12 Inspiring School Bus Conversion Documentaries

inspiring school bus conversion documentaries

Before I embarked on my own bus conversion adventure with my boyfriend Aaron, we watched hours and hours of YouTube videos about skoolies. In fact, we were watching a video about professional climber Alex Honnold which then autoplayed to a video tour of his converted Sprinter van, and that was how we first came to consider living in a vehicle as an option. 

So, I have gathered for you here a list of some of my favorite school bus conversion videos that will definitely inspire you to build the rolling home of your dreams! In this collection, I’ve included some bus tour videos, informal chats about living the buslife, and some beautifully produced documentaries that cover months and even years on the road.

1. Expedition Happiness

 
Available on Netflix or for $3.99 on YouTube

German couple Felix and Mogli buy a bus in North America, convert it into a “loft on wheels,” and attempt to travel from Alaska to Mexico with their Bernese mountain dog, Rudy. Their journey is filled with joy as they drive near glaciers and through deserts and jungles, but it also holds sorrow and pain as their dog runs into health problems and they have a scary encounter with the Mexican army. 

This documentary is beautifully filmed and is such an inspirational look at living the skoolie lifestyle. It is sure to motivate you to get out there and shop for a bus!

2. Life In The Bus Lane

 
This documentary was among the very first skoolie videos that I watched, and it’s still one of my favorites. Professional snowboarder Brock Butterfield is one of the “founding fathers” of the skoolie community and this film documents his journey from a near-death experience that prompted him to quit his job to following his passion by converting a school bus into a tiny home that he uses to chase perfect pow days.

Brock now runs Bus Life Adventure, a resource for bus conversion inspiration where he offers advice, informational blog posts, and much more.

3. A Bus Life Documentary | West Coast Wandering

 
Chad and Zaynah of Living Zeal are some of the funniest and most in-depth vloggers about their lives in a skoolie. This hour-long documentary covers their first year of living full-time on the road and gives an excellent insight into what it’s really like, including both the good and the bad.

4. 15 things we’ve learned after 1 year living in a bus plus a big announcement

 
We met Zac and Tiffany on the road a few months back, and they have such an excellent YouTube channel! It doesn’t hurt that Zac is a professional photographer and Tiffany is a super talented graphic designer, plus they just make some very helpful and informative videos about buslife.

This particular video covers 15 things that they’ve learned in their first year on the road, and many of the items they address are questions and concerns that Aaron and I commonly get asked about as well. 

This is a great video to walk you through some of the things that may be holding you back from committing to your own skoolie conversion, and the rest of the videos on their channel are great inspiration as well, on everything from how to choose a bus size to their daily life in the bus with two dogs.

5. Family Of 4 Lives Full Time In This Gorgeous Raised Roof School Bus Conversion

 
This hour-long tour video gives you an in-depth look at the skoolie that our friends Adam and Elizabeth live in with their two young daughters. We got an in-person tour of their bus in a Las Vegas parking lot and it is seriously amazing. The roof raise makes their space feel huge, and the bunk beds they’ve built in for their two girls are so cozy and cute. 

For anyone considering doing a bus conversion with a family, this is the video for you. They also have a blog where they document their family’s adventures (including rock climbing, pack rafting trips, and most recently, hiking The Long Trail in Vermont.

6. Amateur Builder Turns School Bus into Gorgeous Tiny House: 18 Month Time Lapse

 
This time-lapse video documents one of my favorite school bus conversions: Gilligan Phantom. It gives you an idea of the amount of work that goes into converting a bus and all the steps in the process, although obviously very sped up. Their tiny home is extremely beautiful and just goes to show that even an amateur can create something amazing with enough time, determination, and research.

7. Tiny School Bus Conversion Tour

 
In this video, the Bus Life Possible couple shows off their ingeniously built short bus. Cole and Monica packed a ton of features into a small bus and their attention to detail really shows in their build. This is definitely a must-watch if you are considering a short bus conversion.

8. DIY Skoolie Built For Off Grid Living + Insights Into Building & Living In A Tiny House

 
Brittany and Steven share a detailed tour of their bus as well as some great pointers and things to consider before diving into a bus conversion. Their advice is especially helpful if you plan to be off the grid for long periods of time in your bus conversion.

9. Spectacular Tour of Tiny House School Bus RV Conversion Camper

 
Michael is another “founding father” of buslife. His beautiful bus Navigation Nowhere is an amazing studio on wheels. The pine ceiling and gauzy white curtains make the space feel huge, and the sage colored cabinets bring the outside in.

His double skylights are particularly drool-worthy in my opinion – there’s so much natural light in his bus. Michael’s YouTube channel has some great resource videos as well for what to expect on the road, how to winterize your bus, etc.

10. Living in a School Bus – Experiences & Myths

 
In this video, expert buslifer Jax Austin chats with the Wanderboom couple about the expectations, realities, and myths about living in a bus. This is a different format from the other videos on this list but it contains some helpful information and answers a lot of questions that you might have about buslife if you haven’t had the chance to talk to someone who’s already doing it.

11. The Angry Pickle

 
Jon and Amy built out an amazing bus conversion in just 85 days! I don’t know if that’s an official speed record but that’s pretty darn fast, and their home is beautiful! They smartly decided to put in hookup ports on the side of their bus, so if they decide to stay in a campground, they have the option to easily hook up to power and water. However, like most skoolie owners, these two prefer to boondock.

If you are looking to build out your bus super quickly, take a page out of their book. Also, how hilarious is their bus name?!

12. Beautifully Designed Mini School Bus Conversion – Filled With Clever Design Hacks

 
Okay, this one a shameless self-plug: this is my and my boyfriend’s bus! Chris from the Tiny Home Tours YouTube channel contacted us and asked if we wanted to be featured and of course we agreed. He did such an amazing job filming a tour video of our bus that we still haven’t even filmed our own tour.

Not to toot our own horn, but we thought up some pretty clever solutions to buslife problems, and also copied a few from others on the internet. I hope you enjoy!

Solve Problems and Meet Awesome People

There are so many different buses available and infinite ways that you can convert them. This list is just a brief sampling of all the amazing videos that are available online to inspire, teach, and help you through your own school bus conversion. We watched YouTube videos to learn how to install plumbing, how to build a solar power setup, and even how to solve a gnat problem in our Nature’s Head composting toilet.

YouTube and Instagram also served as excellent platforms through which we got to know several other people who were converting their buses even before we left. We asked questions and compared solutions, and in our experience, nearly everyone that we asked for help or advice was generous enough to share with us. Questions about getting started? Leave a comment below.

 

Up Next In School Bus Conversions:

How Much Does a Bus Conversion Cost?

School Bus Conversion Bathrooms – Toilet, Shower and Plumbing Guide

Buying Our School Bus For Skoolie Conversion ($5K Budget Enough?)

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