Video: Van Life On A Budget? Check Out My Buhanka Van’s Overland Camping Setup!

Producing an easy-ish video build with Andre’s Buhanka 4×4 gives us a taste of van life – on a budget.

Up until now, Andre’s “van life” fantasy world consisted of taking his Russian-built Buhanka on some short, rugged trails. The point was to make it into something he could actually use off the grid. It so happens that our friend David, a wiz-carpenter, was hip to design a multifunctional interior for the van. Not many vans exist that have this type of off-road potential, but it’s kind of anemic, so weight is a issue.

In true TFL Studios’ fashion, he went overboard.

Slinging a massive (read: heavy) roof-rack up top, Andre and David began to make the little van into a more utilitarian vehicle. Andre assisted David in prepping and building the interior components. Black paint covered the bed/storage platform, and part of the shelving. It’s a pity that Andre’s choice of mattress came up (very) short, but he figured it out later.

To facilitate heating and power, the boys added a 2-kWh Zendure power station. Cold weather in the desert (they’re camping on the El Camino del Diablo.. which is in the middle of nowhere). Heating will be absolutely necessary for Andre as he camps in his van.

A shakedown for a bigger adventure!

The video series, is actually about our modified 2022 Ram 2500 Cummins, that we are turning into an overlanding vehicle. The project is called “Trailhound.” This desert run is a shakedown test for the Ram for an Alaskan adventure at a later date. The Buhanka is kind of a mixed bag on this trip, based on its size and weight. It will sit on a trailer the Ram will pull, and it will follow the Ram as a backup vehicle in the desert. That’s why Andre is making sure it’s up to the task.

In this video, Andre and David turn this old Soviet-era transport into a van life superstar!

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.