Home is where you park it ..[Part 2]

A plan is afoot! In less than a month, we are about the embark on an adventure that will take us through an unexplored route of Europe.

We have been invited to a wedding down beside Lake Como, Italy. Instead of driving the shortest way possible to our destination, we’ve decided to make the most of our new van and take the scenic route. We are going to travel from Dover to Calais on the ferry and then turn left through Belgium, past Brussels and then down into Germany, through the Black Forest to Bavaria, through the Austrian and Italian Alps and then back up through France.

If we look at the “To Do” list on a previous entry, it obviously makes the next point on the list rather essential:

  1. Remove the bulkhead between the cab and the rear which enables access in the rain a lot more manageable!
  2. Add windows to the side doors
  3. Sound and temperature insulation, between the outside and ply
  4. Carpet lining and Altro flooring
  5. LED lights on the roof with a switch and speakers in the rear
  6. Detachable roof cargo netting
  7. Full-width rock and roll bed with seat belts.
  8. Under seat storage
  9. Drive-away awning
  10. Alloy wheels (just for looks!)

Due to the fact that the van in not the most traditional type to convert into a camper, I needed to find somewhere who would be able to cater for my needs. Through extensive research, I managed to find a man in Bristol who could make a bespoke bed that was also MOT passable as 3 seats. This would mean that on the odd occasion where I have extra passengers travelling to and from the beach or on a surf trip, it would be safe to have them in the back.

The rock and roll bed cost £700 in total, including installation. we were able to choose the colours we wanted and the chap even made 3 matching cushions for it too! His bed design was slightly different from others where on either side of the catch that is used to covert it from the seats, it has two locking bolts as opposed to one. This means that when it is in “seat mode” it is a lot safer than the majority of other choices available. I didn’t need it to be crash tested due to the fact that people who are sat in the back would only be travelling in short distances and they would all be adults. The bed also came with lots of storage space beneath it. Given the size of the objects I intend on storing beneath the seats, I didn’t feel there was much need to make a storage system for this space.

IMG_2587

 

  1. Remove the bulkhead between the cab and the rear which enables access in the rain a lot more manageable!
  2. Add windows to the side doors
  3. Sound and temperature insulation, between the outside and ply
  4. Carpet lining and Altro flooring
  5. LED lights on the roof with a switch and speakers in the rear
  6. Detachable roof cargo netting
  7. Full-width rock and roll bed with seat belts.
  8. Under seat storage
  9. Drive-away awning
  10. Alloy wheels (just for looks!)

By adding an awning to the side of the van, we are able to double the living space of our setup. Although we wouldn’t use it for an overnight stay, when spending time in one place for more than a couple of days, it would make things way more comfortable. A drive-away awning allows the van to be disconnected and the awning to remain on the pitch. This gives the user(s) the flexibility of being able to drive around their chosen location but without having to haul around any unnecessary items. There are lots of choices around but I managed to buy an almost new Outwell Country Road awning from eBay. This is a very robust awning that uses metal poles for the legs and a flexible tent-style pole across the roof. It can be connected to the van through a variety of different ways. We have chosen to buy additional suction cups that sit on the edge of the van roof so that it can be easily removed when needed.

Everything is now done and ready for the trip. Less than two weeks to go and we’re ready to go. I’ve decided that I don’t want to invest in alloy wheels for the van. Instead, I think there may well be scope for adding a “kitchen pod” behind the front seats that will house a few luxuries when off-grid. That’ll have to wait until after this summer. With this in mind, here’s an updated list:

  1. Remove the bulkhead between the cab and the rear which enables access in the rain a lot more manageable!
  2. Add windows to the side doors
  3. Sound and temperature insulation, between the outside and ply
  4. Carpet lining and Altro flooring
  5. LED lights on the roof with a switch and speakers in the rear
  6. Detachable roof cargo netting
  7. Full-width rock and roll bed with seat belts.
  8. Under seat storage
  9. Drive-away awning
  10. Kitchen pod
  11. Alloy wheels (just for looks!)

 

Until next time, Ciao.

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