Al’s Creative Vandwelling Modifications-ADCO RV Windshield Cover

window-cover

(Today we are going to have a guest post from my friend Al about four different modifications he made to his van. I thought they were very creative and wanted to share them with you. I hope you find them helpful! Be sure to check out his blog: http://rollingsteeltent.blogspot.com/)

After the first ten months in my van I’d learned which things worked for me and which needed improvement, Here are four things I either did right or corrected to make work better.

WINDOW COVER

The first improvement is a straight-off-the-shelf item used exactly as it was originally intended. (Not very creative, but…) My windshield had cracked because, according to various people, I’d used a Reflectix shade. They said it gets incredibly hot between the shade and the glass as sunlight bounces back and forth between the two. The heat causes tiny chips to expand into cracks. So after I had the windshield replaced I went looking for an alternative shade. I stumbled across an RV window cover in a configuration for my van. There were Ford and Dodge versions, too. Classic Accessories White RV Windshield Cover

It’s vinyl with a fuzzy backing. I don’t know yet how well it might keep out heat, but I could layer other insulation between it and the glass if necessary. It’s held in place with straps and magnets and is easy to install and remove. It folds down to about the size of a loose leaf binder or, if you roll it, the size of a bread loaf. It can blow off in strong winds, so I stick the edges down with more magnets.

FRIDGE BOX

When I started out, my Dometic CF-25 fridge sat naked next to the driver seat. Then I was given enough foil-backed closed-cell foam board to make a box around it. That helped reduce the amount of time the fridge ran, thus the amount of electricity used. Later I wrapped the foam box with three layers of Reflectix. That helped some more but was kind of clunky looking. It also kept falling apart. Yeah… duct tape repairs. Get the Dometic CF25 from Amazon here: Dometic Portable Freezer/Refrigerator

The insulated fridge box, that sits where the passenger seat used to be.

The insulated fridge box, that sits where the passenger seat used to be.

fridge-open-caption

So this summer I decided to build a new box out of 2” foam-backed closed-cell foam board. I taped the sides and end pieces together (with openings for the fridge vents) and used that assembly as a guide for the bottom piece. I could have just made a top, hinged it with duct tape, and called it a day, but I wanted to skin the exterior with plywood to make it durable. That meant I needed a way to hold the plywood together, besides gluing it to the foam board. An external frame was the answer. The frame I built could have been simpler and lighter, I suppose, but the design evolved as I went along.

fridge-const-details

The box lid originally hinged the same way as the fridge lid, but I discovered (oops) that it hit the van ceiling. I changed it the other way so it would stay open without me holding it.

Besides protecting the foam, the wood box also raises the fridge off the floor, away from van exhaust heat. It allowed for a strong hinged and latching lid as well. And I could mount two 12V outlets to it, too. The fridge plugs into one of them. Since the fridge is near the dash, I can plug it into the van’s factory 12V outlet when I drive for a while, saving house battery power.

fridge-detail-1

I painted the box white to decrease solar gain, then added Reflectix panels between the frame pieces and on the lid, because more insulation is better. And sexier looking. The fridge runs so much less now, even in summer. Get Reflectix from Amazon here: Reflectix 24-Inch by 25-Feet Bubble Pack Insulation

The electrical part of the box seen from the passenger door.

The electrical part of the box seen from the passenger door.

My original electrical wiring was functional, but a mess. So I mounted it to the fridge box, and upgraded all my wiring.

I used to have a steel cabinet where the passenger seat once was. It didn’t work out very well. So I removed it and put the fridge there instead, bolting it down to the former seat anchors. The only drawback with the location is that the fridge and wiring will need to be moved in order to remove the engine cover. I think the tradeoff is worth it.

UNDER-MATTRESS STORAGE

The cabinet I’d removed had been home to all my atlases, among other things. Where could I put them? How about a thin, flat box between the mattress and bed frame? The cross braces could act as dividers. It was simple to build. Just cut, glue and screw. It cost me two inches of headroom, but I don’t notice it much.

bed2-caption

bed-1

I originally assumed I would need some hinges, but attaching them to plywood would be a problem. Then I realized all I really needed was some locating pegs to keep the top panel from sliding around.

