Living in a van during winter

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this site, times are busy and there’s many more pressing things I seem to find myself doing with my time.  That and I’m a little forgetful.

We decided to take a trip to Sweden and ended up arriving there mid January.  We weren’t sure how the camper van would stand up to the extreme cold weather but it didn’t let us down!  There’s a few things that we’ll need to work on next time we decide to go somewhere with such a cold climate but she always started up first time and with her new snow tires had great grip.

During our time in Örebro the night temperature was below -20c.  Sadly on our first night we arrived, after a full and long days driving from Denmark we found that our batteries had not been charging properly!  The main earth to the battery bank had somehow wiggled itself loose over time and needed to be tightened.   This meant that after 30 minutes into my snooze I woke up a rather cold to find that the heater wasn’t working.

Needless to say on that evening we woke up at around 0500 ready to start the day and improve our situation.  Never before have I woken up in the camper van to find that my shoes were stuck to the floor!  Luckily after driving around for a couple of hours the battery bank was charged up enough for us to enjoy the 3.5kw of heat our Webasto diesel heater produces.

We explored a little although due to the state of the roads (rural Sweden in the peak of winter!) we were a little limited to where we could wild camp.   Most of the forests to various forest parking lots were inaccessible even with our winter tires.

During our time in such a cold environment it was clear that the camper wasn’t built for this type of thing.  Even with the internal heater on most of the time bringing the internal temperature up to around 28c, our internal water tanks were froze and our shower hose exploded!

Here’s a couple of photos we took when we stopped at the Gustavsvik camp site to charge our batteries:

Parked up at Gustavik campsite

Winter wild camping

 

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A road trip to the Highlands

I’ve still been busy slacking and not taking promised photos of the current state of the camper, I’m sure I’ll get around to this one day..  One of the reasons for this is that we’re currently living in the iveco motorhome almost full time with work and exploring.

Our latest trip took us to the Highlands were we headed up North to Durnness and made our way down the south west coast.    Since having the camper we’ve spent a lot of time exploring other countries and never really offered the United Kingdom a chance to show us the good sights!  Taking a trip to the Highlands was really insightful, it was great to see that there still are places of great beauty and solitude left in the UK.

As usual we spent all of our time out of busy and expensive camp sites, enjoying wild camping in the Scottish Highlands the way it was meant to be, free!

Wild camping in Durness

Wild camping in Durness

Scotland West Coast Beauty

Scotland West Coast Beauty

Fishing for Mackerel

Fishing for Mackerel

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Installing a bonded window

Unpacking bonded window

After the van got broken into in Rome, I decided that my concept of having a stealth camper didn’t work out all that well whilst travelling abroad, it was pretty obvious that the big red van was a camper!

Marking out where to cut

This made us decide to go ahead and install a bonded window into the side door to allow more natural light in.  One of the “features” of the Iveco Daily is its huge side sliding door.  Nearly all Iveco Daily’s I see have problems with the side door not shutting properly, usually at the top corner.  However, this does mean the windows available are particularly huge, which is what we wanted.

Window hole cut out, time to clean up

Rather going with a more traditional rubber sealed window, we decided to go with a bonded window for both security and looks.  Whilst rubber seal windows can be popped out with a screw driver, the only way to get access through a bonded window is to break it.

With all the excitment of having a shiny new window, I apparently didn’t take a shot of the finished product after the window was installed. In its place I have an outside photo taken in Sweden a few week ago.  As you can see, I went with the privacy window. This gives a reasonable tint with the window appearing much darker when you look from the outside and nice and light whilst in the camper looking out.

I did have some problems sourcing the window and since the company I purchased it from took three weeks to deliver (I paid for next day), and then delivered a window with a minor chip in it — I didn’t think they deserved a mention!

Hole cut out, rubber seal stuck in place

Rear view of the camper with window in place

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