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Long term camping in the vans checklist?
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Cold Steel
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:56 am    Post subject: Long term camping in the vans checklist? Reply with quote

I am going to be camping in my van for awhile and wanted to know what long term items are must haves. Its a hardtop syncro

concerns

SHOWERS

Power- I want to run a labtop that pulls 12.4 amps. Not all the time but in the evenings.

Sleeping- I have the hard top. I have found the cracks to annoying. Anyone come up with some great solutions to jam in there or any upgrades?

Storage and stealthy
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Money, cell phone ,AAA card.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:38 am    Post subject: Re: Long term camping in the vans checklist??? Reply with quote

Cold Steel wrote:
I am going to be camping in my van for awhile and wanted to know what long term items are must haves. Its a hardtop syncro

concerns

SHOWERS

Power- I want to run a labtop that pulls 12.4 amps. Not all the time but in the evenings.

Sleeping- I have the hard top. I have found the cracks to annoying. Anyone come up with some great solutions to jam in there or any upgrades?

Storage and stealthy



Do you have an Aux battery and if so what is its capacity? 12.4 amps seems on the high side?

An inexpensive mattress topper from Target did the trick for me. Keep an eye open for when they
go on sale. Maybe less than $50 for a 1" memory topper if you are lucky.
It will fold up out of the way too.
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vanagonjr
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many people are you camping with? Are you camping in the wilds with your Syncro, or mostly hitting state parks and campgrounds? Makes a huge difference such as how much water you carry, if any at all.
It's basically clothing, shelter and food.
For family camping, I like my solar shower for rinsing dishes. Often I'll set up my metal roll-up table near by, hang the shower off a tree on the edge of the campsite and clean up takes place away from from main traffic areas.

A Coleman double burner propane stove is also nice for family camping.

While some like every convenience, I find having too much stuff makes for more inconvenience - but some people like the gear and setting up.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like vanagonjr says, don't over-do it.
I spend several months each year living in my tintop and there's nothing more annoying than having too much sh#t in your van.
When you're packing stuff, think about it...do you REALLY need that? If you hesitate with the answer then leave it behind.

Coleman 2 burner for meals
MSR Pocket Rocket for that quick cup of coffee
Backpacking style cookset and untensils
Colapsable(crush it and stuff it when not in use)5gal jug for water+I've always got a couple bike/nalgene bottles anyway
Solar shower from Target or wherever(can also be used for potable water storage
Baby wipes for those in between shower times
For a mattress topper, check out the local Army surplus stores, sometimes they have 2'' or 3" thick foam sheats in single or double lengths.Durt cheap.

I'm getting my van ready as we speak. Can't wait to get the hell outa here, I've been in suburban hell for the last few months.ARRGGHH Evil or Very Mad
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Cold Steel
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its me and my hybrid wolf sasha. She is about 80 lbs. She needs to be secure while driving because she has been a outside wolf. Her mannors reflect it as well. I will groom her so her nails are as short as can be. Any and all Dog advice is greatly appricated. I dont want her sleeping in the van with me at night. Shes really gassy Smile jk... So her having an understanding of her new environment is important. I was thinking about crating her for the ride up. She likes to run around the van and climb up on the dashboard which will scratch it up. Maybe I can travel with the bed down. The first haul will be the longest.
We are heading to Wilston ND for work. I dont know if the walmart parking lot is going to be home or the parks.

I dont have a secondary battery but I am thinking I need one that I can hook up for extra power like a deep cell with attachments to the main battery so I can charge it. Then maybe an inverter.

I would like to have a good internet connect. I still will need to do research to fix my van Smile

I do have one of the top luggage racks but I worry about the security of it. Its plastic with no locks. Maybe drill some holes so i can put some locks on it.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

don't over pack, very important
be sure that you NEED each item
solar power, will keep your batteries topped up while you are at work
if you have access to a freezer where you will be working, keep rotating a few 500ml water bottles, will help keep your food cool
internet connection, home depot is usually pretty good, mcdonalds, but they get busy in the evenings, so the connection gets slower
we have found that if you are in one spot for more than a few nights people get bothered and you might get moved
when you get to a wal mart, go in and ask the store manager

24 hour walgreens can be a good spot too, again, not so in the long term
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:21 am    Post subject: Re: Long term camping in the vans checklist??? Reply with quote

Cold Steel wrote:
Power- I want to run a labtop that pulls 12.4 amps.