MAILBOX STORAGE

One thing that worked out great from the start was my idea for overhead storage. Mailboxes. I screwed a 1×2 to the joint of the roof and wall, then screwed the boxes to the board. And since the boxes are steel, I can stick magnetic tap lights to them. Gibraltar Extra Large Horizontal Wall Mount Mailbox, Black

I’m very impressed with Al’s use of mailboxes. They are cheap, easy to install and make use of space that would otherwise be totally wasted!

 More on Windshield Covers

Thanks Al for all those great ideas! After I heard that he had to replace his windshield and the glaziers blamed it on his use of Reflectix on the inside of the windshield, that really got my attention. It makes sense because the Reflectix holds all that heat right up against the window so you could have 110 degrees coming from the outside from the sun and then bouncing back from the inside. That makes the glass very, very hot which apparently puts it at risk of cracking.

By being on the outside the heat never gets inside the van keeping it much cooler inside. As a huge bonus, it does allow some light in the van unlike the Rfelectix which made it very dark.

With the windshield covers, by being on the outside the heat never gets inside the van keeping it noticeably  cooler than Reflectix. As a huge bonus, it does allow some light in the van unlike the Reflectix which made it dark.

So putting the Reflectix on the inside puts the windshield at risk, but I’ve always thought putting it on the outside was a better idea anyway because that way the heat is never allowed into the van at all. No matter how well you cut the Reflectix it can’t seal so tightly around the windshield to keep all the heat out, some will get in making the van hotter. But, it you put it on the outside of the windshield, very little of the heat ever gets inside, keeping it noticeably cooler. In fact I cut my Reflectix to go on the outside of the windshield and it works extremely well to keep the van cooler. However, it’s a pain in the butt to put on and take off and then in the rain or wind  it’s damaged or blown away. The bottom line is its so difficult I just don’t bother with it.

This is the cover I ordered for my van. It fits 2001-2013. Chevy Express. It fits my 2001 okay, it fits Judy's 2007 perfectly.

This is the $40 cover I ordered for my van. It fits the 2001-2013. Chevy Express. While it fits my 2001 okay, it fits Judy’s 2007 perfectly.

As soon as I saw how great the cover Al bought was working I had to get one myself because it solves all the problems I was having with the Reflectix on the outside. So I searched Amazon and ordered this one: Adco Windshield Cover for 2001-2013 Chevy Express Vans. It cost $40 and I’m very pleased with it. It fits my 2001 Chevy Express pretty well, so I tried it on Judy’s 2007 and it fit perfectly. So apparently there were some minor changes in the body over that time frame but it still works extremely well on both. What I like best about it is it appears to be very good quality and I think it will last a long time. Plus, it’s very easy to put on, even easier than Reflectix on the inside. It has pockets on the corners that just slide over the corners of the doors and a magnet to hold it at the bottom of the window. It also has an opening for the mirror and a velcro strap that goes under the mirror to hold it in place.

It's very easy to put on: 1) You open the door and slip the pocket over it, 2) throw the rest over the hood and 3) open the far door and put its pocket over that door 4) straighten it all up and attach the velcro straps under the mirrors. Done!

It’s very easy to put on: 1) you open the door and slip the pocket over it, 2) throw the rest over the hood and 3) open the far door and put its pocket over that door 4) straighten it all up and 5) attach the velcro straps under the mirrors. Done!

The pocket goes over the corner of the door.

The pocket goes over the corner of the door.

It fit's very well over Judy's mirror but not quite as well as mine. It still works and I'm happy with it, it's just not perfect.

It fit’s very well over Judy’s 2007 mirror but not quite as well on my 2001. It still works and I’m happy with it, it’s just not perfect. The strap under the mirror attaches with velcro.

Adco makes them for every van. Here is a link to Amazon for the one that works on the 1997-2010 Ford van ADCO Windshield Cover for 1997-2010 Ford Vans

I highly recommend ADCO RV windshield covers to you! You’ll be cooler, the windshield won’t crack from the heat and you’ll get some light in the van during the day.

Posted in Conversion Details, Cooking-Refrigeration, Heating-Insulation

TechNomadia visits the RTR & a Review of Their Smartphone App: US Public Lands

I love the desert! It can't help but put on a light show.

I love the desert! It can’t help but put on a light show.

