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Now ye're talking - to a man living in his van

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2 patrickjburt


    Wheety wrote: »
    Could you post any pics?

    Yeah i was also searching for some pictures.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,890 ✭✭✭Bullocks


    Hi OP fair play for this AMA . Have you ever seen or heard anything you shouldn't have while being in the van out of sight ?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,004 ✭✭✭dazed+confused


    tjhook wrote: »
    OP, you have been coming up with brave and clever solutions to very real challenges.

    How did you research these solutions? Was it just the Internet and your own problem-solving?

    Not to get into a political discussion, but did you consider engaging with the Traveler community? They presumably have a long history of dealing with some of the practical challenges. I'm thinking particularly about stuff like waste management, temperature control, cooking in enclosed spaces, power, food storage, etc.

    I realise you don't want to get into a political discussion. But..... in my experience, while travellers have a long history in dealing with waste management, it's not a technique I would like to see them teaching anyone.


  • Registered Users Posts: 343 ✭✭sleepyholland


    Man in a Van,

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. It has been fascinating to read.

    I sent you a PM. Not sure if you have seen it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,647 ✭✭✭✭punisher5112


    I think the op and his van have been repo'd..,..


    4 days and counting.,


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,805 ✭✭✭Odelay


    I think the op and his van have been repo'd..,..


    4 days and counting.,

    I think he got the ride! Fair play to him:)


  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    jasper100 wrote: »
    Disposing of urine shouldn't be a problem, whenever its raining just let it flow out under the van, or drain it over grass on a dry day. Its not polluting or hazardous.




    Yes, this, although pouring the Porta Potty down a loo is preferable.


    I do have access to a jacks to empty toilet weekly. Try to avoid using it, emergency only.


  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    Fair play, always admire someone who is willing to sacrifice a lot in order to achieve their goals.

    Just out of curiousity, how to you deal with:-

    1. Breakdowns or when the van needs to go to the garage

    2. The NCT?

    3. The Snow last year

    4. Missing a decent bed...does your back not kill you?


    1. Breakdowns or when the van needs to go to the garage


    Had one bad breakdown, which ended up being a wee sensor, but stopped the van dead. This was actually the week of the snowstorms last year, and I ended up at the folks house anyway because of the snow. After a long miserable bus ride! Van was off road for a week ,but I was snowed in anyway. Timing!



    The van has been bulletproof since, I get services twice a year, have a good mechanic, I leave the van into him in morning, he does the work he can, I collect in evening, he knows the story. I repeat this for a few days until jobs are done. Great guy


    2. The NCT? - I have a CVRT, the van equivalent of an NCT, once a year, pretty tight to pass, but I like that because they catch a lot of little stuff before it turns to bigger stuff.


    3. Snow - see above




    4. I built permanently fixed normal size bed with a normal mattress on it, one of the nicest beds Ive slept in tbh! Doing this , you need a real bed to keep sanity, you dont want to be building a bed every night, I think that would make me miserable, for some reason ,lol.


  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    In the winter time when you're at work, does the van get cold? Have you ever had to go to work in clothes that were a bit damp? Especially in the early days before you got your insulation sorted?

    Did you find last year's hot summer tough?

    Like just about everyone else who's following this thread, I'm finding this utterly fascinating. I'd love to read a blog or YouTube videos about your experience when you're done. It'd be even better if you were doing it in real time but I understand your reasons for why that's not going to happen.


    Yes - van is was freezing until late this winter as I did not get my sht together with heating. Once I re did my insulation with this heavy foil stuff, it sealed all the air gaps. I'd blast by two gas rings for a few mins and the van was toasty. Not recommended, I know its stupid, but I have alarms and only did this a few mins at a time.


    The mornings were worst, brutally cold getting out of bed.


    My first winter , everything was damp, I do not know how I did not get sick, but I did now. That put some learning on me on what I needed to do.
    Id pack a lot of spare clothes, so I always have clean stuff, but yeah, clammy feeling from being damp all the time.



    Cold is not the biggest enemy, Damp is. Very bad for the van itself also.


    Heat - love it , bring it on, but I have had to set up fans and drilled vent holes in the floor to keep the doggo's nice and cool. The same insulation that keeps the heat in, keeps the heat out.

    Now in the summer, get into my van and its much cooler than outside.


    When I get to the end of this mission, something will come of it - youtbe wise.
    Lots of lovely videos of Californians doings this stuff, no so much of northern Europeans doing it, to do this in our varied climate, its a different set of needs to hot and sunny every day.


