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Practicality of living out of a VW camper
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debbiej
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Location: las cruces, nm
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

About shoes: someone on samba once posted that they keep shoes in a Rubbermaid type underbed container. At destination, it is slid under van. Works like a shoe drawer. So you can drop shoes in upon entering, and get them out easily. We liked that idea and it is handy.
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VANGAUX
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Joined: May 25, 2008
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Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One more islander... wrote:
This thread is full of really great ideas. We haven't put nearly as many nights into camping in the Westy as many of you, but we're doing our share. Storing small, loose stuff like shoes at night, or when you change from "outside boots" to "inside flipflops or whatever" while you camp is one of the real challenges. You don't want to put them "away," like in a locker, but you don't want them cluttering up the relatively valuable floor space, either.
VANGAUX wrote:
We finally came up with a place to put our shoes---we cut a board that fits in front of the top bunk when it is closed. We spiral wrapped a bungee cord around the board and keep our shoes on top of the board. Since we do not sleep up top, we keep the top bunk folded and when we pop the top, we just lift the shoe board and slide it back. Then put other gear (backpacks, etc) up there for the night....Harold
Picture, please, Harold? This sounds like an excellent solution!
---
Kathy


Below are pictures of our "shoe board" and after taking pictures of it, I realize it is getting pretty beat up. The board was a cheap covered particle board shelf that I cut to fit. On the bottom of it, I put 4 pieces of Velcro and the matching Velcro on the lip of the van to keep the board from shifting. I also put a piece of plastic on it to protect the roof of the van from dust or dirt from our shoes. On our trips we usually each bring a pair of hiking boots, sneakers and sandals.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Board in place with top down



Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Top up with board pushed back out of the way



Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Shoe board resting on rail--top up



Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Shoe board resting on rail -- top up



Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Shoe board showing plastic to protect roof of van



Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Backside of board showing how I attached bungee cord and plastic

Harold
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VANGAUX
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

randywebb wrote:
tell us about Thinlights - I only found picture frame stuff on their web site


Oops, I spelled it wrong. It is Thin-Lite and I used three of the Thin-Lite 171 fixtures but that was way before LED became available. While the 171 is still available, I see that the company now makes the same type of fixture with LED's.

See: http://www.thinlite.com/

Harold
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JPrato
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kbeefy wrote:
82WestyMan wrote:

The one upgrade that was worth the $$$

Honda EU2000i



I agree. I'm picking up a EU1000i for the syncro this spring. Not really bigger than an extra battery, and works when solar wont. And not any more expensive than a decent solar setup either.



I was looking at Honda EU1000i too but came across this one. http://www.amazon.com/Ramsond-Sinemate-1500-Portab...d+Sinemate At half the price of the Honda, another 500 watts and good reviews I might just give it a try. As other have said, good for camping and handy to have around the home too!
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06 Subaru Legacy turbo (how am I gonna fit this sucker into the Westy....)
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84 Westy, 2.5L Subaru power
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nemobuscaptain
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jackbombay wrote:
Thats pretty optimistic, not impossible, but a 2002-2006 long tall at 65 MPH gets a pretty consistent 24-25 MPG... but my westy got 39 MPG at 55 MPH.. At 72 in my sprinter I get 21-22 mpg.

39 MPG? With what engine? I've never heard that even from a 1.6 NA.

I've never gotten better than 17-19. Of course, I've never owned a diesel.

What MPG does that 1.6NA get at 72 mph? Smile
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Vanagator
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You will find many posts on the samba for mods, etc. to help optimize you van. However, I will say from experience from our recent two year trip across the US, Mexico, Belize and Guatemala, that you must be comfortable with with basically living outdoors. The van is a very small place for two people to live extensively. Laughing
As for cooking, we did most of our cooking weather permitted, outdoors on a camp stove, cleaned dishes in two plastic dish bins instead of using the small sink inside.
Mainly ate fresh vegetarian, without a fridge. Kept a cooler with ice for beer.
Maybe for our next trip I'll have the money for a 12 volt system with solar panels and a fridge!!
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levi
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nemobuscaptain wrote:
What MPG does that 1.6NA get at 72 mph? Smile


Re: 1.6 na at 72 mph.

