Navigating the Call of Nature: Toilets

Hey there, fellow adventurers! Today, let’s dive into a topic that’s both a necessity and a challenge when you’re on the road: bathroom business in your van. We all know the deal – when nature calls, you have to answer. Doing so in a compact space like a van can be, well, a bit tricky, to say the least.

At Roost Vans, we understand the importance of accommodating families and their unique needs on the road. Our design philosophy centers around simplicity and practicality. We like to ensure that your adventure are memorable for all the right reasons. So, what’s our take on the whole “toilet in the van” situation? Let’s spill the beans.

The Smell Factor: It’s All About the Diet (and Kids!)

First things first, let’s address the elephant in the van – the smell. Admit it, no one enjoys dealing with unpleasant odors, especially in confined spaces. Your diet plays a significant role here. A healthy diet might mitigate the situation, but let’s face it, it’s not going to smell like roses. That’s where our experience as parents comes into play. We get it; dealing with potty training and late-night bathroom runs with little ones is part of the adventure.

The Roost Solution: The Loo Bench

So, what’s our solution? We’ve opted for a simple yet effective one – the Stansport EasyGo Loo, also known as a chamber pot. Paired with our carefully designed cabinet, the Loo Bench. Most of the time, it’s used for those inevitable midnight pee breaks or quick stops for the kiddos. As for the other business, well, we try to time our stops near flushing toilets.

The included Easy Go Toilet is easy to clean, chemical-free, and does not require electrical or water hookups. It is useable inside the cabinet, but can also be easily removed for cleaning or for use outside of the van… say, in a majestic forest. Quite simply, it is there when you need it, and invisible when you don’t.

The Loo Bench itself is custom-formed to the toilet and provides functional, and discreet storage. There is also a space for toilet paper and other toiletries and cleaning supplies. The spring-loaded, snug-fit lid of the cabinet, in conjunction with the tight seal of the Easy Go Toilet, minimizes unwanted odors until the contents can be properly dumped or buried.

The Toilet Options: Cassette Toilets, Composting Toilets, and More

Now, you might be wondering about other toilet options like cassette toilets, composting toilets, or the Laveo (also known at Roost Vans as the Diaper Genie). We’ve considered them all but ultimately settled for the chamber pot for its simplicity and cost. We took the KISS approach to our toilet solution. Cassette toilets come with chemicals and need care when disposing. Composting toilets tend to be larger, are complex and demand constant power for ventilation. Finally, the Laveo, while practical, still involves dealing with waste disposal. Essentially throwing another waste bag into the landfill as opposed to giving it back to the earth.

To Poop or Not to Poop: That is the Question

A question we often ask is, “Are you really going to take a poop in your van if you can avoid it?” We feel the answer is: probably not if you can avoid it. Finding a public restroom or a well-maintained outhouse is the preferred choice. Let’s be honest, nobody wants to stink up their cozy van space voluntarily. The Loo Bench is there for when you need it. Plain and simple.

In a nutshell, when it comes to van life and toilets, simplicity wins the day. Our approach at Roost Vans ensures that you can focus on the joy of the journey without worrying about complicated bathroom setups, and failures. So, next time nature calls, fear not – with a little planning and the right equipment, your van adventures will remain fresh and enjoyable. Happy travels, everyone!

Product release: Strap-Up Bed

We are excited to announce the launch of our new product, the Strap-Up Bed! This is a very affordable and versatile bed for sprinter and transit vans. It is made from high-quality bamboo and is easy to install and remove.
Van lifers often struggle to find a comfortable and affordable bed for their vehicles.  Quick straps provide quick access to a ready made bed at nearly any height.

Traditional beds can be expensive and difficult to install. They can also take up a lot of space, which is not ideal for vans that are already limited on space. Our Strap-Up Bed is the perfect solution for van lifers who are looking for a comfortable, affordable, and versatile bed.

The Strap-Up Bed has a number of features and benefits that make it the perfect choice for van lifers:


The Strap-Up Bed can be configured in a variety of ways to fit your needs. In combination with the Fu-Kit Bed, it gives you a great solution for sleeping four people in the van… creating a bunk-bed system.

Easy to install and remove.

The Strap-Up Bed is easy to install and remove, even for people with limited DIY skills.

Easy Storage.

The Strap-Up Bed stores out of the way and provides a ready-made bed in an instant. This van bed system gives you the ability to raise your bed quickly all the way to the ceiling, or even lower it all the way down to the wheel wells. It gives you immediate and maximum flexibility of your garage.

