Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby ATTMFKH » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:53 pm

defever wrote:
danny1 wrote:
Matt Rose wrote:USB battery charger for AA & AAAs, will charge fully on a long journey via 12v.


nice one!!

what do you do about laptop?

Does anyone else work on the road? I know bunker used to...


Got that inverter thing, can run laptop, play dvd's , also got usb port for phones / MP3 players - runs off the fag lighter. think it was 30 quidish out of Argos.

Me and Harkii at the car auction tonight looking for a bargain as I've sold my missus's VW Sharan & she's going radgie without a car --- we ended up looking at 56 VW Ambulance and how we'd convert it - check the Auctions for base vans to convert
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby surfrat » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:20 am

number one tip:
KEEP IT TIDY! seen so many filthy hedgers in vans. it's not hard to tidy up regularly, it's a small van! will help with bringing ladies back too

chocks/wedges are so useful

also get a multimeter so you can keep an eye on power levels etc

get a decent solar panel

don't get an inverter but buy 12v chargers for your laptops etc...much easier

catches or locks on all cupbboard doors in case of bumpy roads

build a secret compartment for you laptop/passport etc in case of break in...i always have one of these! that or a mean looking dog.

lots of books to swap

buy cheap wine in lidl 8)

big water bottle with lid with holes in = shower. also you can make an outdoor shower with 12v pump easily. hell i made an indoor shower and just put hot water in the shower tank and had luxury!
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby danny1 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:24 am

mate i was waiting for you to come to this party....you must have more tips than that...mull it over the weekend and share your knowledge
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby defever » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:48 am

surfrat wrote:don't get an inverter but buy 12v chargers for your laptops etc...much easier


Such as?

Been looking at 12V to 230V inverters via cig plug (with fans and USB port around £30-35). The ones I came across 12v cig plugs are cheap (well inder £20) and looks flimsy; not so convinced it'll keep up with laptop energy consumption, let alone charge a laptop. But I may have missed a product on the market?
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby spongebobbrownpants » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:18 pm

Check Maplins/Ebay etc for a 12v adapter for your laptop make. This will just have the cigar shaped connector to just plug in to the cigar lighter socket. Charge laptop when driving and your good to go.

Inverters can be handy but are generally inefficient. If you think about it you are converting 12v to 230v then back to 12v to power your laptop. As always in life cut out the middle man if you can :-D

My view would be to try it out first for a weekend and work out what you need. Keep it simple, you don't need a fully converted van to be comfy.
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby surfrat » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:31 pm

ok i'll throw some more gems...

Gas bottles....fucking nightmare. there is no standardised gas bottle or adapter in europe. they change between countries. you can pay lots and install a refillable system but i can't remember the name of it.
keep an eye out for people selling european gas bottles once they've returned from a trip and buy them and the adapters then you don't have to pay the deposit fees. I kept a repsol bottle which i could refill in portugal and spain and i had a french one too. actually sometimes they'll let u swap the new lightweight bottles between brands too.
But i always kept a small campinggaz bottle as my emergency one should i run out...camping gaz is pricey but is europe wide so you can refill anywhere.

Keep your documentation handy and safe up front in case you get stopped by the police. Again it pays to have your van generally tidy so that you don't look too dodgy if pulled over. oh and apparently dogs should be in the back... :roll: i'd say never have the most expensive looking or kitted out van and never have the most ratty van...something in between is fine and doesn't attract attention

most of my advice has been covered really....security can be a problem in some places but having my dog helped with that a lot, and also if i used the laptop i made sure curtains were shut so no one could see i had one. same for leaving valuables lying around. i always kept 30Eu in the glove box so if anyone got in I'd hope they'd find it quick and bugger off quick without too much damage.
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby surfrat » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:33 pm

one of my favourite tricks was to wire the radio up to the leisure battery and the car battery via a switch so you can listen to stuff without worrying about flattening the car battery. also i like to install an off switch for radio or use a remote control cos you don't wanna get out of bed to turn it off when it's cold!
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby danny1 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:29 am

blue_pig wrote:Ten quid solar panel off eBay = dead handy.

