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Converting a van to a camper to ski (and avoid covid)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
HI ! I worked on a film about that, is dropping soon haha. I hope you like it. Here is the trailer Smile


http://youtube.com/v/5eO2QUW5TmE&t=5s
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
LittleBullet wrote:
Campsites can be quite pricey and imho defeats the purpose though, might as well just get an Airbnb?

I always thought the "purpose" of camping is flexibility. You can't quite get that same almost absolute flexibility with lodging that doesn't belong to you.

As for the cost, that's more proportional to comfort. AirBnB will likely be more comfortable whilst cost more. Or you pay as little as a campground and got a shoebox no larger than your camper van whilst not even as clean?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@LittleBullet, Freebies:









Under €10 per night:


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@abc, flexibility is limited if you have to pre-book. @BoardieK, nice photos, impressive....food for thought. If I get the chance to take a few months off again I would look into the vanlife option again
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I admire the dedication of van converters, but spending months building a camper, just so you can drive halfway across Europe to freeze your butt off in a space you can't swing a cat in parked in a lift station car park doesn't make sense or appeal to me at all. Scraping the ice off the inside of the windows in the morning and getting into damp ski clothes would just about cap it all for me!! Shocked

Thinking you've saved money hauling the behemoth halfway across Europe to be able park for free/€10 on a campervan aire, having invested £1000's, insuring, taxing, MOT, winter tyres, depreciation, breakdown cover, fuel/tolls, winter awnings!?...amortising all those costs over a couple of weeks worth of ski holidays is beyond me!

OK if you plan on doing a gap year and tour the continent...but I'd only consider that during the warmer months of the year.

Each to his own, I guess. Good luck!! snowHead snowHead
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@luigi, you didn't read any of the post, did you?

The whole point of "conversion" is to make the van comfortable so you DON'T "freeze your butt off", NO NEED "to scrape the ice off the inside of the windows in the morning", NOT "getting into damp ski clothes" at all! You totally missed the point!

I'm pretty sure those vans would be used in the "warmer months" of summer as well. So all the tax, depreciation, breakdown cover etc. are merely what you would pay if you drive your own car on holidays.

You can, however, take your UNCONVERTED van and "freeze your butt off" etc... It's way cheaper albeit less comfortable.

(I wouldn't be the kind to get on with such a project. But I've seen quite a few such conversions. Even stayed in one. I found it quite nice)


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Wed 21-10-20 21:18; edited 1 time in total
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@luigi, I am absolutely with you on this. I want warm, spacious and unlimited amounts of hot water Cool .
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
maggi wrote:
@luigi, I am absolutely with you on this. I want warm, spacious and unlimited amounts of hot water and a swimming pool Cool .
FIFY Wink
ski holidays
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
abc wrote:
@luigi, you didn't read any of the post, did you?

The whole point of "conversion" is to make the van comfortable so you DON'T "freeze your butt off", NO NEED "to scrape the ice off the inside of the windows in the morning", NOT "getting into damp ski clothes" at all! You totally missed the point!

I'm pretty sure those vans would be used in the "warmer months" of summer as well. So all the tax, depreciation, breakdown cover etc. are merely what you would pay if you drive your own car on holidays.

You can, however, take your UNCONVERTED van and "freeze your butt off" etc... It's way cheaper albeit less comfortable.

(I wouldn't be the kind to get on with such a project. But I've seen quite a few such conversions. Even stayed in one. I found it quite nice)


OK, so what would the cost of state of the art 'winterisation' be divided by number of nights slept in winter?

I remain unconvinced that you would be truly comfortable sleeping 2 up in a 6m2 metal box with -15C overnight temps and a load of damp skiwear to dry. Have you stayed in one for a ski trip? I'd want a long hot shower/soak in a bath at the end of a skiing day, not a quick flannel wash!!

Accommodation in ski areas isn't that expensive or hard to come by. I paid £40 per night for a lovely recently renovated house that slept 4 in Aosta Valley last year in Feb half term, proper kitchen with all appliances, bathroom with spacious shower & flush toilet plumbed into sewer, full-size beds, ski storage shed, full heating with loads of radiators to dry damp clothes/boots. The bathroom itself was bigger than an average campervan!! Laughing

So would you seriously plan to use this beast as a daily driver?? So that's another cost that needs amortising...the difference between the fuel consumption of the beast vs a normal car multiplied up by your annual mileage, not to mention constant parking issues.

Very little of it makes sense to me, sorry!! snowHead
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Quote:
I remain unconvinced that you would be truly comfortable sleeping 2 up in a 6m2 metal box with -15C overnight temps and a load of damp skiwear to dry. Have you stayed in one for a ski trip?