Park Anywhere!

Another big benefit of the Strap-Up Bed system is that you are able to level the bed regardless of the angle at which your van is parked. If you are parked at an angle, you can adjust your bed to be completely flat.

To learn more about the Strap-Up Bed, visit the product page on our website or connect with us directly. We are confident that you will love this product as much as we do!

3 Steps to Consider When Building a Van

There are many different resources available online about building out a camper van… From blogs and videos, to social media groups. Sometimes it can feel like an information overload. At Roost Vans we like to be somewhat in the middle…

Do you want a professional, high quality build at a good value? Are you wanting to DIY the whole thing? Maybe you want to hire Roost Vans to do the hard parts, and you do the rest? We like to provide the van life community with an approach that meets your budget, skill set, schedule, and everything in between. In this blog, we are going to break down the 3 major decisions you should consider when diving head-first into the van world.

1. Platform

You’ve made the big decision to buy a van, but you don’t know where to begin. You have probably heard of the 3 most popular vans on the market: Sprinter, Transit, and Promaster. Which is right for you? They are all great vans, but they have different strengths and weaknesses. It really comes down to the process of elimination. Let’s do a comparison of the three vans to help you choose the best one for your needs.


Sprinters are known to be one of the most luxurious and comfortable vans. They are available in rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and 4×4. Sprinter vans also have a high resale value. That being said, they are going to be the most expensive van and not as fuel-efficient as the Transit or Promaster. If your budget allows for it, a Sprinter Van is going to be a very valuable option.


The Transit is known for its fuel efficiency, cargo capacity, and affordability. Just like the Sprinter van, Transit vans are also available in rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and 4×4. It is going to be the most fuel-efficient van and has the widest range of trim levels and options.


The Promaster is a very versatile van known for its affordability and customization options. Of the 3, it is going to be the most affordable van. Promasters are available in a variety of body styles and have good fuel economy for a van of its size. That being said, it won’t be as luxurious or comfortable as the Sprinter or Transit vans.

So, which van should you choose?

For the more budget concsious person, we would recommend a Transit van, particularly if you plan to buy new (but we will get into that later). It is the most fuel-efficient and the cargo space gives you more room to work with.

If the budget allows for it, Sprinter would be the best option because of its reliability. The Sprinter has a lot of aftermarket parts and accessories available. This makes it easier to find the things you need to build your camper van.

This leaves Promaster being the least desirable all around. The curved roof and metal supports can make it more difficult to insulate or run plumbing through. On the other hand, buying a Prosmater can save you money on the purchase price of the van and it will give you the most space.

Finally, one last insider tip that is worth mentioning would be that you find a van that already has the basic configuration the way you want it. This will save you money, rather than paying to modify it. For example: A cargo van is going to give you way more bang for your buck than a passenger van when doing a full conversion. You will pay for a lot of finished interiors with a Passenger van that ends up getting torn out. Also, Buying something with the window configuration you want will save you thousands in adding new windows. Lastly, for a heavier build, buying a 2500 or 3500 is way less expensive than having to beef up the suspension to support the build.

2. New vs. Used

One of the most important decisions is whether to buy new or used. Buying a new van will come with the latest features and technology, and will often have a warranty, which can give you peace of mind. New vans are definitely more expensive than used vans, but you know exactly how the van has been driven and maintained.
The most obvious pro of buying a used van is that they are typically less expensive than new vans. You can still find vans with the features and options you want, even if they’re not the latest model. Sometimes used vans may have hidden problems that aren’t apparent during a test drive.
So, which is the better option?
The answer ultimately depends on your budget. Generally speaking we would recommend something under 10 years old, and less than 100k miles. Anything older is probably not worth putting the money into finishing it out. It could be like putting lipstick on a pig. Roost Vans product line (and most modern build product lines) are for 2008 and newer. We think a safe window would be buying 2 to 5-year-olds.
Just remember to do your research. Consider buying a van from a private seller, as they are often more willing to negotiate on price than dealerships. If you’re planning to finance your van, getting pre-approved for a loan will give you an idea of how much you can afford to spend. If you’re not happy with the price or the condition of a van, don’t be afraid to walk away. There are plenty of other vans available. Be patient: Buying a van on a budget takes time. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find the perfect van right away. Keep looking and you’ll eventually find the perfect van for you.

3. Conversion

You’ve got the van… now what? The most important part of the conversion process is HOW you are going to convert your van into the van of your dreams! We have an entire blog post on the pros and cons of hiring someone to build out your van for you OR building it out yourself. You can read that blog HERE.

