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Topics - Camper_Dan

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Common Room / ALERT!!! ALERT!!! Credit Card Skimmers on the rise!
« on: December 10, 2018, 06:21:47 AM »

As the holidays are approaching, so are the reports of skimmers being used in gas pumps, ATM machines, and more. 

I protect myself by using a pre-paid credit card for all purchases.  I refill it weekly for what I'll need, so if I do get hit by thieves, they won't get much.  This is the safest solution I have found.


« on: November 22, 2018, 10:31:03 PM »

Happy Turkey Day!

I helped serve turkey dinners to the local homeless, what did you do today?


Common Room / Halleluyah!!!
« on: July 11, 2018, 11:21:11 AM »

Looks like Mike killed off all the spam, now if we can just keep them out...


Common Room / Rhea Springs, TN gathering, July 6 - 8th, 2018
« on: June 13, 2018, 08:57:30 AM »
When: July 6 - 8th, 2018
Where: Rhea Springs, Tn. About halfway between Chattanooga and Knoxville in the town of Spring City.  Looks like a great place to camp and tent camping.


Could end up being a real HAWT event! Might even have a door prize or two!

Oregon Coast Get Together in Tillamook, Oregon
Starting July 24 2018
Port of Tillamook RV Park

http://potb.org/rv-park/ (about park & directions)

This is a no reservations park, that charges $15/night.  This  is mainly a dry camping park, no power available, and conflicting reports on whether water or restrooms might be available on site.  There are picnic tables and fire rings.  52 sites, 30'x50' long, and shared camp sites are allowed, sites have graveled RV pads.

Informal get together, but with possible daily potlucks.  No formal end date, stay as long as you wish.

Common Room / Vanfest Northwest 6/23-24, Corvalis, OR
« on: June 09, 2018, 09:04:23 AM »
Found on Craigslist:

VanFest Northwest is a two day festival celebrating van owners and van appreciators alike, June 23rd and 24th at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Corvallis, Oregon. Music, food, beer garden, demos, and possibly that buyer or seller you've been waiting for! Admission is $20 at the gate, or visit http://www.vanfestnw.com for advanced sales for more information.

Greetings All!

Just got word of another get together:

Travelers Camp Fest is July 10th -17th at Clear Creek reservoir
Buena Vista, Colorado
GPS: 39.022441, -106.275668
Elevation: 8885'

Just got the invite and asked to spread the word, no other info available at this point.



Greetings Everyone!

I just got invited to a Vanlife Gathering at Grand Teton Valley, in Victor Idaho on June 15-17, 2018, and asked to spread the word.

More info and tickets can be found at:


I don't know yet whether I'll be able to make it or not, and I have not attended one of these particular ones yet, I think this a first for this one.

Anybody that does attend, please grace us with some pictures and a report!



Van Conversion / Camper Van Tables, designs & ideas
« on: April 23, 2018, 11:12:44 AM »
Greetings Everybody!

Camper van tables can be as simple as TV trays to as elaborate as you want.  Portable tables and TV trays have the advantage of being able to be used outdoors as well as indoors.  I really like keeping things portable for this exact reason, and it cuts down on what I need, because I don't have one built in, and then need a second one for outdoor use.

Built in tables come in many varieties, some might be hinged to a wall, or held up by one or more pedestals.  Some are handier or more versatile than others.  Some tables can be folded out when the doors are open to make an outdoor table.  Some tables can be folded down from the backs of seats, and some can even attach to steering wheels.

Among my favorites in the built in category are the westfalia style swing arm swivel tables.  These are among the most usable and versatile tables I've encountered, and DIY versions are relatively easy to make. Here's some examples:

Here's a slightly more sophisticated version:

Can you imagine all the positions possible for this thing?

You can find directions on youtube for making swing arm tables.

Steering wheel, and back of seat tables and organizers can be a great addition as well.

Some tables are held up by pedestals, and some might hinge out from the wall.  Some tables can become part of a fold down bed base.  You can find a lot of inspiration at: https://www.google.com/search?q=camper+van+tables&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwit873G5c_aAhUI8WMKHeXYA8kQ_AUICygC.


Van Conversion / Camper Van Beds
« on: April 23, 2018, 04:14:58 AM »
Greetings Everybody!

Sleep is one of the most important things in our lives, and beds are one of the important things for a good nights sleep.  In a house or an apartment, we can just go to the store and pick out a comfy bed.  For a camper van it is much more difficult.

The first thing to consider is that we have a very small space to work with.  Many people will need a bed that runs lengthwise, because the van isn't wide enough to accommodate sleeping widthwise.

