We’re overall quite happy with our finished camper van conversion project, but these 5 decisions still make us smile every day.
After sharing our 4 missed opportunities last week, we’d like to share the 5 best decisions we made during our camper van build this week.
1. Magnetic curtains
Whilst converting our van, we’ve seen so many different curtain designs. Everyone seems to approach it differently. Well, to make it easier for you to choose one, here’s another option! One that we had’t seen before; magnetic curtains.
We, well actually Jordy’s mom, sewed magnets in each of the corners of each curtain. She then added one or two (depending on the size of the curtain) additional magnets in the middle of the top seam. We can now simply pull the curtains off, and you’ll never know they were there! Or just attach them to the windows and they stick perfectly. Our magnets are classified as 2 kg’s each. Whilst they seem to hold the curtains, we’d advise you to buy stronger magnets to be on the safe side.
Whether you have the option to install magnetic curtains will depend on an array of other decisions you make during your conversion. In order to install them, you need to have metal in sight. We, for example, couldn’t make a magnetic curtain for the window next to our burner stove as the metal of the van was covered by our windowsill. So if you plan on covering the whole sliding door in wood, this method won’t work. But if like us, you want to keep the metal frame of your van exposed, it’s definitely an easy and cheap solution for your curtains.
2. Install our Maxx air fan above our stove
Unless you’re one of the few people converting a school bus, you probably won’t install a separate extractor hood above your stove. We therefore chose to install our MaxxAir fan above our four-burner stove instead.
We’ve now cooked in our van for over two months and it has proven to be incredibly effective! Although it’s not made to be used as an extractor hood, it fulfills this function quite well.
Of course it isn’t always easy to determine the fan’s location on your roof if you’re also installing solar panels, a roof rack or whatever. But if you have the opportunity, we’d definitely advise everyone to consider placing your fan above your stove!
3. Using scaffolding tubes for our convertible sofa bed
Another design option that we hadn’t seen before is our convertible sofa bed made from scaffolding tubes. In our camper van build, the dog crate was a given. So we had to create our sofa bed frame around it. We could’ve made something out of wood, but we’re not the world’s greatest carpenters. So neither of us was thrilled to give this project a try.
So we had a look around to see what other people used to build furniture. We came across a usual bed frame, made out of scaffolding tubes. It mainly spiked our interest because we just love the look of it. After a bit of digging, we discovered that, instead of the heavy metal scaffolding tubes, there is a aluminum variety too. We were sold immediately!
Creating the perfect design certainly wasn’t an easy task. It took some hours of back and forth between us, and some annoyance here there. But we think we’ve come up with quite a good design in the end!
We’ve now converted our sofa bed combination quite often, at least a hundred times, and it works a charm! To check out our design, click here!
4. Opt for a table model fridge
Anyone that doesn’t plan on spending every other day near a city, like us, we’d definitely recommend to give your fridge a second thought. We must say that we eat quite a load of fruit and veg, and installing a relatively large fridge has really been a life saver. Not just for food though, having something cold to drink every now and then makes life a lot better!
We opted for the Dometic Coolmatic CRX110. It is a 108 liter fridge of which 10 liter makes up a freezing compartment. Although the freezer is small, we have noticed that it is occupied at all times. Be it for some frozen vegetables or raw meat for the dogs.
So far we’re glad that we went with a larger model fridge. It is a compressor refrigerator that runs off of our solar panels. Our four 100-watt solar panels don’t seem to have any issues in taking care of the load of such a large fridge. But, if there’s ever the need to do so, we can always switch it to gas.
5. Install spice racks
Although it might seem trivial to many, even this decision still makes us smile every single day. We both love to cook. Having a spice rack close to our stove makes life a lot easier, especially when you own quite a few herbs and spices!
The spice rack wasn’t included in our initial plan. But due to some mistakes made by the company that sawed our kitchen countertop to size, we somehow ended up with just the perfect spot in our camper van for a spice rack. Although we were quite unhappy at the time (it took the employee one hour to make two cuts and he still managed to mess them up), we’re now very grateful he did so!
Which decisions turned your camper van into your dream house on wheels?
If you’re still in the process of building your own tiny home on wheels, or hope to do so in the future, we recommend heading over to our camper van conversion page. Here, we list all blog posts related to our camper van conversion in order from start to finish.