I don't own a van, converted or otherwise. But I've once slept in my car, just for one night, WHEN I COULD NOT FIND ANY AVAILABLE LODGING! (*)

It was only -5C. And I had a nice warm down sleeping bag. So I was perfectly warm and comfortable. Slept soundly through the night. In a converted van with auxiliary heater, "freezing your butts off" is the least of my concern even at much lower temperature.

Granted, I was fortunate that I had access to shower. I did not notice any issue with damp skiwear either. The efficient heater of the car made short work of drying them off (it wasn't wet to begin with, good waterproof technical fabric). A cigarette lighter boot warmer took care of the one piece of gear that's most important.

I haven't done any cost calculation of the conversion, as I'm not doing one at this very moment. But to me, the biggest asset of a van based ski trip is the freedom to travel wherever and whenever, not constrained by available lodging at a moment's notice. (see below) Or if the condition isn't conducive, leave at the end of the day without penalty.

(*) I was planning to leave after skiing. But the condition was fantastic and the next day was expected to be identical. Except it was a holiday week and I had no booking for lodging for that night. The search yielded a couple of availability at $400+/night! Shocked

-- Having camped in similar temperature in the past, and having proper equipment at handy motivated me to "rough it". It was reasonably comfortable.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Thu 22-10-20 0:49; edited 1 time in total
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
As some of you know I did 3 months ski-bumming the US in an RV. I agree with @abc, the freedom is the key advantage to campervan skiing.

Changing our plans depending on snowstorms and general enjoyment of resorts was a blessing. We also saved a small fortune in car rental and pitched up most places for free.

Showered at public swimming pools (often included saunas), questionable truck stops and hot springs (free). Hygiene low point was after 5 days no shower I resorted to spraying my feet with kitchen surface anti bac cleaner.....it tingled.....

I would rough it again, temps are manageable down to -19c and showers can be worked around.... but needs to be a long epic trip.......
ski holidays
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
admin wrote:
maggi wrote:
@luigi, I am absolutely with you on this. I want warm, spacious and unlimited amounts of hot water and a swimming pool Cool .
FIFY Wink


You know me so well! Laughing
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
One of the photos I posted was at Passo Falzarego, an elderly chap (75+) turned up a short while after us and spent the night parked alongside in his estate car.

I caught the first lift, he was already skinning up somewhere.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@LittleBullet, back when I was in uni, the parents of my then boyfriend traveled (slept) in a van for the whole summer. They mix it up with fee paying campgrounds with shower and laundry, wild camping or park in a parking lot other times.

The only thing special about the van was a platform bed with memory foam mattress. My boyfriend and I used it once or twice. It was super comfortable, a lot better than 90% of the beds in cheap motels!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@luigi, I think everyone understands what you're saying and it's something I'm weighing up as I consider a camper play.

There's no doubt that using a van for one or 2 weeks a year doesn't make a lot of sense but up the usage by using weekends throughout the year and have some longer term adventures in the pipeline can start to make sense. Plus the benefits of setting up a mattress you like, the cooking kit you need and plenty of kit haulage and well done vans hold value pretty well.

The value is in the flexibility - that's why I thought a camper might fit well with a Tirol or Salzburg pass and the excellent public wellness facilities in Austria but then the overnight parking there is a bit tough.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
in Austria but then the overnight parking there is a bit tough.
...but not impossible.
Rumour has it 'someone' managed 5 or 6 nights in a row, about 100m from the Hahnenkamm lift in Kitzbuhel, without so much as a parking ticket.
U just got to know how to do stealth Toofy Grin
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Clearly someone's ninja skillz are a resource to be picked as I decide if and when to go for it. I assume the subwoofers had to be turned down.
ski holidays
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Yes, circumstances may have benefited by a couple of days of energy austerity to rebuild after bit of a dip in solar returns.

There was however one little slip-up. The diesel heater normally ticks over at very low revs and just picks up a little as temps drop - all reasonably discreetly. But when the sun came out and warmed the van up, it switched itself off completely for the afternoon then gave off a big billow of smoke as it started up, which caused a concerned ski-tech from the shop across the road to come over to check the van wasn't on fire... or so I believe.
ski holidays
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maggi wrote:
@luigi, I am absolutely with you on this. I want warm, spacious and unlimited amounts of Covid Cool .