Jump leads spare battery tea bags water Kelly kettle and sorted.


Mate can you explain more how this works?

What sort of stuff can you powere from a solar panel- can I use it to keep my leisure battery or normal battery topped up?
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby danny1 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:31 am

Other topics that need covering

Insulation

Pop up tops

BBQs

Getting pissed and kipping in van and the law

Getting a good nights kip

Diesel heaters
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby Leedsol » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:14 am

When i had my van used to read this forum a lot

http://www.motorhomefacts.com/
You're too deep Camel..its Indo not Margaret River
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby Vince Noir » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:46 am

carbon monoxide alarm is a must
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby swiggy » Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:20 pm

danny1 wrote:
Getting pissed and kipping in van and the law


I thought this was a pretty grey area legally, are you "in control of a vehicle"?
Last edited by swiggy on Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby finlay » Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:20 pm

Quick comment on insulation and diesel heaters - choose one or the other, have both and you'll fry

I had a decent sided SWB van (sprinter) and insulated it for year round camping in Scotland. I took out the existing ply lining, glued 25mm battens to the inside of the bodywork with Sikaflex adhesive, trimmed 25mm EPS foam insulation to fit in the gaps between the battens, added a layer of polythene sheet/vapor barrier before reattaching the ply lining (required some trimming). Anywhere that couldn't get the polystyrene treatment got that foil bubble wrap stuff applied. At this stage kipping in the van was noticably warmer than a tent.

Around the same time I found an old 2kw Eberspacher diesel heater on Ebay for £180 or something stripped from an old tour bus. They are either 12 or 24v for van or lorry use, so make sure to get the right one. They require wiring into either the vehicle electrics or a leisure battery circuit for electrical power, as well as diesel/kerosene feed. this means you can technically feed them from your diesel tank but drilling into mine freaked me out a bit so I ran it from a separate fuel tank stored in a cabinet inside the van. They put out a serious amount of heat even on the lowest setting and after a while the van got far too hot. Useful for warming up after a hypothermic session but not something you'd want to run overnight unless you like sleeping in saunas.
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby Philshoz » Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:09 am

swiggy wrote:
danny1 wrote:
Getting pissed and kipping in van and the law


I thought this was a pretty grey area legally, are you "in control of a vehicle"?


A few times when we've had too much and are over the limit at a pub I have asked the landlord if we could sleep in the car park, just good manners but it has always worked.
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby Craivold » Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:38 am

danny1 wrote:
blue_pig wrote:Ten quid solar panel off eBay = dead handy.

Jump leads spare battery tea bags water Kelly kettle and sorted.


Mate can you explain more how this works?

What sort of stuff can you powere from a solar panel- can I use it to keep my leisure battery or normal battery topped up?


Not sure of the exact specs of the panel (ie. What it can power etc..) but I bought a SWB Vito with a day conversion and it just has a lead coming out of the dash to plug the solar panel in which trickle charges the battery (don't have a leisure battery so all off the normal one) and I've used the DVD player a few times whilst parked up and never had any issues with the battery going dead, so for that sort of money probably a worthy addition to most vans.
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby blue_pig » Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:51 pm

danny1 wrote:
blue_pig wrote:Ten quid solar panel off eBay = dead handy.

Jump leads spare battery tea bags water Kelly kettle and sorted.


Mate can you explain more how this works?

What sort of stuff can you power from a solar panel- can I use it to keep my leisure battery or normal battery topped up?