    I'd do it now, but I need to maintain face and privacy as I am in straight world, I dont want uninformed people making uninformed judgements on me.


  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    Cali_girl wrote: »
    Great thread - fair play OP. My current fantasy is Airstream+Montana but in your converted van in Ireland you're a lot closer to that that I'll get for a while :)

    Few questions:

    1. Do you have issues with damp/humidity from breathing/sleeping/making tea?

    2. Security - do you keep any, oh I don't know, pieces of sports equipment such as baseball bats to hand? Unlikely scenario I know but unexpected visitors would be my biggest fear... Have you special locks or immobiliser fitted?

    3. And oh this is really dumb but I'm prone to losing car keys... do you stash spares under the engine mount? :p No good looking for spares if you're 100 miles from family...

    4. Have you any good strategies for when you get cabin fever (or the reverse) or just fed up with driving?

    I live in Dublin but spend a lot of time in the US. There are a few spots around Dublin where I always notice van/campers over weekend (mostly parking thats secure enough, council managed but free on weekends, and low profile). In the US - head to any Walmart or similar or city managed parking and you'll meet your people! Also all around Boston (the municipal parking around City Point/Pleasure Bay), San Francisco (Marina/Crissy Field and all the city beach parking) in particular - both campers and vans! It's awful if people feel the need to do this for economic reasons, but there is a cool pioneer spirit to it that I love.




    1. Do you have issues with damp/humidity from breathing/sleeping/making tea?


    I had massive damp problems when I simply threw a rubber mattress in the back of a commercial van.

    To solve this, I put three window vents in the roof, industrial foil insulation to cover all bare metal inside the van, and seal gaps. Also I drilled a hole in the floor of the van , so air is sucked in teh bottom and expelled through the roof.
    Now I have virtually zero to no damp issues, ever.


    2. Security - do you keep any, oh I don't know, pieces of sports equipment such as baseball bats to hand? Unlikely scenario I know but unexpected visitors would be my biggest fear... Have you special locks or immobiliser fitted?



    Tyre breaker bar for me. But anything like that you can et away with - baseball bat, a Hurley etc. You dont want the fuzz thinking you have offensive weapon.
    I will be putting upgraded locks on the door handles and installing a GPS tracker/ immobilizer, they are very cheap and give great peace of mind, that is one of the pressing jobs at the moment. Pretty easy install also for what it gives you.
    BUT - I have had no trouble doing this ever, just use your eyes and brain to make good decisions.



    3. And oh this is really dumb but I'm prone to losing car keys... do you stash spares under the engine mount? tongue.png No good looking for spares if you're 100 miles from family...


    This is absolutely not a stupid question, its very important for me. I have a spare set of keys secured 'on' the van. Good luck finding them ;)


    4. Have you any good strategies for when you get cabin fever (or the reverse) or just fed up with driving?



    Get out of the van and do stuff like a normal person, gym, gigs, friends. Keep living a normal life like you would in a house.
    Just because I am doing this does not mean I have to sit in the van every night on my tod. I do that a lot, but is by choice, I have a lot off little things to do always, and I have study on also, so its the perfect place to study.
    I love the van to bits, but yeah, I get sick of driving it about. Some days, I just park up someplace nice and stay for a day or two, simply to not drive for 48 hours, I get a bit frazzled from being behind the wheel in teh city all the time.


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  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    Interesting Thread here. 2 questions

    I was thinking of converting a van to a stealth for temp living away from the house, for a day or two here and there...

    Q1. If you pay for 24 hour parking, i.e. QPark or APCOA car parks, do you feel safe enough to stay ther for the day? Without a security guard or similar knocking on your door.

    Q2. You have said you dont drink. Is this because you cant technically be in a parked vehicle over the limit? i.e. if someone request you move the van you wouldnt be able to.

    Q3. Did you think of registering it as a camper?

    Q4. How did you get insurance on a van, I thought you needed to be a limited company for insurance?

    thanks in advance...


    Q1. If you pay for 24 hour parking, i.e. QPark or APCOA car parks, do you feel safe enough to stay ther for the day? Without a security guard or similar knocking on your door.


    I dont spend 24 hours anywhere in one spot, unless its the beach at the weekends etc.