This year we’ve had the great good fortune to have several other bloggers drop by. The amazing Glenn Morrissette of “To Simplify” dropped in for a few days and my old friend Randy Vinning of “Mobile Codgers” also was here for awhile and lead a Question and Answer session. Check out Glenn’s blog at http://www.tosimplify.net/ and Randy’s at  http://mobilecodgers.blogspot.com/.

Glenn Morrissette of "To Simplify".

Glenn Morrissette of “To Simplify“.

Randy Vinning is the one who told me about Dr. Rubio. In many ways Randy has been a mentor to me and he is someone I wish I could be more like.

Randy Vinning is the one who told me about Dr. Rubio. In many ways Randy has been a mentor to me and he is someone I wish I could be more like.

Then we had the great good fortune that Chris Dunphy & Cherie Ve Ard who are the creators of the outstanding blog “Technomadia” very kindly agreed to come out and do a meet and greet and a Q&A session. I’ve long been an admirer of their blog but meeting them in person was a real joy!

rtr3-techno-close

Not only were they super nice, but we threw some pretty tough questions at them and they answered each of them like it was child’s-play. Every new thing I have to learn is giant mountain for me to climb so I really admire people who can whiz through technical stuff like they can.  Check out their blog here: http://www.technomadia.com/

When word got out that they would be coming by everyone was excited so we had between 50-60 people there to meet them, ask questions and gain from their knowledge. It probably would have been more but it was also the first day of the Big Tent RV Show so many of our folks were there.

rtr3-tecno-group

We had a big crowd out to meet and ask questions of the renowned experts on everything technical pertaining to the mobile life.

But they aren’t just “super geeks” they’re also “super nomads“! They’ve been living on the road for 9 years and are currently in a vintage bus that they converted into their mobile castle, so they are experts in everything technology and everything nomadic–that makes them very special! I give their blog my highest recommendation!! Check it out here:  http://www.technomadia.com/

rtr3-me-tech-use

Chris, Cherie and yours truly.

 

Review Of Their App, US Public Lands

Chris and Cherie created what I think is the very best Smartphone App ever made for boondockers called US Public Lands.  If you have ever wanted to know where to camp on Public Land, you need to go and buy this App right now! Once I’ve decided on an area where I want to camp, it’s the very first and best tool that I have to find a campsite.

This is Chris and Cherie's outstanding Smartphone App for finding Public Land.

This is Chris and Cherie’s outstanding Smartphone App for finding Public Land on my Samsung Note 3.

The reason it’s so powerful and useful is that they’ve combined an overlay of all US Public Land (like National Forest and BLM land) over a Google map and then made it so you could switch to that same area looking at a Google Earth Satellite view. In either view you can turn the overlay on or off depending on if you need it right then or not.  Let me give you an example of how you could use it:

Let’s say you are coming to my camp in Ehrenberg and you need to find my camp and look for other areas on BLM land. After you start the App you would enter “Ehrenberg, AZ” in the search bar and get the Google map of it. In the screen shot below, notice the Gold overlay, that’s the marking for BLM Land so now you know exactly where it is and you can zoom in even closer for more detail.

Here is the map view using Google Maps. Notice the big block of gold, it marks that land as being owned by the  BLM. I know I can camp anywhere in the gold area.

Here is the map view using Google Maps. Notice the big block of gold, it marks that land as being owned by the BLM. I know I can camp anywhere in the gold area.

But just the map won’t help you find a camp site so you switch to the Google Satellite view and you can zoom in very tight and pick a campsite right in a group of trees and look at the quality of the roads. Because I find the colored overlay of Public Land a distraction I usually switch it off  in Satellite view to study the lay of the land. But with a tap of a button I can toggle it on or off.

Here I've switched to the Satellite view and turned off the Land Ownership overlay for a clearer view, but I can easily turn it back on. Being Google Earth, I can zoom in very tight and see exactly where I am going.

Here I’ve switched to the Satellite view and turned off the Land Ownership overlay for a clearer view, but I can easily turn it back on. Being Google Earth, I can zoom in very tight and see exactly where I’m going.

But, here’s the best thing of all! If your Smartphone has GPS you can turn it on and have a Real-Time pin-marker of your exact location on the map. So if I’m looking for a camp on National Forest or BLM land as I drive along I can actually watch the pin marking my location move along the road and as soon as I enter BLM land I can see it enter the gold BLM overlay. Since I know I’m on BLM land, I cab pull over and switch to Satellite view and start looking for little roads I can turn down to find a camp. Rather than drive down every road I can preview them on my Satellite view. Best of all, I can keep checking the overlay and know if I’m leaving Public Land and entering private or state land.

