When it come to picking a college bus because that a conversion, the options can be overwhelming since there space so many factors come take into consideration. In this article, I will certainly share what i have learned about bus dimension options, both v my own research once I to be buying a bus and also from friend on the road with buses of all sizes.

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So, what sizes carry out school buses come in? Here’s the 3 major types…

Mini SkooliesMid-Size SkooliesFull-Size Skoolies and also Coaches

Mini Skoolies

Mini skoolies incorporate buses from 20 come 25 feet in total length. These space generally perfect for one or two people, and maybe one pet. It deserve to be a an obstacle to fit everything you want right into a smaller sized bus prefer this, so building in storage almost everywhere is key. However, smaller sized buses are more agile, for this reason they are easier to drive and also park, particularly in cities.

My boyfriend and I live in ours 22-foot bus full-time, and also we can not be happier with it. We regulated to fit all of our main priorities in that (fixed bed platform, composting toilet, fridge, counter space, big couch) without much compromise.

The only things we periodically wish we had actually are a timber stove and also a passenger seat for long drives, but we no willing to give up maneuverability for those things and we’ve acquired along simply fine there is no them because that over a year.


We included significantly to our square footage by building on a rooftop deck. We save our bikes and our spare tire up there, and also we provided to have a crash pad for climbing increase there as well. If us were yes, really in need of much more storage us could include a strict locking rooftop box, however so much the warehouse we constructed into the bus has been more than sufficient.

The deck is a great space to cave out, stargaze, tan, etc.

Mid-Size Skoolies

Buses that space 25-35 feet loss into the mid-size category. This dimension of bus is perfect for 2 people and also a couple of pets, back I have actually seen some couples with tiny children who deserve to live comfortable in a mid-size bus. This buses normally look more like full-size buses in terms of style, wheel size, and engines, however they space slightly shorter.

Our friends Zac and also Tiffany the
rolling_vistas have actually a 31-foot bus, which, at very first glance, is straightforward to mistake because that a full-size bus. It has actually a flat front and massive tires, yet the much shorter length is perfect because that them and their two dogs.

They made decision to have a Subaru also that Tiffany cd driver behind the bus once they room on the move, which offers them the adaptability to be able to boondock the end in the center of nowhere, but also zip quickly into town in the automobile to acquire groceries, or navigate rough hill roads the otherwise would certainly be inaccessible with simply the bus.

Rolling Vistas bus next to Stu. It’s rather a little bit bigger!

Full-Size Skoolies and Coaches

Any bus over 35 feet qualifies as full-size. The biggest school buses are constructed for 97 passengers, and those room 42 come 45 feet long relying on the exact configuration. When they no technically skoolies, coach buses can likewise be provided for conversion, and also those are typically 45 feet long. These behemoths are great for family members or if you plan to work out of your bus.

We have actually seen families of 6 living in full-size buses, as well as hair salons, leatherworking stations, and also jewelry shops built into counter in addition to a life space.

Full-size buses clear require more planning and consideration as soon as you are selecting your steering routes and finding parking or camping. Most civilization we’ve met with 40-footers have actually a tow or follow vehicle so they deserve to park their bus at your campsite for the expression of their stay and also run errands v the car.

Our girlfriend Adam and also Elizabeth and also their two daughters (of
deliberatelifebus) live in a full-size bus v a roof raise. They have actually bunk beds for the girls and also a beautiful kitchen with full-size appliances. They have actually both a monitor car and also a dust bike, for this reason they have actually a few options because that scouting out locations and running errands.

Exterior of deliberate Life Bus. Courtesy the

How To estimate Bus Length and also Square Footage

Most bus-for-sale listings only encompass a passenger capacity, not the bumper-to-bumper length and interior square footage. This have the right to make it tough to shop if friend are searching for a details length, especially if you can not go view the bus prior to making the purchase. Fortunately, over there are ways to calculation the length and also square clip from looking at a picture.

Window rule – As a ascendancy of thumb, each home window on a bus body is equal to around 2.5 feet that length. Most buses space 7.5 feet vast on the interior. So, to quickly get an calculation of a bus’ square footage, usage the equation x 2.5 x 7.5. For instance, mine bus has actually 5 windows, for this reason 5 x 2.5 x 7.5 = 93.75 square feet.

Our yes, really square clip is closer come 100 because our fifth window is extra long to accommodate the wheelchair background door ~ above the various other side that the bus, but the equation is a good starting allude if you are shopping for a bus and the seller doesn’t carry out exact dimensions. If your potential bus has a wheelchair lift, that deserve to be secondary 0.5 come 1 foot the length.

Front finish Style and also Engine location – Where the bus’ engine is also affects the complete length of the bus and also the usable square footage of the interior. Some buses have engines in the front if others space in the back, and also front styles vary from a van front, snub nose, dog nose, or flat front.