FIFY

A properly engineered camper van with insulation, ventilation and hot water system with separate gear storage need be no less comfortable than some budget studio apartments
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
We've did a few European summer holidays long ago in a converted camper van, each 4 weeks. I'd say, yes, fine in the summer when you can easily use shower, wash and toilet blocks and dry stuff. And if you don't like somewhere, you can just pack up and move on. And vice-versa. But in the winter? Even the smallest studio has a lot more than any camper. And surely, accommodation isn't really the main component of ski costs, is it? You'll still be paying the same for lift passes. And nowadays with AirBnB, isn't it a lot easier to get a studio at short notice for a variable period? And and - with Covid, won't there be more accommodation on offer, at better rates than usual? I suppose it's not all either/or - you could swap from the van to a studio for a longer stay somewhere that you liked, perhaps in the middle of the excursion.

Wouldn't an alternative be to hostel? Then if you found somewhere you really liked and wanted to stay, you could go for a studio/apt for longer. I think the comparison baseline would be the sort of hostel where you can get a double room to yourselves. You could still have your own transportation so you can up sticks and relocate on a whim, just add winter tyres and chains and that's all you'd need. Just a thought.

On reflection, I can just about imagine us touring in something like a HYMER but taking a look, we're talking about £50-£60K for the base van new then winterisation, say another £10-£15K. So £60-£75K new, perhaps half that for used. Can you really DIY something equivalent? Some of the winter features are integrated right into the chassis - I'd say they would be hard to retro-fit. And if £10-£15K is the typical cost of the retro-fit components (ignoring any costing of your own time) then that's about what a medium-sized apartment budget would be for a season booking.
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@LaForet, Interesting that you mention hostels. I wonder how places like UCPA are going to run this season. Last time I checked in the UK some YHA hostels had reopened but were unable to offer "dorm" type accommodation thus seriously reducing capacity.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
It's about camper vans , if I have to explain , you wouldn't understand. Aircooled VW bay window for 17yrs , and a watercooled T25 for the last 27.At least with the watercooled I don't have to scrape ice off the inside of the windscreen.One of those massive vans holds no interest to me.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@prometheus, Each to their own. We have a LWB hi-top sprinter conversion (actually a race van build with a large garage) and it works fine for the 2 of us. I recently met an older couple on a site in Suffolk who had just "downsized" to a T6 California. By the end of the week they were ready to set fire to it. Playing Tetris all the time with the seats/bed etc obviously wasn't to their liking. And you rarely see a t5/t6 or similar sized van sited without some form of awning to create more space.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
I'm sure it has something to do with my personal eccentricity , I also ride old motorbikes and have a sidecar outfit for winter rallies.....which have all been cancelled Sad
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
@LaForet, I couldn’t justify a winterised camper just for skiing, but our van will be a base for sea kayaking, rock climbing etc too, all year round . Our current T5 is a bit cramped but the Ducato I’m currently converting will have ample space and all mod winterised cons
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@On the rocks Yes, after having looked at the HYMER website, I can see that for summer and winter, across a number of years, there's an attraction to the idea owning one. And that if you were getting one anyway, the option of winterisation might be attractive.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
My next door neighbour is in the process right now... Actually, a reno and winterisation on an existing RV. So far he has,

Gutted it to the inside skin
Insulated throughout.
Fitted a domestic combi boiler, modded for LPG (he's a Gas Safe installer).
Fitted domestic underfloor heating throughout.
Shower room and toilet.
Solar panel.

It's a beast (LHD), can't wait to see the outcome.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So finally got myself a van.

Ended up with a 64 plate Transit Custom limited. 48k miles on the clock.

Previous owner has put windows in the back on the sides, and a row of seats which i'll be taking out and flogging. That'll pay for a couple of windows in the back doors. Previous owner also carpeted some ply boards and stuck them over the top of the the factory fitted ply boards. Hoping to reuse the factory ply and carpet that, or would people recommend buying new ply? The pre cut kits are available from here, but don't want to spend money on ply if the factory stuff will be ok.

https://www.customshopdesigns.com/ford-transit-custom-2013---onwards

Just started ordering sound deadening and insulation items, but half of what I want is out of stock.

Really looking forward to getting going on all the work. Expecting to do it over a fairly lengthy period, but something nice to look forward to doing over the winter, seeing as there's no rugby to be played, and skiing is looking doubtful at the moment!
snow conditions
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@swskier, interesting about the sweetspot on age mileage - you get a van with enough mod cons at that age - Euro 5 I guess? Do you mind me asking what sort of price, presumably not heavily converted.
ski holidays
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
The van is a mobile cave. Drones can peepy us. A good flat bed, stretchy toes are imperative. The sweet spot is the dry breath in the wild, the first and last embers of the fire which we can breath deeply in. Naturally we will find the perfect spot to sleep under our skins where the body’s warmth will dry out the damp air oot.

