Newcommers Forums The Bonfire The Van Code Book/Guide Discussions & Feedback

  • The Van Code Book/Guide Discussions & Feedback

    Posted by Tomas on July 2, 2023 at 09:29

    Hey there Road-Trip Rebels!

    First off, let’s just put a massive THANK YOU out there, emblazoned in neon lights, for all you beautiful souls who’ve offered to help me cross the finish line with my book. Your generosity and enthusiasm have me more charged up than my van’s solar panels on a sunny day.

    This book, my friends, isn’t just a guide to vanlife. No, it’s the roadmap to transforming a nugget of an idea into a full-blown, road-ready van, geared up to conquer the vast and wild world of vanlife.

    To make things a bit tidier (because let’s be honest, my van can be a mess, but my work? Not so much), I’ve set up this forum thread. It’s our own little roundtable where we can toss around feedback, corrections, and those electrifying light bulb moments. Maybe reading someone else’s ideas will light a fire in your brain, who knows?

    In any case, I am incredibly grateful for your assistance. If there’s ever anything I can do in return, don’t be a stranger. I’m always here to lend a helping hand, whether it’s to pass the metaphorical wrench or to share a road-tested piece of advice.

    Stay awesome, you road renegades!

    Vroom vroom, Tomas

    Jackie replied 6 months ago 3 Members · 22 Replies
  • 22 Replies
  • Isabella

    Member
    July 4, 2023 at 11:11

    A little something I noticed (besides how awesome the book is!) some places backtick symbol have been used instead of apostrophe. Just a little ‘make it tidier’ advice from me๐Ÿค™Thanks for writing this guidebook and building this online community! What a massive help for all us living on the road!๐ŸŒ

    • Tomas

      Administrator
      July 4, 2023 at 11:35

      Thanks for that! I will absolutely have a go through on that! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

  • Jackie

    Member
    July 7, 2023 at 16:55

    Hi Tomas, I’m looking at the Van code with an author/proofreader’s eyes. Just one little note on Choosing the Right Van, there is repetition of ‘expensive mistake’ in two sentences close to each other.

    “If you are new to vanlife, or mechanics in general, it is a totally reasonable thought that it doesnโ€™t matter which van you buy, because it is how you build it that counts. In reality, choosing the right van is very likely the biggest, most expensive, decision you will make during the process, and potentially the most expensive mistake. For many of us, that can also make it the most overwhelming one, and potentially the most expensive mistake.”

    Could you rephrase to make it flow better? Or just cut out “and potentially the most expensive mistake.” from the second sentence?

  • Jackie

    Member
    July 7, 2023 at 17:02

    “IKEA units might make it feel crAmped”

    Should that capital A be there?

  • Jackie

    Member
    July 7, 2023 at 17:07

    Hi Tomas – I’ve just finished reading the first part of your book and it’s excellent.

    One thing you might consider adding is that if you’re thinking of buying and converting a van, it’s a good idea to visit lots of trade shows and vanlife events. That way, you can glean lots of advice on the realities of van life, plus ideas for layouts etc.

    In the tools section, is it worth adding a conclusion such as a bullet pointed summary/shopping list of the essential tools for ease of reference?

  • Jackie

    Member
    July 7, 2023 at 17:12

    Bed set ups – I would appreciate a short description of what each bed set up is, since I am not familiar with the terms banquette or Murphy. I know there are diagrams, but you launch straight into pros and cons.

  • Jackie

    Member
    July 7, 2023 at 17:21

    For rust removal, do you recommend eye protection as well as a mask? I’ve never done it, so I don’t know if it’s risky to the peepers!

    On the insulation section – we routed all our wires and pipes outside of the walls, so that if anything went wrong it is easy to get to. Wires and pipes hidden in spray foam under the floor or behind the walls will be a nightmare if you need to get to them for a fix. Just a thought.

