Sam Price is a tinkerer with a strong DIY ethos, his business OXS Enterprises is all about what he can build. He makes quality skimboards, dive fins and spearguns. In turn this lead to him become adept at fibreglassing and screen printing and even vlogging. In 2017 Sam Price set out on a mission to experience vanlife. To minimise and consolodate.
By nature I’m extremely curious about how things. I weighed up (fairly briefly) living in a van and took the plunge. Having a supportive partner and still having a workshop as a “home” base made the transition pretty comfortable to be honest. The van I ended up with, which is a 1998 Fiat Ducato, was actually the second one I bought. The first had an undisclosed issue so it was returned the next day. I think my van shopping time was about 6 weeks, build time about 10 weeks then I moved in to a not fully finished van ha.
The most challenging part of the build is the fact vans aren’t square. This sucks and makes for so many extra measurements. I also haaaaaaated doing the insulation, I’m not sure why but if the whole build was like that I think I would’ve quit.
I was in the van 100% full time for about 5 months then moved in a little container home set up with a bed and small solar set up. The van still had more solar power and was my office so the majority of my time was still spent in the van. The van move in date was Labour weekend 2017 then we moved up north into a house late Jan 2019. I’ve been down the the Naki in it, Coro Bay of Plenty and all of Northland about 74000 times. I stay at mates’ places most of the time to go skim, dive and surf, so I don’t do a huge amount of free camping but the bed is always the van.
I’ve only recently put a fridge in it. I made a custom coolbox for it but I wish I had just got a fridge earlier on. The solar has enough juice to power it no worries. I also would’ve added more shelving and small compartments to the cabinets, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Lastly my set up at the back of the 2 bench sets and pop up table in the middle could’ve all been elevated so there would be a huge bit of storage under the whole things which would’ve fit surfboards, skimboards and dive gear. I hadn’t seen this set up at the time of building but I would love it.
We still use it a lot in the weekends and I do a lot of video editing in it still. Solar feels like free power and it’s nice to park up somewhere and edit out of the house. It’s a real workhorse with surfboards, skimboards, cameras and dive gear loaded into it regularly and off we go.
Sam’s Top Recreational Tips
1) If you’re going to park up for free at night in an area you’re unsure if you’re allowed to, get there late. I tend to tidy up, brush my teeth etc somewhere else then just park and sleep.
2) Don’t add to the negative stereotype of Freedom Campers. You don’t have to pick your rubbish up if you don’t drop it in the first place. And a roadside curb isn’t a good place to go to the toilet.
3) A hot public shower is wayyyyyyyyyyy harder to find than you think it is. The cold showers at the beach for a rinse off are bloody cold sometimes.
4) If you’re putting solar in your van put in enough so you don’t have to worry about charging your phone and/or turning your lights on whenever you want.
5) You won’t sit up your roof nearly as much as you thought you were going to.