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Amazon Reviews van build

Amazon Product Review

Euhomy Mini Fridge with Freezer, 3.2 Cu.Ft Mini refrigerator with freezer, Dorm fridge with freezer 2 door For Bedroom/Dorm/Apartment/Office – Food Storage or Cooling Drinks(Silver).

This post contains affiliate links – we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Welcome back for another Amazon review of the products we used in our van build. Today, I wanted to briefly review the refrigerator we selected for our mini kitchen. Before going over the pro’s and con’s of this specific model, let’s go over a things to consider before buying any fridge for your build. 


Things to Consider Before Buying any Fridge: You’ll want to consider each of these things altogether, like a circle rather than in a line. 


Energy Consumption vs Budget

As you shop different models, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the energy consumption of the fridge. The more expensive models have more efficient compressors, so they’re easier on your electrical needs. One day, we’d like to upgrade to something like this from Dometic or this from Whynter. However, this was an area where we decided to save on the budget for now and consider an upgrade at a later time.
I’m not super knowledgeable about the voltage/consumption/watt hours, but Ivan figured that if we could not recharge our batteries for some reason, we’d last about 3-4 days with the fridge running. So, you’ll want to carefully consider how you plan to recharge your batteries and how much fridge you actually need.
On the one hand, we have a less efficient fridge – but on the other hand, we’re using propane for our heating and cooking so we have a bit more electricity to give to the fridge.


Space

In the midst of determining your budget and energy needs, you’ll have to visualize your space. We built our van from scratch, so we knew we could essentially build around the fridge. We settled on the Euhomy model and basically built a cabinet area for those dimensions. If we ever do an upgrade, we’ll have to reanalyze the space and possibly do a little construction to fit it in. 
We decided to go with the cheaper, simpler option for a fridge. We got the 120volt. You have to take into account how much energy it uses, the cost, size. This is why we are using propane for things like heating and cooking, so we can give more electricity to the fridge. 
There are so many options and a lot will depend on your layout. Do you buy a fridge to fit the layout? Or, build your layout to fit the fridge?

We decided on the Euhomy 3.2 cu foot mini refrigerator with a freezer from Amazon. We purchased it at $199.99, it’s currently available for $189.99. I’ll briefly run through the pro’s and con’s. 

Pro’s:

  • Decent size fridge area and freezer area. This is a major pro for us. The freezer is a separate compartment with it’s own door. I’m surprised how much we’ve actually fit in there. We currently have like 8 pounds of elk meat and 2 (unboxed) Costco pizzas nestled in there. The fridge area is also decent. I do not think it would be enough if we had any kids or extra mouths to feed, but for the 2 of us we are able to keep quite a few ingredients in there. 
  • Slot for cans – we didn’t drink pop, until we discovered Zevia. So, the designated can area in the door is a nice little perk. It holds 6 cans. 
  • Bar on door – there is a swinging bar on the door that allows are bigger items to be stowed like a carton of milk or a jug of orange juice. I’ve been please a few times when I thought something was too big and then realized it would fit in the door.
  • Good size drawer/crisper on bottom and shelf in the middle. 

Con’s

  • You have to get used to the small size – we’ve lived with “dorm” fridges before, so it’s our first time scaling down from a full refrigerator. If this is the first time you’ll be using a tiny fridge, it’ll take some getting used to. Particularly, eating left overs before buying new food.
  • Not as efficient as more expensive models – Without any solar charging, we calculated that we could run the fridge for maybe 3-4 days on the batteries. This isn’t a major con, just something we keep an eye on.

That said, I’m enjoying our little fridge! Hopefully this gives you some helpful information while you’re shopping for your fridge. Questions? Let me know in the comments!


If you click this link to the oven and end up purchasing something from Amazon, we may get a commission at no extra cost to you. It’s a great way to support us on the road!

Sincerely, Hanna

Categories
Amazon Reviews van build

Amazon Product Review:

Suburban 3206A Gas Range with Conventional Burners – Black w/Piezo Ignition, 17”

This post contains affiliate links – we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Today, we are starting a series of Amazon product reviews. If you’ve landed here because you are building out a van or just curious about the process, then you might be interested in our experience with the appliances and tools we used on our own build! I’ll describe the product we bought plus the pro’s and con’s of it. Let’s get started with the oven. 