    In the city, I park one place in the day, and another spot at night. I have a few night spots close by, all legit overnight pay parking.
    tbh, I dont think anyone checks at night, Ive forgot to put a ticket on a bunch of times and had no hassle.
    I get in after 8 in the evening and Im gone by 7 in the morning, no one knows Im there I think :)


    Q2. You have said you dont drink. Is this because you cant technically be in a parked vehicle over the limit? i.e. if someone request you move the van you wouldnt be able to.


    Its a massive piece of mind knowing that I am fit to drive at a moments notice, this was a pain when drinking, Im a good boy and felt bad about driving early the next morning after pints. This lifestyle is made for a non drinker.
    Without being gross , the sheer about of urine you produce when drinking a bunch of beer is unreal when you have to actually dispose of it. Do that a few nights a week, and its a problem.
    Then you also have the smell of drink in the van and empty bottles, which are a pain in a van. Not a good look for the law!



    Q3. Did you think of registering it as a camper?


    Being done over next 2 months, I have a few things to do to get it to camper spec - gas fittings mainly. Then it will be a fully certified camper.


    Q4. How did you get insurance on a van, I thought you needed to be a limited company for insurance?


    That would be a ecumenical matter unfortunately. I was not questioned by insurance company. I'm taxed as a private vehicle, and getting slaughtered with road tax presently.
    I dont like it but that's the way it is, as soon as its a camper on paper, Ill get camper van.
    insurance. I pay a big wedge of insurance either way.


  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    Inspirational stuff. I just bought this lol. There's so much of Ireland I've yet to see and I've been constantly thinking about just driving to places and pitching a tent. I'll see how it goes over the summer.


    That's a cool gadget, Ive tried airbeds, you will wake up damp as there is no breathability so all your sweat in the night just sits there under you, you will be clammy.


    Will be fine for a weekend, but no more than that!


  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    Have you watched The film The Lady In The Van for tips?




    That old girl was too hardcore for me, that's a small van lol


  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    There are places, they're called halting sites.

    I've often wondered about the viability of such a plan with regards saving money. Surely you'd need to invest at least 10-15k up front for a liveable space, which is the guts of a years rent. How much in total have you invested in the van?

    There's a reason almost everyone doesn't do what the OP is doing: the best way to save money is to move back in with parents or relatives. That's not an option for some granted but for those that end up on the road like the OP, I'm betting there's something in the itinerant lifestyle that appeals to them anyway.




    Im aiming to have 20,000 in the bank next summer.
    Van build total so far, guesstimate - outside running costs, van was 3500, Ive probably put the same again into it to converting it (slowly!)




    Like I said, I went straight into doing this in the back of an unconverted van, which I dot recommend, unless you are the hardy sort.


    I do have help and support from family with aspects of this, but to be honest, one huge side effect of this is my immediate family is way more secure as I have more income available which , makes my family more secure. Folks are getting older and not so rich, so me having extra cash on hand is actually a big relief for everyone.


    After Ive been doing this a while , people see the results and are coming around to my thinking.





    I m not doing this to peruse an itinerant lifestyle.


    I am doing this so I can obtai some description of a secure home, even if its a broken down old cottage. Thats security enough for me in this current climate.


  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    ....... wrote: »
    I doubt very much that a member of the settled community could just rock up and land in a halting site and be accepted.


    I consider myself to have nothing in common with Travelers.


    Nothing against them, but the only thing we have in common is the road.


    And, if I rocked up to a halting site, Id probably be shot.


  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    I wouldnt call a diy commercial van conversion having been lived in permanently for a period of time an asset.


    If you look at it like that then of course its not an asset.


    I will never sell my van, It will end up on blocks as a guest house down the bottom of my garden.


    My van is a TOOL to get where I need to go. It is not an asset in your sense.
    But it is a TOOL that enables me to bank coin.


    So its a bloody asset to me, put it that way.


  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    iano.p wrote: »
    Great tread. Me and the girlfriend done this in oz for 21months. It ment we came home bought our first house a fixer up with our own money. When my work van a sprinter is due an upgrade we will be turning it I to our camper for us and the kids.






    Fine van ;)


    Go for it buddy, the best holiday a family can have, I wish I had kids sometimes, just for the adventures I get up to in it!


  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    z0oT wrote: »
    Thanks for doing the AMA. I admire you for doing what you're doing, I've often thought of doing something similar. The idea of being so outside the box is interesting to me.

