The Best School Bus Conversion You’ll Ever Set Eyes On

Vandwellers know their stuff when it comes to building affordable tiny homes. From small travel trailers to the ever-popular Sprinter Camper Van, the amount of unique and interesting builds that we come across on our travels through the internet and on our Van Life Instagram feed is astounding. There really is a lot of scope for originality out there in the modified campervan world, both from people who are working to build a campervan themselves and dedicated camper conversion companies who make sweet rides for a living. Today we’re taking a trip deep into the minds of Paved To Pines, a US company that specialises in creating the ultimate school bus conversion.

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It doesn’t matter whether you’re into off road trucks or live the trailer life, you can’t help but get drawn in by a stellar school bus conversion. Paved To Pines are absolute wizards, creating comfortable and cosy tiny homes out of a vehicle that many of us relate with fun childhood memories (unless you were the class geek, then you’ll probably have a hard time reliving these scenes as we go through this article). In fact, if you look up the term ‘Adventure Bus‘ in a dictionary, then you’d probably find Paved To Pines staring back at you from. Anyway, that’s enough chit-chat. Let’s crack on end show you what’s got us so excited.

Check Out The Ultimate School Bus Conversion From Paved To Pines

Interim wooden design in the PTP School Bus Conversion. Natural colours, mint green cupboards, and a real homely vibe

I guess the first question that we need to answer is ‘who are Paved To Pines’? The company was founded by college-friends Mitchell Rosko and Steven Glass, who have since gone on to make beautiful Skoolie’s for tonnes of camper lovers all across Canada. They make people’s off grid living and alternative living dreams a reality, and they do it all for an incredibly reasonable price!

After looking on the Paved To Pines website, we’ve pulled some of the best images of their School Bus Conversion styles; The Doghouse, Buster, The Cabin, and Judy, which was actually Steven’s full time home while living the Skoolie-Life. Steven’s love of this lifestyle transcends into his work, allowing the company to create rolling homes that have all of the van life essentials that you might need for living off grid without any of the pointless bells and whistles that overcomplicate this minimalistic lifestyle.

What’s On The Outside?

PTP School Bus Conversion - crimson paint exterior with the classic double open-out doors

While each School Bus Conversion design is different on the inside, the exterior will be all too familiar to pretty much everyone on the planet. These 40-foot buses are a genuine work of art and a great platform to build upon. The space that they provide means that you have ample room to implement some of the most important home comforts; fridges, sofas, composting toilets etc, and the iconic curved roof means you won’t be bashing your head every time you climb up on board.

From the traditional open-out double doors and oversized wing mirrors to the all-important lights and company bus number, every Paved To Pines School Bus Conversion highlights and celebrates the traditional school-run elements that we know and love instead of hiding them away under decals or over-fancy technical elements. The only thing that changes in the conversion process is the exterior paint job, with builds like ‘Judy’ paying homage to the classic Volkswagen Bus Camper, for example.

The sheer amount of roof space on these Skoolies creates so many possibilities for added extras when it comes to designing your conversion too. Every build starts with the customer highlighting the things that they want to include in their new home such as solar panels and room for a chimney to pop through the top etc. Even after installing a roof rack and extra lights, there’s still room for you to chuck surfboards and travel bikes up there aswell. The School Bus Conversion is perfect for when you don’t want to clutter your living space with tonnes of adventure gear, but if like me you live in a smaller van, then you could always make do with one of these insane blow-up, foldable Bluefin Paddleboards in your boot.

Show Us Inside A Paved To Pines School Bus Conversion!

PTP School Bus Conversion - The dog house is one of the nicest tiny homes I've ever seen, with white cladded walls and lots of natural chunks of wood everywhere

These campers are my idea of the perfect home; they’re comfortable, they’re spacious and, most importantly, they have character. Each of the different designs has a strong theme running throughout, be it the dark stained timber and blue motif of the ‘Dog House’, or the more traditional forest greens and natural cladding in ‘The Cabin’. Every build utilises natural materials wherever possible, with big chunks of wood serving as tables and sideboards everywhere you look. They look like something that you might find in a Country Living magazine, except there’s none of those unnecessary scatter cushions that your wife keeps trying to being back into your camper after a trip to the local craft fair.

