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Couple Turns Old-Age Home Sprinter Van Into Dirtbag Dwelling

What sounds like a bad name is actually a term of endearment for folks who eschew traditional lifestyles and head off to pursue their dreams. Most dirtbags like to spend most of their time outside rock climbing, hiking, surfing and living on the road.

Johnie Gall is the owner of Dirtbag Darling, a blog for outdoorsy women.

Photos by Johnie Gall

The Sprinter van was once used as a taxi for an old-age home.


Johnie Gall, owner of the Dirtbag Darling blog and former editor of FOAM magazine, travels out of a Sprinter van with her fiancé Marlin. The couple’s home on wheels had once been used as a taxi for an old-age home and came complete with a wheelchair lift.

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Johnie and Marlin stripped everything out — including a wheelchair lift.


The couple labeled all the insulation panels to keep them organized.


Acoustical Boom Mat was used to reduce road noise.


The couple took out the lift and the seats and sold everything for a couple hundred dollars. They then proceeded to turn the van into a comfortable living space complete with a real bed frame, a mattress donated from an old popup trailer, an exterior stove platform and a $10 dry sink unit used for storage as well as a pump sink.

The bed was a real bed frame and a foam mattress from a popup trailer.



The van, which the couple named Sasquatch, is insulated with thick foam insulation board covered with a vapor barrier and all-weather tape.

The empty space above the front seats was made into a shelf with a door and the larger wood sectionals on the roof were cut with help from Home Depot. Boom Mat was used on the wheel wells to reduce noise and the couple cut a hole in the roof for a ventilation fan.

A $10 dry sink holds a sink with a pump and space for storage.



Marlin built a camp stove platform for outdoor cooking.


The final space has curtains, a comfortable bed in the back of the van, and even a classic spinning globe on a wooden stand. The couple use a Helio Solar Shower for bathing – as well as public toilets and nearby bushes.

The interior features wooden paneling and a classic globe.


Johnie uses the warm space for writing and journaling.


Johnie’s blog, Dirtbag Darling, features adventures, gear reviews and travel tips for outdoorsy women. Johnie says her site is filled with “stories about fun, failure, scraped knees, bruised egos, big adventures and getting ‘out there.'”