In this blog we want you to consider the option in-between: a Hybrid build. Perhaps you want to go the DIY route but have a fear of getting the wiring or plumbing wrong. Or maybe you want to get the basics done, take it on the road, and come back later to add more. That’s where we come in. Roost Vans is great at meeting you right in the middle.
One of the most popular types of builds we offer is our Core Build. A core build can be a standalone project, or the first step of a full build in a multi-phase incremental buildout, allowing the customer to finish their van in phases.

Our core builds always start with our Smooth Rail Mounting system. This provides a permanently accessible, strong, and secure mounting point for most van build components and accessories. Components installed to our mounting system can be installed, temporarily removed, or re-positioned without the need to remove paneling or drill additional holes in your van. Most components can be removed or replaced in minutes with simple tools. Once our van rail system is installed, the possibilities are endless. Our Core Build also includes: our core electrical wiring system, insulation and sound suppression, ventilation, wall paneling, doorway treatments, and flooring.

Sometimes customers like having Roost’s professional installers do the bare metal vehicle work, allowing them to conduct other portions of the build themselves… projects more suited to their talents and available tools. We sell a very large array of van products that you can order online and install yourself.

If you’re serious about converting a van into a camper van, please feel free to reach out to Roost Vans. We would be happy to answer any questions you have!

Living Out of a Van: A Guide

Living out of a van is a popular choice for people who want to travel and live a more minimalist lifestyle. It can be a great way to save money and see the world, but it’s important to be prepared before you make the switch.

Here are some tips on how to live out of a van…

Choose the right van.

The first step is to select the right van for your lifestyle. If you are planning to live in your van full-time, you will need a van that is large enough to accommodate your needs. You will also need to consider the type of van you want, the features you will need, and the long-term cost.

Here are some specific things to consider when choosing a van for full-time living:

Size: How much space do you need? Will you be traveling with other people or pets? Transit vans are larger and have more space for storage. Sprinter passenger vans are usually a bit smaller, but more fuel-efficient.

• Features: What amenities are important to you? Do you need a kitchen, bathroom, or sleeping area? If you are wanting a kitchen, a bed, AND a living space, Roost Vans offers those products for both Transit and Sprinter vans.

• Cost: How much can you afford to spend on a van?

• Reliability: How reliable is the van? Will it be able to handle the rigors of full-time travel?


Once you’ve chosen the right van, you’ll need to convert it into a living space. You can go the route of hiring a van builder, like Roost, to convert your van for you. Or you can go the DIY route. We have an entire blog dedicated to helping you decide what choice would be best for you.

If you’re planning to DIY your van conversion, Roost Vans has everything you need to make the process easy and hassle-free. We offer a variety of van products that are simple to install yourself, so you can save money and get the van of your dreams.

Here are some specific examples of the products Roost Vans offers:

• Our 2-panel or 3-panel Fu-kit Bed System. With our Fu-kit Bed, you can add a Flip-up Kit, which allows you to turn your bed into a deep-seated sofa.

• We also have our Strap-up Bed! The Strap-up Bed is another versatile bed system that can be configured in a variety of ways. It can be raised or lowered to the perfect height, and it can be used to create a bunk bed system by adding the Fu-kit Bed.

We also have Passenger or Drivers side kitchen cabinets, Upper and Lower cabinetry, and so much more. Whether you do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you, just remember to add plenty of storage space. We recommend really think about the features you want to add to make your van more comfortable.


If you’re planning to travel full-time, you’ll need to plan your route. There are a few different ways to do this. You can either plan a specific route and stick to it, or you can be more flexible and decide where to go as you go. The possibilities are endless!

Some factors to consider when planning your route are…

• Your interests: What are you interested in seeing and doing? Do you want to visit national parks, hike trails, explore cities, or something else?

• Your flexibility: How flexible are you with your plans? If you’re willing to change your plans on the fly, you’ll have more freedom to explore and discover new places.

We recommend visiting Portland, Oregon! Portland is surrounded by stunning natural beauty, with mountains, forests, and rivers all within easy reach. There are endless opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, and fishing. Not to mention, the food and craft beer is something you won’t want to miss out on. We might be a bit biased though, as Roost Vans is tucked inside the PNW, located in Clackamas.

If you would like to try out the van life before committing, read our Try Before You Buy blog post. This will give you the chance to hit the road and see how you like it before taking the time and spending the money to build out a van.


