When setting out to build a camper van, The Engineers Who Van Life and Vandoit approach the problem like any good engineers would. That is, by going above and beyond to make sure there was no single point of failure that could ever hamper living out their van life dreams to the fullest. They did this by choosing the right build materials and prioritizing the right execution over the cheapest and quickest. One of the most core material decisions was what they built the bones of their conversion out of: extruded aluminum (80/20) instead of wood.
While Instagram might paint vanlife as full of clean white interiors with hanging wide brimmed hats and fruit hammocks, a good campervan conversion actually starts with the bones. The Engineers who Van Life and Vandoit embrace the principles of the famous architect Frank Loyd Wright: Form follows function. Focusing on function first should be of the utmost consideration when choosing how you want your van to be built and perform in the end. This goes for both DIY vans like The Engineers who Van Life teach and professional builds like Vandoit accomplishes.
Wood vs. Extruded Aluminum for Van Building
As we hinted at above, the structure of an RV is firmly connected to its “bones”. These “bones” make up the foundation of your RV, to which various elements such as modules, trim, flooring, etc. are attached. Wood used to be a popular material for this structure, but over time extruded aluminum has become preferred due to its lightness, durability, and strength. Taking this concept to the world of gambling, where you can play craps at Betbry Casino https://betbryonlinecasino.com/dice. It offers you the same durability and reliability in your gambling experience!
Your van is going to be exposed to extreme temperature swings: both the sweltering heat of Baja California and frigid winters of Colorado. Not only that, but you’re going to put your entire van through hours and hours of vibration testing every single time you drive it. In these scenarios wood tends to swell, creak, warp, and mold. While, extruded aluminum is unchanged. Let’s dig into this a little more.
Why Extruded Aluminum is the Best Choice for Camper Van Conversions
Now that we have addressed the basics, let’s dig more into the specifics of why extruded aluminum (80/20) is highly suitable for van conversions. And, why you might want to consider it.
- Extruded aluminum does not expand or contract when exposed to the much wider temperature and humidity swings that vans typically experience.
- Extruded aluminum is a homogenous building material. This means it is perfectly straight, does not have knots or weak points, and will not break down over time which makes it much more predictable in your home.
- It has an extremely efficient strength to weight ratio. Aluminum is a very light metal, and the extrusion profile is a strong and efficient shape that maximizing strength in all directions while limiting weight. Weight, of course, is of paramount importance if you want a safe conversion that is below your GVWR,
- Extruded aluminum is waterproof. Let’s face it – your adventure van will get wet. It could be rain getting tracked in, plumbing lines condensing, spilling beverages, or simply getting condensation build up at night. If you want your conversion van to last a lifetime and look good as new after 100,000 miles of adventure, you’re going to want a material that won’t weaken, swell, or rot when it gets wet.
- Safety! Not only do you want your van to last a lifetime, but you also want it to be safe. Vans are regulated and held to high crash safety standards, but one of the most common things we hear in the van life world is “your van galley turns into a projectile the moment you’re in a head on collision.” We know, that is worst case scenario and we never want that to happen to you – but they’ve got a point! When this happens, do you want the kitchen galley – and everything else in your van – directly behind you and your children held in place with wood a few screws, or with enough bolts to hold back an elephant?
Is an Extruded Aluminum Camper Van Conversion Right for You?
Building with 80/20 extruded aluminum is the perfect solution that addresses all of the unique concerns adventure vans are faced with overcoming. Make no mistake, it is not a cheap way to build a van, but it is definitely the right way to build them. Whether you’re going to build your van DIY or have a professional do it for you, make sure you protect your investment and make sure it’s built right. If you’re looking for DIY guides on how to build with 80/20 extruded aluminum, check out the guides by the Engineers Who Van Life, and if you’re looking for a conversion company to do it for you then look no further than Vandoit!