To estimate the total length the a bus, take it your window count and also multiply the by 2.5, and also then add length come account for the form of former end: approximately 10 feet because that a dog sleep or van front, and about 6 feet for a flat front.

If the engine is in the front, it is at the very least a couple of feet the the total length that the bus the isn’t usable inner space. Depending on the setup of the former end, the driver’s seat and entryway steps have the right to take up another couple of feet. In mine 22-foot van front bus, the engine and also driver’s area take it up a an excellent chunk of space, so our buildable area was only around 13 feet long.

In a level front pusher bus (with the engine in the back), the driver’s area just takes up a couple feet of space, but you also have come take right into account the engine in the back, which can eat right into under-the-bed storage space (or whatever you decide to have earlier there).

These buses are additionally a bit different to drive, since you as the driver are located in prior of the former axle fairly than slightly behind it together in a normal automobile or buses v the engine in the front.

Factors to take Into factor to consider When picking a Skoolie Length

Where will certainly You transform It? This is a an important piece of converting a bus: having a place to job-related on it. Some friends of our bought their bus and tried to convert it if it to be parked on the roads in a city in California, yet they racked up numerous dollars of tickets for assorted offenses, consisting of parking in one ar for as well long, doing building and construction in the street, etc.

Now they are still functioning on convert the bus in the streets in Boulder, however have currently gotten at the very least one ticket here already. Plus, castle don’t have actually a secure power resource to charge up their device batteries, and they room living in the bus through their 4 cats when they try to do the conversion which provides it more difficult to get anything done.

I have likewise heard that homeowners’ associations taking concern with people parking buses ~ above their own properties for extended periods the time, so if you live in an area whereby that can be an issue, check out the rule in advance. If you don’t have room where friend live to transform the bus, ask family and friends if they have any an are that you might use or rent, or check sites prefer Craigslist for workspaces.

My boyfriend and also I were an extremely fortunate in that his parents enabled us to park our bus on their home for the 8 months that we were converting it, and his dad allowed us to usage his shop and also all the devices in it. This saved us a ton the money and also stress. There would certainly be naught worse 보다 buying a bus and getting supervisor excited to perform your conversion, just to uncover that you have actually no ar to keep a vast bus.

If we had actually gotten any type of bigger of a bus, it wouldn’t have settled so smoothly come park it in ~ my boyfriend’s parents’ house.

We parked on this gravel pad next to Aaron’s dad’s shop i m sorry is barely visible behind the bus. For this reason convenient!

Cost of the Bus, Conversion, and also Maintenance – larger buses are often cheaper to purchase than smaller sized buses. Most human being that i have talked to through mid- or full-size buses payment in the neighborhood of $2,000 to $3,000 but the bus is at least a few decades old, whereas smaller sized buses sell for $5,000 come $8,000 and are commonly newer.

That may just be an anomaly based upon who particularly I’ve speak to, yet even when I to be researching to purchase my own bus, that appeared to be usually the case.

However, if you pay less and also get a huge bus, friend will most likely then spend more on the counter just based upon the amount of materials that are required to develop out a larger space. Check out this write-up that outlines the prices of a couple of different size of buses to provide you an idea of what come expect.

Maintenance costs likewise vary dramatically based on the size of bus girlfriend choose. Our little bus has actually a Ford E-450 valve front, therefore we deserve to take that to any Ford dealership or a continual shop to acquire oil changes and other an easy maintenance done.

While we have been turned away from a couple of shops since they either didn’t occupational on diesel engines or they no have huge enough bays come fit the bus, us have constantly been may be to discover mechanics as soon as we need them without lot hassle. Together you can imagine, you can’t simply drive as much as a Jiffy Lube with a 40-foot bus through an 18-inch roof raise.

You will require to uncover specialists with substantial bays, which are generally an ext expensive than a continual shop.

“Our bus has light truck tires, so once the treads obtain worn low, we have actually been maybe to purchase gently used tires with far better tread because that a steal, which has saved us tons of money.”

Eventually we plan to replace all 7 tires (6 with the duallies to add a spare) for this reason they match, however for the last year we have spent perhaps $300 full on a spare tire and rim plus two various other replacement tires. Mid- and also full-size buses have huge tires that are about $500 a item to replace, and also it’s lot harder if not difficult to discover used tires for sale. That’s a serious expensive flat!

If you breakdown in a huge bus, getting a tow have the right to be much more expensive and also potentially difficult, if over there isn’t a big enough tow truck in the area. We’ve heard story of full-size bus owners having to wait multiple days because that a tow. Even our 22-footer weighs in at about 6 tons and also would call for a nice hefty tow truck.