    Anyway, a question I'm not sure has been asked before:

    How old is the van? Do you service it often? Do you service it yourself? Any significant reliability issues you've encountered with it? Have you ever been left stranded?

    Given it's effectively your home, I'm guessing you don't go even 1km over the service interval.




    I do not want to get into specifics about make/model/year/color of van as someone on boards will spot me for sure! I need to maintain privacy.


    Van was over 10 years old when I bought it, ex delivery van with a solid service history , engine purring , but bodywork tired with some rust spots.
    I fixed the rust , all surface thankfully. Had to get loads of bits an bobs from ebay to pass CVRT.

    One great thing: all parts for this van are on ebay for dirt cheap, that helps bigly running this thing.


    Service every 8000 max, or twice a year.


    My van is notoriously reliable, this is why I bough this model and it was a bit older, because it blows modern vans away on reliability. I had driven this model before on another job, and got to know the model before I ought one.


    Failed once, during that snowstorm, a sensor issue, hundreds of euro to find the issue, fifty euro fix!


    Its one of those vehicles that you can fully service yourself with a simple toolkit, I have not done it yet, but intend to learn how to.


    I baby the thing around the place, it has a very particular way it like the gears shifted, Im super super gentle all the time.


    When I get onto the open motorway, Ill blast it at 120kph for an hour or two, the Italian tune up, it has a load of power and it pretty fekking fast for its size.


    I have no power issues fully loaded with over taking or hills etc.


  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    [QUOTE=Silent Running;110147089
    With a bit of effort, it can be a very comfortable existence. The Eberspacher diesel night heater was great, and double glazed (plastic) windows helped a lot.

    If I were in the OPs position, I would do what he's doing in a heartbeat. But I would have the experience of kitting out a van to be a very comfortable space.

    @OP: if you're going to re-do the van, spend a lot of time planning what goes where. Panel the van out with light plywood and have the insulation between it and the van walls. Install all the wiring and plumbing before lining. But you probably know all of that. :p[/QUOTE]




    I got a china clone Eberspacher, seems to be grand, but not used it much yet. Roll on Winter!
    Re: the build - yes, Im currently ripping the insides out bit by bit and re- doing it the way you said. Its taken me early two years figure out what I need and where to put it!


  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    Well done Van Man for making the move, I’ve a high top camper I use for surfing, well before the wife had twins, now I get to go away 3 to 4 times a year I’m working on more.
    If I were you I’d get 2 or 3 way 12V240/gas fridge, they are great don’t use to much, run it off 12 when driving, make sure to turn off the gas I’m always forgetting . Keep an eye on done deal and adverts you aren’t in a rush and they often pop up
    I never use campsites I always park by the sea – surfer thing you’ll understand
    Dolmen do let you have just a camper but the insurance is double and I don’t know if they cover full timers.
    Are you in Dublin or another city? Where do you dump the toilet? Tip Shannon marinas often have toilets and showers, cassette fits in a LIDL bag.
    I had a look at the photo of in side the van and I have to say you could make it more cosy, you aren’t using the back doors, put a double bed across the back. Put storage under it, with space for surfboards. Paint the inside white or a bright colour and varnish the kitchen. Take a look at the chart table in boats get rid of the seat and build in a storage bench.
    I wouldn’t bother with a shower, you’ll need a much bigger tank and grey water tank. You can have one in the Gym a marina like DL campers often park at the coal harbour, or got to a public pool, swim and shower. DLR leisure run 3 to 4 of them.
    I saw a van for sale on done deal they’d done a clever toiler. It was a standard porta pottie but was raised up on step to make it easier to use. The cubical was on heavy duty drawer / server rack runners so that it could be pulled out to make it bigger and pushed in when not in use, they migh strap it down when driving. https://www.donedeal.co.uk/campers-for-sale/peugeot-boxer-campervan/21747611
    You’ve mentioned diving license a few times I think you are mixing it up, Class B is a car license and you can drive up to 3.5 ton on that after that you need a C or higher.

    You are dead right about the housing market, be good in school, go to college, get qualification, get a job but still quality housing is un-affordable, my parents managed on one income and a 20 year mortgage now it’s both parents working, child care, miserable guilt ridden mother can’t afford to save or put enough into a pension because of all of this – we elected the wrong government we should have let prices truly crash and say low. Enough money was pumped into the back to let them take the hit, we’d all be better off.




