses (sleeping for 6 or more; boondocking for 3 days or more). Others' criteria may be that they just want a "travel wagon" and will rely more on hotels and friends - then they don't need as big a bus and can look at smaller / less expensive buses.


As we see what others have done and we rate those ideas according to "MoSCoW" rules, we home in on what we want in our conversion.
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Old 01-17-2019, 01:50 PM   #18
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wow thanks man! i’m an advit journaler/planner so right up my alley & would be helpful!

how did you guys go about the “wants & needs” of each other and comprise?

boondocking is a definite want for me eh but for dear hubby i’m not sure haha

i wish toyota coasters were here in the u.s. i feel like that’s a nice size and still not attracting too much attention if we wanted to go to more public places.

but i love how skoolies look bad ass, ugh so torn
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Old 01-17-2019, 01:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkyDee View Post
There isn't one "perfect" bus - its the "perfect" one for you.


Get a planner or journaling notebook. When you see something you like, write down information about whatever you saw (what it was, where to find it later, etc.). Do this over the next few months as you look and you will gather a great deal of information.


Once you have a few pages of information, follow "MoSCoW" rules to determine what is important to you. (No, I'm not part of the Russian disinformation campaign - ha!)


"MoSCoW" is a mnemonic to remember (M)ust have, (S)hould have, (C)ould have, (W)ant to have - its a way of categorizing your ideas so that you can get a handle on what you what your build to have.


For example, for my family, a (M)ust have was comfortable sleeping for 6, and since we would like to full-time at some point, a (C)ould have was sleeping for 8, and (W)ant was sleeping for 10. Also, a (M)ust for us was boondocking for at least 3 days, with a (S)hould for boondocking for 5 days, and (W)ant for boondocking for a full 7 days.


So now we have some high-level criteria for comparing possible buses. Our criteria led us to larger buses (sleeping for 6 or more; boondocking for 3 days or more). Others' criteria may be that they just want a "travel wagon" and will rely more on hotels and friends - then they don't need as big a bus and can look at smaller / less expensive buses.


As we see what others have done and we rate those ideas according to "MoSCoW" rules, we home in on what we want in our conversion.

great idea
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Old 01-17-2019, 03:02 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astoldbycoco View Post
how did you guys go about the ďwants & needsĒ of each other and comprise?

Simple - talk it out in the moment and don't take things personally (don't get defensive). Generally there is a reason for one or another's thoughts - find that reason or reasons. WRITE THAT REASON DOWN!


Go look at RVs TOGETHER. Don't have a sales person there so you can talk things out while actually in the moment (imaging yourself actually living in that space!) You'll find a whole host of things out that you didn't know before (actually about each other!). You'll talk about things you like about a particular setup, and about things you didn't like.


For example, my wife does not like rooms that are only 1" wider than the bed (I'm exaggerating a bit, but you get the idea); reason: she wants to be able to get around the bed to be able to make it up (I'm the one to make it with clean sheets; she's the one to make it after we get up in the morning). Once she gave her reason, I was like "yea, you're right!"


My wife also doesn't like dinette setups (I do); reason: a dinette won't get all 6 of us around a table (she grew up with dinner being a big and important part of family life; I didn't). Again, stuff like that. It really is amazing what you find out about others....
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