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Thread: This old girl's got a van! Tell me your best camping hack

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    Sydney, NSW
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    Users Country Flag

    This old girl's got a van! Tell me your best camping hack

    So i've said goodbye to my audi A1 and bought a new Multivan. I'm heading to northern coastal NSW in 2 weeks on a work locum for 4 mths and plan to spend weekends camping. The multivan i chose over other camper options for various family style reasons but i like it's flexibility. i'm not going to get a commercial conversion . - i'm still not sure whether to take out any of the seats and leave them here in Sydney - not sure what my best configuration would be.

    i carry a lot of photography equipment for over/ under water so need to keep that safe and dry. I also need a space to hang my wetsuit. Do i need a fridge or will an esky and ice do just as well? Shall i get blockout blinds commercially or can i make my own?( I hate sewing, in fact, dont even know how to really ) . no. 1 priority is probably making those seats comfortable to sleep on - any recommendations for a memory foam mattress that folds up into nothing? ( haha ) . I need to keep the sleeping a double size for when hubby visits.

    i'd appreciate any and all ideas you have - i've already enjoyed scrolling through these forums

    i am quite familiar with the far north coast Byron etc area, but literally havent camped since the early 90's - any suggestions for great snorkelling and secret camping spots from Coffs to Tweed welcome also.

    So many questions! Many thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Melbourne
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    20
    Nice choice, I did something very similar with my T5.1 multivan.

    I ended up taking all rear seats out and built a raised mdf platform for the mattress, so I could put all my gear and a mountain bike underneath. I use a foam mattress from Clark Rubber, ‘caravan double’ size will just squeeze in between the wheel arches, and they offer different densities (try them in store). It’s a very comfy setup. I sometimes also sleep on a mattress directly on the floor when needed (if I need to carry a motorbike inside).

    I ended up driving most of the way around the country (17,000 kms). I chose not to put a fridge in (I wanted better use of the space) and picked up bags of ice when needed. I did buy blinds made for the vehicle (I recommend some sort of window block out if you want to ensure a good sleep), they were fiddly to put up and are not great quality, but they work. If I was to do it again, I would simply buy fabric and mount them with large press studs.

    This sliding door window vent was my single best purchase. The van can get hot overnight, and it’s no fun having windows down when mosquitoes are about. It’s not cheap, but great quality, provides security and fits in 2 minutes:
    Ventilation Grill Sliding Window T5/T6 Passenger Side
    – Kombi Life


    My partner and I love the van, it opens up many travelling opportunities (we’ll be going around Tassie in summer).

    There are plenty of option out there for your van - you’ll figure out what you personally need and what you don’t need along the way.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Sydney, NSW
    Posts
    6
    Users Country Flag Thread Starter
    thanks for all those tips - the window vent sounds a good idea.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stickshift View Post
    Nice choice, I did something very similar with my T5.1 multivan.

    I ended up taking all rear seats out and built a raised mdf platform for the mattress, so I could put all my gear and a mountain bike underneath. I use a foam mattress from Clark Rubber, ‘caravan double’ size will just squeeze in between the wheel arches, and they offer different densities (try them in store). It’s a very comfy setup. I sometimes also sleep on a mattress directly on the floor when needed (if I need to carry a motorbike inside).

    I ended up driving most of the way around the country (17,000 kms). I chose not to put a fridge in (I wanted better use of the space) and picked up bags of ice when needed. I did buy blinds made for the vehicle (I recommend some sort of window block out if you want to ensure a good sleep), they were fiddly to put up and are not great quality, but they work. If I was to do it again, I would simply buy fabric and mount them with large press studs.

    This sliding door window vent was my single best purchase. The van can get hot overnight, and it’s no fun having windows down when mosquitoes are about. It’s not cheap, but great quality, provides security and fits in 2 minutes:
    Ventilation Grill Sliding Window T5/T6 Passenger Side
    – Kombi Life


    My partner and I love the van, it opens up many travelling opportunities (we’ll be going around Tassie in summer).

    There are plenty of option out there for your van - you’ll figure out what you personally need and what you don’t need along the way.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    48
    Users Country Flag
    My hack, is core flute black 2.4 x 1.2 m cut to fit in the windows. Cost $10 ish a sheet. Then Place a towel over the front seats to block the windscreen.

    I have removed my 3 seat bench and left it in my shed from day one. Then placed both single chairs down one side. This allows bikes and other tools down the other side or a camp stretcher for over night trips.
    The rest function is a great feature to keep the cab warm.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Mt Cotton
    Posts
    3,590
    Our van is a basic transporter trimmed out to a level that make it a real good quiet ride , has only one seat at the RH rear corner as the van is used primarliy to transport our disabled daughter in her wheel chair . During the cooler months I and my nephew and a mate like to go Moto Cross riding west of Brisbane at Gap Creek Moto Park we usually go for a few days and camp there . The bikes and some of the camp gear are carried in the trailer , myself I sleep in the back of the van on one of those self inflating mattresses , its quite good for sleeping on and use a -10c sleeping bag as it gets very cold out there . We erect a 3/4 full size gazebo at the side of the van for cooking / table and chairs and hanging up gear . The others sleep in tents so their all good . The windows along the sides of the van are basically ambulance grade tint so very private .

    Just a short one here don,t try and park just anywhere around the Byron area they hate campers sleeping overnite , and its pay pay pay to park all around Byron these days . The Greens Mayor does not tolerate visiting city folk and franchised food outlets NO KFC NO Maccas NO Red Rooster not even a Dan Murphy,s are allowed for gods sake .
    This old girl's got a van! Tell me your best camping hack-20160613_080548-jpg
    This old girl's got a van! Tell me your best camping hack-20160403_194238-jpg
    This old girl's got a van! Tell me your best camping hack-20160613_080557-jpg
    Last edited by Sunny43.5; 17-09-2019 at 10:25 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Sydney, NSW
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    What is the 'rest function'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Husky310 View Post
    My hack, is core flute black 2.4 x 1.2 m cut to fit in the windows. Cost $10 ish a sheet. Then Place a towel over the front seats to block the windscreen.

    I have removed my 3 seat bench and left it in my shed from day one. Then placed both single chairs down one side. This allows bikes and other tools down the other side or a camp stretcher for over night trips.
    The rest function is a great feature to keep the cab warm.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Mt Cotton
    Posts
    3,590
    Quote Originally Posted by Moonie View Post
    What is the 'rest function'?
    Maybe they could have one of those Webasto Diesel Heaters , connects to the fuel tank and can run silently for days on just a couple of litres .

  8. #8
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    Sep 2019
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    Sydney, NSW
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    thanks for the pics. so the gazebo keeps dew off outdoor gear i guess and allows stuff to hang and dry.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    QLD
    Posts
    331
    I read somewhere that VW was going to introduce the overnight sleeping kit for the multivan as a poor substitute for not bringing back the Kombi Beach to Australia. If they did, it should be available around now.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Mt Cotton
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    3,590

    Quote Originally Posted by Moonie View Post
    thanks for the pics. so the gazebo keeps dew off outdoor gear i guess and allows stuff to hang and dry.
    Yes correct like wetsuits riding gear can get a pongy after a hard days riding , hanging it out helps next day tolerating the previous days leftovers Ha Ha . We also take out a 120 inch roll down screen which mounts on the trailer , we then use a DLP portable projector to watch movies and video clips through a bluetooth speaker a real camping luxury !

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