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First Things First

Posted 10/12/2011
So where do we begin? We're still lodging with Ryan's parents and have spent nearly every evening since we got her just sitting inside on the driveway staring about, opening cupboards, poking things and discussing ideas. There's a lot to be done, and we need to get the order it's done in right! 


1. The ceiling and wall behind the bunks needs to come down as leaks in her previous life have left some unsightly damage to the plywood and paper covering, also we need to 'winterise' the vehicle so can use the opportunity to pack in as much insulation as possible! This also needs to somehow extend to the floor and outside of the vehicle so that our water tanks and pipes don't freeze if the weather gets really bad, especially as we plan on spending a lot of time in Scotland.

2. The electrics are shocking (excuse the pun!) and lights flicker or switch on and off when we close cupboards! :S The one leisure battery certainly isn't up to the task of living full time without hook-up so it needs some friends, and as we will want to add a couple of solar panels and a TV etc the whole electric system needs re-wiring, a nice confusing and frustrating job for Ryan... Thankfully we can salvage and re-use most of the lighting and can get electronic accessories on the cheap.

3. Whilst we're re-wiring and insulating we can run our blown heating system, including devising a handy clothes dryer facility in the shower compartment with one of the outlets! Our main source of heating will be via a skinny wood burning stove by the door (as we both wood-carve as a hobby fuel will be plentiful!) with just enough space on it's top for the kettle or pot to save on cooking gas.

4. Storage, and more storage! We will be using the space where the extra berths are for more cupboards and work surfaces. So they need to be carefully planned and built in.

5. We also need a toilet on board, and plan on getting one of those bench type in built ones with the cartridge that comes out through the wall. Or to start with we may just have to go with a traditional portaloo but I really don't like the idea of carrying the waste through the kitchen, I know those cartridges are also sealed but still! :(

6. Last but not least on the inside (and probably not really last either as something is bound to change!) the bed platform needs widening and a nice new mattress bought. Then the left over things like furnishings, extra thick lined curtains (the existing black out blinds are good already) to add colour and extra insulation.

7. I leave this part at number 7 with the view that it will get slotted in somewhere else dependant on the weather and Ryans work shifts. We need to address the rust on the cab but need a spell of dry weather where we are both available for a couple of days in a row to be able to get it all rubbed down and protected. The actual van paint job will be someday in the summer when the inside is finished so for now she'll have to stay looking tatty.


Sarah is a UK artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more


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