Kalina Surfs

Preparing for Vanlife

Preparing for Vanlife

Already 1 month ago I bought a beautiful DHL Truck. This Box Van has 6.5 m2 floor space, so plenty for a millenial that lives in a capital. I’ve decided to built and design it myself, to fit it to my (surfing) needs, see what I can accomplish by myself and stay within my budget. To be honest I severly underestimated the complexity of every step in the build, it is like I am designing a tiny house without access to running water or electricty.

Vanconversion in Berlin

 Looking for more expertise, I found these places in Berlin:

VanWerk Berlin, integrated to CraftWerk Berlin, you can expected a work station and lots of advice for 12€/hour.

Campermanufaktur, DIY space available, starting at 5€/hour, but they also offer custom builds

Sundrive, conversion service and shop, specific to the camper needs.

In the end I’m working with Paem Paem Berlin, a wood workshop, that only uses recyceled materials and almost bit my head of for my choice of insulation, which just gave me an instant good feeling 😉 

I can’t afford to build twice, I’m reconsidering and re-calculating again and again and again. I feel lik there are only wrong answers here but after going down multiple rabbit holes on youtube and forums this is the information I’ve gathered, the prices are from 2020.


  • not- recycle or reusable
  • 11 €/m^2
  • Go-to option for van life
  • Easy to use
  • not pressure resistant
  • Thouroughly tested for the vibration in cars
  • Resistance at 19 mm: 0.052

Steiko Isorel

  • Natural material
  • 6,5€/m^2
  • adds an extra working step of adding in a plastic foil as vapor barrier
  • not pressure resitant, could loose shape over time
  • Resitance at 12mm : 0.24

Styrodur, XPS

  • non-recycable plastic
  • 4,4€/m^2
  • Easy to use
  • pressure resitant
  • already built into the walls and ceiling
  • Resitance at 19mm: 0.058

In the end I have decided to go for the 3rd option Styrodur. I really wanted to use the natural material, but it would add 3 extra work steps and I have 0 experience working with it. To make it reusable, I’ll try to glue always the same points, in order to take it of more easily, without damaging the material to much.

On the Styrodur I’ll lay down a layer of foam as vapor barrier and protection from pressure points from the edges in the laminate, which I got for free on ebay.

After deciding the insulation, I had to commit to a final floor layout, which is the hardest thing. I started to use sketch up ( with a 30 day free trial account) , which I can’t recommend enough to visualize the cabin and move things around. It takes some getting used to, but it is really worth it in the end!

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One September later

I’ve been writing this blog every other week for one year, so it’s time to revisit my goal with this platform.

One year ago, I had just gotten into the topic of communal living on a greater scheme than a flat share. My primary motivation for starting my own project, was that there are almost no recources on communal living out there, that describe the personal experiences from people and real life evaluations on how to make it work. Just a page, that tells you whether or not it’s cool to be there.

At the time I was living in my first self converted car, travelling between France and Spain, I went surfing every day, was inspired by people on the way, that were choosing to live life outside a 9 to 5 job. So I wrote about them as well.

When winter arrived in Europe I flew to Latinamerica with an open end ticket. Next to spanish, I learned amazing, but also cruel things from the people and their history in Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia. I got by, by creating websites for small business or working for food and accomodation along the way and wasn’t planning on stopping the trip any time soon.

Then Corona started in March, and along with most peoples lives, mine changed as well. Feeling grateful for the ability to do so, I flew back to Germany, to safety, health care and my home. Upon arriving I needed to figure out what to do all over again.

I knew that I want to be by the seaside to surf, the one thing Germany can’t offer. And that I want to continue to put myself to new environments, while keeping Infectionrates in mind and not sit in crowded buses all the time. I knew that I needed to continue to work on my computer and pick up my studies of IT again, so I looked for a car with standing height to build a home on the road.

In July I started my van conversion process with no prior knowledge of the topic and a severe underestimate of the time it was going to take me. Now it is mid September and the build is slowly coming to an end. I’m finally able to make a list of the things, that need to get done, with out writing a entire bullet point book.

But as my time and mind and also my dreams ( I once dreamt that I had a specific hinge, that I have never owned) were consumed by the van conversion, I strained further from my original goal of making communities more accesible by writing about it and sparking conversations around them and introducing interesting life concepts and inspiring people.

This week I had planned to post a video on building and a sliding bed (which is really cool), but as I was cutting the video, I realized, that this is not what I want to be on this blog, but it’s on my youtube channel where I’ll continue to update you on my van covnersion.

And even though we all have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyoncé, I’m realizing that I don’t have the time to post bi-weekly at the moment. However, as soon as I’m back on the road, I’m planning pick up the digital pen again.

Have a nice weekend and stay hydrated,


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Floor & Insulation

Today I would love to publish a post about surfing and community, but I’m still in the progress of manifesting what I’m dreaming of: Living in my van full time, working online and surfing everyday, preferably in Portugal.

So far, the floor and the insulation are installed and the video is ‘fresh out of the press’. Please enjoy!

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The Great Van Unshelving

So, you might have read which van I bought and why, or you might have read what I’m planning as my layout, but here comes the unpolished truth of starting the van conversion and getting out the orignial shelving of my DHL Truck:

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Preparing for Vanlife

Already 1 month ago I bought a beautiful DHL Truck. This Box Van has 6.5 m2 floor space, so plenty for a millenial that lives

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Surfskating in Friedrichshain, Berlin

But, as a Berliner, I decided to check out some more place in Friedrichshain, the suburb I used to go to school to, with my Surfskate and shoot an homage to the ‘Plattenbauromantik’, ‘Zuckerbauten’ and of course it can’t be missed: the ‘Tram’.

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