We have actually a an excellent Sam’s club membership which is similar to AAA in that us pay an yearly fee and then have actually a safety net if we need to be towed or acquire some roadside assistance. So much we haven’t had actually to usage it, but it’s reassuring anyways.

Number of People and Pets top top Board –It simply wouldn’t be valuable to have a family of 6 live in a mini institution bus, however I do recognize couples who have actually full-size buses since they want the extra space. Do a perform of all the amenities the you can not live without, draw a few scale diagrams with the width collection at 7.5 feet, and see how much size is vital to fit every little thing you need.

If you plan to carry pets through you, be sure to account for an are for them come sleep, a place for their food and water bowls, storage for bags or can be ~ of food, a litter crate or kennel if necessary, and also so forth.

We have seen part really cute dog kennels constructed underneath the bed in the ago of buses, generally in a mid-size rig. That room is whereby we store all of our clothing in dresser drawers, and I’m not sure where us would keep them if we had actually a dog kennel down there, for this reason we would probably have to up-size if we ever get a dog.

Beds also obviously take it up a many space. Just our queen bed takes up 5 of our 13 feet of length, so if you have actually to include in bunks for children or much more than two adults, a full-size bus usually becomes a necessity.

Additionally, the more people and pets top top board, the an ext water, food, electricity, clothing, etc. You will certainly need. Because that reference, our 20 gallons of new water will certainly last us around a week on the roadway if we don’t take any kind of showers and also just use it for cooking, drinking, washing hands, and washing dishes. Households often will certainly go through 100 gallons the water in a week.

How Much and also Where execute You setup to Drive? If you are planning to transform a bus and also then just park it what longterm and also live in it, dimension isn’t really a limiting factor and bigger is most likely better. However, if you arrangement to move approximately a lot, you’ll require to consider the maneuverability the the bus, length boundaries at campgrounds and parks, and also so forth.

Bigger buses are also heavier and also require much more fuel to relocate around, which consequently is an ext expensive. Rather counterintuitively, many of the bigger buses that I’ve toured have 20-30 gallon fuel tanks, when our fairly tiny bus has a 55-gallon tank.

We acquire 10-12 miles every gallon depending on the control conditions, whereas the huge guys usually acquire 8-10, for this reason while we can go around 600 mile on one tank, castle are having to refill every 300 miles or so. Ours rig fits quickly into most gas stations, but some big buses v roof raises have actually trouble fitting under the awnings at gas stations or just making the spicy turns compelled to acquire up come a pump.

Additionally, only having actually a 300-mile range means that you might be required to pay much more than you want to for fuel just due to the fact that there aren’t always multiple choices in the middle of nowhere. Be sure to examine the fuel tank capacity once you room shopping for buses.

If you are planning to boondock or camp in far areas, girlfriend will also need to be mindful of exactly how much room girlfriend will must turn her bus around.

Some forest company roads space narrow and lined through trees on either side, and also you may have to drive because that miles before you deserve to turn around, or you could not be able to at all, which means you will be backing a huge bus all the way back under the road, which is complicated as well as dangerous.

Will You have a Tow or monitor Vehicle? – Most human being with mid-size or full-size buses that I’ve met top top the road have actually a car as well that they one of two people tow or drive separately behind the bus (which have the right to make merging easier for whoever is steering the bus, by the way). Having actually a auto makes that much simpler to run to the grocery store or do various other errands the aren’t handy in the bus. However, then you room paying for fuel and insurance for 2 vehicles.

Our 22-footer fits into most parking spaces, especially if we ago in and also can hang the back end end the curb, for this reason we have the right to take it to many groceries stores and just park in the back of the many to have a bit of extra space. There space some parking lots and spaces the we just can’t fit right into (in large cities usually), however if it is the instance then we simply go come a different store or look for street parking nearby.

Sometimes we wish we had another vehicle the had four wheel drive and also high floor clearance for this reason we might get to few of the an ext rugged trailheads and hot springs, however having our residence with us everywhere we go is an ext than worth the few spots we need to miss the end on.

We have actually bicycles that we usage for getting about in cities or exploring trails, which has been super convenient so far, and also we simply strap them come the deck once we are on the move.

Another element if you select to tow a car is whether your bus has actually the engine power to execute so. If you develop out the bus with hefty materials and also then to fill it v all her belongings, friend might already be draw close the maximum pack that the engine have the right to handle, particularly going increase hills. Including a tow automobile may alleviate your uphill speed rather dramatically.

See more: How To Convert Milliliters To Microliters, Milliliters To Microliter Formula

We had actually an instant buslife gathering at a remainder stop. 3 buses, one follow car, and one motorcycle.

There are certainly pros and also cons to all the different sizes of buses available, but I hope that this article has given you some advantageous guidelines and also things to think about as girlfriend shop for her perfect college bus to convert!