Van Mods & Update

I got the solar screen panels for the van’s cargo area windows done. They are not pretty, and I don’t like how much they darken the van’s interior. But they definitely keep the van cooler in the sun.

Solar screen in minivan windows
The solar screen held in place by plastic angle brackets that I attached magnets to. Since the screen wasn’t as stiff as I expected, I had to use a regular magnet to keep them from slipping down. (I also moved the little gray cosmetics holder because it looked tacky there!)

I also trimmed my fleece covered Reflectix window covers so they just slide inside the little white magnetized plastic angle brackets. I was having to attach each magnet individually at night before I found the angle brackets solution, and that was a pain!

Insulated minivan window covers
Fleece covered Reflectix insulated privacy panels in van’s side window.

I also took two 7″ O rings and sandwiched screening in between them for a removeable screen for the floor’s ventilation deck plate. It wasn’t a snug fit, so I whipstitched the screen’s edges around the O rings, hoping that the overlap would make it snug enough to fit tightly enough to keep bugs out. That made it look uneven and bulky. It will do until I can do better.

Van hole in floor for ventilation
It doesn’t look pretty, but it works. It also serves as a hatch to lower Mikkey to go potty under the van when it’s raining.

Finally, after a couple of steamy days, I realized that camping in our sweltering summer would be impossible without an air conditioner. So I combed every description and review of portable air conditioners I could find. The only one I liked was the Climate Rite that sets outside the van and blows cold air inside. But it was too heavy for me to lift in and out of the van. And the reviews were awful!

So I settled on a Honeywell. It’s definitely overkill for my tiny van, but I didn’t feel I had any other option. It’s 40 pounds, which is manageable, and it has good reviews.

portable air conditioner for van
Definite overkill. But it was my best option.

Now for the sad news. My neighbor and I have been excitedly discussing plans to go camping this coming Monday. Now she is waffling, not wanting to leave her husband. So I hope she decides it’s okay. If not, I will go alone.


  1. Ann

     /  April 19, 2019

    “It also serves as a hatch to lower Mikkey to go potty under the van when it’s raining.”


  2. Looks like some very useful mods!!! I love the hatch ability for Mikkey when it’s raining!! Great idea!!
    We are going to have to get a dehumidifier for our Oliver!!
    Hope things work out with the neighbor for camping!!!


    • Hope you can find a small, unobtrusive dehumidifier that will do the job. I would love to see your Ollie!

      I am crossing my fingers about the neighbor. She was so gung ho about going. Glad my hubby doesn’t mind my going as long as it’s not too far and he feels that I will be safe. That does give me increased incentive to get the Casita ready for travel. I have been so busy working on the van that it has taken most of my energy.


  3. Judy L Crankshaw

     /  April 20, 2019

    Your lower hatch makes me laugh. I would think Mikkey would panic. Not sure how you thought of this, but you might be a genius! Have fun camping. Hope your neighbor going along – she has no idea how great it would be.


    • Actually Mikkey gave me the idea. He was under the van while I was finishing up the edges of the hole. He saw me and stood on his hind legs for me to let him in. I figured if he could come in that way, he could go out that way!

      I hope she will come, too. I am a lot braver about going new places when I am not alone. I guess anxiety is my Achilles heel.


  4. Reggie

     /  April 20, 2019

    Love the Mikkey idea and wish you lived close to me! I want to do that kind of camping but can’t afford the vehicle, etc. at the moment and would love the opportunity to try it out! Anyway, I get great ideas from you which I am saving so that when I can afford it I can put them into practice.


    • Reggie, I looked for this van for a long time. I finally found one I could afford on Carfax. It had been used by a food delivery service for 5 years. It had 72,000 miles on it, and my mechanic told me it was in great shape. Keep an eye on Carfax. They also show the free maintenance history of the vehicles they list.

      Glad you are getting ideas you can use. I got most of my inspiration from YouTube. Good luck!


  5. Jeana Riley

     /  April 20, 2019

    Nice touch! Where did you find the plastic angle brackets? Dud you glue the magnets on them? Or how did you secure them to the window frame?


    • Hi, Jeana! I used adhesive pads that were sticky on both sides, cut them in half to fit the brackets and pressed them on, then pressed the magnets onto the other side of the pad. The angle brackets were from Amazon. They have a little metal insert that slides in that made a flat surface for the adhesive. So the magnets just stick to the metal frame. They are not permanently attached.


  6. Jo Harmon

     /  April 22, 2019

    I was so happy to see a comment on another blog! I’m really happy to see you are still camping and I love your van. It is so cute and I’m sure you will get lots of use out of it.
    I don’t know what they are asking for when it comes to me adding my blog spot I’ve tried a few ways but it keeps asking for URL


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