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Thread: Scouting HQ vehicle thing.

  1. #1
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    Scouting HQ vehicle thing.

    Hopefully a bit of a diversion from the challenges that ail us right now...

    I've had a 12 seat minibus for a few years now (It's a Vauxhall Movano). I got it (originally) because it has Unwin rails and wheel chair lift, so I could get my Mum around. She's been away for a while now, so I haven't used it in that way for a while - I've moved motorbikes with it, (the lift is good for 300kg), done jumble sales (meh), and I once moved a massive rotovator, (which tested the list severely...)

    It's been the most versatile vehicle I've owned, the seats up the middle can come out, so it's good for carrying stuff other than people - and unlike my usual vehicles, it's been reliable.

    So, I've been doing a partial conversion on it, more to a day van than to a full-on campervan. SO far I've added electrics (leisure battery with charger relay), internal lighting is all LED now, I have an inverter coming.

    While I may not be long for Scout leadership, I'll still be involved (and our abandoned outdoor centre project will be ramping up - quite seriously - at the end of April), my question is this - what gear/gadgets/stuff would you have in a - I'm not sure what you'd call it, an activity vehicle? A utility vehicle? A mobile HQ?

    (So far, I've turned the front bench seat around so it's rearward facing, there's now a removable table with three seats on one side, two on the other and further two up the opposite of the van. Three seats remain in the front. There's an LED flood light at the back door, LED lights (not a flood) on the side door. Minispots and switches lights are located on the wall above the table. I've also fitted insulated blinds on most of the windows...)

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Ummm... Solar power, caravan batteries, charging points, tea and coffee making ability, some drawers with useful stuff in (pens, pencils, ruler, scissors etc), a comfortable desk at which to work. Space for a good tool box, space for scoutcraft tools (axes and saws and the like)...

    I'll keep thinking, this is fun

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    Wind-out awning or similar? Great for shade or (more likely) keeping the water/muck out of the van if it's raining and you're moving in and out of the vehicle. Our camper has a Fiamma awning, expensive but there are cheaper alternatives.

    I'd second the solar panels - great for keeping the batteries topped up if you're off grid and don't want to drive/run the engine to charge. Our camper has a 12v fridge and our solar panel keeps that running all day (via a leisure battery) without needing electric hook-up.

    Portable stoves probably much more convenient for intermittent use than a "plumbed in" stove, but some form of cooling (fridge or very good ice box) would be useful for keeping the.... milk.... cold.

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    Scout Leader (Bosun) Nick's Avatar
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    Towbar

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Towbar
    Hmmm...

    Thought about that, but the wheelchair lift precludes it.



    - - - Updated - - -

    Have the put the frying pans on as hubcaps?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveS View Post
    Wind-out awning or similar? Great for shade or (more likely) keeping the water/muck out of the van if it's raining and you're moving in and out of the vehicle. Our camper has a Fiamma awning, expensive but there are cheaper alternatives.

    I'd second the solar panels - great for keeping the batteries topped up if you're off grid and don't want to drive/run the engine to charge. Our camper has a 12v fridge and our solar panel keeps that running all day (via a leisure battery) without needing electric hook-up.

    Portable stoves probably much more convenient for intermittent use than a "plumbed in" stove, but some form of cooling (fridge or very good ice box) would be useful for keeping the.... milk.... cold.
    I've got my feelers out for a 12v fridge. An awning would be useful... Could I adapt an old Icelandic though? Those Fiamma jobs are pricey

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Hmmm..
    Have the put the frying pans on as hubcaps?

    those are 3 butter churners and an ice cream maker.

    Seriously.

    I promise.

    there is a slow cooker in the engine bay too.

    no. really.

    look. i am being serious

    butter churners, ice cream maker slow cooker.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Could I adapt an old Icelandic though? Those Fiamma jobs are pricey

    yes!

    or just a tarp and old tent poles. You just need suitable fixing points.

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    Scout Leader bellshillscouts's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if this link will work but this looks good too:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/2017...96968053897201

  12. #9
    GSL & ESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    I've got my feelers out for a 12v fridge.
    Many gas fridges will also run off mains or 12V. We have an old one we are looking to give away but delivery up to you would almost certainly be cost prohibative

    Peter Andrews ESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

  13. #10
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    I would add some form of independent heating, either a Chinese air diesel heater Webasto clone or the real thing, have a look at https://www.vanlifeadventure.com/rec...iesel-heaters/

    and as others have said a fridge. If intending to run a long time off grid its either a combi 12v/240v/gas running on gas (12v will flatten a battery very quickly at 12amps or more) leaving the 12v for when you are driving and 240c when on a EHU.
    If you don't fancy a 3 way fridge you can get 12v compressor fridges but the are expensive
    Last edited by dralphs; 08-04-2021 at 09:37 PM.
    Dave Ralphs
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    I work for O2, any posts are my own personal views & do not represent O2

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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    Many gas fridges will also run off mains or 12V. We have an old one we are looking to give away but delivery up to you would almost certainly be cost prohibative
    I have read, that with an inverter and a small enough fridge, a 240v one can work.

