in my van.
I've been sleeping in my van,
in my driveway,
and each night has been better than the night before. I'm amazed what a good night's sleep I get!
If you are planning on van-dwelling,
I strongly suggest you sleep at least a week
in your own driveway, if possible.
You learn a lot of things
that are much easily corrected
when you have tools at your disposal.
You learn what works and what does not work.
You also learn what you DO and DO NOT need.
Here is an update
on some of the things I've changed
in the past few days:
1) Reflectix. I've read several blogs that say reflectix does not help with cold. I disagree. Last night I tried sleeping with only the curtains up, and no reflectix in the window. I got up about 10 minutes later and put in the reflectix. It made a HUGE difference in the amount of cold air flowing down from the windows.
2) Covering the reflectix. The first time, I spray painted vinyl flat black onto some old reflectix window inserts I had made a few years ago for my Mercury Tracer. It flaked off continually and drove me nuts. My friend, however, says hers does not flake and I think it's because the reflectix I used was old and maybe had oils or whatever on it. Or maybe I got hold of an old can of vinyl spray.
At any rate, I went to Joann's and bought some vinyl fabric in their drapery department. I got vinyl because it does not absorb water. I used no glue. I simply cut the vinyl to fit the reflectix ON ONE SIDE and used black duct tape to tape the edges. Upon finishing, I wondered if maybe a person couldn't just use black duct tape and forget buying the vinyl? The only difference is that tiny space between the reflectix and vinyl is dead air space and good insulation. I didn't bother putting the tape on the backsides except for around the edges. I want to be able to put the silver side OUT during hot weather to reflect the sun
(hence the name "reflectix.")
Here is what those inserts look like:
In addition to the reflectix inserts
(which live under my mattress during the day),
I made curtains.
I bought a set of insulated curtains for $12
at Goodwill and used my serger to cut them to size. For the two side windows where I sleep,
I tried various ways of hanging them,
none of which were comfortable.
Finally, I went to the hardware store
and told the guy my problem.
He suggested I use crown molding hooks.
Crown molding is the molding that people hang around the top of their walls for decoration:
The hooks look like this:
They're also known as steel picture rail hooks.
I bought 3 packages and used 10 hooks
(5 for each curtain).
When I began I simply sewed rings onto my curtains.
I wanted to use regular plastic curtain rings
but I could not find them
without making a long drive back to Joann's.
So I bought 10 key ring hooks!
They worked great!
I sewed them on.
I began by putting the hooks in the ditch
between the cloth headliner
and the plastic molded car body.
Then I simply hung the curtains on the hooks
using the rings.
That worked fine the first night,
but it bugged me
that the curtains would fall off the hooks
if I touched them wrong.
So last night, I took a pair of pliers
and I bent the hooks CLOSED onto the rings.
I also bent the hooks tighter on the end
that inserts into the ditch.
Now, I just have to put them in and they stay.
In the morning, I take down the curtains and
fold them up, rings, hooks, and all.
It's much more convenient.
I use a bungie cord
across the bottom of the curtains on the bed side,
so the curtains don't touch me while I sleep.
I hung a bungie between the cab
and the sleeping area,
using the hook in the ditch method again,
and strung a curtain onto it.
I can separate them and tuck them
into the backs of the seats when I'm driving
Using the same method,
I hung a curtain across the back a few days ago,
but have discovered I do not need it.
Instead, I covered the back window
with window film,
so nobody can see inside.
With my pillows stacked up at night,
it pretty much covers the back window.
If I DO want complete privacy,
I can still hang those curtains.
My Luci Lamp hangs from the handhold
toward the back of the van,
where it also gets charged during the daylight hours.
4) Window Film
I took the darker stained glass film out of the passenger slide door window
and replaced it with the clear rainbow film.
It allows more daylight and I love it.
I put that same film in the back window:
I kept the darker stained glass in the window next to my bed:
5) Cab Windows
I bought reflectix and made covers
for the driver and passenger window.
I bought a windshield sunshade for $10
at the auto store.
It covers the entire windshield.
With that and the side windows covered,
I have total privacy.
I returned the fairy lights that didn't work,
bought a new brand,
and hung them.
I love them!
They give just enough light at night
that I can undress and see my way around.
My propane Buddy Heater works GREAT
in that small space!
I only have to run it about 5 minutes
to make the entire place toasty!
I ALWAYS crack the front windows
when I run the heater.
8) Carbon Monoxide
I bought a Carbon Monoxide detector/alarm
and mounted it near the floor.
I've used the toilet the past week,
and learned that really,
all I need are double bags in the loo,
with a piece of paper toweling to collect
No need to take cat litter,
or wood shavings.
I did buy some diaper pail bags
so I could double bag the loo remains
They have tight snap closures,
so should work pretty well.
10) Washing Clothes.
I bought a new washing machine.
I'll report back!
The only thing I have NOT done in my van
I do have both a propane and a butane stove,
but I'll save the cooking experimentation
for when I get settled in the desert.
I've camped all my life,
so I'm pretty sure I have taken what I need.
If not, Quartzsite is a camper's shopping paradise,
so I'm not too worried.
All in all, I'm very happy with my van!
Today I go pick up the Carfax
so I have maintenance records,
and I pick up the registration.
Tomorrow, I will go through the kitchen at the back,
and rethink what I do and do not need to take.
I originally planned to use a car top carrier.
However, I got creative, and managed to store
a folding table for cooking,
a folding table that sits next to my camp chair,
my camp chair,
and two poles for making a shade tarp
inside the van
with hardly any noticeable loss of space.
I want to take a tent,
and most likely will put it
in the passenger seat floorboard
If necessary, I'll put an extra bin of groceries
on the passenger seat.
And that should do it.
I just can't think of anything else.
Looking forward to being on the road again.