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Old 02-25-2017, 04:15 AM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 5
How do you decide on bus size?

Hey everybody!

How did you all decide on your bus size? For people living permanently in their buses, how many years do you expect to get out of your bus? I'm at the very beginning of this being a viable idea, at least 6 months to a year out, maybe more. I've been watching Tiny House shows on tv for years and just recently saw a skoolie one that got me thinking about all this.

On one hand, the space available in a 40ft bus seems pretty damn awesome. I already have a commercial class B license from being a school bus driver for a nature camp right after college, so size really isnt an issue unless towing my car would bump me up to needing an A. (Regs in KS seemed to point to needing a full conversion before tagging as RV)

Then I see people talking about getting smaller buses to fit into tight camping spots in the mountains. I love camping, but I honestly doubt I would take the bus out for weekend camping trips when I have a perfectly good tent and car that are much cheaper to operate. I want this more for a home I can move around for work, so bigger seems better, but is a 40 foot bus too big a project for a single skoolie newbie? I have a fair amount of handy man skills, my dad has completely remodeled multiple houses and owns a HiLo RV, and my brother in law was a carpenter before he became a cop, so I will have a good amount of help (once I tell them about this project and convince them I'm not crazy). I just don't want a mobile mansion that requires a clear cut and cement pad like some of the giant RVs out there.

Should I get a smaller bus to practice on, live and learn, flip it and sell it, or just go straight for the big one? Is there a site with examples of layouts for different sizes?


ameanderinglife is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2017, 05:47 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,194
I think before you decide on how large a bus you will need you need to first decide what is the most important stuff you need in your tiny home on wheels.

If you really want that king size bed, soaker tub, a gourmet kitchen, and a comfortable living room you are going to need the longest bus possible and add some slide out rooms to accommodate all of your wants and needs in regards to space.

If on the other hand you want to stealth camp on the streets of a city the smaller the outside the easier it will be to hide in plain sight.

Somewhere in between is what you most probably will want.

In regards to how hard it is to convert, I don't think it is fundamentally more difficult to convert a 40' bus than a 24' bus. The difference is just a matter of scale--square feet of flooring, cubic feet of insulation, square feet of wall and ceiling covering, etc.

Regardless of size there are some design requirements that won't change regardless of size--electrical, plumbing, HVAC, appliances, basic cabinetry, etc. You may have to have more or larger parts and pieces but every conversion has some form of basic house systems.

Whether you go minimalist to start with or go all Country Coach in your conversion, at the end of the day it is going to be your tiny home so make it the way you want it to be.

Tango and Ol' Trunt have done amazing things with old buses that are not very large.

aaronsb, Brown Crown, Elliot Naess, Eastcoast CB, soujourner, MuddaEarth, yeggs, gmarvel, and many others have detailed some very nicely done conversions on full size buses. Each one has brought to their conversion a unique spin that has each of them with significantly different end products.

I wish you the best of luck.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
cowlitzcoach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2017, 08:59 AM   #3
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: EHT New Jersey
Posts: 1,134
Year: 2003
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: International 3000RE
Engine: T444E/AT545
Rated Cap: 75
I opted to go big, mainly because at some point in life, SWMBO and I plan on touring the country. I also opted for a rear-engine bus, primarily because I wanted the engine noise and heat behind me. The only thing I'd do different is change the engine/tranny combo
Hey! That's not an RV, that's a school bus.
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