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Camping in Non-Campers
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Robw_z
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 5:40 pm    Post subject: Camping in Non-Campers Reply with quote

Just wondering who here camps in their non-Westy Vanagons? Westfalias are out of my price range, but I still love camping, so I'm thinking of getting a "hard-top" Van with the Z-bed. I'm probably answering my own question, but aside from sleeping two fewer, not being able to stand up, and no indoor cooking it doesn't seem like it'd be half bad.

-Rob
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tikibus
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Rob,

You can go two ways. either do what some have done a get a Kelty Carport ( Awning for the Summer months) or Gazebo, Tent and the like...

Or

Be a hard core crazy and get a circa 1960's-70's Westfalia tent that attaches to the Van. May be a stretch to get it to match, but you'll be cool.

Check the A/C folks to find a Westie tent. It is rather circus looking, heavy as all get out, but cool.

Having friends with A/C Buses and Vanagon transporters, there is a host of ideas to be had.

Just needs to fit the buget and how much time spent camping. Hate to see a person spent $$$ and get 2 weekends a year (season) out of it.
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1984 Westy - Tiki
1997 Honda Civic -The Green Hornet
1971 Volvo P-1800E- needs TLC
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bucko
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Camping in Non-Campers Reply with quote

Robw_z wrote:
Just wondering who here camps in their non-Westy Vanagons? Westfalias are out of my price range, but I still love camping, so I'm thinking of getting a "hard-top" Van with the Z-bed. I'm probably answering my own question, but aside from sleeping two fewer, not being able to stand up, and no indoor cooking it doesn't seem like it'd be half bad.

-Rob


Westys are out of your price range? Are you looking to buy one already in "perfect" shape? Personally, I found that buying my 84 Westy in what I'll call a "fixer upper special" was a good thing. I spent many months cleaning, fixing, and getting to know it very well. Granted, it was not my primary driver at the time, but it is now. The advice and parts you can obtain here on this forum makes it a whole lot easier. Personally, I found working and locating the parts needed a fun experience. Now that my 84 is done, and a great driver, it makes it all the more enjoyable.

Shop around and look for one that meets your capabilities and price range. I see quite a few Westys for sale here on TheSamba ranging from $2000.00 and up.
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Lanval
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bucko,

Agreed. I bought my '82 intact, but in sorry shape. Everything worked, but the engine needed some attention to stanch the oiling and replaced lost tin. The interior was all there, but very dirty. Many little fixes later: everything works.

I did it on a grad student budget in the most expensive town in the freakin' world. Surely you can too... Very Happy

Start cheap, add a few bux as a you go!

Best,

Lanval

http://picasaweb.google.com/Lanval.de.logres/WestyStuff

PS - here's some pix of before and after. Not totally up to date, but closing in on a few nice things at the moment.

Best,

L
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ProvoCyclist
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Rob, Ive got a non-camper van that i camp in regularly. Its got the Z-bed, and lucky for me a sunroof so i can stand up in it anyway. If i need to cook, i just take a camp stove and a cooler. I have a Kelty side tent which is pretty sweet too.
Its totally doable with a passenger van (read: daily driver); but like the other guys said, dont count out an affordable full westy. Im probably picking a nice 84 for a screaming deal in the next week.

best of luck!
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tikibus
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Rob,

There are many ways of taking the basic model of Vanagon to fit your needs. Question remains:

How much camping do you plan to do?
With Whom?

A Husband/Wife team in a Transporter with a simple awning is ideal. So many types of awnings out there, with prices all over the place...

Or Kids?
Well, tent for kids, Van for Mom and Dad.

The Variations on buget and time(s) spent camping is the key.

Bucko is right too.

To be able to find a "Gem in the rough" and claim it, fix it, makes the Westfalia more of who ( fabric of Soul), who you are and makes you more cofident of your skills as a mechanic.

Is it tough?
Yup.

Westies are fun. I didn't know half the fun until this summer.
But use the factors of: What is the final goal and how many times am I going to go out there and enjoy the experience.

Final Thought:

You only live once, and better go out in style with a smile on your face than a frown bearing the "I could-a's an should-a's done..."
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Mark
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http://www.empirevwcamping.org/
1984 Westy - Tiki
1997 Honda Civic -The Green Hornet
1971 Volvo P-1800E- needs TLC
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[email protected]
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heres another option:
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Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I plan to get some use out of it when I start tearing the Westy apart to redo. I got a OG vw hitch for my '63 beetle but I think I may try to trade it (the car) off for a late bay or late vanagon transporter to pull it with instead as they are ALOT more comfortable on the long hauls!

Oh yea, I find the kitchen to be a bit overrated, plus you lose the sleeping space that the passenger van offers. I hardly ever cook in the van other than maybe boiling water. I have a compact coleman kitchen and I bought a high dollar propane stove that I find to be quite nice under my pull out awning. I do like having the on board water though, fridge, well I use it but could definitly live withought it I think.
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tikibus
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rob,

See?

Where all nuts.

All things are possible.

Nice Air Stream Markus. Old.

Spent the early Years in one in NH. Six Gun City, Jefferson, NH? Anyone?

Let us jog memories:

Santa's Village? On Rt. 2?

How about Frontier Town?
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Mark
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Founding member of the Empire State VW Camping Club.
http://www.empirevwcamping.org/
1984 Westy - Tiki
1997 Honda Civic -The Green Hornet
1971 Volvo P-1800E- needs TLC
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devesvws
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

having had both i like the non camper but would like the pop top weekender. the full camper has no room at all try finding a vanagon with the rear fold out seat, side table,jump seats,check this out http://busdepot.com/details/spacemaker.jsp i like the advatage of driving off and leave the all my stuff in the tent.
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[email protected]
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tikibus wrote:


Nice Air Stream Markus. Old.