72 mph!!
LM *f* A O!!!
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gonna see life my way

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jackbombay
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nemobuscaptain wrote:
jackbombay wrote:
Thats pretty optimistic, not impossible, but a 2002-2006 long tall at 65 MPH gets a pretty consistent 24-25 MPG... but my westy got 39 MPG at 55 MPH.. At 72 in my sprinter I get 21-22 mpg.

39 MPG? With what engine? I've never heard that even from a 1.6 NA.


A AHU E-TDI, with TALL tires and wheels, taller 3rd and 4th, and an air cooled tranny for a taller final drive and I eliminated the luggage bin for better aerodynamics, and the van had carat springs so it sat lower for less air drag.

As mentioned previously, all speeds and distances were GPS verified and every time I filled up I filled till there was liquid diesel right to the top of the filler neck so there was zero "fill error". Over 1400 miles I averaged 38 MPG so this was not a "1 tank fluke".

1.6 diesels are not as efficient as TDIs, so while they make less power, they don't do as well on fuel.

This thread has more info on my bangin' MPGs Cool
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Gas struts to pop your top easily!

Pop Top strut kits now available for late Bay window Westies Smile


Samba ad here.


DIY artificial rain gutters (ARGs)
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akyrie
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

^^38 mpg is BANGIN!

My family lived out of our 86 van converted to pop top for 5 months in 2011. 2 kids and 2 adults. We were saving money to put a down payment on a house, yay.

I would suggest having a backup system for transportation, at least a bicycle or skateboard. This will allow easier parts getting if you break down. I am thinking of buying a little 70's honda 49cc moped that gets put on the back swing gate.
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Although I got a funny message from the Porsche guys, it read, "what a mighty ship that you must sail"
....has anyone else received that?

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One more islander...
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VANGAUX wrote:
We finally came up with a place to put our shoes---we cut a board that fits in front of the top bunk when it is closed. We spiral wrapped a bungee cord around the board and keep our shoes on top of the board. Since we do not sleep up top, we keep the top bunk folded and when we pop the top, we just lift the shoe board and slide it back. Then put other gear (backpacks, etc) up there for the night....Harold
One more islander wrote:
Picture, please, Harold? This sounds like an excellent solution!
---
Kathy
Below are pictures of our "shoe board" and after taking pictures of it, I realize it is getting pretty beat up. The board was a cheap covered particle board shelf that I cut to fit. On the bottom of it, I put 4 pieces of Velcro and the matching Velcro on the lip of the van to keep the board from shifting. I also put a piece of plastic on it to protect the roof of the van from dust or dirt from our shoes. On our trips we usually each bring a pair of hiking boots, sneakers and sandals.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Shoe board showing plastic to protect roof of van

Definitely an different idea--nice use of space! Thanks, Harold.


Last edited by One more islander... on Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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vanagonjr
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

debbiej wrote:
About shoes: someone on samba once posted that they keep shoes in a Rubbermaid type underbed container. At destination, it is slid under van. Works like a shoe drawer. So you can drop shoes in upon entering, and get them out easily. We liked that idea and it is handy.

I believe that was me. The Rubbermaid container was actually one of their low Roughneck storage boxes. (You made need to check fit if you have a Carat)
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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debbiej
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, love your idea!
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scruffyboy
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:53 pm    Post subject: My 2 cents worth... Reply with quote

I lived in my van for about 5 months out of the year for the last 4 years. I was working out at "That Thing In The Desert" (You probably know the event by other names) And that's a pretty harsh environment, what with triple digit heat and major dust storms. Suffice it to say the van needed some work initially but everything was operational when I got it. Staying organized seemed to be the biggest issue (that and all the DUST!) Surprisingly? I didn't have all that much trouble with the stock fridge but I did make sure that the van was shaded and operated off shore power as much as possible. What surprised me the most was just how capable the van was off-road. It certainly has a LOT more ground clearance than a lot of SUV's. Hygiene & sanitation just took some creative solutions.
"Westy" is currently undergoing mechanical restoration at the hands of Bob Hays in Sand City (Monterey) And I'm hoping to keep him on the road for another 20some years. The van has proven to be a real trooper and far more capable than I ever would have thought possible.
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