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.

Blog Problems — Tiny Van Photos Repost

The passenger side door of the van showing the sink cabinet and storage unit.

In trying to learn how to use WordPress’s block editor, I accidentally deleted the page where I had originally posted my first van photos while I was trying to edit the page.

So I apologize to everyone who has already seen them. I will just repost the photos, and hopefully move on to my usual ramblings in future posts. I did post a couple of new “before” photos. Thanks for your patience. ❤️

Kitchen view of tiny campers van interior
The little wash stand was originally a $99 table with 2 slatted shelves, also from Amazon. Since it wouldn’t fit over the wheel wells, I cut it up and used the pieces to build the sink stand with fresh water underneath, and a gray water container on the bottom. I covered the gray water bottle with a slipcover,so I wouldn’t have to look at the dirty water. I used the extra wood for the top and shelf, and had wood left over to frame the refrigerator and build a small shelf behind the wash stand.
Interior view of small diy camper van from rear
I have built camper beds before, but I hated sleeping on a plywood slab. This time I went with a cot that had springs and added a cushy mattress. The narrow width doesn’t bother me as I was used to sleeping on the dinette bed in our Casita. I had to add riser legs so the porta pot would fit under the bed.
Under bed storage in camper van
My only A/C wiring is a power strip that attaches to an extension cord through a hole I cut in the floor behind the driver’s seat.
Deck plate in van floor for ventilation
With the van shut up at night there is no ventilation. Static Camper Van on YouTube gave me the idea of putting a ventilation hole in the floor. So I installed a deckplate in the only place where there was space under the van for a hole that large. With the deck plate open and the fan on exhaust, the ventilation is awesome!
tiny camper sink and water supply
Another van photo. This shows a close-up of my fresh and grey water supply, sink stand, along with a folding dishpan/tote sandwiched between the stand and the refrigerator.
portable solar panel stored in a small camper van
This is the 120 watt portable solar panel stowed behind the passenger seat.
Hole in van floor for electrical cord
Here’s the hole behind the driver’s seat for the electric cord. I plan to stuff one of those plastic mesh pot scrubbers around the cord to keep out bugs. Update: Linneth, a dear reader, suggested using a pool noodle around the wire, stuffed into the hole. Eureka!
My van build pictures wouldn’t be complete without another photo of my best buddy!

The before photo
The tricky part. 🙂
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