9 THINGS WE HATE ABOUT OUR VAN VAN LIFE DESIGN MISTAKES
Good morning This morning we have woken up here on the South coast of Turkey and today something a little different. We’re going to talk about our beautiful van Trudy.In fact we’re going to tell you the 9 things we hate about Trudy Whoa!!!Hate’s a bit strong!We’re Marianne and Chris and we’ve been travelling full time since May 2018.We must be insane!Whilst attempting to drive around the World in Trudy our home on wheels this happened.All British travellers abroad are advised, advised to return now.
As borders closed around us
we decided to wait it out in Turkey until we were able to continue our adventure East After moving into our van in May 2018 and clocking up over 40,000 miles in Trudy. We definitely know the things that we don’t like about her!Yeah we absolutely love the van, but if we had a magic wand there are definitely a few things that we would be changing. It’s true! Don’t think that we don’t love Trudy you will know that we love our van Trudy, she’s an amazing van but for those of you that are building a van thinking of building a van thinking of starting van life these are the things that we hate about her, and it may help you make a better decision. We’re going to share those with you today Anyone interested in the life of Trudy, we bought her from Spinney in Crewe. She was £18,500 She’s an Adria twin conversion She had about 42,000 miles on the clock.Yeah and actually the design is the same as your dad’s old one. It’s actually a very good layout, but we’re not talking about the positive today, we’re talking about the negative All bad today!And before you ask …. no we haven’t got a dog This is one of the local dogs that’s been hanging out with us over the past couple of days.
He’s got the scatty boxer dog thing going on
So the 9 things we’re going talk to you about today aren’t in any particular order they’re not in a priority list or anything. There’s just a list of things we don’t like We’ve jumped onto the bed this is where we like to chill out in the evenings and we watch a bit of Netflix in bed at the end of the day But there’s a few things that make that experience not so pleasant.
sitting in Bed You’ll notice my head is on the screen at the back, that is because the window is behind the bed, but this is the only place that we can sit. We can’t sleep that way because there’s a shelf, so we watch Netflix here, but when we sit up in bed, we have to lean on the blind which damages the blind! It’s a little bit uncomfortable too, the perfect solution for us is, we would have probably put some kind of window either in this side or made one up a bit higher and lose one of these cupboards Yeah because even at night when we close this one it’s we have to lean on that one and in the daytime although we can actually raise this this is still being put pressure on. Yeah and this window doesn’t open anyway, no, because the door opens on this side, and you don’t want to damage the window, opening the door when the you forget the window’s open .I have another problem, some people think i wear headscarves as a fashion statement but actually it saves my head a bit, i’m sort of wedged in here a little bit, you need a crash helmet! yeah. She’s hit her head on this cupboard a lot of times I’ve said several times i would love to just take this cupboard back six or eight inches, just to be able to have a little bit more space. It feels quite claustrophobic in this area here. I think if you’ve got a separate seating area like a lounge area then you don’t really have to worry so much about that because you’ll probably be hanging out or watching telly there.So coming in at number 2 – the second thing we hate about Trudy .
2. The Toilet Set Up is actually the toilet
Now you may think we’re very lucky to have a toilet, many vans don’t have a toilet, I would definitely recommend having some kind of toilet but our toilet works on a cassette system and it’s quite hard to find somewhere to empty the cassette. If we had our way we would upgrade this to a composting toilet, which lasts a lot longer it’s much easier to dispose of. We tend to take the cassette to public toilets, tip in the wild, we do only do number ones in the toilet and we dig a hole But that’s a whole other story But emptying it is not very discreet, the cassettes are big and we put them in a bag carry them to a public toilet and it’s a bit of a pallava. Where as if we had the composting toilet, they have small little pull out collectors that are much easier to go and tip in a hole behind a bush, or in the loo So i think i would upgrade this to a composting toilet Coming in at number 3 is the gas hob.
3 The Gas Hob Specifically
the width and the depth of where the gas rings sit is a real problem So although there are two gas rings it’s nearly impossible to keep both pans on at the same time because they squash up against each other which means the flames aren’t even centrally under the pan and in fact we’ve had a couple of incidences where we’ve set fire to things in the van Which isn’t funny No. So you can see here, look the pans when you put them on, they don’t really sit very well.This is also quite unstable, whether we use the small frying pans or pots, things wobble there’s a lot of wobble!and then what happens is the flames come up the side and you can see we’ve got some burnt patches here,we have to be really careful that we don’t push things all the way to the back because the flame comes out.We also smelt burning one night,and realised that we’d actually melted the mosquito net with the heat coming around the edge of the pan.We thought we had a poltergeist in Trudy but then we realised it just doesn’t sit flat it wobbles,because it’s just too small, it doesn’t hold the pans!And yes we do have smaller pans and a small frying pan,but they still have the same problem, but to have it centrally on the ring you see how unstable that is?And then you put the other one it only just fits …and we have a bit of a we have a bit of a saucepan war!We’re parked perfectly flat at the moment there are some times when we are not parked perfectly flat,and that is a problem.In fact we had an instance where the whole pan has fallen off before … Spain?Yeah in fact we found mushrooms in the door area for about two weeks afterwards!!We did, they went everywhere! Up the walls!(Footage from Spain 2018) We had a bit of an accident! Didn’t we love? I dropped the Asparagus and the pan full of goodies!There is not much left!So if we could redo this, I would bring this forward so that there was space for the pans to sit properly, and not too close to the back.And i would definitely have a wider unit, yeah so the rings are further apart and with a slightly more stable support.
