Codee & Sarah are both 22 years old and are from Rockwall, Texas. They are full-time van dwellers in their Promaster 2500 159″ wheelbase van and have been doing so since the beginning of 2022.
Previously, Sarah was/is a couples adventure photographer and Codee was a custom woodworker. Now, they are seasonal workers and freelancers! They work at ski resorts in the springtime and other adventure seasonal work in the summer.
Sarah is also an adventure couples photographer (@sanfordphotoandfilm)! and Codee is a small business/personal bookkeeper.
Codee & Sarah got started in van life shortly after an epic snowstorm (affectionately referred to as the “Texas Freeze” or “Texas snowpocalypse”) in February 2021. They had a week off together and realized 2 things: (1) if they were in a van they could drive away from the crazy weather and (2) They were SO happy being together.
They realized how they were drifting apart in their first 6 months of being married because of work. Codee was always exhausted from working overtime as a woodworker and they didn’t spend quality time together.
Now they play board games, hike together, and live a life entirely together. They are each other’s best friend – and van life has given that to them!
FIND THEM ONLINE!
The Van Setup
Codee & Sarah have a Promaster 2500 with a 159″ wheelbase. They love the LARGE counter space, open feel of the van and their pop-up shower bench.
The Van At A Glance
|Promaster 2500 159″
|Van Build Cost
|Hidden shower in a bench and ceiling slats
|Convertible HIGH bed to a dinette set up
|Cassette toilet for emergencies
|Pop-up shower hidden in a bench
|LARGE countertop, one-burner propane camping stove, a microwave and a square deep sink
|3 cubic ft Magic Chef mini fridge with freezer
|Max air fan and a large window
|Mr. Buddy heater
|Power & Solar Setup
|2 x 300 amp hour batteries, 840 watts solar on the roof, 3000 Inverter/charger, and shore power
|Water & Plumbing Setup
|15 gal fresh and 15 gal grey water
Codee and Sarah purchased their 2021 Promaster 2500 159″ wheelbase brand new for $40,000. They then put about $16,000 into building it out with a hidden pop-up shower, a full kitchen with lots of counter space and a dinette that converts to a bed.
The van has a convertible high bed to a dinette set up. In the bathroom, the van has a cassette toilet. But Codee and Sarah primarily use the restroom outside or at local bathrooms! In emergencies, they pop a bag in the cassette, but stress that is only for absolute EMERGENCIES!!
And for showering in the van, the pop-up shower bench is AMAZING! They have a 4.5-gallon tank water heater. The shower hose screws to the sink faucet. And they made a custom frame that a curtain hangs on the ceiling so that they can shower inside OR outside the van!
They can also wash Rylee, their beloved dog, in the bench. And the shower makes it easy to shave legs or to wash shoes or muddy/dirty things.
The kitchen is located behind the driver’s seat and the square deep sink is on the opposite side next to the bed. Codee and Sarah have a LARGE countertop and a 120V classic dorm mini-fridge (with a separate freezer for all the ice cream). They also have a one-burner propane camping stove and a microwave!
For ventilation throughout the van, Codee and Sarah installed a Max air fan and a large window that opens! As for heating and cooling, they have a Little Mr. Buddy heater and their dog Rylee is the best heater at night! They do have heating pads on the grey water tank for cold temps!
For propane, Codee and Sarah only use the little green 1 lb propane canisters for their stove and heater.
For their water and plumbing system, the van has 15 gallons of fresh water capacity located inside the van. They also have a 15-gallon grey water tank located underneath the van.
When it comes to electrical system setup, the van is equipped with 2 x 300 amp hour lithium batteries! They also have a robust 840 watts of solar panels on the roof!
Inside, Codee and Sarah equipped the van with a 3000 Inverter/charger and added a shore power connection. With so much solar capacity, they opted not to have a dc-dc charger.
And for eating meals and/or working, Codee and Sarah mostly rely on finding local coffee shops, or spend time in their swivel seats, at the bench and table or they can convert the bed and work at the table.
As for any improvements or things they would change, they say that they would fix the pipes under the van that drain into the grey tank. It’s only an issue in freezing temps. And they do plan on fixing it before next winter! Otherwise, they absolutely love their set up!
READ MORE: Check out this post on other great vans for camper conversion.
Living the Van Life Lifestyle
Previously, Sarah was/is a couples adventure photographer and Codee was a custom woodworker. Now they are seasonal workers + freelancers! They work at ski resorts in the springtime and other adventure seasonal work in the summer. Sarah is also an adventure couples photographer (@sanfordphotoandfilm) and Codee is a small business/personal bookkeeper.
To date, Codee & Sarah live on around $2000-$2500 for all bills, including adventures. Sometimes this will be more if it’s a big trip.
So far Codee & Sarah say that the best and most rewarding part of van life is the time that they spend adventuring together. They love the freedom to go and see what they want and to meet new people! They have loved spreading love and kindness to so many strangers!