I think It’s a tremendously useful tool and every boondocker should have it! You can get it on Google Play and I assume at the Apple store.

Here, I've zoomed in on the road leading back to my camp and you can see some of the RVs along the road. You can see the spiderweb of small roads leading off the main road and even trees you might want to camp around. I've also pulled down the menu and you can see I have the overlay turned off and in Satellite view. I can switch back with just a tap.

Here, I’ve zoomed in on the road leading back to my camp and you can see some of the RVs along the road. You can also see the spiderweb of small roads leading off the main road and even trees you might want to camp around. I’ve also pulled down the menu and you can see I have the overlay turned off and I’m in Satellite view. I can switch back with just a tap. This takes much of the guesswork out of finding a campsite and is worth it’s weight in gold!

Posted in Boondocking, Tribe

More Rubber Tramp Rendezvous 2015 Photos

A few of the rigs of the RTR.

A few of the rigs of the RTR.

I’m writing this on Monday January 19th and tomorrow is the last day of the RTR. These are very busy times for me so I’m running behind on blog posts on the RTR itself, that’s what today and the next few will be.

This potato bake was another great meal hosted by Mark and Donna! Thanks so much guys, everyone had a great time!!

This potato bake was another great meal hosted by Mark and Donna! Thanks so much guys, everyone had a great time!!

My main goal for the Rendezvous is to create a tribe, a community of like-minded people who have chosen to live free and mobile. Unfortunately, many of us allow the fear of the unknown and especially of loneliness to keep us from following our hearts true desire. My intent is to create a group of mobile people that gather to support each other–especially for the newcomers who are just starting out. It’s a great joy to me to see peoples confidence and knowledge grow as they make friends and ask each other questions and, most importantly, find solutions to the problems they’ve been facing. Whatever difficulty you’re facing, chances are someone here has faced it too.

More spuds baking away on the charcoal!

More spuds baking away on the charcoal!

We hold seminars and classes most days to answer peoples questions, but by itself that doesn’t build community, and community is every bit as important to the new vandweller as knowledge. The best way to build community is over food so one thing we do often is eat together! Above you can see some photos of  the potato bake hosted my Donna and Mark. They are a full-timing couple who are wonderful, caring and generous people–and pretty good cooks too. Last year at Ehrenberg they hosted the New Years eve dinner where they baked up a delicious ham in their cast iron Dutch Oven which was simply incredible! They also did a potato bake at lasts year RTR, so they generously did it again this year. As always it was amazing. Every potato was done perfectly and people had brought virtually every kind of a topping you could possibly want. A great time was had by all!

It was a huge success as always. Thanks for everything you do Mark and Donna!

Of course we all ae full of poop and some of us in cars and tents don't have a good private place to do it, so I set up this tent to be the potty tent.

Of course we are all full of poop and those of us in cars and tents don’t have a good private place to do it, so I set up this tent to be the camp potty tent.

What goes in must come out! So every year I set up a potty tent for those still in cars and tents. With so many of us in a small space there’s limited privacy so having somewhere to go away from everyone else’s eyesight is a necessity! The tent works out well!

This is a pack it in, "pack it out" set-up. You do your "thing" on the 5 gallon bucket, you wrap up your "thing" in the trash bag, and then you take you "thing" home with you to dispose of.

This is a pack it in, “pack it out” set-up. You do your “thing” on the 5 gallon bucket, you wrap up your “thing” in the trash bag, and then you take your “thing” back to your camp with you to dispose of. :P

At every gathering I do announcements and that includes things people are selling, projects and repairs they need help with and even businesses or services they have to offer. My good friend Kyndal does haircuts every year so this has become my annual, once-a-year haircut and beard trim. Ain’t I purrrty!! Of course Cody is so beautiful he steals the show. Big ham dog!

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One thing that sets the desert apart from everywhere else is the continual, stunning sunrises and sunsets! Every day I plan a walk at about sunset so I can be outside and in a position to see what the sunset is going to be like, and amazingly often, it is fantastic!

Another great sunset!

Another great sunset!