The next thing to consider is whether our bed is just going to be a bed, or whether it needs to do double duty as a sofa or a dinette.  Permanent beds are better, setting a bed up/down constantly gets old really fast, but sometimes double duty beds are a necessity.  Once we have decided what type of bed we want and it's size, we need to think about our overall floorplan.  Most people want a bed, kitchen, toilet, shower, seating with a table, and ample storage.  To this end, we need a floorplan that will accommodate everything while not being too crowded.  Floorplans can make or break the livability and enjoyment of your space.

Do we even need to build a bed?  Well not necessarily...  Many people just move a futon sofa/bed in.  Fast, cheap, simple and easy...  I did this, with a metal framed one, and I just extended the legs so it would clear the wheel well.  I got the frame for free off Craigslist, and purchased two 4" foam camper pads at a big box store.  I also purchased two summer time sleeping bags from Walmart that are basically like zippered flannel sheets for about $6-$7 each, for the covers for the cushions.

Single or double cots can also be used...  Foam can be added on top for added confort if desired.  I've even seen people who have used patio chaise lounges that lay flat for their beds.  Some people just use those adjustable Hollywood type bed frames and extend the legs to clear the wheel wells.  The point here is that there are many cheap, easy, and lightweight options available if we think outside the box, and nothing actually needs to be built in.

Building a bed is obviously more difficult, and presents us with some additional problems.  While weight is always an issue, one issue that is frequently overlooked in the beginning is moisture problems.  Most people don't normally associate beds with moisture problems, but in a camper van we need to.  Mold can form on the underside of your mattress between it and the base, especially if you have a wood base.  While we're talking about wood bases, slatted, sliding wood bases are a really bad idea.  They are difficult and expensive to build, they don't slide well, you can feel the slats underneath, and those slats promote mold growth.  Plywood is a much better choice than slats, but you still need something between the wood and your mattress to allow ventilation and fight mold growth.

Some people use moisture proof mattress covers, others use these marine type pads under their mattresses that allow ventilation and are said to prevent mold or moisture build up.  One name brand is call Hypervent, and you can read more about them at: http://www.doityourselfrv.com/prevent-under-mattress-mold-hypervent/.

Rather than a wood base, many people choose to use rope or wire mesh to support their mattresses.  Rope beds can wrap and weave rope around your bed frame, it can also be attached to the sides with springs, elastic cord, or bungee's, to add extra spring to your setup.  Hardware cloth, or many types of lightweight fencing wire can also be used.  On a friends build he had an old cot, but the canvas was missing.  Our quick, cheap solution was to buy a $5 campers thin rope hammock, and attach it to the frame by lacing it on using the type of elastic cord that many zero gravity camping loungers use.  Then he added foam on top, and it made a very comfy bed that has lasted 5+ years now.

You can google rope beds and chairs to get some ideas.  I have made many bed frames out of metal electrical conduit.  It's sturdy, light weight, and easy to work with.  I also sometimes use it for cabinet frames, and then attach thin light weight paneling to cover this durable frame.  I have also found that sliding doors instead of swinging doors are a much better choice in cramped spaces.

Built in beds can be preferable to some people.  Built in beds might allow more storage, or be convetible into a sofa or dinette.  While these aren't as user friendly on a day to day basis as a permanent bed, they do have their obvious uses.  Just remember that sliding slat furniture is the pits, and we still need to lend proper consideration to moisture control and mold prevention.

I won't go into a lot of build techniques in this post, because of the myriad of variables, shapes, and styles possible.  Just make sure everything fits, your bed is comfy, and you don't neglect to handle any potential moisture and mold problems.

I can supply pretty extensive build details on just about any bed design you need, just post your desires here...


Van Conversion / Slider Slat Beds... JUST SAY NO!
« on: April 10, 2018, 05:56:07 AM »
Greetings Everybody!

I've been reading a lot of complaints about sliding slat beds lately, so I wanted to give everybody a heads up.

Among the many complaints the most common ones are difficult to build, difficult to slide in and out, expensive, too many sharp edges and splinters, you can feel the slats through your bedding, and mold under their bedding where the slats are.

We are experiencing a huge problem in the vandwelling community.  Newbies posting how to videos and direction, when they have no experience, and bragging about their builds before they've even ever used them.  How many of them have any experience, or have been using their rotten advice for a year or more?  ~NONE~ That's how many.  The ones with experience that are continually pushing bad advice have a reason, MONEY... 