Get tablet milli amp or netbook 2-3amp draw
Samsung 10.1 tabs with extra kbd/hdmi if ya want get bigger screen you can but then you are into led more $ and at least around 1amp
See this actual use case post from a marine usr and led 12v screen

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/led-monitors-and-power-consumption-57049.html
Beyond that time to put serious thought / $ into
Multi-house battery system and that is topic all by itself
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

look on ebay for a 12v charger for your laptop. They have universal kinds that will do the voltage and plug you need. Connect at night if you need more than the laptop battery will provide and charge off of the house battery or cig lighter port while the engine is running. You will have to figure out what you time you can use given your power availability.
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childofthewind
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

seanjenn wrote:
Like vanagonjr says, don't over-do it.
I spend several months each year living in my tintop and there's nothing more annoying than having too much sh#t in your van.
When you're packing stuff, think about it...do you REALLY need that? If you hesitate with the answer then leave it behind.

Coleman 2 burner for meals
MSR Pocket Rocket for that quick cup of coffee
Backpacking style cookset and untensils
Colapsable(crush it and stuff it when not in use)5gal jug for water+I've always got a couple bike/nalgene bottles anyway
Solar shower from Target or wherever(can also be used for potable water storage
Baby wipes for those in between shower times
For a mattress topper, check out the local Army surplus stores, sometimes they have 2'' or 3" thick foam sheats in single or double lengths.Durt cheap.

I'm getting my van ready as we speak. Can't wait to get the hell outa here, I've been in suburban hell for the last few months.ARRGGHH Evil or Very Mad


I spend several months out of the year living in my tintop as well and say ditto to this entire list. I love the Pocket Rocket and especially like this shower. It get's HOT in only a few hours in the sun.
http://www.amazon.com/Stearns-SunShower-showers-Ca...amp;sr=1-2

I also like some sort of spray cleaner (I tend to like the more natural ones or glass cleaners with vinegar) for wiping down the table and other surfaces. Things get nasty!

Not sure where you live or if this would gross you out but finding a memory foam mattress topper on craigslist (that comes from a clean home) is a great way to get a bargain and it will most likely not smell as god-awful as coming out of the package new.

I love the collapsible bowls/bucket for when you can't shower (and baby wipes are no longer doing the trick). Hot water, soap and a wash cloth can go a long way! I'm in salt water almost daily so for me a shower is pretty essential everyday.

I also love this product for when you want to sit outside your van reading in a chair and would like a table for your beer, food, candle, etc. Takes up very little space.

http://www.amazon.com/GSI-55300-Outdoors-Micro-Tab...amp;sr=8-1

I like to have a few roles of quarters stashed someplace for showers at campgrounds, laundry, etc.

Bring some rope/line for a clothesline.

Not sure if you're a coffee drinker and/or if you grind your own beans. I do and not having an aux battery I like to use this. (The closest coffee I'm close to when I'm mostly in my van is Dunkin Donuts. Unacceptable.)

http://www.amazon.com/GSI-Lexan-JavaGrind/dp/B000E...amp;sr=1-2



Like seanjenn said, it's super annoying to have too much sh*t in the van.

Hope this helps. Good luck and have fun!
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0to60in6min
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would get a roof cargo carrier to store things so there's minimum stuff inside the vanagon, easier to move around
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childofthewind
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cold Steel, this thread really helped me out when I embarked on my van-dwelling adventure a couple years ago.

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=428885&highlight=clutter+organise+organize
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:32 am    Post subject: Re: Long term camping in the vans checklist??? Reply with quote

Cold Steel wrote:
... Power- I want to run a labtop that pulls 12.4 amps. Not all the time but in the evenings. ...


I have a 12V charger for my computer and a Sears jump starter. I camp out on my son's yard in Hana or at a beach. Sometimes we camp and spend several days fishing. I run the computer from the jump starter and recharge that from 110 at his house. I can run the computer from the Vanagon battery but would rather rundown the jump starter. The jump starter is handy, but it is slow to recharge.
http://www.sears.com/diehard-portable-power-950-jump-starter-dc-and-usb-power-source/p-02871987000P

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Aloha
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Folding metal mesh dog crate. A well-behaved dog with a pillow of its own should travel fine, but for anything livelier I'd seriously consider a crate. There are also tentlike ones but they may not be tough long term for an energetic dog. A folded metal one could hang from a hatch-mounted bike rack when not needed (or stowed elsewhere, but I'd keep weatherproof stuff outside) and they can be easily erected when you need 'em.

