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  • Writer's pictureThe Desert Cruisers

Why We Quit Van Life for our DIY Earthroamer

Updated: Mar 15

Welcome to our incredible journey of nomadic living! For almost three years, we cherished every moment in our self-converted Sprinter van, an experience that deeply impacted our lives. It took us a year and a half to create our dream van, all while balancing full-time jobs to fund the build.

DIY Earth Roamer
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I never once thought that we would be saying goodbye to van life, but it happened. I never thought that we would build another vehicle again, but that changed quickly after we met with @overlanduncharted. Kirt and Jen are the sweetest people out there with such good hearts and they have two wonderful boys that they are traveling full-time with.

Our Future and Dream with Kids

Cody and I have a dream that we would one day live full-time on the road with kids, but wasn't quite sure how we could do that in a 170 sprinter van. And that is when Kirt and Jen inspired us to go bigger. If you haven't followed them, go check out their truck that inspired Mr. Roamer (aka, our tiny home on wheels).

In early 2022, we had met up with overlanduncharted again but this time in their box truck in Brian Head, Utah. When we met them before, they were living full-time in their self-converted ram promaster exploring the states with their kids.

As soon as we saw their diy earthroamer at camp, Cody was immediately blown away with what he saw and the questions were firing off to them. We realized that the price to convert once of these wouldn't be much different than buying a new AWD Ford transit and converting it. Not only that, but Cody said that I could have a shower...A SHOWER. I was won over. To have the luxuries and a more capable vehicle is something that I didn't think was a reality to have. We never knew there was something like this that you could convert.

So, within the day, Cody convinced me and a couple weeks into discussing the process and looking at our finances, we pulled the trigger in July 2022 using our Starlink in a remote area of Crested Butte. We found our F550 4WD Chassis truck online in Texarkana, TX. We bought it without seeing it and knew exactly what we wanted and started the process. We picked it up in Texas and made the way back to California for the build.

F550 Truck

So why did we quick van life for truck life?

  • The main reason is that we hope to have kids in a couple of years and we knew that the sprinter wouldn't cut it. There wouldn't be enough space for the things that we would need.

  • A SHOWER! Let me repeat, a heated SHOWERRRRRR! Living an active lifestyle in the van was tough knowing that I would sometimes be taking a freezing shower outside with our five gallon solar shower bag. Now I wouldn't always take cold showers, but I would have to heat up water in a water kettle about three times until I got the temperature right, but sometimes the cold breeze was even too terrible to feel. The shower bag worked great for all those years, don't get me wrong, but knowing that I will have access to a hot shower on demand in my own living space sounds like such a dream.

  • The space! We have approximately 110 sq ft in living space. And we knew we'd need to prepare for kids to sleep on our pull-out couch and living area.

  • Exterior space! We would have four exterior buyers boxes on the outside giving us so much space, triple the amount we had than the van. We also decided to have a roof rack with Frontrunner which would also give us plenty of storage for more Frontrunner boxes and gear we could ever want!

  • AC, we knew we wanted a Nomadic AC to cool us down when we are in higher temperatures throughout our travels. There have been many instances where it would have been nice to use an AC and we've met many travelers using the same product and knew it worked great.

  • More Windows! We loved our little windows by the bed in our Sprinter, but when we really wanted to see outside, they were just too small for us. We knew we would be going for Tern Overland Windows which are the best quality out there, dual pane, acrylic and high quality!

  • Big Battery Bank with BattleBorn Batteries and Explorist.Life kit. We knew that we wanted to go full electric, no propane, and that we would be using some serious juice to power our travels! We have 1310 watts of solar on our roof.

  • A massive Isotherm Fridge that has a freezer section as well as another Iceco Fridge to use as a Fridge or Freezer depending on our travels. Not only will that allow us to be off grid for weeks on end, but when we have kids, we will be grateful for all that extra space!

  • A Deck! The back door has the option to be a deck with fixing the tension and chains. We had a local guy come and do it for us for a really great price. We knew we would be missing our Aluminess roof rack on the van, but we are so happy that we will have another option to be on top of something!

  • Queen size bed! In our van, we had a full extra long, and I technically already had the queen size width because I was using the side bed cabinet which I slept on, and Cody slept on the other side, so it is a difference having more mattress rather than using a body pillow which I used to cover the bed cabinet storage we had.

And the list goes on and on. We knew we wouldn't be buying or building a stationary home anytime soon, so being able to live comfortably full-time will give us a better quality of life. Yes there are simpler ways to build out a new tiny home, but this is how we chose to move forward in this next chapter of our lives! We couldn't be more happy with our decision. If you want to check out our build series, watch the first video here!



From 2020 to 2023, we embraced life on the road in our DIY sprinter van, The Desert Cruiser. With no prior building experience, we transformed our van into a home, exploring deserts and rainforests, seeking the best campsites, mountain biking, and living our dream. In June 2022, a new dream emerged — building a 2022 Ford F550 into our DIY Earthroamer. With hopes of future family adventures, we found our dream truck in Texas. We believe anything is possible and aim to inspire others to explore life to the fullest!

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