After this years RTR I’ll be moving back to Ehrenberg camp and many people from here will join me there; all are welcome! To help you find the camp I’m including the next three maps :

Ehrenberg-map-newEhrenberg-Camp-Map-001

Ehrenberg-map-wide-002

Posted in Tribe

Understanding Insulation in Your Van

There are three kinds of heat transferance: 1) Radiation from the fire or the sun passing through air or a vacuum, 2) Conduction through the fire-poker or the walls of your van, and 3) Convection which is how heat moves through a body of gas or liquid like the air in your van. Certain insulation’s work with each type of heat. Choose the wrong insulation for the job and you are just throwing away your money.

(On January 22nd I’m moving back to my Ehrenberg camp with probably a fairly large group of people from the RTR. Everyone is welcome to join us! At the bottom of the post are maps to that camp!)

I should have written about insulation earlier in the winter, but better late than never! I constantly encounter misunderstandings about insulation so I want to spend some time on the science of it as well as the practical application. But before we do I want to make it clear that even more important than insulation is sealing your car, van or RV against air-infiltration. Nothing will make you colder than moving air and even if you insulate but air seeps in and blows around you will still be cold. Before you insulate take time to work on all the seals around the doors and windows. Do whatever it takes to keep them tight. But that’s a subject for another day.

Your van is a lot like a house: in the winter the heat wants to conduct through the walls and the way to stop it is with a high R-value insulation. Because of Convection the heat rises and you need the most insulation in the roof. Like a house, in the summer the Radiant heat from the sun comes in through the windows and makes the van hot. Put a Radiant barrier like Reflectix in the window and the problem is solved.

UNDERSTANDING HEAT:

The above graphics illustrates the three main kinds of heat that impact us as vandwellers:

Radiation: heat radiates from the heat source and when it strikes an object transfers the heat to the object. The classic example of this is the sun. Heat leaves the sun, travels through space and hits our atmosphere, travels through it and when it hits the your skin, or the metal skin of the van it dumps the heat into. Or, it hits the glass windows, travels easily through it and dumps its heat directly into the van. Radiation only occurs through air or a vacuum.

Conduction: Occurs when heat is transferred from a warm body to a cool body through some solid material between them. This is what happens in the winter when you have a heater on inside the van. The air inside the van is warm so it wants to get through the walls to the cool air outside. It travels through the walls as conduction. To stop that, you need an insulation with a high Resistance to heat transfer, commonly called an R-value.

Convection: occurs when heat moves through a gas or liquid body. So studying temperatures in the ocean is studying convection. In your van, the warm air rises to the top and pools on the ceiling and the cool air falls and pools on the floor because of convection.

Radiant Barrier: A radiant barrier reflects radiant heat away from an object thus keeping it cooler. A perfect example of this is putting Reflectix in your windows. When the radiant heat from the sun hits it, it bounces away keeping your van much cooler. Or, on the inside of the van, when the radiant heat from your Mr. Buddy hits it, it bounces back into the van. However, if there is anything on top of the Reflectix, it losses all its radiant value and is worthless. If it’s directly against the metal skin of the van or paneling on the inside, the metal and paneling absorb the heat and the Reflectix can’t reflect it. Radiation only occurs through a vacuum or through a gas, not through metal or wood. Heat moving through a solid object is done by conduction and a radiant barrier is worthless against conduction.

R-Values: All materials Resist the conduction of heat through them.  Some do it extremely well and some do it very poorly. We assign a number value to them of their Resistance to the conduction of heat. The higher the number, the greater the Resistance. In this table I give the R-value of some common insulations. For the money, nothing beats styrofoam, although if you can afford to spend just a little more, Polyiso is far better.

WHERE TO INSULATE

It’s a physical law that whenever bodies of air meet each other that the heat in one body wants to migrate to the cold in the other body and the greater the difference in temperatures the greater the force is to drive the heat into the cold. So the greater the difference in temperature, the more force to push the heat through the insulation therefore the more Resistance you need to stop the  conduction of heat. Put simply, you need more insulation in hot areas than in cool areas.