4. Lack of Kitchen
Work space Coming in at number four is the lack of kitchen workspace all though I do most of the food prep on the table around the seating area at the front of the van,or sometimes we put the table outside When you’re actually cooking you need somewhere to put your utensils some sauces, your salt and pepper for seasoning So this area really is too small what we would do as a solution ….. this actually folds down like this if we were rebuilding it we would make this either longer and move the fire extinguisher so it came up onto another bracket here or put it here so it folds up onto a bracket either side and then we would have the whole of this area here to work on which would be perfect You may know that I about 1.88 m tall you can see that i can’t stand up in the van.
5. Height in the van
The fifth thing I hate about Trudy is that I can’t stand up fully Now i’ve actually got a bit of a sore neck today, i had a bad back a couple of weeks ago And with all the lockdown weekends and having to stay in the van or even during rainy weather being able to stand up makes a huge difference The only place that i can really stand up is here! Because i can put my head in the roof hatch There isn’t really an easy solution for that apart from making me shorter or making the van taller both of which aren’t options So i would definitely recommend making sure that you are able to stand up in the vehicle that you buy Staying with the theme of height coming in at number six is the front passenger seat.
6. Front Passenger Seat height
As you know Marianne does most of the driving, i spend a lot of time here filming but I can’t actually sit up straight on this chair because it is too high and that’s another reason why i have a sore neck And when i look out the window i have to duck so that i can see out and what makes it worse is that because i’m so high the windscreen wipers don’t go the whole way up the windscreen so when it’s raining i can’t see out the front window So if you put the stick on the passenger seat and run it across you can see how much taller the seat is the solution would be this one is obviously a different design it’s higher we can probably get it adapted and maybe welded and cut down or get a new seat But it is a little bit of a pain! If i sit in the driver’s seat i’m fine Maybe i should do more driving? No ! My van !Coming in at number 7
7. Lack of Air flow is lack of air flow although
Trudy has lots of windows all the way around the van and two roof hatches, what she is really lacks is having a fan in the ceiling to help pull and circulate that air through. We know when we were in Antalya last summer in August it reached a whopping 42 degrees C outside And inside the van even though all the windows were open we melted!(Filming from the Summer) It was a bit tough last night, Marianne’s got a fan going there. We got another usb fan here i’ve got another one by the side of the bed there but we got another fan by the roof this one’s good for drawing in the cold air So if you’re building a van, designing a van, i would definitely plan to have a roof hatch with an air extractor Coming in at number eight is the thing that drives me wild.
8. Storage Area in the Kitchen
it’s the storage area underneath this kitchen unit The kitchen area is actually quite narrow so instead of having very helpful drawers that come out so you can see from above what’s in there there are cupboard doors, and then you have to try and get in to see what’s in the cupboard Now i found a solution of putting buckets in and storing things that we don’t use a lot or easy to grab but i’m not going to lie, we’ve found a few things in there, that have grow Because when you put them in there sometimes they’re lost forever So yes i would definitely put drawers in,so that you can see what’s in there, rather than rummaging around Absolutely !And that’s the same yeah that’s the same in this side as well you can see like everything’s crammed in there and storage tubs and stuff shoved in the top andthe grater, and then we’ve got a bucket down there with our plastic bags and cleaning products. So we’ve kind of made a bit of a drawer with that, but yeah it’s not ideal ! And it’s not helpful!And another reason why you’d probably get a bad back in a van!Last but no means least coming in at number 9 is the amount of power we have in Trudy.
9. Lack of Power
So when we bought her we put in two new 110 amp leisure batteries down there and with lockdown weekends, charging the computers, cameras and all the other stuff not moving the van meansit runs out after being parked up for a couple of cloudy days.So if you are designing your van, make sure you consider what kind of electric usage you will need and put enough power in accordingly. Also consider how you’re going to charge them, if you’ve got solar panels then you need to make sure you’ve got enough solar panels to charge the amount of batteries that you have.We solved our power problems by getting a lithium power bank which is marvellous and has solved our problem,but there’ll be more of that in a future episode when we talk about our essential van life items.We hope you found this video helpful for all of those budding van lifers out there or those of you that are building vans.If you did like, it please subscribe and hit that notification bell and we will see you on the next episode.