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Author Topic: [UK] Novice, a few questions and seeking advice  (Read 1017 times)

HampshireCamper

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[UK] Novice, a few questions and seeking advice
« on: September 03, 2018, 09:41:48 PM »
Hi all,

Thought I'd introduce myself first! I'm 26 and based in the UK (so if any answers need to be country specific you know where I am) - I've been looking at converting a camper for a long time, I'm a keen traveller so this will only help my passion. I'm finally in a financial position where I can start to plan this out seriously, instead of just saying, "this is what I'd do."

I'm looking to get as much information before I commit so I can start budgeting not only my finances but my time.

I'll be buying the book from the website as well to assist me.

I'm looking to convert a minibus ideally, as from reading some of Camper_Dans posts he has made some great points for the advantages of this set up as opposed to a box van (particularly the natural light plus safety).

I'm content in what kind of minibus to look for, etc (it's like buying any other vehicle right? Except I need to ensure theres plenty of space in the rear for me to convert into a livable area! Correct me if wrong though, please!!)

My questions are more around the amenities in the actual camper, I'm happy enough with sorting out a layout to maximise the space I will have and also with whether to have a permanent bed vs fold down etc.

So, the questions -

- The water system, are there any big no no's on this? I'm thinking its a case of having a water tank, heater, and then cold water and hot water plumbing into the shower unit and the taps in the "kitchen"? (I have read the page on VanDogTravellers website and acknowledge the need for an accumulator). I think my main question is, is there a list of required equipment for this?
- The heating system - is it really worth my having a "central heating" type system on the van? I'm a fairly warm person anyway and I'm not shy to wearing a jumper if I'm cold? I'm looking to do most of my travelling all year round (I work 4 months on, and 3 months off, so want to spend the 3 months around Europe/as far as I can go really!)
- Gas - So I want the kitchen to be built in, and have seen some really nice ideas on how to incorporate this into a space saving way (hob and sink submerged in the unit, with a cover on top to add counter space when required), do I need to be CORGI certified to fit the lines from a gas bottle around the camper to where the hobs will be?

I can't think of much more, but if I do I will definitely be here to ask aha! I think I've probably answered my own questions there, just looking for some reassurance as well that if I do choose to do as I've said above, it's not going to bite me on the arse.

Thanks in advance everyone.

Camper_Dan

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Re: [UK] Novice, a few questions and seeking advice
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2018, 11:06:27 PM »
Greetings and Welcome!

Permanent beds are better. needing set one up every night becomes a pain real quick.

Plumbing doesn't work if it's below freezing.  For this reason, I opted for no plumbing.  I still have double sinks, a toilet, and a shower though.  I can go into detail if you'd like...

I'm not a huge fan of built ins.  By not having stuff built in, I can also use it outdoors without the need to carry duplicates.  While mine isn't a fancy rig, it is very comfortable, and practical.  I can use my entire kitchen and bathroom outdoors if I like.

I've switched from propane to kerosene, it's cheaper and safer.  Since all my goodies are wick type, nothing's pressurized. so no gas plumbing is needed.

Vehicles can be lost in an instant, accidents, stolen, repairs beyond their worth, etc.  I've had many rigs, and my thinking has changed over time.  Short of getting stolen, I could transfer my current interior into a different vehicle within a matter of hours.  Built ins can be nice, but portability has it's advantages too...

My kerosene heaters are also portable, and this summer there were many burn bans, banning camp fires.  My heater has visible flames, so I was able to take it outside, and have my campfire, and the warmth of sitting around one.  Actually drew a crowd one time, and we roasted marshmallows and hot dogs over my heater, and enjoyed it a lot.  They have other types of portable campfires too.

The experience is what we choose to make it, and done right, it can be a wonderful life.

Good luck & keep us posted.

Cheers!
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HampshireCamper

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Re: [UK] Novice, a few questions and seeking advice
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2018, 04:37:25 PM »
Hey Dan, cheers for the reply.

"Plumbing doesn't work if it's below freezing.  For this reason, I opted for no plumbing.  I still have double sinks, a toilet, and a shower though.  I can go into detail if you'd like..." - Yeah please, that would be great!

I'm quite set on the built in style, however not adverse to potentially doing away with the built in hob and just taking out the gas camping stove and using that on the counter top if I can come up with a storage solution which won't impact the space I'm working with.

I'd rather the bathroom was built in, not really sure why I just prefer the idea of having a dedicated space for it in the van (weird I know haha!)

I think this will be a mid-long term project, I'm due away for work in January for 4 months so will look to commence the work April once I'm back with a projected finish date of hopefully Mid/Late-May if I can work flat out (also depends on the condition of the van I purchase and how much work is needed!) to allow me to enjoy Europe during the summer!

Camper_Dan

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Re: [UK] Novice, a few questions and seeking advice
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2018, 01:05:27 AM »
Greetings!

Portable or modular is still secured, but movable if you wish to change your floor plan.  It seems that most people go through multiple builds before they find the fit they're the happiest with.  I went through multiple rigs, and multiple builds, before I found the best solutions for me.  All but one "worked", but wasn't as comfortable as it could have been. 

Comfort is a very individual thing, but what looks good on paper, or in your head, doesn't always work as expected in reality.  Something feels cramped, or access to something turns out to be difficult, or a huge list of other things.

One of the best hints I can offer is sliding doors on all your cabinets.  They stay closed while traveling, and don't interfere with interior space while in use.  My drawers are also behind a sliding cabinet door.  The other drawer scheme that I liked the best, involved slightly lifting the drawers to open them, but required no latches of any type.  Once closed, they were secure for travel.  They are easy to make, and much handier than dealing with catches or latches.  I had a lot of trouble with latches & catches, they would look secure, then while driving,  drawers and cupboards would start flying open.  Very annoying very quickly...

Hope this helps...

Cheers!

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obromis

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Re: [UK] Novice, a few questions and seeking advice
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2019, 02:57:00 PM »
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« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 02:44:16 PM by obromis »