Not an Airstream, a much better built Spartan (1950). I'm thinking of putting a Subaru engine in it Wink
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We camp in our plain Vanillagon, with a full complement of largish mutts.

It has its advantages. The bed is way bigger. The middle seat's gone but a homebuilt cabinet with folding table-top gives a large storage and workable surface. Lotsa room for the 4-legs. When I hang in the van I'm sitting or relaxing so no need to stand up. Swivel seats make the lounging possibilities expand; we can watch a movie on the 'puker after dark reclining in the seats. Second battery lets us run our gear and music without worries. I'd rather cook outside, a Coleman stove does nicely but stows away small, have my roll-up rafting table for the outdoor kitchen, but I'd like to built an outdoor table that attachs to the jacking points or something, for faster setup. We boonie-camp pretty exclusively so it's more natural to spread out a bit, so the interior of the van isn't where we spend much time except after dark. It's easy to rig a tarp over the van to expand the campspace. We don't get hassled much by bugs in the SW so having a bigger screened space isn't something we crave, and I just don't end up in campgrounds. I love the Westy's but a regular van makes a better all-around vehicle with massive cargo room, better power and efficiency and handling, such as they are in a two-ton rolling barn.
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tikibus
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sweet, Markus.
I'm glad to see it in good hands.
Having said that there still is Robs questions.

I'll bet he is going, WTF?

To be honest, the hardest thing is to find a object (vehicle) to make us enjoy the road. Westie owners have an edge, we can camp pratically anywhere 4 wheels can take us, be self contained and leave a small footprint of where we've been. Being a good camper that is.

What is our Camping happiness and how can Rob find his?

Gadgets and doo-dad's fill many a dusty shelf, but it is the sheer fun of getting there and enjoying the eperience of camping that makes most if not all of us here in our corner of Samba Land, do what we do.

Rob is trying to find his Path. He should tell us what He plans to do.
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brooklynvan
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I drive my plain van as my daily and only driver.
It's the plainest they ever made, but has the Z bed. and I added a set of CARAT curtains so we have privacy when camping. My wife and I spend 4-5 weekends a year camping in it.
we love it.
and I can haul 4x8 sheets of plywood no problem!
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jetta90
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Brooklynvan and Tencentlife with their comments on the Vanagon van.
We don't get out camping as much as we would like, but when we do the large bed afforded by the non-Westfalia Vanagon is much to our liking. We enjoy having the room inside the van with the middle seat removed and cooking is best performed outside with our portable coleman stove. When not in camping mode Bert the bus can carry a tremendous amount of cargo, including 4' x 8' plywood sheets, when the back seat is folded flat.
For us, the Vanagon format is best.
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msinabottle
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:32 pm    Post subject: Westy's Best, But... Reply with quote

A lot of people have camped and done very well in the standard vans. I can remember my family camping in one of those massive '70's Plymouth station wagons. Tents with 'car flaps' are more common than you'd think, too.

Here's a gadget I've been meaning to mention to the Weekender and conventional Van people for a long time. I've used mine in Winston in the cold, too, when I didn't want to fill his own water system:

http://tinyurl.com/2umeru

It's a portable camp sink with its own water reservoir. Works REALLY well and is just plain neat!

Best!
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rs4-380
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i sleep in my 7-pass all the time. Plenty of room, comfortable, and I usually choose it over a friends couch when the option presents itself.

Would I camp in it? no problem.
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klucz
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Westy is ideal for living in solo, for months or years. Rent is free and no need to unpack.
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captainpartytime
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My wife and two kids camp in our '89 7-passenger wolfsburg more than our '82 diesel westy...4300 lbs + 54 horsepower...you do the math!
We fit my youngest daughter's pack-and-play where the two jumpseats normally sit and my older daughter sleeps on the floor. My wife and I sleep very soundly on the almost queen sized bed. I never have to wonder if my camp stove is on and I don't need a second battery for my cooler.
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bucko
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lots of good pros to using a Vanagon over a Westy to camp. I guess it's up to the prospective owner to decide. For me it would always be the Westy.

I recall my big time camping days back in High school. About 5 of us would camp every Friday after school for the weekend at the local Wekiva Springs campground. If you think the Westy or plain Vanagon was small, we used our Beetles! Two of us owned Beetles, and had the rear seats removed to store the tents, sleeping bags, coleman camp stove, and all the food that 6 or 7 teenage guys would eat in a weekend after "partying".
One weekend, a VW Westy (a late 70's model) pulled up next to us. He and his wife popped the Westys top, and were set up in 30 seconds, while we took about an hour to set up our camp. I swear I saw angels and heard music while he did the pop top deal in that Westy! I swore I would have one some day. The idea of owning a vehicle that would allow camping on a weekend, and a utility vehicle during the week sold me.

It only took 30 years later to get my Westy. So, Vanagon, weekender, or Westy. They all have their merits.
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mtodd
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got a 88 with a Zbed. Great to sleep in. Larger than a queen sized bed. I also have tow large storage containers that carry all my stuff and a easy up. Pull in set up the easy up, pull the the two containers out. Van is ready to go anywhere if needed. The kitchen container has a table in it and most everything comes out in setup so it doubles as a table. We a have a 68 AdventureWagen as well so when the family goes camping my sons take the Vanagon. My wife and I take the Vanagon if it is just us and we traveling a long way. The adventurewagen has a wide bed as well. When both machines are camping it always the Vanagon that get the side trip missions.

I would rather cook outside anyway.
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