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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(* copied from intro post. Took me a while to figure out how to post)

Hi everyone,

Please see my layout attached and let me know what you think. I recently purchased a white incognito 2500 and it is waiting for me to rip into it.
I plan to live full time in this van for the next 2 to 3 years. My needs are:

- Stealth (inconspicuous solar and heat)
- decent solar (whatever that means)
- Heat via propane (ski bum part time)
- Large Garage - separate from living area (Bike, Camping gear, Snowboard gear, Tools, Propane, etc)
- Small desk/work area
- Fridge
- Hanging closet (unwrinkled work clothes)
- Nice finishes (respectable not hippy, think "comeswithaview instagram")
- Sink with Grey and Fresh plumbing

I will be traveling solo (for the most part)
I Have a national gym membership for showering
I dont mind crapping in a bucket but maybe install a compost in the future.

I also have this "crazy" Idea to use a valve of sorts to route the heat to the garage when I want to dry out wet ski clothes. Is that stupid?

Oh and probably not important but Ill need space for a kayak up top.

Thanks! Please tell me how much my design sucks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
*Response from Msnomer.

"First thought: Propex is not stealth because of the large vent required. Webasto/Espar are stealth because outside there are only two small hoses under the vehicle.

A "drying room" should not be difficult. Just be sure it has separate outside air inlet and exhaust fan so the moisture is contained and evacuated rather than dispersed to the rest of the van. I envision a Webasto/Espar in the front corner of the garage with Y's on its inlet and outlet ducts and a way to flip between branches. Pay careful attention to maximum allowed distances and elbows. For the inlet ducting, you can get creative because the air is not hot. I used a wood chase with plastic downspout from Lowes to channel my inlet where I wanted it. For the outlet, you must use their heat-tolerant ducting and I'd make that as short as possible to avoid losing heat along the way. Pay attention to air circulation in the two respective areas. Considering the added complexity of the ducting, it might be best to design and build your heating system early in the build process while you have the most options."
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks MsNomer,

The propex hs2000 looks pretty stealth to me. Just to smallish holes through the floor. (Realizing now though i need to verify where those holes are gonna pop through.) I'm totally with you on the complexity thing. I'm a measure 2x repeatedly until 2 months later I've I look back and nothing has been done! I'm unsure about the ventilating the dry room. Not too excited about cutting into roof again for a second air max. Maybe some mod to the window? This might be something i plan strategically for but complete in the future upgrade. 2.0
Thanks MsNomer
 

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The propex hs2000 looks pretty stealth to me. Just to smallish holes through the floor.
Then I must be wrong. I've always associated the propane heaters with a large rectangular vent out the side. Two small holes in the floor sounds like Webasto/Espar. Though with them you would have the advantage of using fuel from your vehicle tank instead of a separate propane tank--more room for your toys.
 

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We have all been where you are now, I actually miss that phase.... well not really.

Here are my observations. I see you have designed a full height garage area rather than an under the bed approach. Is this so that you can stand-up and change in there? If not, a slide-out under a raised bed enables quite a lot of useful space while making use above the garage for a bed that is always made. If you're under 6' you can really save space with a cross-ways bed. I see your sink area is not in front of the slider, rather your fridge is, one benefit of the sink in front of the door is the ability to fill/remove fresh and grey tanks through the back of the sink cabinet. However I suspect you plan on having the fridge accessible for trail side bevies and also to use as a seat. I love my Webasto heater (diesel connected to van's tank) and the fact I don't need propane.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey thanks, so the bed/garage situation. I've honestly never understood why the platform bed was so popular and a "must" for people when coming up with their design. It seams like a huge waste of space. But that's why this is so great. All the different designs, i could browse for days.
Bed-i don't mind the bed making, i lived in a studio apt with a Murphy for years. And I'll probably use a sleeping bag so easy peasy.
I wanted to make the front area as open as possible, with a couch, a swivel passenger seat and the top load fridge it's as open as i think it can get. I like the idea of having the side door opening visually unobstructed when it's open. Maybe get a net too.

Garage - ill have that pretty packed, spilt from low to high, bikes up top and storage below. I got the idea from "thomas woodson van 2.0" an awesome build. The door is there just as a bonus. Ill access it mainly from the rear. Hey now!
Propane- ill have a stove and burners so ill need propane either way. I'd love to save the space but correct me if im wrong but A- gas heaters are more expensive and B- induction burners require more power = more expensive and possibly more /larger batteries meaning space lost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh and i dont know how else i would fuel a stove. I don't bake cookies or anything but i like to roast veggies and such. Maybe its a luxury i can give up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh oh and i do like the idea of accessing the water from the side door so ill have to give that a thought. It would be a compromise and I'm not sure i would want a sink so small since i need to leave room for the couch when extended.
 

