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Old 03-20-2015, 04:41 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 19
My Pre-Build Brainstorming Thread

Right now I am in the process of downsizing my life and gearing up to travel. To do so, I want to buy a short bus and go mobile.

I stumbled on the idea of smaller living last summer. Nothing special, just a day of binge watching documentaries led me to a guy building his house on a trailer and I thought "Hey, he could move that if he wanted." It resonated with me because I'm a bit of a hoarder with a compulsive need for space. I wanted to know if I could totally drop that tendency and just live on my own in some place that small.

This led me to other avenues of thought. Mostly about how feasible it would actually be to move a stick built house whether on a trailer or the back of a truck. While totally out of the ordinary and probably my style, I decided it would be an overall bad idea unless I simply wanted to move every few years or something like that. Definitely not suited for continuous travel.

This led me to conversions. Vans, buses, and the like. They offered a decent amount of floor space while at the same time providing some sort of shell to hold it all in and remain - relatively - incognito. My first thought was to find the biggest bus I could find and turn it into this 12' tall thing I could take wherever I wanted. However, once I began estimating how much a full on conversion would cost in both the short and long term, I began to scale back my aspirations. Otherwise I would end up with something half assed and half finished. Not to mention, there are many places you can't take a full sized school bus.

There are some things though, that I have been mulling over in my head that I want to know if they are good ideas or not. I'll be updating this as think come to mind or rather when I have time to type them.


I plan on having fresh and gray tanks with a composting toilet. I assume space will be very limited underneath the bus and that having big tanks won't be an option. I plan to have a single sink and kitchenette (2 burner stove, small fridge, and about 18"x36" worth of counter space plus approx 18"x12" to the far side of the stove.

For Showering I would like to build a pop out curtain (possibly using a former handicap door) for a shower that would be outside the bus. All of the inconveniences aside I think it would be a fair compromise between the limited space I have vs. not having to rely on finding a shower all the time. Sponge baths aren't really my thing either.

I haven't decided on how I should go about hot water. My ambitious self wants to build a roof rack that extends about 6" above the apex of the roof and include a drawer style pullout solar water heater (would rest at an angle from the front of the roof rack, across the hood, and probably would have a couple "feet" to support it at a 45 deg angle. Other option I am favoring would be a small LP tankless heater.

There are a lot of complications here that I will address when I get off work. I'm going to have to cut the post off short here. Has anyone had experience with solar heating on a bus?

More on this to come soon.
jawa01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2015, 05:06 PM   #2
Bus Geek
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Stony Plain Alberta Canada
Posts: 2,937
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: 190hp 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
If you live in the right climate, solar heating water can be used most of the year. Some systems are as simple as a large 4 inch x 20 foot piece of ABS sewer pipe on the roof, with a gravity fed hose to your shower tent.

You can poor in the water by 5 gallon pail, or set up a hand crank pump.

All depends on money, and comfort level wanted.

Money = comfort.

"Don't argue with stupid people. They will just drag you down to their level, and beat you up with experience."

Patently waiting for the apocalypses to level the playing field in this physiological game of life commonly known as Civilization
nat_ster is offline   Reply With Quote

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