It started with a dream of moving into a van and living on the road.
Things began to fall into place a few months ago. We had money saved. We had jobs we didn’t mind quitting. We had a lease expiring. We had no other obligations we couldn’t manage from the road.
There was only one thing missing: the van.
And that is how Nick and I wound up moving into his Ford Taurus.
…Not quite a van, but with a few modifications, quite livable.
Step 1: Making the bed
The most important step of moving into the sedan is making it possible to sleep in it.
So, remove the backseat completely. With a saws-all, cut out the metal center section that held the backseat so that there is no longer anything separating the trunk from the area where the backseat once was. Cut a piece of plywood to span the place where the backseat goes to create a flat platform for sleeping on. To add comfort and reduce splinters, we added a layer of carpet to the plywood.
Step 2: Creating storage
Remove all the excess padding and paneling in the car to open up new spots for storage. On the underside of the trunk we mounted a net to store cooking materials, a camp stove and fuel.
Underneath the plywood sleeping deck is also a spot for things you won’t need to access often.
We have constructed an extra plywood shelf which spans from the back window across the space of the backseat. It is attached with hinges at the back and held up with stilts in the front. This shelf can fold down to create a backseat again if needed, but in the meantime serves as a storage shelf. All of our clothes are stored in a simple homemade cloth pocket system.
We removed our center console and replaced it with amo cans and a trash container to add storage containers. A cooler and food box behind each seat keep us from having to eat out.
Step 3: Adding a roof rack (Skip this step if you don’t need to bring anything that can’t fit inside the car.)
The Ford Taurus has a naked roof, however wanting to bring along our kayaks and whitewater gear, we purchased roof racks that can be mounted to the doors of a car. The cheapest racks we could find online (SportRack Semi-Custom Roof Rack for Naked Roofs) were designed for skies or snowboards. However, with additional straps connecting the boats to the car we have strapped two kayaks, paddles, and fishing poles to the top of the car. They haven’t flown off yet. (I am not advising exceeding the recommended weight limit or use of any roof rack. If you do, add extra straps that connect the load to the car itself, not just the rack.)
For added storage, we filled the hulls of the upside down kayaks with all our boating gear as well as some extra warm clothes in a dry bag.
Adjust this step to fit your own adventure needs. i.e. use your roof racks for bikes, skies, surf boards, ect. (Although these adventure vessels don’t provide the additional storage the way kayaks do. Sorry.)