One of the most unique features about Kyle Volkman’s converted school bus is the meticulously detailed interior. It looks more like a cozy loft-on-wheels than any manufactured RV, and is a lot more spacious, too.
We talked with Kyle about the conversion process, what he loves most about living on the road, and his advice for DIYers who dream of converting their own skoolie.
The 1986 International school bus (also known as the Yetibus) is Kyle’s full-time home. It’s powered by vegetable oil to reduce his impact on the environment and the emissions that are contributing to climate change. He says,
“What I love most about bus life is the ability to travel and see new places, and to do so with a minimal contribution to climate change (I burn 100% vegetable oil). I also love the feeling of knowing that I have everything I need with me at all times. Building the bus was an investment of time, money, and energy, but it now enables me to live and travel cheaply, giving me more freedom to live the life I want.”
The conversion was no easy process. He removed all of the original windows, raised the roof by a foot, and resheeted the walls. New windows were installed and the interior was studded with 2x3s.
Kyle then rewired the entire bus, insulated it with spray foam, built the wood interior, and lastly installed the appliances.
“The bus project is never-ending, but a friend and I did the bulk of the work over a winter.”
The interior is only 200 square feet, but he gets the most out of every inch of space. In the kitchen he added a stove/oven, sink, dishwasher, along with cabinets, drawers, and spice racks.
Two new windows were installed in the kitchen so he can cook with a view. They have curtains that easily pull closed when he wants privacy or shade.
A bathroom was built just across from the kitchen. It’s relatively spacious and has a compact Air Head composting toilet.
His homey bedroom is in the back of the bus. A friend of his designed this amazing zen mural of jagged mountain peaks on the wall above the bed.
His advice for those thinking about converting their own school bus? Go for it!
“There’s lot’s of good resources for info on the internet like skoolie.net, that’s where I got most of my info when I was starting. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it!”
Kyle also owns a business converting vehicles. For general questions, a project consultation, or for a quote, see his website KyleVolkman.com.