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As promised, this post is about the van itself and how much better it is since all the modifications of January. The need for all these fixes is very annoying (=stupid legislation that makes it illegal to not have left hand side door access). But I can’t deny that the changes themselves HAVE made camping in le van blanc a better experience than previously.

So. There’s now an awning, which extends the stay-dry living space to about twice as much as previously…

The awning was a bit fiddly to unroll and setup the first time, but I’m gradually getting the hang of it, much as I did with the poptop (which started out being a big faff and which is now an easy setup). Here’s a video of me pottering around camp having brekkie and getting the van ready to drive off. The video is only half a minute but in real time it took about 40 mins (of which 15 involved making and drinking coffee!)

The awning aside, I’ve also made major changes in the van itself. Primarily, I moved the kitchen cabinets thru 90 degrees so they run across the van from side to side. This, it turns out, is much more workable, not least as you can now walk thru the van…

The new placement of the kitchen also means there’s room for a flip up table…

And there’s also space for a drawer/slider shelf (repurposed from the rear of the van). This addresses the problem that the bed isn’t quite long enough, and allows for much more comfortable, flat-out sleeping across the diagonal…

At the moment I just have a stack of pillows on that shelf, which are disappointingly feathery and collapsing, but I’ve ordered a piece of foam to fit, so it’ll just be like an extension of the mattress.

Another MASSIVE thing is that I now have a working stove inside the van. Previously, thinking I was going to get gas fitted, I was temporarily cooking outdoors on a butane stove. But bringing everything in and out all the time was a bit hassly, and I was getting attacked by bugs all the time. Plus, when it’s chilly and rainy, as in Barrington Tops, it’s heavenly to be able to make an in-van cuppa with zero hassle.

Apart from that, the storage cubbies are a bit more logically organised with bigger, colour-coded storage boxes, and the table now attaches as a non-spill barrier in front of them (pic coming soon). But that’s less a big change and more an evolved solution. As I keep going places in the van I expect I’ll refine the things I need and the best way to carry them.

Basically, though, the new van fitout works really well, and I’m a happy camper 😍🚌⛺️🍷

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