Separately if one doesn’t mind taking a partial punt they could buy from auctions, my last wAs 40,000 miles , Renault Master, 2005, FUll service history , £3,000. I marched under the hammers nose and faced the bidders mind. They only bid once
ski holidays
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I did a VW crafter LWB for a family of 5 with three teenagers. started it in winter 2018 and finished it for summer 2019. Im a teacher so had plenty of summer hols to work at it. Triple bunk and a queen size slide out couch bed. Diesel blown air heating and full insulation. We live in Ireland and have been driving to continent for years. We have done three MH ski trips. Alpe D'Huez, Montgenevre and La Plagne in Feb 2019. La Plagne has EHU so we could keep a tiny oil rad from screwfix on all day when we were out and van was cosy. We dried gear in shower cubicle using rad at night. Boots stored up front in foot well. Silverscreen window insulation all round. Ski hardware stored in roofbox. For me the front seat swivel is an essential option to allow stretch out in evening. Our first trip in a Hymer that was not fully winterised was fine with plenty of quilts, last trip in self built was significantly cosier. I designed the build for summer and ski use, so the insulation throughout was guaranteed. A lot of factory built vans are not that well insulated so take care when choosing. Some great FB forum advice available. The flexibility is fantastic, drive on somewhere elsewhere if you destination does'nt float your boat.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I agree that it doesn't have to be cold. I know people that have slept in their cars at ski resorts and were warm. As long as you have a suitable sleeping bag and/or spend the money on insulation and heating system.

It does seem a very expensive option though. Bearing in mind I can do 3months in BC (including flights) for less than £3k, it would be hard to justify the cost. Yes it offers freedom, but unless you have a multi resort lift pass you are adding even more costs on top of a season pass.
snow conditions
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

HI ! I worked on a film about that, is dropping soon haha. I hope you like it. Here is the trailer


Picture organic smashed it out the park with zabardast. The follow up was kind of bad, too much focus on being eco friendly (while still flying Jeremy Jones across the Atlantic to be in it?! POW logic). See this one is also pow sponsored? Accredited? Not sure how that's justified with some old probably super inefficient petrol guzzling bus (maybe I will be wrong and it will be converted to electric?!). Looking forward to watching it, but the snowmads film definitely set a high bar for campervan adventure travel ski film.
ski holidays
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
Just got a new Touran. Eldest daughter insisted we sleep out in it, surprisingly OK!
snow conditions
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
@swskier, interesting about the sweetspot on age mileage - you get a van with enough mod cons at that age - Euro 5 I guess? Do you mind me asking what sort of price, presumably not heavily converted.


I paid £14.7k, no VAT added on top of that. Its a bit of a premium no doubt, but its going to be my day to day vehicle for the very little driving I do, plus the camper option at weekends. We got a dog this year, so the plan is it'll be easier to get away at weekends and not have the faff of finding dog friendly hotels and end up in a room next door to another dog, and subsequently spend all night being kept awake by your own dog that won't settle down!

I think in an ideal world I'd have gone VW, I prefer them, but for that same money I couldn't find anything in similar age and mileage with a similar spec.
ski holidays
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
@swskier, interesting about the sweetspot on age mileage - you get a van with enough mod cons at that age - Euro 5 I guess? Do you mind me asking what sort of price, presumably not heavily converted.


There's a Vauxhall movano 68 plate and euro six with 32,000 miles and still with some manufacturer's warranty on this link. About 14 items down list.

http://www.farringtonscommercials.com/Van.aspx

Seems very clean too.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...

http://youtube.com/v/PirDktqxmeg
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Please forgive my ignorance, but a Dc to Dc charger? Surely that is a wire with a diode and one of those ignition trigger switch boxes? (the charge does not flow until the engine is running, and only flows in one direction)

I think these ignition switch boxes have diodes in them, so drop the additional diode. (just ensure the wire is thin enough to limit the ampage transferred)
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@boarder2020, Probably a subject for another post but how on earth do you manage to ski for 3 months in Canada for less than 3 grand?
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Bigtipper, These are usually referred to as "Battery to Battery" (B2B) chargers and are full 3 stage battery chargers with a typical output of 50A. They sit between the vehicle and leisure batteries with much larger wires than normally fitted to motorhomes so that instead of an initial charge of, say, 25A reducing to 7 or 8A within 15 minutes you get a full 50A charge until the leisure batteries are about 80% full, which could be an hour or two depending on the size of the battery bank.

Ours works very well for us, especially skiing off grid for 2 months, but I did take some time to make sure I got the optimal installation.
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