Let’s talk about some of the key characteristics that you might find in a PTP School Bus Conversion. For starters, you can’t have a cosy offgrid house without a log burner; it’s just common sense! These tiny stoves are perfect for burning wood or coal and will keep your rolling home nice and toasty all year round. As with everything in a PTP build, the fire is optional, but it would certainly help to make those Canadian winters a lot more bearable!

School Bus Conversions have a lot of windows, but PTP have nailed the problem of the sun streaming into your camper at what I like to call ‘stupid-o-clock’ by adding custom blinds or curtains to all of their builds, each complimenting the specific design of the four different layouts. Twin these with some of the other finishing touches such as under cupboard LED lighting, and you start to get an idea of what lazy days might feel like as you lounge around in your tiny home away from home.

Could I Live In A School Bus Conversion Full Time?

I think it’s safe to say that you could live in a School Bus Conversion all year round quite easily, especially ones that are this well thought out and expertly built. The kitchen in the ‘Dog House’ has a spacious Belfast sink and tonnes of storage for all of your Top Cooking Accessories. The L-shaped worktop looks strong enough to withstand any amount of knocks and scrapes and is plenty big enough for whipping up tasty meals on the go. It’s the finer detail that get my rustic-juices flowing though; just check out the ace knobs on the tap and the little hidden hinges on the far side of the counter. This School Bus Conversion is like the longest Swiss Army Knife on wheels the world has ever seen!

If you’re planning on living the van life or travelling in a van with children, then PTP give you the option of including mod-cons such as TV’s and sound-systems to keep wandering minds occupied. Not only that, but there’s always room for a fridge to keep those mid-drive snacks and refreshments nice and chilled. In some conversions like ‘Judy’, the fridge has been covered with chalkboard paint to give you a place to jot down important shopping lists and whether your children have any homework to do!

And if the living area wasn’t enough to prove to you that School Bus Conversion life is the only way to go, then the comfy looking bed should do the trick. Just imagine lying in bed in a morning and looking out over an incredible lake or majestic mountain range, all from the comfort of your duvet with a cup of coffee in your hand. The skylight above the bed is a nice touch for star gazing, and those of you that have spent any time living in a van will know that there is nothing better than watching the gentle pitter-patter of raindrops on the window while drifting off into a mid-afternoon nap.

If you’re planning on installing a wood burner, then the chances are that heat will distribute evenly through your van and keep the temperature nice and constant. But, if you like an extra blast of hot-air to warm your toes in a morning, then you can add a furnace and extra air-conditioning controls to your School Bus Conversion for that extra slice of luxury. You can even install a shower too – now that’s what I call living like a king!

PTP School Bus Conversion - Shower

Final Thoughts…

Before I wanted to live in a van, I considered buying a narrowboat. I quickly decided that life on the water wasn’t for me, which is a massive shame because I love the living layout and the traditional wooden design. Paved To Pines take everything that I love about that lifestyle and replicate it in their rolling homes, which is far better because School Buses travel faster than 5mph and don’t rock around in heavy rain! I love their dedication to design and the way that they turn such a commonly used vehicle into a little piece of paradise that you can take with you whoever you go.

With extra belly storage for your adventure gear and all of the necessary electrical components to keep you away from the campsite hookup for as long as possible, these Skoolie’s are the perfect companion for anyone wanting to ditch a conventional lifestyle in search of something more exciting and original. Prices start at around $52’000, which is nothing compared to the kind of money that you would be looking to pay for a house or even a brand new off-roader.

If you’re unsure as to whether you could cope with driving something so big or downsizing into a bus from a two-storey house, then you can always rent a campervan through PTP and try bus life out before committing to buying a School Bus Conversion. If I lived in Canada I would definitely be hitting these guys up for a tiny house immediately after finishing this article, but for now I’ll just have to make do with drooling over the photos and imagining myself playing guitar by that roaring fire.

Head over to the Paved To Pines website to find out more about their School Bus Conversion talents and to purchase a rolling tiny home of your own!

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