The Rig(5/30/13, updating Nov 2017)

I will be posting info on my rig here.  Update: 6 Nov 2017.... I am working on compiling all the information on my rig... there will be a link to each item... i.e., bed, solar, sanitation, etc.  Stay tuned.

Initial Diagram of how I envisioned my new home.


Most important thing was getting a bed to sleep in.  Read how I made my Swankie Bunk. (posted 5/19/13)

Next priority was to install the roof vent so that I could keep fresh air flowing through the van.  This was critical in order to get my COPD under control.

Roof rack was critical so I had a place to carry my 12'3" kayak and a place to mount my solar panel.

A Swankie Roof Rack and Vent Fan. (posted 5/28/13)

Air Flow - Vent Fan
Brand: Fan-Tastic Vent Fan
Price: About $140.00 ?
Installation (done by me with assistance from Bob Wells): $20 for Butyl Tape


A major consideration for hitting the road was to be able to afford a mobile computer lab.  I had the perfect desk for the job... if I could make it fit in the van.  Here is my Swankie Desk conversion.

After that my priority was getting solar power.

For more on my solar see .

Solar System (Initially 130 watt panel on top of the roof rack.)

Upgraded solar in 2016 with a 160 watt Suitcase Solar unit and 3 new house batteries.  Details will be added here later.

2009 - two house batteries, AGMs, 110 ah each, cost about $250 each.
2016 - replaced those two with three AGMs, 115 ah each, cost to be added later.

Not all of us want or can afford toilets and holding tanks, but have found a way to manage in a safe, clean and sanitary way.  Here is my way:

TELEVISION AND DVDS (other entertainment)
(under development)

to be continued...


  1. HELLO! YOU ARE MY NEW HERO!! Okay, here's where I'm coming from. I, of course, have always had a 'gypsy' inside of me, and I just recently started to actually think about living in a van or small camper. Here I was, playing with this idea, and getting warmer and warmer on it, and then I found your story. If you can do it, so can I, and I am starting my planning process NOW. I turn 60 this next Friday, June 28, and I thought I'd be too old to do this, but I am sooo ready. I'm setting up my timeline now, and beginning the information gathering that I need to do. Anyway, just want to say a huge THANK YOU for blogging about all you have done, and are doing. I'll be following your blog, and will stay in touch.
    Bless you! ~Nancy

    1. Naannygoat... you can do it.... would love to follow you.

    2. Hi Nancy, I see that it's now 2 years later, how is your plan going? I'm 60 this year myself and planning a similar journey, so exciting!!!!!!

  2. WOOWOO!!! You can do it! I have faith in you Swanks!

    1. whoopsie, meant to comment under the kayaking part :P Sorry!

  3. Hi there! I'm a fellow solo full-timer traveller, on the road since 2011 in an Airstream. I saw a comment you made on 3 Mules on facebook and had to follow your link over here! Great to see others living their dream too! I have a question for you: How do you get your kayak up and down from your rig? I used to travel with my husband but we separated early this year, and ever since, I've been carrying around my kayak on top of my truck, but haven't used it because getting a 50 lb. kayak up and down is a 2-person job! I'm planning on buying a fancy pants hydraulic lift rack when it makes financial sense, but that won't be for a while. Just curious what your system is.

    Here's the best pic I can find of my truck/kayak (even though it's pretty far away).

    1. Kerri, I never saw your post before about my kayak loading. It is a challenge but still manageable for me alone. The hydroulic lift won't work with my system and cargo rack. My kayak weighs 53 pounds and is 12'3" long. It is bulky. Somewhere, here on in Facebook I have a series of photos on how I load the kayak. I'll try to post a link for you.

  4. I have the same questions about maneuvering a kayak alone. Even from the top of a car.


Who is Swankie?

My photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.