I used to have problems with a tired leisure battery going flat and needing to run the engine for a bit to get it topped up - not a problem if you are moving about a lot but if in one place for a bit then an eBay solar trickle charger did the trick. There are loads of bigger solar panels on eBay too and even a 300w one that can power something directly. Just look at the wattage of what you want to run. For a hundred quid or so you could have a decent wattage solar panel, regulator and connect up to the leisure battery and an inverter. I like the idea of down rating things like laptop chargers to feed off 12v as I agree it's a bit daft to go 12v to 240v to something like 5v for a laptop. Never thought of that before. Led lights have come right on too.

I love my Kelly kettle as you can make a brew from burning dried grass and a few twigs in a couple of minutes. When gas runs out we'll all be using them!
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby surfrat » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:34 pm

i had a 60W panel that cost me £90 a few years back so i reckon you could find a good price on a 150W these days. that will allow you to charge your laptop and phone etc every day while you're in the surf and still give plenty of power for your radio and lights each night. it was a good buy cos i could spend about 3 days somewhere without touching the engine.
definately worth having.
and even better if you can build a mount for the roof that allows you to tilt the panel up a bit so you can maximum efficiency for it. mine was flat mounted but i've seen several interesting designs on how to get the best from your panel.

a great investment for some off grid surf tripping
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby Rob » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:42 pm

My van, LWB LDV 400, was sign written when i bought it and i left it like that cos i think you attract less interest than something that looks like a camper or surf van. People assume you're a delivery driver or a rep who's just pulled off for a kip and rarely look twice. :wink:
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby xsurfedgex » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:17 am

much of what I can recommend has already been said, but i'll add:
- keep your van in 'sections' ie: kitchen, sleeping area etc.. and enforce rules like 'no shoes on in the bedroom' etc..
- OS maps/localised national maps (knowledge is power)
- binoculars
- walking boots for exploring
- hacksaw/bolt cutters (for any parking problems ;) )
- skateboard/foldup bike for when its flat or you need to nip to a shop
- LED fairy lights (cheap in Ikea)
- try park up at night in the direction of 'lets get the fuckouttahere' so you don't have to do 3 point turns whilst some angry mob is trying to get you.
- if you're with a mate/girlfriend... engage in frank and open communication and give each other plenty of space (wander off for an hour) so you don't annoy the fuck out of each other 24/7
- BOG ROLL
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby Chris F » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:52 am

Rob wrote:My van, LWB LDV 400, was sign written when i bought it and i left it like that cos i think you attract less interest than something that looks like a camper or surf van. People assume you're a delivery driver or a rep who's just pulled off for a kip and rarely look twice. :wink:


Although a Plymouth plumber in Northern Spain might raise a few eyebrows!

The parking so you can escape call is a good idea. I'm never one to condone violence even in defence, but should you feel you may be at risk of violent attack, some pepper spray might be a good call. Just don't confuse it with underarm.

Mmmmmmmm, incapacitated.
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby slopsurfer » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:33 am

what do you do about laptop?


I've stopped using my laptop for work when travelling and now just use a smart phone and a bluetooth Keyboard :), battery lasts longer and is far easier to get charged up.
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby danny1 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:02 pm

xsurfedgex wrote:much of what I can recommend has already been said, but i'll add:

^^^^ great contribution mate



slopsurfer wrote:
what do you do about laptop?


I've stopped using my laptop for work when travelling and now just use a smart phone and a bluetooth Keyboard :), battery lasts longer and is far easier to get charged up.


this is also a good call.- even documents are easy to manage on phone with various apps
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby Monkey_Alan » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:07 pm

hey danny, darlo chris has a little solar panel that sits on the dashboard and trickle charges the battery, so might be worth asking him about that...

one tip i would mention is every time you see them little sachets of ketchup/coffee/brown sauce/sugar/tea/etc, pocket a few for the van. ive got a box full now, always come in handy, and keep fresh as they are individually packaged. wetherspoons pubs make good hunting grounds.... :)

stealth camping is a good option sometimes, i built my last camper van to look like a standard crewcab from the outside. ive parked up on streets outside pubs in little villages, outside mates houses, and all sorts, never had any hassle. you do obviously have to be discreet and keep your head down but its worth it when you find a nice village boozer

wetwipes are very useful...

