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The Vanual

An Online Guide to Vandwelling Freedom

The Vanual is a high-design guide to vandwelling freedom. A beautifully rendered, personal ode to life on the American highway and the details that make it possible, designer / digital nomad / filmmaker Zach Both mustered all his cross-disciplinary creativity for this project.

The Vanual takes you through the process of converting a van for temporary or full-time mobile living. It’s not a tutorial, but there are plenty of helpful tips, including specifics like how much Zach spent on things, equipment he used, and materials. There’s important safety tips on topics like portable stoves, and experience-earned advice on things like stealthy overnight parking.

Zach went all-out. He mocked up designs for the van conversion in Photoshop, insulated the van and installed solar panels in the roof. It was a year-long project and hobby which he spent more money than he intended on. So it’s nice that at some points he offers budget-minded and simpler alternatives to some of the areas where he went super-custom, for those who are interested in the topic but less committed or on a shoestring.

The Vanual is a gorgeous website. The site’s two-column design keeps navigation and related links always prominently in sight. Sliding-door animations provide a nice ‘wow’ factor as you transition from page to page. A hover-over side-drawer menu keep the whole vertical-columns pattern of the layout maintained. The overall feel of the design is fresh, modern and fun, and the design and user experience of browsing the content are a notch above the usual online how-to manual, to put it mildly.