Well, we are one month into our travels in our luton van conversion and so far, so good. We have driven from the UK to the southern-most point of Croatia and now, after boarding a ferry in Dubrovnik, we are exploring southern Italy. At this point, we are in a good position to reflect on what does and does not work well in our conversion so far:
A great addition to our van, the 230w panel on our roof keeps our two batteries charged up nicely and allows us to charge devices, play music and have a shower without worrying too much about the energy consumption. However, places like Italy and Croatia in the summer may seem ideal for solar power but the crux is that, to get our solar power, we ideally need to park in the sun. Not too pleasant in 40 degree heat!
Even after our rough times involving mosquitos on our last trip, we set off without a mosquito net this time around. After many bites and much annoying buzzing we decided we should install a net. On our journey through Croatia we managed to buy a £1 net with Velcro included. The Velcro was fairly useless but with some pins in, we now have a net that covers our bed on all sides, keeping us bite free (mostly).
The water system (mixer tap for kitchen and shower with a Morco boiler) works well. The shower has plenty of pressure from the diaphragm pump and the water is plenty hot enough. The only downside to the system is that, even after an attempted repair, the pump will not switch off automatically meaning that we always have to operate the switch to turn on and off the pump.
Our old van had no oven but we are so glad that we installed one this time around. The little oven we got from an old caravan is surprisingly efficient and we can cook our own pizzas and bread which taste great and cost next to nothing.
The Back Doors
Our big wooden barn doors are holding up ok but did take a battering in a surprise storm in Croatia. The storm kicked off out of nowhere and the winds were insanely strong. One of our door hinges was bent and a piece of cladding ripped off. We have since repaired this but the back doors are not really made for storms or wet weather. Before winter sets in, we will need to weatherproof them some more.
Our breakfast bar hasn’t seen much use so far. Either we sit out on the tail lift on our chairs or we sit on our sofa. The breakfast bar and stools may get some more use in colder weather though!
The walk-through in our van is essential, meaning we can pop into the back of the van without having to flap the tail lift down but crawling through it is uncomfortable. The height difference between the cab and box means that a full-size hole is not an option but cutting out a chunk of the bed in order to be able to stand and walk through could work.
All in all, we are very pleased with our conversion and, as you can see, there isn’t much that we are not happy with. As the weather starts to cool, we will post another update explain how the van holds up in more rain and less sunshine.