Things to Consider Before Buying any Oven:

Space

Space is always the limiting factor in a van build. Space is constant. You can have more/less water, more/less electricity, more/less propane – not space. Ovens can be harder to fit into shorter vans and stove tops take up your counter space. So, visualize where an oven would go and the opportunity cost of giving up that space for something else.

 Propane

If you don’t want to use propane, this particular oven may not be the one for you. You might put more effort into a good battery/electrical system and then get an induction stove top (as many van builders do) and use a smaller propane tank for a camp burner.ExpensiveOur oven cost $473.23 from Amazon (currently $455 at the time of this writing). Ours is 21x18x16 inches, 54 pounds, gas range with piezo ignition. So, it’s a fairly simplified design, you have to turn the ignition on a separate knob and you have to manually light the oven with a hand held lighter. The ovens with electric ignition are quite a bit more expensive than even this one.We like our oven, but it’s not great at heat disbursement. So, keep in mind your RV oven won’t behave like a full kitchen oven and will take some practice to get used to how it cooks.

Do you even want an oven? 

We almost considered using just an Air Fryer for our cooking, because we were already in the habit of using it for much of our food. But, we figured we would need the oven too often to do without. We plan to live full-time in the ProMaster, so the convenience of an oven/stove combination seemed like a luxury we needed to make the van feel more like a home. Maybe you don’t use the oven often at all. Maybe you want to do a microwave/portable propane stove combo. Just think about how you usually heat/cook your food and what your goals are for the van.


Alright, so here are the pro’s and con’s of our specific oven.

Suburban 3206A Gas Range with Conventional Burners – Black w/Piezo Ignition, 17”

Pro’s:

  • Sleek Black Color
  • Easy to use stove top ignition
  • 3 gas burners
  • Easy to clean
  • I feel like it gives us extra counter space when it’s not being use
  • Compact but efficient
  • Fits an average Costco pizza
  • Easy to hook up to the propane lines – Common size fitting
  • Spots for mounting

Con’s:

  • Small, so pans & dishes need to be smaller
  • Poor heat disbursement (runs down the middle in a line), so we needed to get a pizza stone to help
  • Expensive, but I wouldn’t say it was too expensive for how often we use it
  • Arrive with a dent in the front (common complaint on Amazon too)
  • From other Amazon customers (not us): rusting after 6 months, weak burner grill, paint scratching off

Hopefully this gives you some helpful information while you’re shopping for your oven. Questions? Let me know in the comments!


If you click this link to the oven and end up purchasing something from Amazon, we may get a commission at no extra cost to you. It’s a great way to support us on the road!


Sincerely, Hanna

Categories
A Little Lost, A Little Found van build

Consciously Incompetent

When starting a new project, there are several levels of competencies:

Unconscious Incompetence – you don’t know if you’re capable or not, you don’t know where the gaps are in your knowledge. The problem here is that you might not recognize your mistakes. If you’re a person filled with false pride…then this can be a dangerous place to be!

Conscious Incompetence – a humbled place where you recognize, “I have no idea what I’m doing.” This is the place where Ivan started as he jumped into the van build. He pursued the knowledge of others and tried to absorb and apply the things he learned.

Conscious Competence – you’re now able to do the things that seemed impossible, but you still need help and you still need to consciously think through each step you take. Ivan is getting closer to this conscious competence regarding the van build. He has built up experience with plumbing, carpentry, and wiring – but he still needs to tread carefully.

Unconscious Competence – now you’ve arrived! If you can hop on a bicycle and peddle away without second thought, you have unconscious competence. The training has been internalized and you can proceed unconsciously, without making mistakes.

As we began the van build in a state of Conscious Incompetence – Ivan purchase blueprints from Trent & Allie. He proceeded with caution, made some mistakes and fixed them, and planned to follow the blueprints exactly.