Let’s imagine a scenario; it’s 20 degrees outside so you turn your Mr. Buddy Portable Heater on to warm up. Because of Convection the warm air rises, in an hour the inch of air at your ceiling will be 110 degrees, where you’re sitting in the middle of the van will be 80 and the floor will still be 30. The difference between the inside hot air and the outside cold air at the ceiling is 90 degrees so there is a lot of force to move the heat across. The difference in the middle of the van is 60 degrees so there is a fair amount of force to move the heat across and there is only 10 degrees difference at the floor so there is very little force to move the heat across. Based on that:

1) Insulating the ceiling is very, very important.
2) Insulating the walls is important
3) The floor is unimportant. Insulate it only if you have the extra money.

When I built my cargo trailer, I used 2 1/2 inches of sytrofoam on the roof, 1 inch on the walls and nothing on the floor. I intentionally left the foil face on the styrofoam uncovered. If you have a heat source, the foil will reflect it back into the cabin but if you cover it with paneling it will do no good at all. It also reflects light making my home brighter.

Based on the science, what I did was put 2 ½ inches of insulation on my ceiling, one inch on my walls and none on the floor. The only time insulating the floor pays off is if you devise a fan system to pull the heat off the roof to the floor. That wouldn’t be hard with some PVC pipe and a computer fan. But because I don’t do that so I didn’t insulate my floor. I follow a four part strategy for the floor:

  • I put down throw rugs in the traffic areas so my feet don’t touch a cold surface.
  • I keep my feet elevated out of the cold.
  • I wear dry, synthetic socks and add a second heavy pair of wool or synthetic boot socks over them.
  • When it’s very cold, I wear down booties.

 WHAT TO INSULATE WITH

Don’t Miss-Use Reflectix. This is where I see the most confusion, particularly with people totally miss-using Reflectix. Reflectix is a Radiant barrier and works extremely well against radiant heat because it not only shades, it reflects the heat away. So if you want to keep the suns heat out, it’s a perfect choice. However, it has an extremely low R-Value so it does almost no good against conducted heat.

The problem is there must be an air space of at least ¾ inch or more for it to work. Remember, radiant heat only occurs through air or a vacuum and not through solids, so if your Reflectix is directly against the side of the van or plywood or paneling, it has no value as a radiant barrier and has a very low R-value of 1 per inch. Some people refuse to believe that so here is a quote confirming what I’ve said
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiant_barrier

If an air space is not present or is too small, heat may be able to conduct through the radiant barrier. Since the metal in the radiant barrier is highly conductive, the heat transfer would all be through conduction and the heat would not be blocked. According to the US Department of Energy,“Reflective insulation and radiant barrier products must have an air space adjacent to the reflective material to be effective.”

If you put Reflectix in a window, the radiant heat from the sun easily passes through the glass, hits the shiny metal and is easily passed back outside through the glass. Reflectix is the perfect thing to put in a window! With an air gap, it works well in the wall next to the van sheet metal. Without the air gap it’s money thrown away.

I recommend you NOT put Reflectix on the walls of your van and buy an extra 1/2 inch of styrofoam or Polyiso instead.

Use a High R-Value product to Stay Warm in the Winter. In the winter, heat loss is almost all through conduction and the way to stop it is with high R-value insulation. Because we live in such a small space, we need the highest number we can get so we lose the least amount of space to insulation. By far your best option is Polyisocyanurate commonly referred to as Polyiso. It has an R-value of 6 per inch and if you get the foil-faced kind it’s 7 per inch. If you can’t find it, or it’s too expensive, your next best choice is plain old white, pink or blue Styrofoam. It has a good R-value, is relatively cheap and is very easy to work with. In every way the Polyiso is a little better, but Styrofoam will work just fine on a budget. The Pink or Blue Styrofoam are better than white but not as good as Polyiso. Whatever you get, try to get it with a reflective foil and it will be your vapor barrier and radiant barrier together.

I don’t recommend fiberglass insulation for vans. Fiberglass is great in houses but poor in vans for these reasons:

  • If you compress it at all it loses its insulation value. Because it has a low R-Value, you will be tempted to get more and compress it.
  • It takes too much space inside the van. The most commonly available size is R13 which uses 3 1/2 inches of space. Put that on both walls and you lose 7 inches of precious space in the van! Consequently, you’ll probably compress it and lose much of its R-Value. I strongly recommend Polyiso instead which is a type of styrofoam. It is R6 per inch so 2 inches on each wall gives you R12. Much better!! I just used 1 inch and think that is enough unless you are in extreme cold. I only lost 2 inches of interior space.
  • It can sag because of the vibration of the van.
  • The shaking can make it give off fiberglass particles that make you itchy and get in your lungs.

