Sienna minivan camper. No longer going the teardrop route.

Discussion in 'Camping Toys' started by ride4321, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. Snapper

    Snapper Long timer

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    Nice! I have a very similar SET-UP except the Trailer (In A Bag) stores inside so it's easier to ditch the van in long-term parking somewhere for multi-day bike excursions. One thing I highly recommend are wind/rain deflector on the 4 roll-down Windows - for stealth ventilation and in the rain.
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  2. ride4321

    ride4321 Long timer

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    That's a good idea, thanks. I'll be in Florida a few times a year and those deflectors will be well worth having.
    Using an open trailer is going to have it's drawbacks I think. I like that it's light and will tow easy and not affect MPGs as much as a small cargo trailer but my bike and storage box will be out in the open so stealth camping in urban areas will be restricted. Not sure how much of that I'd be doing anyhow but it might be a problem every now and then. I'll probably be leaving the van and trailer for a few days at a time while off on the bike so I'll be relying on my hitch lock. If I'm leaving it for a longer period I'll have to rent space somewhere secure I guess.
    This is the storage box I'll mount to the trailer. It'd be very easy to break into and will be storing tools and riding gear in it. I'm gonna try not to worry about people stealing my shit while it's left unattended.

    black-husky-portable-tool-boxes-209261-64_1000.jpg
  3. ride4321

    ride4321 Long timer

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    Here's a pic of my portable shower. Tried it out and about a gallon should do the job. I need to cut the wand down and add a small section of hose.

    shower for van.jpg
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  4. Snapper

    Snapper Long timer

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    I think any trailer sort of kills urban stealth camping, which of course minivans excell at, but you're right an open trailer makes it even worse.

    Yeah one my pix above shows the sit-down indoor shower with Tyvek curtain. The garden sprayers work great and I used one in my previous campervan, but I've minimalized again and am now down to <1L navy showers out of Sawyer types bladders with an extra cap with holes drilled in - figured out while backpacking. With such low water usage, it makes it easy to dump the pee/shower bladder, and fill the fresh water bladder, in public bathrooms when I do my #2.
  5. ride4321

    ride4321 Long timer

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    Got a photo of that or any info to share? Always looking for new ideas and space is always at a premium. Thought the sprayer would work better than a solar bag shower but I might be wrong about that.
  6. Snapper

    Snapper Long timer

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    I think a garden sprayer does work better than a solar shower, at least if you are trying to shower inside a minivan as the latter usual uses gravity to pressure the spray and there is no headroom to create the gravity, but of course, the garden sprayer won't fold-up small when you are done. Showering with less than 1L takes practice, but you can do this in your home shower - just start with 2L and work your way down. The trick is Dr. Bronners and to use your head hair as a sponge for initial wetting, lathering up, and rinsing, in three stages. The water/lather/rinse run-off from your hair will cover most of your body and some of your limbs. Do your hair first at each of the three stages, and then use your hands to move the water/lather/rinse from the 'sponge' (hair) to do the rest of the body/limbs/feet.

    So THIS is the shower set-up (cargo bin/tub catch-water is black so hard to see), but you can see THIS water bladder rig at the bottom. Smartwater bottle caps use the same threads as Evernew bladders and Sawyer filters. My water bottle is there in case I need more water, but didn't in this case.
  7. ride4321

    ride4321 Long timer

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    I don't think I'd ever try to shower in the van, too crowded in mine. I like the Tyvec curtain though and might carry a piece for external use. I'll be remote camping most of the time and shouldn't have to worry about privacy. Thanks for the info.
  8. Snapper

    Snapper Long timer

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    Since you mentioned Forida, you might also consider a cot for the heat. Foam mattresses are excellent insulators.... the last thing you'll want in the heat. I'd also suggest a small USB fan with power bank to move the body heat envelop off THIS is a small off-grid backpacking rig with USB timer (to shut down after 1-3hrs) to conserve power, but probably not a big deal with a car.
  9. ride4321

    ride4321 Long timer

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    I'll only be in FL late fall or early spring but I am trying to figure out what to do about aux power. A small fan like that would be nice to have. I was just looking at different power sources like that last night but don't really know much about that stuff. I'm not going to do much of anything until I'm on the road and will figure out what I need as I go. I just want to keep it as simple as possible. I will probably be riding the bike daily so I can charge my phone while riding, same for my laptop.
  10. Snapper