However, now that he’s been in the van almost everyday for about 3 months, he’s starting to recognize where he can step away from the blueprints and make his own decision.

Not to be too sappy here – but, it’s a little like that transition from teenager to adult. Day by day, you start recognizing “Oh, I can make this decision myself instead of copying my parents.” Comedian Christina Patsziski referst to this as the “Patsziski Effect”.

Example: Why do I keep moving my dang charging cable around the house, when I could just buy another one?

Or: Hm, nothing is stopping me from buying and eating Pop Tarts for dinner.

In our case: Well, maybe we don’t need a closet here – maybe we want more counter space.

The van really started to feel like our van build when we decided to change the original layout from Trent & Allie’s design. We will now have 1) no closet, but more countertop; 2) a L-shaped couch instead of 2 facing seats; 3) a semi-convertible bed; 4) a sliding pantry inspired by Tio Aventura.

I’m excited about the bed we are doing! It took Ivan quite a bit of puzzling to tease it out into a plan. Half of the bed will be mobile – it will pull out and in. We will attach a harness to the mattress so that when it scoots it, the mattress slides up the wall and becomes a back cushion for sitting.

slide the arrows to see this pushed in/pulled out frame

This bed change allows for extra seating under the bed – hence, the L-shaped couch. The L-shaped couch was inspired, because it helps us maneuver around the inverter and wiring that was set up prior to these changes.

Being able to have the freedom and confidence to say, “I’m doing something different.” makes me feel like we really are part of Van-iverse. There’s nothing wrong with the original design, but it now feels like our van will have more of our personality.

Have you experienced that transition from (Un)Conscious Incompetence to (Un)Conscious Competence? If so, please comment and share!

Until next time,

Hanna

Categories
A Little Lost, A Little Found van build

Time to Move

We were laying down to sleep, upstairs in his parents’ unfinished attic, when I was overcome by sadness. “I miss our home,” I whispered. “Me too,” he replied. I felt lost.

When we were skipping around packing up the van with “just the essentials”, something in the back of my mind knew we were moving out – but my conscious self hadn’t accepted it. I didn’t let myself understand that, “We will be in Idaho for 2 months” actually meant, “We are moving out of this home.”

On the other hand, was it really home? Our landlords were nice enough, and just picky enough that I felt a regular reminder whispering, “You are a guest here.” So, while the apartment was comfortable, clean, and big, it wasn’t really our home. Despite the conflict of emotions, I still missed our nice little place in Farmington, Utah. Laying down to sleep that night, I realized I would need to set up a new routine yet again to manage my diet needs (and preferences).

We’ve been here about two weeks now. Ivan installed two back windows in the van. Yesterday, he cut some boards and drilled them in to essentially create studs for the walls. We get 4-5 Amazon packages almost every day, it feels like Christmas. There are moments where I’m excited for this next adventure, moments I regret not doing it sooner, and other times where I wonder if it’s going to be a good thing. 

I haven’t exactly been super helpful. Ivan has so far done the work himself, though I expect the tasks to gear up pretty soon. Everyone seems excited for us, curious and intrigued. No one has said anything critical or negative, which is nice. Even though we’ve received nothing but encouragement, I still anticipate some passive aggressive comment about our choices. It hasn’t happened yet, so why do I keep thinking it’s coming?

Lying in bed, missing our home that wasn’t really our home, I recognized that we are on the edge of a great adventure. I think part of my sadness came from the speed at which we left. The two months of missing Ivan dragged on and on, then suddenly he’s home, were driving home from Chicago with a brand new van, my current job becomes my former job, and we find ourselves living in another state.

Perhaps the sadness I felt in the night was more like the ache of goodbyes left unsaid – which, I’ll admit is weird to feel about an apartment. I think once we go “home”, finish emptying the apartment, slow down, and say, “Goodbye” I will be able to close the chapter of Rooted Life and open the chapter to Nomadic Life.

Have you gone through an exciting transition, then sadness took you by surprise? Maybe it’s a symptom of looking too far into the future, that you/I miss the present. Let me know your thoughts, I’m genuinely curious.

Love,

Hanna