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So based on your requirements, I would:

1) Do a platform bed for sure. Separate the space under it by sealing it out from the main living area to create your garage. I just used a curtain as I want to still reach into the garage sometimes. Plus this lets me carry really long stuff if I ever need to. You can put bikes, gear, etc etc back there and have it be not wasted space at all. Plus that area houses the 25 gallon water tank + pump + plumbing + outdoor shower.

2) Espar/Webasto diesel/gas heater no doubt. Propane ain't going to cut it for stealth and for actual winter. You can definitely do a dual vent from the out to where it sends 25% of the air to the garage and creates a gear dryer. You can also buy a helmet drier or even make something out of some 12V vans and run it off the batteries

3) The batteries, heater, all electrical/etc can get mounted in the couch and still leaves room for storage

4) Where I have my wardrobe you can easily do half storage, half hanging. I've got it setup to take 5 Rubbermaid bins, a microwave, my pantry, portable cassette toilet, and then also an overnight/duffel bag up top. This way, I can easily switch hobbies depending on where I'm going, as I've got biking bins, backpacking bins, rock climbing bins, skiing bins, fishing bins, etc :)

This is essentially my layout. I've gotta take some updated pics now that I've come closer to being done. I'm also adding a second slider that is sealed on the bottom where the ski boots/wet gear can go. I'm also adding an upside down Thule ski rack under the bed (actually working on that tonight), so the skis can get mounted there. Lastly, going to deal with lots of hanging storage under the bed. Right now I'm tossing stuff on the floor and that doesn't quite work well



 

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Here's a pic that shows how mine is coming together. Still have to finish the wardrobe/bench with paint/t molding but I've been too busy adventuring

 

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"I wanted to make the front area as open as possible, with a couch, a swivel passenger seat and the top load fridge it's as open as i think it can get. I like the idea of having the side door opening visually unobstructed when it's open. Maybe get a net too."

Be very reluctant to invade that space with anything. My similar space is as vital to our enjoyment as any other feature and is usually the first and primary feature people notice when they enter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
*Copied from my intro post
Originally Posted by RDinNHandAZ

Welcome, the plan looks good for one. You can do this without propane to save both space and money. Think a nice butane stove and a Wabasto heater. The Wabasto will draw its small amount of fuel from the van’s fuel tank. The stove can be mounted like a propane one would. There are even inside rated butane ovens. The canisters are recycled and super cheap. This should be safer and rated for interior unlike the propane tank.

See:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Webasto-Air...VaFEz1&vxp=mtr



Amazon
Amazon


https://smile.amazon.com/Portable-Ad...QP2VMPM4WGKY2Z
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey Trhoppe thanks for your advice. 2 thing id like to point out. I love your layout a lot but you have the ext model so you have approx 14" more space I think? That would come right out of the couch for me and would really squeeze that front area.

Your platform bed looks to be about a queen size so assuming its midway in the cabin that gives you roughly 3'Hx6'Wx5'D of garage vs my proposed 6'Hx6'Wx30"D. They equal out to be the same cubic feet. However the wheel well seems to interfere with your garage more than it would mine.

This is my issue with the platform bed designs, Not a dig at yours setup, I think it really works with the extra space you have but it eats away at too much walking space. Plus most people tend to put a lot of storage above the top which means you have to crawl over your bed to get stuff.

Your finishes look awesome btw. I really hope I can pull mine off so clean!

WEBASTO!! Ok so a lot of folks are pushing the webasto and do not like propane. I'm with you. If I can get rid of the propane tank that would be great but butane doesnt seem to be a good alternative. There are very little options for burners and zero ovens.

Ill have to do some more research on the Webastos but the install is a little intimidating.
Propane - Something about having one fuel source for heat and cooking is very appealing. I would do the whole sealed box with bottom venting etc and having it in the garage "feels" a little safer too.

Induction - Im told id need around 600W of solar to comfortably use induction not to mention the extra batteries and pure wave blahblahblah. Maybe im overthink that part. But between the webasto and the extra wattage i think id be around 1k more out of pocket than with propane.

Thanks again everyone.
 