  • Jackie

    Member
    July 7, 2023 at 17:30

    “The tongue & groove boards are like those featherweight wrestling chAmpions” – another capital A.

    It struck me when I was reading this part that you haven’t discussed weight – as in the legal Maximum Permitted Mass of the vehicle and working out how heavy all the build components (insulation, wood, wiring, batteries, solar panels, appliances etc) are, plus the weight of all the personal effects that will go into the van, such as bedding, crockery, pans, towels, clothing, sports equipment, bikes etc. We’re fortunate that our truck still has 10 tonnes of unused weight carrying capacity, but in a 3.5 t van, weight could be a real issue.

    We met a van lifer who had used Pawlonia wood for his panels, which is incredibly lightweight.

  • Jackie

    Member
    July 7, 2023 at 17:38

    Cupboard doors – we used Tambour doors for our cupboards and shower door. They pull down or across to close, so can’t fly open on bends. They can be cut to size, and fitted to open horizontally or vertically. https://tamboursolutions.co.uk/tambour-doors/

  • Jackie

    Member
    July 7, 2023 at 17:46

    Fridges – is it important to discuss the difference between ammonia absorption fridges, which can be risky if not level and don’t cool as efficiently as conventional compressor fridges, like the ones you have at home?

  • Jackie

    Member
    July 7, 2023 at 17:52

    Toilets – we have a Trobolo separating loo, which is a slightly more sophisticated version of the bag of sh**! We dispose of the poo bags in dog waste bins if poss, or in the refuse. Consider that every year, 167bn disposable nappies are discarded in the refuse worldwide, and they contain plastic, whereas our eco bags of poo is 100% organic and biodegradable.

    We spend a lot of time off grid and find this a much better system than the chemical loo. In some less developed countries, eg Albania, we couldn’t buy chemicals, and struggled to find suitable disposal points.

  • Jackie

    Member
    July 7, 2023 at 17:58

    Inverters – A classic exAmple of this is a kettle – capital A again. I think this might be deliberate, since it’s always an Amp!

  • Jackie

    Member
    July 7, 2023 at 18:10

    Dash cameras – are illegal in some European countries and even having one can attract very heavy fines.

    It largely because it contravenes EU privacy laws.

    In France and Belgium, dash cams are restricted to ‘private use’, so you can’t share the footage on Facebook or YouTube without permission from those being filmed.

    Dashcams are illegal in Austria and Portugal, and
    it is illegal to upload dashcam footage publicly in Germany.

    In Austria, it is illegal to own, let alone use, a dash cam and even first time offenders can be hit with a huge fine of โ‚ฌ10,000. Get caught again and it is a โ‚ฌ25,000 penalty.

    German privacy laws require faces and number plates to be obscured if footage is being shared publicly.

    Luxembourg it is legal to own a dash cam, but you cannot use one.

    In Switzerland you can own a dashcam, but need a legal purpose to even record a journey, and have to make it obvious to anyone being filmed that they are being recorded.

  • Jackie

    Member
    July 7, 2023 at 18:13

    Tanks – you don’t mention about potable water tanks with non-leaching plastic, or baffles in larger tanks to prevent the water sloshing around and affecting braking and cornering.

  • Tomas

    Administrator
    July 7, 2023 at 21:03

    Thank you SO much for all that amazing feedback Jackie! You’re a rockstar, really. I’ve already begun to implement a bunch of it. ๐Ÿ‘

    I am happy you enjoyed the guide, book or whatever I call this thing, and I always welcome feedback.

  • Jackie

    Member
    July 8, 2023 at 06:03

    No worries.

    Just another thought on water tanks, you say go as big as possible, but besides using the correct material for potable water and baffles in larger tanks, there is also the weight issue, because water is heavy, 1kg per litre. Plus, cold water inside attracts condensation, so insulation is perhaps a good idea.

    • Tomas

      Administrator
      July 8, 2023 at 11:20

      True indeed! I believe a separate chapter on weight may be in order. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

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