One of the biggest challenges of living out of a van is finding a place to park. There are a few different options available. You can park in campgrounds, RV parks, or you can also look for free or low-cost parking spots in cities and towns. Be aware that parking on the side of the road can be seen as suspicious in some areas. It may also be illegal in some jurisdictions. Do your research and always choose the safest option



It’s important to be prepared for emergencies when you’re living out of a van. Make sure you have a first-aid kit, a flashlight, and a way to communicate with others. You should also have a plan in case of a breakdown or other unexpected events such as bad weather. Make sure you have clothes and gear for all types of weather.

Living out of a van can be a great way to see the world and live a more minimalist lifestyle. By following these tips, you can make the transition to van life easier and more enjoyable. Don’t expect to adjust to van life overnight. Be patient with yourself and your surroundings.

Check out the video below of one of our builds, Towne, to see some of the products Roost Vans offers.

Photos by: Leah Smith

Building your own van vs Hiring a van builder

Building your own van vs Hiring a van builder

Building out your own van versus hiring someone to do it is a decision that many van lifers face. Both options have pros and cons, and the best choice for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

Pros of building out your own van

It can be a rewarding experience

There’s a sense of satisfaction that comes from building something yourself. It can also be a lot of fun to be creative and put your own spin on your van. There are plenty of DIY van companies like Roost Vans, that have van bed systems and van cabinetry, that make it easy to install products yourself.

You can save money

Building out a van yourself can be much cheaper than hiring someone else to do it. There are many resources available online that can help you with the conversion process. In addition to online blogs and videos, there are plenty of companies like Roost Vans, Goal Zero, and Lagun USA that make the process easy and affordable.

You have more control over the process

When you build out your own van, you can choose exactly what you want and how you want it to look. With the Roost Vans Smooth Rail Mounting System, you are able to place your van products in a precise location, as opposed to 1” intervals with an L-track. Roost Vans products give you much flexibility and are easy to install.

Cons of building out your own van

It can be time-consuming

Building a van can take a lot of time and effort, especially if you’re not experienced with construction. It can be frustrating. There will be times when you make mistakes or things don’t go according to plan. It’s important to be patient and persistent when building your own van.

You may not have the necessary tools and materials

Building a van requires a lot of tools and materials. Thankfully, companies like Roost Vans have products that are easy to install, such as our cabinetry or bed systems.

Pros of hiring someone to build out your van

It can save you time

If you hire someone else to build your van, you won’t have to spend all the time and effort doing it yourself. Most van builders, like Roost Vans, have showrooms that help you choose your desired van products and the overall look and feel of your van.

It can be less frustrating

If you hire someone else to build your van, you won’t have to deal with the frustration of making mistakes or things not going according to plan.

Cons of hiring someone to build out your van

It can be expensive

Hiring a professional to build your van can be expensive, especially if you want them to do a high-quality job. Not only will you have to pay for the products and materials in your van, but you also have to pay for the labor.

They may have a waitlist

Social media platforms have made it easier than ever for people to share their van life experiences with the world. This has helped to raise awareness of the lifestyle and make it seem more attainable. With the rise in popularity, professional van builders might not be able to build your van when you desire. Van builders usually take on a few vans at a time, making the wait time a bit longer.


Vans are a relatively affordable way to travel, especially when compared to traditional RVs. This makes them a more accessible option for people who are looking to downsize their lifestyle. Ultimately, the decision of whether to build out your own van or hire someone to do it is a personal one. There is no right or wrong answer, and the best choice for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. 

Transit Eco-system Product Release

We’re very excited about the release of our Smooth Rail mounting system, as well as our ecosystem of cabinetry and bed products for the Transit van! For the past 5 years, we have been working hard on our Smooth Rail mounting system and all our cabinetry products for Sprinter vans… but now customizing our products to fit the Transit is a reality!

Smooth Rail Mounting System

All the benefits of our Smooth Rail mounting system can be found on our blog article HERE. The Smooth Rail mounting system, with both Sprinter and Transit vans, gives a lot of flexibility and security. It also provides a safe way to install all of our cabinetry, bed systems, kitchen cabinetry, and our benches. The mounting system is thoroughly reinforced with bracketry that goes into the rib work of the van, to ensure a robust and secure mounting point for the products that you’re installing in your van. It provides an even greater value to a DIY person because they have a tremendous amount of flexibility on where their cabinetry can go. They don’t have to thoroughly plan out their entire build based on where all the cabinetry MUST be installed. The Smooth Rail mounting system allows for modularity. You have the ability to change a build immediately after something is tried and then can easily be changed later. We have quite a few stories of customers doing Core builds through Roost Vans; or doing their own build using Roost Vans products, and then later selling their van. The new buyer of the van then wants to install additional cabinetry or remove some cabinetry, without fear of a poor finish when the cabinetry is moved or removed. That is the benefit of the Roost Vans ecosystem and how flexible it is for adjustments downstream when ownership of a van changes. The new owner can remove or simply loosen the cabinetry and then adjust the position slightly without completely removing it. This is something that L-track cannot provide. On top of this, the aesthetics of the hardware and the powder-coated rail is another big benefit that helps create an enjoyable interior environment as opposed to a utilitarian feel.