    I had a plan that I'd have a table that would sit at two levels so I could have a sleeping platform, that didn't work though. I'm thinking of having something that will sit across the tops of the seats that can fold away. Not sure what to make it from, probably end up in a heap on the floor in the middle of the night.

    An ice cream maker... Hmmm... I wonder... But then, would that not just make it an ice cream van? Perhaps not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post

    I had a plan that I'd have a table that would sit at two levels so I could have a sleeping platform, that didn't work though. I'm thinking of having something that will sit across the tops of the seats that can fold away. Not sure what to make it from, probably end up in a heap on the floor in the middle of the night.
    Attachment points for a hammock, if you've got the headroom? I've seen a chap sling a hammock inside a LWB Landy, so may be possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    I had a plan that I'd have a table that would sit at two levels so I could have a sleeping platform, that didn't work though. I'm thinking of having something that will sit across the tops of the seats that can fold away. Not sure what to make it from, probably end up in a heap on the floor in the middle of the night.
    Take a browse on campervan or caravan websites. Common on caravans for a slatted pull out bed running along guides on the seats or a fold out bed.

    For the fridge, look at consumption if running an inverter, it won't run for long off a battery and remember you shouldn't drop below 50% capacity if you want a long battery life.
    Gas or a proper 12v compressor fridge is way to go.
    Dave Ralphs
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    Former DofE Advisor & District Exec Member - Oxford Spires
    http://yarntonscouts.org.uk/

    I work for O2, any posts are my own personal views & do not represent O2

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    There are masses of 'van life' videos on YouTube, everything under the sun can be found.

    I don't want to lose the capacity to use it as a van, so things like rock-n-rolla seats that can turn into a bed are out. To be honest, I doubt I'll sleep in it that often anyway. There is headroom for a hammock, but gosh, I don't know. I would say they're fine if you have to, but perhaps not if you don't?

    I have an LED flood at the back (it was an old halogen spot), it's for if you're using the wheelchair lift at night. I'll put another one of those at the sliding side door. I also remember looking at a Fiamma canopy thingy, but the side door is full height, so I'd need to think about where/how I attach it to the van. It would need to do on the roof.

    I'd like to put in some bulkhead storage. I'm trying to find something which is pre-built (or flat packed) that I can adapt. The van is already lined, so I'd need to start ripping it out to see exactly where the stanchion points are... I don't really want to do too much of that...

    I already have two way radios in there, but I need to swap the batteries over to rechargeable. Also need to sort out a water supply. It won't need a sink or anything. But something a little more than a water container might be nice.

    I'd also like to put some kind of security round the van. This will sound daft probably, but I'm really not comfortable camping in a tent. It makes you soooo vulnerable. The van would be better, but maybe some motion sensing lights - even if they aren't permanent...

    When I last camped out (in that god-awful hammock as it happens), I built a brush wall round where I had it set up. I usually do that with tents too... Not sure why I do it... Just not very trusting perhaps... I mean I still use tents and stuff, I don't like it though. A wee bit like flying...

    Oh well...

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    I think I'm almost finished with the electrical stuff.

    I've fitted an 1100w inverter.

    I have LED floods just inside the rear and side doors. (Just in time for the dark nights. )

    I have door lights on the side door which are switched from the front seats. (Access between the front seats and rear is limited, you'd need to climb over the seatbacks. I have a remote control device to press buttons. (It's my Dad's old walking stick...))

    I've changed the main roof lights to LED's, they were mini flourescents. I've also added in a couple of mini spot lights on the wall above where the table is.

    The table attaches to the wall and has a removable leg so it can be stored out the way flat.

    I also have heavy duty suction cups with carabiner attachments to clip to a tarp so I can have a shelter attached to the van in various ways. I'll dig out some old bog tent poles from the hall at some point.

    That's it so far. I need to take a break probably, because I've spent a fair wedge on it. I've only been able to do it because I'm almost finally finished with the bogs. Just some electrical work to do and floor coverings. The hall opens for hires on the 26th.

    So far, I've knocked down all the old walls in the toilet section of the hall, rebuilt it all with stud walls, refitted four cubicles and four sinks. One of the toilets is brand new (the others were almost straight swaps), so I had to put in the drainage, make sure the slope was right etc. New bowls and cisterns all round, new piping to everything all round (including on-demand water heaters for the sinks). New doors and frames all built from scratch, (Obvs not the doors, got those from B&Q on offer.). I plastered, hung plasterboard, painted, levelled flooring, built a bench to cover the waste pipe for trap four, put up hooks (at adult level and kid level). One sink is at wheelchair/beaver level along with the mirror... (Which might be moot since there's a sink in the disabled bog anyway... Oh well...)

    Ummm, replaced all the fluorescent lighting with LED batons. Got rid of all the crappy old chairs and invested in 30 padded folding chairs and trolley to hold them. Replaced all the outside floods with LED floods. Fitted new racking to replace the cupboard space that became the other half of the accessible bog (AKA trap one.) Filled two skips to the brim... Ummm... The last big job to tackle is heating, because it's rubbish just now.

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