    Gas fridge- Have been thinking about this, but Ive kinda adjusted my lifestyle in summer months - no meat/dairy and buy fresh daily, so I get away without a fridge. In the long term, Ill probably put one in, more for guests than me.


    Back doors/build - I have a long bed down the wall there, its just a bit too narrow to run teh bed accross unfortnuatly, I would have done it otherwise.
    in the back right corner I will be building a toilet /shower wet room.
    The final step will be to put nice wooden latting everywhere. In the end I want it to feel like a boat inside, Like the Orca in Jaws!


    Rack server mounter jacks - inspired, thank you for that idea!


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  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    You are dead right about the housing market, be good in school, go to college, get qualification, get a job but still quality housing is un-affordable, my parents managed on one income and a 20 year mortgage now it’s both parents working, child care, miserable guilt ridden mother can’t afford to save or put enough into a pension because of all of this – we elected the wrong government we should have let prices truly crash and say low. Enough money was pumped into the back to let them take the hit, we’d all be better off.


    It cant go on, I have very similar themes in my life, millions of us in the same boat unfortunatly.


    If we persist in voting for the same thing again and again nothing will change.


    We still have a large section of Ireland Inc. who are doing very well out of all of this and they shout down/belittle/ poo poo any form of change.


    Im not into the whole Chemtrail thing, but Gemma O Doherty

    makes very salient points about all of this, and listen to the abuse she gets.



    Dare raise your voice in Ireland and you will be destroyed.



    I can see why political violence starts, when people are forced into such extremes to survive a supposedly first world country.


  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    Tigletts wrote: »
    I live on the Sheep's Head Peninsula.... nothing spooky about the place!!!




    I was on my own in Winter down on that wee pier thing right on the northern tip, I was a bit spooked. But love that spot and been back loads.


  • Company Representative Posts: 93 Verified rep I'm living in my van, AMA


    watn_a_van wrote: »
    How do you run things off the battery? Wish I knew how to do stuff like this.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu_Rp3zTaOc


    :pac:


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,270 ✭✭✭MrMusician18


    Im aiming to have 20,000 in the bank next summer.
    Van build total so far, guesstimate - outside running costs, van was 3500, Ive probably put the same again into it to converting it (slowly!)



    That's vanonomics... my friend :pac:


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,307 ✭✭✭✭alastair


    It cant go on, I have very similar themes in my life, millions of us in the same boat unfortunatly.


    If we persist in voting for the same thing again and again nothing will change.


    We still have a large section of Ireland Inc. who are doing very well out of all of this and they shout down/belittle/ poo poo any form of change.


    Im not into the whole Chemtrail thing, but Gemma O Doherty

    makes very salient points about all of this, and listen to the abuse she gets.



    Dare raise your voice in Ireland and you will be destroyed.



    I can see why political violence starts, when people are forced into such extremes to survive a supposedly first world country.

    Gemma O Doherty gets abuse on account of her raft of loolah and insidious platforms. You need to ignore a hell of a lot more than chemtrail and unicorn nonsense if you’re going to going to take her seriously. Then you’re left with the salient point, that, for all her cribbing about how ‘traitorous’ the political classes are, she doesn’t actually have any solutions to offer, beyond slapdash scapegoating.

    Best of luck with the off-the-Grid cottage plans etc, but don’t get sucked into that woman’s snake oil routine.


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,522 ✭✭✭✭Tell me how


    First time in the thread for a week, sees Gemma O'Doherty mentioned.

    Beep. Beep. Beep.

    That's me reversing out. Good luck van man.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,805 ✭✭✭Odelay


    Well I’m looking at a man that is living with his bicycle. All he possessions piled up on it I’m lidi bags under plastic sheets. Enjoying his dinner of bread cheese and lots of mayonnaise.
    To him a van would be a palace.


  • Registered Users Posts: 111 ✭✭Soilse


    This is a great thread
    Op I would be a little more choosy than you say you will be when buying even if self-sufficient poor neighbours can be a problem esp if living in a rural area.
    Have a look at composting toilets there is a fb page might suit your needs
    Do you have to remove the contents to do a crvt and if so is it easy to remove.


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 4,627 Mod ✭✭✭✭tedpan


    I saw 5 vans at the apple green near balbriggan today, all very obvious though!


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  • Posts: 8,856 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    tedpan wrote: »
    I saw 5 vans at the apple green near balbriggan today, all very obvious though!

    In fairness, it's pretty easy to recognise a van. :P


This discussion has been closed.
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