if you want an eberspacher heater, a mate of mine is a qualified installer, they arent cheap though. i can put you in touch with him if you like. i had a D4 in the last van, they kick out an amazing amount of heat but you can get a thermostatic programmer, set your temp, when you want it to come on and go off and bobs your uncle

i reckon the most important thing besides keeping the van tidy, is to be organised. make sure everything has a place and you know where to find it. keep your eyes open for handy little storage devices to make use of the limited space, like these storage nets
Image

i like the idea of running the radio off the leisure battery, ive flattened the engine battery at least twice off the top of my head listening to music when parked up, doesnt always take as long as you might think
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby Chris F » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:10 pm

Another good call for van travelling, and travel in general, is to scan all your important documents and email them to your hotmail account. Including things like pictures of your van etc. So if you do get totally cleaned out or the van gets nicked you can access all this critical information from any computer and printer. If you are paranoid about your account getting hacked spread the stuff between 2 or more hotmail accounts, or leave the scans with someone back home who can get the info emailed to you immediately.
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby xsurfedgex » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:40 pm

I use elasticated net things above the front seat in my van, that I got from a motorbike shop. you see motorbikers use em on the backseat to hold bags, helmets etc... good for coats, towels etc... pretty cheap and you're not limited to a specific size.

also, in terms of money, the post-office do a travel money card thingy that you basically put all your dosh on so you don't have wads of cash lying about. You can then withdraw cash as and when, abroad, from ATMs provided their the of the same group (mastercard i think?) or use it as a chip+pin, both with no cost. You can keep the money on there for your next trip too or buy your £'s back at a fixed rate when you get home. I used it as a chip+pin for fuelling up, supermarket shops etc and had 'petty cash' for the odd treat. The worst thing about it was finding fuel station in France that would accept it tho. Often those unmanned fuel pumps at supermarkets (cheapest for fuel) wouldn't take it which was annoying, but it worked fine in the basque country and portugal. My biggest problem was remembering the sodding security pin code tho!

also, if you use coconut oil as a moistuiser after you surf, don't leave it on the dashboard cos it'll either melt or go rockhard depending on the climate!
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby rustopher » Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:12 pm

Chris F wrote:Another good call for van travelling, and travel in general, is to scan all your important documents and email them to your hotmail account. Including things like pictures of your van etc. So if you do get totally cleaned out or the van gets nicked you can access all this critical information from any computer and printer. If you are paranoid about your account getting hacked spread the stuff between 2 or more hotmail accounts, or leave the scans with someone back home who can get the info emailed to you immediately.


Try Dropbox to simplify this.
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby Monkey_Alan » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:22 pm

haha just seen this on eBay. might come in handy :lol:

Image
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby Chris F » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:56 pm

rustopher wrote:
Chris F wrote:Another good call for van travelling, and travel in general, is to scan all your important documents and email them to your hotmail account. Including things like pictures of your van etc. So if you do get totally cleaned out or the van gets nicked you can access all this critical information from any computer and printer. If you are paranoid about your account getting hacked spread the stuff between 2 or more hotmail accounts, or leave the scans with someone back home who can get the info emailed to you immediately.


Try Dropbox to simplify this.


Yeah, there's loads of otions - googledocs etc. just have accessbile electronic versions is all I'm saying.
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby Matt Rose » Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:49 pm

Dont know about the SW or the rest of the country but round here CATs get nicked every night, can be done in less than 5 mins.This was the first thing I was going to fit, was told my van didnt have one.

http://www.armaplate.com/armacat-catalytic-converter-protection
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Re: Living/tripping in your van- tips/advice

Postby Chris F » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:54 am

Never heard of that up here - SW must be going to the dogs! :lol:
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