East Coast, Australia: Maintaining our Sanity in A Mini Campervan for 26 Days! – by Barb

I’m all about “systems” – finding a system/routine to make things work as smoothly as possible. Now that we saw how tiny our van was I knew that we would need a system to help us manage the space on a day-to-day basis. The “penthouse” had to be raised for the boys to sleep in it and lowered every time we moved. The bench seats had to be converted to a bed, which required the front seats to be shoved all the way forward. Basically every time we moved we would need to convert the van for driving and once we camped we had to prepare it for sleeping.

Our answer: baskets and buckets! I found 4 laundry baskets for $3 each at Kmart, and a couple of plastic pails for $1. We also bought some clothespegs, a dish towel, and extension cord. We were ready!

Each of us now have a laundry basket for our clothes and we put these across the bench seat when driving and put them in the back window when sleeping. We already had a length of rope to use as a clothes line and we can attach it to the van and a tree to hang our wet towels on. The campgrounds have kitchens with BBQs and sinks for our cooking, although we could use the cook stove on the back of the van in a pinch. Our groceries fit in the paindexils. After a few nights everyone knew how to complete the “switch” from driving van to sleeping van and we could get it set up or taken down in about 15-20 minutes.

Several of the campgrounds we visit have sitting areas – some of them indoors, so we can go there if the weather is bad. It has been quite warm as well, so even on rainy days we can usually manage to be outside, with our rain gear on. All in all, it’s been quite manageable.

I used to think I’d want to buy a campervan when I retired but now I have changed my mind! I think it would be better to have something that you could drop at your campsite and leave there while you drive around town. On several occasions Clay and I said that we could have split up – one of us go to get groceries, and another set up the site, but that’s not possible when you have a campervan.

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