When you're deciding whose advice you should listen to, ask yourself a couple of questions...  How much experience do they have, and how do they support themselves.  If they're making money promoting vandwelling, or various products or services, their advice is very questionable.  Many of them are making $50k-$100k per year, giving bad advice, and all while pretending to be poor broke vandwellers.  They have ruined far more lives than they have  helped.

As time allows, at the urging of others, I'm going to try to write a series of tutorials that I'll post here.  Since we spend about a third of our lives in bed, a good one on beds seems like a good place to start...


Van Conversion / Showers & keeping clean on the road.
« on: March 29, 2018, 05:59:55 AM »
Greetings All,

I was recently asked to post about my shower setup, and decided that it would be a great topic to share with everybody.  Not just my own shower setup, but various methods of keeping clean as well. 

My setup is very cheap, but also very effective.  I have a low top van, so this requires me to either shower while seated, or shower outside if I wish a standing shower.  My shower curtain rod is a hula hoop from a dollar store, and my shower curtains(2), and shower curtain hooks are also from the dollar store.  I think my total cost was like $5 or $6.  I also got rope from the dollar store to tie to the hula hoop to allow it to easily be hung anywhere.  I hang it from a luggage bar that runs the width of my van, and it also doubles as the privacy curtain for my toilet.

I use a storage container to catch my shower water, but any container can be used to catch the water, just make sure the sides are high enough so you can tuck your shower curtain into it, so you're keeping all the water trapped.  My storage tote is large enough for a small stool or 5 gallon bucket for a seat, with room for my feet in front.  If you're able to stand, you could possibly go smaller.

For water I use a hand pump weed sprayer, that I modified by swapping the original hose and nozzle, with an 8 foot hose and a kitchen sink sprayer nozzle.  The kitchen nozzle gives a great shower, and is easy to start & stop the flow of water to conserve your water supply.  I spray painted the sprayer black, and can place it in the sun for solar heated hot water, or if that's not available, I can heat water on my campstove, or over a campfire.

I am mostly a city dweller, and water the shrubbery at local parks with my sink or shower water.  They appreciate it, so it's a win/win.  I can also use this water system with my sinks, and have even washed my whole van with it.  I have also used it to wash off sand at the beach or clean muddy shoes or boots.  It's small, cheap, and very verstatile.

I can also stretch that luggage rod between my open side or rear doors, and hang my shower curtain there for an outdoor standing shower.  It can also be hung from a tree if you're boondocking.  I don't believe in gym memberships for showers, or public toilets.  Having your own is so much better.

While we're at it, lets discuss some other options...

Personally, I don't have any built in sinks.  I use two dollar store rectangular dishpans for my sinks, and trigger spray bottles for my water.  This allows me to easily use them both inside and outside without duplication.  Regardless of what type of sink, or wateer delivery you have available, a wash cloth and some soap and water will allow you to keep clean without a shower.  If weather permits, I can take a quick shower outside with my swimsuit on, using just my spray bottles.

If I'm boondocking, I might also wash both myself and my van in the rain...  Nothing like a natural shower in nice weather.  Don't over look the possibilities of lakes and streams in good weather either.  Always make sure  your soap is environmentally friendly.

Wet wipes are another great option.  They have so many uses, and they're also cheap. 

Getting my own toilet & shower was one of the best upgrades I ever did.  No more disgusting public toilets or showers, or having  to pay for  them or hunt for them.  I will NEVER be without my own again!

As a side note, they also have instant pop-up toilet/shower tents available.  If you're around other people, and want your toilet and/or shower outside, these can be a perfectly acceptable way to accomplish this.  I have some friends that travel with a teardrop trailer, and they set one of these up right beside it, even in parks with restrooms, so they have their own private facilities.  Call it glamping, cheating, or whatever you like, but having your own private facilities available wherever, and whenever you want is heavenly.

Oh, hey, I almost forgot... I have a 7 gallon water jug that I use to store my gray water in until I can dump it.  I typically siphon the water into that jug, because thaat helps prevent spills inside my van.  Of course that jug has a good tight lid, so I never need to worry a spills.  You don't want water sloshing out of an open container while you're traveling.  I'm always very careful to never spill any liquids in my van.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any questions or post your own solutions.



Common Room / Please sign up and join us!
« on: September 28, 2017, 01:25:02 AM »
I would like to offer a special greeting to guests who visit here.  We have huge numbers of guests visiting, but not joining.

This is one of the best places around for camper van support, and without all the BS found on some of the other places.  You don't need a camper van to join us here. If you're here, you probably have some interest in the subject, so please join us, we would love to hear from you!

Hope to hear from you soon,


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