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The Fire truck Family

Updated: Aug 4, 2021


Hello! We are the FireTruck Family, Jess, Dave, Poppy and Luna.

As a family we are passionate and fascinated about upcycling, living low cost and alternative ways of living, we had a dream to convert a vehicle of our own which could comfortably fit a family of four in for living and travelling. After a year of scrolling endless van advertisements the firetruck popped up just 20 minuets away from us. She was a part of the Nottinghamshire fire service fleet and was used to transport additional breathing apparatus to larger jobs. A bonus for us wasn’t only the history of the van but that the fire service knows how to look after vehicles, she came with only 40,000 miles on the clock too!

The idea of a self-build all began back in 2015, we had 2 weeks, no plans and the thought of an all-inclusive holiday is our stuff of nightmares, so we threw our mattress and camping stove into our work van and journeyed from Lincoln to St-Tropez. It ignited the idea of creating a van suited to our needs which would enable us to live more comfortably on the road and travel further.

On board we have

  • Composting loo, Handmade with a urine separator (ebay £90)

  • Shower & Hot & cold tap in Kitchen area which is run by our Truma boiler (£400)

  • Underslung Gas-it LPG Cylinder 55L (£300)

  • X2 Solar panels 175 Watt (second hand £85 each)

  • X1 110 AMP leisure battery (£120)

  • 250 L fresh water and 100L grey water tanks and fittings (around £300)

  • 3way fridge, cooker & gas hob from a local caravan breaker (£150)

  • Log Burner (local salvage) with flashing kit & twin wall system (£200)

Additional costs

  • Installation for Gas & electrics with safety certificate (around £1000)

  • Welding for kids bunk water tanks & log burner (around £600)

  • Roof rack plus installation (£300)

  • Timber & Insulation ( £550)

  • CAT C licence (£1250)

Our conversion Journey took us just under 2 years to complete at a total cost of £10000 including truck purchase which was £3000. With juggling home / work life we had our second baby Luna in the midst of the madness so we sometimes could only get to work on the truck at weekends. Reclaiming and reusing stuff is important to us so this also added to our time as we felt it couldn’t be rushed. A lot of the wood is salvaged from various areas; our pull out table is reclaimed pitch pine from and old Methodist chapel and the work top was in the kitchen came from a local sawmill. The bottle top splash back took us time to collect as our friends and family simply don’t drink fast enough. Our realisation when converting the truck was that storage is the key. With 3 girls on board that come with a lot of clothes it was vital to be able to store these away. The steps up to the main bed are even mini drawers. We fitted a tiny shower room with a composting loo which took a lot of planning time due to fitting them in such a compact space. As a family we wanted to experience the real and raw reality of van life. We put our house on the market, sold all our belongings and took the plunge! We quietly resided in hidden woodland for several months and enjoyed 10 months living the off-grid van life.

Since then we have had the opportunity to travel further. We travelled over 4000 miles through Europe, spent time in the Scottish Highlands & Wales Experiencing the true value of van life and the opportunities this form of living has to offer. We have woken up in so many different locations from sea fronts to foots of mountains to stone henge’s sun rise and so many more. For us this way of living teaches our children the value of life. The basics, Collecting twigs for the fire, the importance of the elements and nature and how to live alongside it. Being close as a family and spending precious time creating memories. All the things money cannot buy.

The future for the firetruck family is an exciting one, lots more travelling and living freely. Who knows relocating may be on the cards too?

Stay tuned and give us a follow-on...


Fire Truck Family.


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