Also, don't forget one of those screw-type ground stakes to anchor the long and short leashes you take along, etc. Have fun!
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More on showers:

http://bestcampingshowers.com/camping-shower-bag/best-camping-shower-bag

Although I find it more convenient to pay $2 at a campground/state park, etc if near one.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vermontgirl wrote:
More on showers:

http://bestcampingshowers.com/camping-shower-bag/best-camping-shower-bag


Even more on showers is the 6-page Vanagon-specific shower thread: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=422965 . Wink
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kamzcab86 wrote:
vermontgirl wrote:
More on showers:

http://bestcampingshowers.com/camping-shower-bag/best-camping-shower-bag


Even more on showers is the 6-page Vanagon-specific shower thread: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=422965 . Wink


Totally!!

And.. now we can resurrect the whole "are you gettin' any if you shower/don't shower in the wilds?"...
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes do go bury yourself in the shower thread.

I'm still waiting for someone to install this one and tell us how it works:
http://roadshower.com/

It might end up being me, I know solar showers don't work so great unless you have warm weather but I'm in AZ so I may be the first to try it and report back. We finally got yakima racks and a pod on our van so I have somewhere to mount it now.

BTW, the pod opens up loads of room inside the van and makes it way nicer when underway. How much you use it may depend on how often you're moving from one place to another. Loading and unloading daily is a pain, but if you're anywhere for longer than 1 night at a time it's great. We store a yarn spinning wheel up there and boxes of yarn plus folding camping chairs, a sandbag/cornhole game, bulky stuff we'd put outside to sit on or use when parked, but don't need rolling around the back of the interior when driving.

Though you probably won't be carrying toys like we do on our trips, I would think you might like/need this even more than us, since you have a tin top. We tend to pop the top and throw all our suitcases and bags etc up in the top bunk when parked, and a tintop doesn't have that location to push things out of the way when parked. Try craigslist for cheap ones. If you can go without, by all means, less is more. But it sure does open up space, and I don't think a pod is a dead giveaway that you're living inside; I see these on vehicles everywhere.

You only need two bars across the top of the van to hold even the largest available pod.

Memory foam toppers are Princess & the Pea levels of nice. We found some on CL, from a place that sells the overstock stuff - boxes that lost their vacuum seal and popped open. You can always wrap a quilt around it with safety pins so it doesn't collect dust & grime.

As for your wolf-dog, what about one of these:http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_details.php?id=3362&category_id=67&category_parent_id= And then I'd maybe try to line that whole zone with something waterproof in case your dog gets too nervous nelly and can't hold it in. But this would prevent your dog from running around the van and climbing up on the dashboard like you were talking about. Plus you can always get a dashcover and adhere it well to help prevent the claw scratches you were worried about.

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Try CL for a solar panel, I got lucky and found a solar panel WITH an Engel fridge all for sale by the same person. Not worrying about ice melting or the batteries dying on our laptop feels like we're in a 5 star hotel all of a sudden. Kind of a bizarre luxury for camping, but when you're in the van for an extended length of time it's really nice. Monitoring the status of the ice, and the water leaking into the food around it, gets old fast after a few days.

If you haven't yet seen the threads for SearchTempest, try that - gives you Craigslist results in a 500 mile radius of your zip code.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vermontgirl wrote:
kamzcab86 wrote:
vermontgirl wrote:
More on showers:

http://bestcampingshowers.com/camping-shower-bag/best-camping-shower-bag


Even more on showers is the 6-page Vanagon-specific shower thread: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=422965 . Wink


Totally!!

And.. now we can resurrect the whole "are you gettin' any if you shower/don't shower in the wilds?"...

You know I am getting some in "the wilds"! Wink

And did you say "Stealthy"?
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SpudlyHotPotato wrote:
Yes do go bury yourself in the shower thread.

I'm still waiting for someone to install this one and tell us how it works:
http://roadshower.com/

It might end up being me, I know solar showers don't work so great unless you have warm weather but I'm in AZ so I may be the first to try it and report back. We finally got yakima racks and a pod on our van so I have somewhere to mount it now.



Spudly,
I made this solar heater which is similar to the roadshower only much cheaper,works well here in Hawaii. Holds 14 gallons so you can use to wash dishes as well as showering.
Cheers, Ron
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