    Snapper Long timer

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    Yeah I also don't know enough to do a solar/aux batt set-up, but fortunately I'm ultra conservative with consumables (like water and electric) from backpacking so a powerbank is plenty for me, just recharge while running van or bike. I'm even a fan of low lumen and my retaining my night vision so use 0.5 and 3 lms 90% of the time... better for stealth camping.
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  11. ride4321

    ride4321 Long timer

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    I'm a few months from taking off for the winter and haven't done much with the minivan until today. Started work on the galley in the back. Trying to keep it light so didn't bother making shelves and cubbies in the lower section. I'll use some storage containers there to fill the space to the left of the cooler. The cooler can be pulled out from the inside or rear and now doesn't take up hardly any space. My two water containers will face front and back so they can be used from inside or out. Made cubbies for my one burner stove and propane as well as my Jetboil and a few cans of fuel. I'll just wing it with the other stuff for cooking with Wally world containers. The cabinet is light enough to put in or out by myself and it'll strap tight to the rear seatbelt connections as well as a long cabinet as support between the back and side cabinets. Pretty secure in the end I think.
    van galley2.jpg

    van galley1.jpg

    The supported plywood will have a piano hinge and keep things in place while moving and serve as a work station when cooking.
    This got complicated because I needed to add about 6" for my mattress and foot space for sleeping. Originally I'd planned on moving the drivers seat forward for space but that sucked so I cut into the rear galley for foot space so I don't have to move the front seat. Much better.
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  12. ride4321

    ride4321 Long timer

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    The cooler is also out of the way now and I can access it from inside or out back. Before it was behind the passenger seat and ate up a lot of space. Much better this way.
    Still no solar or battery storage. I'll decide on that once I'm living in it in the SW.
  13. ride4321

    ride4321 Long timer

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    Put a couple of coats of poly on it and it's ready to hit the road.

    van galley4.jpg
  14. BigEasy

    BigEasy Fish Eyed Heathen

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    Just a thought about your work station supports; if it were my rig I would use rope/cord to support the table. Having the chain rattling on the side while driving would irritate the snot out of me.

    I really like the elegance of the simplicity of your design, perfect.
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  15. ride4321

    ride4321 Long timer

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    I removed the chain today and replaced it with nylon strapping. I initially tried paracord but it stretched a bit and the nylon does as well so I went a little past level so it'll be semi level when there's weight on the table top. Depending on how much weight goes on it I might have to go back to the chain and just figure out how to keep it strapped so it isn't slapping against the cabinet when on the road. I had the same concern and that would drive me nuts as well.
  16. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer Supporter

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    if it was me, id ditch the cord/chains, and pivot a piece of wood out to support from under the piece its hinged to
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  17. hpsVFR

    hpsVFR Hoosier Daddy Supporter

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    Vinyl-coated steel cable is generally pretty quiet, and won't stretch. You can also put your chain inside some heavy tubular webbing to quiet it down.

    Or you can go with a hinge similar to this:
    https://www.hardwaresource.com/secretary-desk-hinge.html
  18. ride4321

    ride4321 Long timer

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    That's a good idea but I don't want it to get much heavier. It's make a nice secure leg for the table to sit on though.

    I thought about just putting a cloth tube of some sort over the chain. I might do that. I threw the chain in the cabinet so I can switch it back on the road if I want. Trying to keep this cheap and simple so doubt I'll bother with the hinges but they'd work well too although the table is only 1/2 ply and might tear out with those hinges.
    I appreciate all the ideas though. My old feeble mind needs all the help it can get these days.
  19. hpsVFR

    hpsVFR Hoosier Daddy Supporter

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    Tubular web is cheap and common.

    If you only want the stays:
    https://www.hardwaretree.com/proddetail.php?prod=RS-257P
    $10/pair.

    Use through-bolts or tee-nuts instead of wood screws, and no worries abut pulling through. I didn't check the weight rating of that product, but I'm sure you can find something suitable, should you go that way.

    Just fleshing out the option. You obviously have a working item there; don't let us push you into breaking it!
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  20. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer Supporter

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    im just talkin about a piece of 1x2 with a hole drilled in one and and a thru bolt. One on each side. Weight would be minimal.

    would give a firm support for the drop leaf and not have any cables running interference.
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