The most rewarding thing is the time we spend adventuring together. We love the freedom to go and see what we want and meet new people! We have loved spreading love and kindness to so many strangers!
But they’ve been surprised by how much Sarah has let go of her old boujee lifestyle. She’s more independent and comfortable with herself. Codee is surprised at how much everything costs.
When it comes to hardships on the road, financial burdens were the biggest concern. Codee and Sarah almost gave up in month 3. It wasn’t until they got their first seasonal job that they felt as though they were truly living the van life lifestyle.
And they think the worst part about living in a van is the inconvenience of having to make so many decisions every day. From finding water, dump, where to stay, groceries, showers, and wanting to find adventure, but knowing that they need money to enjoy it more… But without a doubt, Codee and Sarah both say that its all worth it for them!
Downsizing their lives into a van was a minimalist journey. Sarah wrote about it in a blog post on their website. She got rid of 12+ trash bags of clothes. They took pictures of her holding items and allowed her to grieve and let go. But they say that it’s a journey for some people!
And now that they’re on the road, Codee and Sarah can’t live without their electric kettle! But they really miss the community.
They used to host a young adult life group in their apartment in Texas. Sarah would cook for everyone and they had the best community. They really miss having their friends around on a regular basis.
In their spare time on the road, Sarah loves to journal + take photos + do yoga + go on hikes. Codee loves to play disc golf + hike + watch movies. And they’ve learned to really enjoy cooking one-pot quinoa bowls! They take any leftover veggies and throw them together with some quinoa!
Codee & Sarah want people to know that Van Life has given them a chance to live a life of simplicity, spirituality and intentionality. (Which you can read more about on their website!)
Van Life With A Dog
Codee and Sarah have a blue heeler named Rylee. She’s an 8-year-old cattle dog that weighs 40 lbs. Having an energetic breed is great for all the adventures they go on.
They love having a companion for their mental health and as a heater when it’s cold! Rylee got a bad cut (15 stitches) at the end of February 2022 and it was very difficult having her in a cone for 2 weeks.
It’s also hard to not be able to take her to most national parks as well as when they want to fly home. You can actually follow Rylee on her own Instagram too!
Top Mobile Apps
The top mobile apps that Codee and Sarah rely the most on are:
- Google Maps
READ MORE: Learn more about 20+ mobile apps to make life on the road better HERE.
Most useful items
By far, these are the top 3 items Codee and Sarah can’t live without in their van:
- Electric Kettle
- Pop Up Tent for showers/using the restroom
- Pop up sink/Drying rack – All collapsible items!
READ MORE: Read this post to learn more about other great van life essentials.
The Van Build
Codee & Sarah built out their van themselves and they did EVERYTHING from electrical, plumbing, cabinet work, welding, and sewing cushions. If they didn’t build something in the van then the item is probably from Amazon, Walmart or Home Depot.
They purchased the van for $40k and put around 16K into building it out. Their van is inspired by Louis the Van. They have amazing modern designs. The shower bench was built at the same time they built their first bench and it’s by far their favorite design!
That and the ceiling slats are AMAZING! Codee and Sarah even hang their tripod from the ceiling to watch movies as another unique feature of their van.
For insulation, the van has 3M Thinsulate. It was cost-effective and had great reviews for its moister barrier and fire retardant. And it was super easy to use! They also liked the wool many people use.
And the ceiling is plywood that has been cut and notched to make slats. They are AMAZING! Codee did all the woodworking himself.
Just start somewhere! Budget it out but don’t overthink! Don’t be afraid to message other van lifers questions.
For cabinets, Codee was a custom woodworker before van life. He made everything by himself! And with lighting, Codee and Sarah have LED puck lights and LED strips. They love having different “modes.” And for additional lighting, the van has two pre-installed windows in the back and one LARGE window on the side.
When it comes to storage, the van has a garage. But their favorite thing is their bean bag covers. They stuff their large winter jackets and sweaters in bean bag covers, which double as lounging chairs in bed as well as on the ground outside.
Like many van dwellers who built out their own vans, Codee & Sarah are most proud of all of the van build! They learned and hand-did everything.
Sarah did all the electrical, upholstery, hemmed curtains and painted and decorated the van. Codee did the woodworking, plumbing, welded framed and helped paint and finishing touches.
And if they could change anything, they only need to adjust a few plumbing errors. Otherwise, their design is perfect for their van lifestyle!
Codee & Sarah’s least favorite part of building out the van was learning the electrical system. But once that was done it was a pain to sew all the cushions!
When it comes to giving advice to anyone considering building out their own van, Codee and Sarah encourage you to just start somewhere! Budget it out but don’t overthink! Don’t be afraid to message other van lifers with questions.
The best resources Codee & Sarah used are Louis the Van on youtube, eXplorist.life, Meghan & Matt, Engineers Who Van Life and MoserMakes just to name a few.
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