 WHEN YOU MAY NOT WANT TO INSULATE 

If you live in cold country and cold is more of a problem than heat then you should insulate, you’ll be glad you did. On the other hand, if you live in a very hot area and cold is a minor issue, you may not want to put in insulation. While it’s true that the insulation will slow down the heat getting into the van, eventually it will get in. If it’s a 100 degree day, and you aren’t running AC of some kind, by the end of the day it will be 100 degrees inside. Once that heat is inside, the insulation won’t let it out and by bed time it will still be uncomfortably hot, probably too hot to sleep. In that case the insulation is hurting you more than helping you because without the insulation the van would have cooled off much better. In that case, it you’re in Florida where heat is a big problem and cold is a minor problem, don’t insulate.

 

Even snowbirds can't avoid cold and snow.  I took this photo in April in Flagstaff, AZ. The desert was over 100 degrees so I had to move up to ahigher elevation. But there I ran into cold. Stuff happens!

Even snowbirds can’t avoid cold and snow. I took this photo in April in Flagstaff, AZ. The desert was over 100 degrees so I had to move up to ahigher elevation. But there I ran into cold. Stuff happens!

Ehrenberg-map-new

Ehrenberg-Camp-Map-001

Ehrenberg-map-wide-002

Posted in Heating-Insulation

Photos RTR 2015

As much as I love the amazing, wonderful people I meet a the RTR, the spectacular sunsets are a close second in what I love the most.

As much as I love the amazing, wonderful people I meet a the RTR, the spectacular sunsets are a close second in what I enjoy the most.

Well, here we are a week into the 5th annual Rubber Tramp Rendezvous,  and just like every year, I have to say it’s the Best One Yet!! I know I say that every year, but this times it’s true! Oh, wait, I also said that every year!Just when I think they can’t get any better, they do!

But, it’s not a competition, all that matters is that it works, and this year it’s working very, very well. We have by far the largest group ever, I don’t keep count but if I did I would guess it was well into triple digits. And everyone is so friendly and helpful I can’t describe it! Just this week alone I saw a  gas tank dropped an a new fuel pump installed, a new starter put in and a new steering box installed. And that’s just the big jobs, there have been many, many small jobs accomplished for people.

The classes are very important and for many people worth the rive all by themselves. Here Randy Vinning  is leading a seminar on Questions and Answers from the group.

The classes are very important and for many people worth the drive all by themselves. Here Randy Vinning is leading a seminar onfQuestions and Answers from the group.

Plus, at the many seminars new vandwellers are learning things they need to know to make their new lives the best they can be. We cover basic topics that will hopefully answer some of their questions and prevent them from making some of the easy mistakes we all make. Nearly everything I know I gained from doing it wrong first (sometimes more than once!) then finally figuring it out. One of our main goals here is sharing  that hard won knowledge and experience so others can avoid the blunders we made.

But it can't be all work, we have to have some fun too so we had a chici feed on Saturdayd and there were many, satisfied members of the tribe after that!

But it can’t be all work, we have to have some fun too so we had a chili feed on Saturday and there were many, satisfied members of the tribe after that!

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But best of all friendships are being formed and connections made that lets everyone know they aren’t alone in living this strange new life and that there are others out there that will be there for them and have their back. It’s incredibly gratifying to me to see so many people coming together and bonding because I know how important friendships are to me in living this life.

Part of the cooking crew who whipped up an outstanding meal! Many thanks to Peter who stepped in and took over leadership and made this the best chili we've ever had!  we had four kinds of chili: 1) hot, 2) beef, 3) vegetarian, turkey/chicken.

Part of the cooking crew who whipped up an outstanding meal. Many thanks to Peter (in the very stylish apron!) who stepped in and took over leadership and made this the best chili we’ve ever had! We had four kinds of chili: 1) hot, 2) beef, 3) vegetarian, turkey/chicken. All of them were delicious!

The dishwashing crew! Where would we be without them!

The dish-washing crew! Where would we be without them!

If at all possible, you should start planning now for how you can make it here next year, you’ll be glad you did!

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rtr-sunset-van

 

Posted in My Daily Life, Tribe

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