the build process as told by Callen


Alright fam, after much anticipation we are going to try to give the MTV cribs tour of “The Hearnes Adventure Photography Van.” If you’ve followed us for a while, you know that we lived in our Subaru + Trailer rig for the last 8 months and you may even remember that this isn’t the first van we’ve owned… (Long emotionally destructive story about Viva our disaterous Volkswagen Vanagon experience). But as of 3 ish weeks ago, the Hearnes are vanlifers! We bought a new RAM Promaster 2500 in Texas and built it out at our parent’s houses in San Antonio and Austin. I’m not going to get into super specific van build blueprints etc, rather just give a brief overview of some features and logistics. If you want the in depth van build beta get in touch! We’d love to share what little knowledge we’ve scraped up during this hyper-speed build. Alas, here’s a chronological walk through of the build:


-       The van began as an empty metal shell with black plastic panels on the walls

-       Insulating the walls (removing and replacing the black panels), the floor, and ceiling was the first day’s work.

-       Next my brother-in-law and I built the super sturdy bed platform, fitting an 8 inch thick full size mattress snuggly from side to side in the back of the van, maximizing remaining living space.

-       Then came the surprisingly difficult 2-day struggle to build 4 drawers that come out from under the bed into the living space

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-       I got the roof rack delivered freight, and spent a day-ish tossing that heavy beast onto the roof and rigging our solar panels to it.

-       My dad and I conquered the frightening task of cutting a 14 inch by 14 inch hole in the middle of the roof to install a vent fan, sweetness

-       I watched a bunch of youtube vids until finally mustering the courage to configure the solar battery/inverter/12v circuit setup

-       Wired up the 2 LED dome light, the vent fan, a USB charging hub, voltmeter, our rad ARB refrigerator and an extra 12v plug.

-       We trecked to Austin an painted the roof panels, walls, and cabinets and the van really started to look legit. Honestly way less ghetto than I had ever envisioned

-       I then put in the kitchen counter, cut a hole for the sink and figured out how to rig up our utilitarian sink extravaganza. (See video)

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-       Stayed up working till about 2 am one night to wire our LED lightbar so that we are less likely to hit a low hangin tree, bridge, etc when we inevitably drive into camp late at night (almost every night tbh…)

-       My pops and I tossed in the laminate wood flooring and voile the dnag build was pretty much complete

-       We trekked back to Austin where Abbi's mom made us some curtains and a few accessories out of old Pendleton blanket remnants.

-       We moved in our gear, made some final adjustments and got stoked to hit the road!

We’ve been in the van for less than a week, but have fallen in love with this little apartment on wheels. Honestly it hardly feels like we are even camping at this point… Glamping is a real thing, and its pretty stinking rad. Certainly more sustainable for morale than our sweet little camper. Pardon the lack of detail, or the overkill thereof, bottom line, we are vanlifers now and we’re big fans. If you missed our Instagram Live video tour, you can watch it here! Stay tuned for more van pics, live stream, and amateur drone piloting!

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