The Renovation of This 1982 RV Showcases the Challenges and Rewards of a DIY Build

Traveling is undoubtedly one of the most popular ways to relax, take things slow, and stop smelling the roses. However, it has somewhat recently seen a surge in popularity due to the pandemic and restrictions that followed. People have started realizing that living life is stuck in the same place, never exploring new experiences, can get dull and wear you down.

As such, the trend of camper vans, mobile homes, and RVs being used for hassle-free travel has gained more momentum than ever. And it’s easy to see why considering how much freedom traveling at one’s own pace can give. There’s no need to be stressed about finding a good hotel or missing a flight, and it lets you take in so much more of the surroundings from your travels.

And it would be a daunting challenge to find a more affordable, cushy, and cozy way to take on the open roads and explore new places than a massive vintage RV. There is, however, the minor inconvenience of having tow it, which would not be an issue in a camper van or school bus conversion.

But every build has to strike a balance, and spending time making a list of pros and cons would get boring. What is instead fascinating about this RV build is that it’s not finished yet. The couple who bought this 1982 Silver Streak RV and is currently renovating it is still working out some of the kinks. And looking at how they plan to tackle the build could serve as inspiration for potential nomads.

The most notable thing is that this was supposed to be a quick inside renovation. But things popped up along the way that needed some care, which is something to consider when starting a DIY project.

DIY 1982 Silver Streak Vintage Camper Off\-Grid Mobile Home

Photo: YouTube / Tiny Home Tours

In this case, there are a couple of primary concerns, with the renovation and insulation of the underbelly being the first on the to-do list. Another thing that needs to be done on the outside is adding some solar panels to give this RV some off-grid camping capabilities. Of course, this goes hand in hand with the need to add some batteries and an energy management system for which places have already been designated.

Then there’s the interior of this vintage camper, which also needs some care. That’s not to say it’s not as nice as it is, but the couple plans to redo the ceiling, insulate it better, and take care of the floor. Then there’s the shower, which is currently under renovation.

And these are all things that are still ongoing after a year of owning this RV and traveling with it. During this time, the trailer has undergone a top-off rebuild, had its axles reversed and raised, and new windows were installed, to name a few things, proving how demanding such projects can be. But the ownership experience of a vintage camper seems similar to that of an old house, as there’s always something else to address.

That being said, the RV is currently functional, having already been used for a long trip, with the small caveat that it’s still dependent on shore utilities. A lot of the interior is already finished and looks incredibly nice for a DIY build with plenty of decorations and a warm color scheme with a dash of vintage charm.

DIY 1982 Silver Streak Vintage Camper Off\-Grid Mobile Home

Photo: YouTube / Tiny Home Tours

There’s also a weirdly appealing simplicity to this build, which makes it feel even more spacious than it is. This approach is most evident in the living room, which is sparsely furnished with just a desk for remote work on the computer and a generous couch. The few notable features here include the fact that the sofa can double as a bed and lift up to reveal a massive storage compartment and a decorative sign inspired by The Hobbit.

Then there’s the kitchen, which keeps the same minimalist theme. On one side, a small row of cabinets is covered by countertops ending up in a full-height narrow pantry. Utilities here are also relatively limited, with a small induction cooktop and a shallow, enameled, vintage sink.

On the wall opposite the cooking area is a small dinette consisting of a dedicated RV fridge, a relatively generous table, and a cushy bench seat. There’s little else to mention here, except maybe the large window in front of the table, which could feel nice when there’s a great view outside.

But this is not necessarily bad, as keeping things simple allows people to work within a tight budget. On top of that, you don’t need the utmost comfort or extravagant luxuries to enjoy traveling, or at least not at first. It’s the exploration and new experiences that can fuel your passion quite a while before you feed the need to make improvements.

DIY 1982 Silver Streak Vintage Camper Off\-Grid Mobile Home

Photo: YouTube / Tiny Home Tours

And that’s part of the beauty of DIY builds, as things can be done one step at a time, and progress can be made. Couple this cost-friendly idea with the small purchase price of a vintage camper, and you get a fantastic way to dip your toes into the nomad lifestyle.

Up next is the bathroom, which is relatively tiny compared to similar builds. In fact, it’s a wet bath with a composting toilet, a shower that’s currently under renovation, and a mirror, something you’d expect to see in a camper van conversion. But again, it serves its purpose, which is the crucial aspect of a budget build.

The bedroom is the only area that slightly departs from the less is more approach. Quite a few decorations make it feel welcoming, like a day bed built over the water management area, which can serve as a great place to read and relax. Then there are wooden boards on the side, simple cloth curtains, and vintage-looking closets that give the bedroom a sort of country-house vibe, making it feel homeier.

Overall, this RV is an excellent blueprint for how a DIY project can be pursued, especially for people who are just starting out on this kind of journey. The entire build only cost $12,000 to get to this point, including sparing no expense when it came to the fridge, couch, flooring, and other bits of furniture.

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