Here is a great story that details a whole straw bale project, and the adventures along the way. Cud Eastbound survived a winter in a van, in Dawson City, Yukon. It started in June of 2014, when he set off on a cross Canada journey from Halifax and ended up in Dawson City, Yukon. Cud packed up and gave away everything he owned, released a new album, and left Halifax and drove west on a two-month journey. He went on the journey in his 77 Dodge Camper Van, named Night Danger and after the long journey the van came to its resting spot in Dawson City, where he decided to see if he could survive a Yukon winter living in the van.
The first challenge was to efficiently heat the van, so he made a wood stove that would fit nicely in the back of the van, next he had to find a way to retain the heat in the van, and keep warm through the winter, this he did with the help of a friend and they built a woodshed, an outhouse and wrapped the entire van in 117 straw bales, next he had to seal up any leaky doors and windows, which he said was an ongoing project. He also added some house wrap and tuck tape to seal up the envelope of the building since it was too late in the season to do the regular clay and straw bale wall system. Everything is done safely and he has a carbon monoxide detector just to be safe as well.
Over the course of the winter, he had fallen in love with his wood stove and he figured out how to keep it burning for up to 6 hours or more for those -40c winter days. He does this by creating a bed of hot coals and then he puts some spruce on top of that both green and dry. On top of all that, he puts some dry wood on top. Then he closes the stove up entirely and keeps that heat going for 6 hours while he sleeps. Then in the morning, he gets up to start another fire.
This may not be your typical straw bale house build, but it's one way to live in a van all year round in harsh cold temperatures. You can see that he did a pretty great job of outfitting his van home and he seems to be very happy living in it year round. You can check out more of the details on his website Straw Bale Van Yukon and see for yourself how interesting his set up is. While this isn't an ideal situation for everyone, it's certainly a great idea for those who are adventurous enough to try it out. It would definitely be a great way to save money on housing and to feel self-sufficient. It's also a very interesting way to see how little we can survive on if need be and very inspiring as well.