Got Wood?

We both wanted the van to look stylish but the painted plywood wasn’t helping at all with the look we wanted so we decided on tongue&groove cladding to the walls. Think Swiss Alp Style but on wheels..

Again, this is something we haven’t really done before but it all went surprisingly smoothly!

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Before we started the cladding, we had to prep the area. We took down the existing plywood and insulated behind it (we decided to use the foil/bubblewrap looking insulation) We then put the plywood back up so we had a nice level base for the t&g.

Because our plan is to camp in it the majority of the year, the insulation, plywood and cladding combination will really help to keep heat in.

We stained the t&g to give it a better finish and then when it was all secured in place we put our pictures back up on the wall. All of the pictures mean something to us, one was a gift, 2 are from our trips to Dublin and one is an oil painting by Steve PP in Woolacombe.

pictures-up

 

We think the wood finish really makes it a lot more homely inside, waking up to wooden walls instead of blank white walls is a lot more refreshing. We just need to make a start on the ceiling soon! We are thinking a collage of old maps so it’s something interesting to look at when we are lying in bed.

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We found this National Trust sign in a pile of rubbish near to the Little Roadway campsite and thought it a shame to leave it there to rot so instead we plucked it out and fixed it to the door. It draws a bit of attention and people always think that we stole it! It’s just another memory added to the back of the van from our travels.

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We bought this Woolacombe sign too because it’s where we like to spend our weekends in the summer, surfing. It’s got a great pub, great beach and a great camping spot (which is technically just on the road side, but it’s a great view in a morning when you open the side door.

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(Waking up on the Esplanade on a summer’s morning in Woolacombe)

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Stay tuned, the next post will be more present, as it will be about the building of our new bed frame structure, which is still being done so you will be up to date almost with our conversion.

 

Becky & Joe

First Ever Weekender

We went down to Woolacombe at the end of May for the Bank Holiday weekend for our first camping trip.

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We got stuck in quite a bit of traffic on the way down as we naively left at peak time and we seemed to had spent ages on the M5, frustrated as we just wanted to be on the beach!

We had booked ourselves on to a campsite called Little Roadway which was in a lovely location not far from the beach (it’s on top of a very steep hill though!) The campsite is basically a field with no designated pitches so when we arrived we headed for a nice quiet spot by a hedge for some privacy.

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We had surprisingly good weather for a Bank Holiday, we had expected rain but were thankful for the weather as we had planned to BBQ all our meals.

We got to work setting the bed out before heading down to the beach so we didn’t have to worry about it when we got back.

The basic structure of the bed was 2 wooden crates and 3 sheets of plywood hinged together. Whilst travelling, the crates were used as storage for all of our things. Once we parked up we emptied everything out (luckily it wasn’t raining) and moved the crates in to position for the plywood to fold out on top of them, resting also on the wheel arch boxing.

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This created a sturdy base ready for the airbed to be blown up on top.

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We liked to use our bedding so we felt like we were at home instead of struggling with sleeping bags!

The whole assembly process was easy and lying in bed for the first night felt great as we were happy that it actually worked out.

We ended up staying for another night as we were so comfy and the weather was so good.

Looking back now at what it was like when we first started it all is funny because at the time it was a great set up but we have learnt lots of things along the way and improved it to make our experience a lot more fun.

Becky & Joe

 

Walls and Floors

Getting rid of the plain plywood walls and making it a lot more fresh was an important step before camping in it or it would have felt like sleeping in the back of a work van!

We decided to just paint the walls white to start with to make it fresher, brighter and cleaner.

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Looking back now we could of maybe used a more expensive paint as we come to find out that it actually washes off, which isn’t ideal when you want to perch on the wheel arch in a wetsuit whilst eating lunch and then walk back down the beach with a white bum.

With the flooring, we wanted something hard wearing. You see a lot of campers with carpeted walls and floors but that wouldn’t be ideal for putting muddy bikes in or wet camping gear.

We decided on some lino, a gorgeous Moroccan tile design to really jazz it up and make it look different.

Neither of us had any experience with fitting lino, but we figured it out pretty easily.

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(Excuse the blurry photo)

We used spray adhesive to fit it, even with all the doors open the van still smelt very strong of solvent, and mixed with the paint fumes meant Joe had to drive to work with the windows down for about a week. It’s all worth it though!

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The finish was pretty impressive to say we aren’t expert floor fitters.

We were now ready for our first adventure!

Becky & Joe

 

Back to the Start

Getting a Caddy has always been top of Joe’s list. It’s ideal for his work as a joiner, it’s perfect for fitting his mountain bikes in and it makes the perfect micro camper for our surf trips to Woolacombe (and other adventures)

Back in May, we travelled up and down the country looking for the perfect one. We started to become a little disheartened as ones that we were test driving weren’t as perfect as we thought until we found a navy blue one in a local garage. It was the right price, mechanically sound so we drove it home the same day!

It was already ply lined when we got it which saved us a task to start with. We removed the bulkhead as it restricted space and also made it feel too much like a work van. I sanded the plywood down to start with so we had a good fresh base ready for a coat of paint.

sanding

We have never done anything like this before so the design of what we want is constantly changing. What we started with was a great idea, as you will see in the ongoing blog posts, but we know we will be able to massively improve it, I think once you have camped in something like this, you slowly start to realise what is important/what works and what needs changing.

Our next blog post will be going into more detail about the sleeping arrangements and also our first ever camp out in it.

We really hope that you enjoy our journey!

Becky & Joe