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I included a link to a butane oven! I guess you didn’t bother to look at my links?
I will continue like you had and add this....... You don’t need a larger solar set, 200-300 watts will be fine for induction. What you need is a battery that can put out 100-150 amps and maintain it’s voltage and a honking big Sine Wave inverter. Think lithium. Personally I know great cooks that use butane when a portable cooktop is needed but have not met one who espouses induction. Why spend an extra 2-3K$ to use a poorer stove top.
Isn’t having a fuel for the van that also heats it appealing? Why not take that argument? If you follow our suggestion you will have exactly the same number of fuels as your plan if you don’t forget the van. Count to two!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I included a link to a butane oven! I guess you didn’t bother to look at my links?
I will continue like you had and add this....... You don’t need a larger solar set, 200-300 watts will be fine for induction. What you need is a battery that can put out 100-150 amps and maintain it’s voltage and a honking big Sine Wave inverter. Think lithium. Personally I know great cooks that use butane when a portable cooktop is needed but have not met one who espouses induction. Why spend an extra 2-3K$ to use a poorer stove top.
Isn’t having a fuel for the van that also heats it appealing? Why not take that argument? If you follow our suggestion you will have exactly the same number of fuels as your plan if you don’t forget the van. Count to two!
Hey Bud,
i did check out your links but didnt find an oven. check out this link. http://bit.ly/2BvDSpi why dont ya! JK and no offense 0:)
Ya got me on the 2x fuel types :laugh:
But I'm not sure where you're getting the 2 to 3k for a stove? But I definitely see extra cost coming from electrical. It might be something ill want anyway but not to justify an induction burner. As of now I do plan on around 300w of solar.

But I digress, Like I said, roasting veggies might be a luxury I can give up.
Definitely some hostility against propane in these parts lol.

Ill try to itemize the cost and space between both options. Ill post back and let me know if my math is off.
Thanks Bud!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here is another view of my layout.
 

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;) I’m RD, Bud is my cousin but we do look a lot alike.
The link was broken on the oven, sorry.
Try
[ame]https://www.amazon.com/Portable-Adjustable-Capacity-Canister-Martin/dp/B01BUJZ928/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511965549&sr=8-1&keywords=butane+oven[/ame]

I know that stove/oven product but it is for OUTSIDE only, like the 20lb propane tank.

The induction cooktop is cheap. The extra battery cost is $1500-$3000 and the charger is $200 and the inverter is $500
https://www.lithiumion-batteries.com/products/12v-300ah-lithium-ion-battery/
https://www.lithiumion-batteries.co...rgers/12v-10a-lithium-ion-battery-charger.php
[ame]https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-2000Watt-Inverter-Charger-Outlets/dp/B01MUCN1WJ/ref=sr_1_10?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1511966156&sr=1-10&keywords=pure+sine+wave+inverter+2000w[/ame]

Propane is fine and GaryBIS has it and is happy. It wouldn’t be a mistake just complicating, and if done right more expensive. Still nothing compared to that lithium set up.
 

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Your platform bed looks to be about a queen size so assuming its midway in the cabin that gives you roughly 3'Hx6'Wx5'D of garage vs my proposed 6'Hx6'Wx30"D. They equal out to be the same cubic feet. However the wheel well seems to interfere with your garage more than it would mine.
What is your plan for storing bikes then? While you can go vertical with them, I think that ends up eating a lot more space. I'm curious to see.

This is my issue with the platform bed designs, Not a dig at yours setup, I think it really works with the extra space you have but it eats away at too much walking space. Plus most people tend to put a lot of storage above the top which means you have to crawl over your bed to get stuff.
Yea, I agree with that. I did no storage on top, although I might end up doing a row of short cabinets by the feet for clothes and such if I end up living in the van for longer periods of time vs just playing on extended weekends.

If I had a non extended, I would have made the couch about 52" and my wardrobe 28" or so. Right now the couch is 58" and the wardrobe 36". The kitchen would have stuck out halfway into the door though, which would kinda suck. So yea, I agree with your points.

Again, I'm interested in your bike storage ideas, because the vans I've seen with the full height garages like yours just suck at bike storage. Seems AWESOME for ski storage though. Just a vertical rack and they can leak all over a pan under them.

WEBASTO!! Ok so a lot of folks are pushing the webasto and do not like propane. I'm with you. If I can get rid of the propane tank that would be great but butane doesnt seem to be a good alternative. There are very little options for burners and zero ovens.
Why the oven? I'm curious, as I have never seen an actual use for it in a camper/van/rv. Are you really going to cook pizzas on the road?

If you *need* an oven and you're already doing propane, sure I could see sticking with one fuel source, but even with that, I'd still recommend the webasto, as it's easier to install/deal with than one of those giant square propane heaters that RV's have. That way you don't have to worry about having a spare propane tank and running out of heat in the middle of a cold ass night. If you're missing propane, all you lose is your cooking.
 

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If you're keeping the layout as is (and if you can nail the garage, it can be super rad), kill the oven, and build the whole kitchenette to extend like a few inches into the door with a normal 12v Norco fridge. You'll have a shitload of counter space, you'll have a great fridge, and IMO, you won't miss the oven.

Basically like a long version of mine, but you could fit a set of full height drawers next to it, as you have another 20" or so to work with width wise. Also, the foldout counter top is super nice. I've got a 6 foot long counter with that extended countertop: https://goo.gl/4ZEt2t
 
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