Bed systems

The release of the ecosystem also includes our Fu-kit Bed and Strap-Up Bed! These are great DIY van bed options. Both bed systems can work autonomously or in combination with each other as a bunk bed system.

The Transit Fu-kit Bed is available as a 2 or 3-panel bed and gives you a couple more inches than the sprinter bed system does. You also have the option to add a Flip-Up Kit to the bed system: This gives you a deep-seated sofa, as well as plenty of access to your garage underneath. Another benefit to the flip-up kit is having the ability to extend your kitchen countertop, giving yourself an extra 24 inches underneath. That way the extra countertop space is only exposed when you flip up the bed.

The Transit Strap-Up Bed system is so versatile. In combination with the Strap-Up Bed, it gives you a great solution for sleeping four people in the van… creating a bunk-bed system. The Strap-up Bed system gives you the ability to raise your bed quickly all the way to the ceiling, or even lower it all the way down to the wheel wells. Another big benefit of the Strap-Up Bed system is that you are able to level the bed regardless of the angle that your van is parked at.

Transit Ecosystem

The transit ecosystem is very similar if not exactly the same as the Sprinter ecosystem. However, the profile of a Transit van is slightly different than a Sprinter, so it has warranted us to adjust our Sprinter cabinetry to fit the Transit profile. It also gave us an opportunity to iterate the Sprinter cabinetry at the same time, improving upon an already great set of products.

The Transit can be a bit peculiar but our cabinetry allows for that. Sometimes you need to do some minor customization around bump-outs, but that is something a DIYer could easily do in a few minutes to make their cabinetry fit exactly where they want it.

Transit vs Sprinter

Probably one of the biggest benefits of a Transit van over the Sprinter is the area above the sliding doorway. In this area, you can install the Roost van’s upper cabinet. We highly recommend if you’re going to do this, that you also have a lower passenger cabinet in that location too… that way you can avoid standing up and hitting your head on the bottom of the cabinet as you enter the sliding doorway. Particularly for a Transit 148 wheelbase (as opposed to the extended wheelbase), you have an opportunity for more forward cabinetry in your kitchen area and in front of your bed system, without having cabinetry over your bed. With the Transit’s window pockets, it allows for greater side-to-side sleeping. So, another option is to have a bank of cabinetry above your feet on the passenger side, along with a passenger kitchen cabinet.

Transits are harder to build than Sprinters. Adding the Smooth Rail Mounting System really helps with the build process. The rear of the van is normal, good-quality steel, but the front half of the van is ultra-high-strength steel, also known as Boron steel. Boron is tremendously difficult to work with. In order to install the Smooth Rail mounting system you have to drill a few holes in these areas, which is difficult but achievable. That’s where that mounting system comes in so valuable: Once the mounting system is installed, you have an infinite array of flexible mounting positions.


A very common mistake in van layouts is having all the weight on the driver’s side. If you’re not careful, you can affect the center of gravity on your van by doing this. This is why it’s important to add storage and cabinetry on the passenger side of the van as opposed to just on the driver’s side. Having a transit mounting system, as well as the cabinetry ecosystem, gives you a lot of flexibility in your design layout. You can move a lot of that weight over to the right side of the van, which is tremendously helpful in balancing the suspension and load of your vehicle. Inevitably, the driver’s side of the van is going to store a lot of stuff, simply because it doesn’t have a door in the way… therefore it doesn’t have a restriction on how much stuff you can store on that side. Planning out your build with this in mind helps you to counteract some of the pitfalls of inexperienced van builders and uninformed layouts.

Where to start?

Our entire Eco-system including: Cabinetry, Fu-kit & Strap-up Bed Systems, as well as our Smooth Rail mounting system are live on our website. We also have several other blog posts if you want to do a deep dive into more of our products, and van life in general. For inspiration on how to use our ecosystem or how to layout your van, check out our Youtube channel!