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Living in a van.. - Page 2

post #31 of 121

You should check out this site. It may be nice to get a free bath and sleep in a warm house every once in a while.
post #32 of 121
Hey Andy!

You beat me to the punch and are way more organized than I am (I'm still in the process of purchasing a winter bag and getting a shell for the pick-up).

I was curious, though. I saw your sit-ski set-up in the first picture of the van (leaning up against the garage wall). But I also noticed that the first picture of the front interior of the van showed at least 2 pairs of skis in the passenger seat.

Are you taking this trip with a partner/friend? or are those just the extra skis you have to put on your chair (I never actually thought about whether or not you can swap out the ski that is mounted under the chair for different conditions or not).

I also haven't checked your blog, but post an itinerary here as I'm sure a number of us would relish the opportunity to share a few turns with you this season if you're going to be in our neck of the woods (I ski Tahoe, Colo, Utah, and points in-between).
post #33 of 121
I suggest you ditch the air matress and get a thermarest if you don't want to freeze, or at least one of those little blue foam pads. The air circulating in the mattress will suck the heat out of you. Also only use that stove under proper ventilation if you don't want to die from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Good luck, and have fun!
post #34 of 121
Breck has some overnight parking available but you need a permit. Contact the town asap to line this up. Otherwise you'll have problems finding a place to park here. It's illegal to park on all county roads and the town is Breck is going to hassle you big time if you're parked illegally in town. Showers at the Breck Rec Center are $6. Walmart in Frisco is full of campers and RVs so I think you can park there if need be. Good luck.
post #35 of 121

Have long heard tales that Walmart was started by an avid RVer and his policy was that RV's and folks could car camp in any Walmart parking lot across North America. Supposedly he used to travel around from shop to shop in his own RV and stay at each one while he did an assessment of the premises.

I have also heard that since he died the new board of supers has been trying to discourage overnight camping, but that it's still acceptable (apparantly the founder wrote some clause into his will or something), just frowned upon if you stay for extended periods.
post #36 of 121
I love it, and you look well dialed in, but, as a veteran in this department, I would STRONGLY suggest substituting the use of the generator for a catalytic heater. I have used a Coleman Black Cat for the last three seasons. There is no need to vent as the pad burns propane at such a low temperature that there is almost no residual carbon monoxide build up, and the little there is will flush with the small amount of air that comes through door cracks, floor heating vents, etc..

Even at twenty below, my four wheel chalet has never gotten colder than 61 degrees, and the typical average temp below twenty is 74 degrees. The one thing that is crucial if you decide to go this route is to buy an 11 pound propane tank. The small Coleman, or whatever, mini tanks will never make it through an eight hour night. The 11 pounder is small enough not to disturb the limited space, and will easily give you 60+ hours even at the high setting.

Lastly, before you use it inside the vehicle burn the pad for at least eight hours. They put some chemical funk over the pad/safety sceen that smells like hell, especially in a confined space, until the heat burns it off .

Have a great season!
post #37 of 121
That Coleman unit looks pretty neat. Where do you put your 11lb tank? Do you bolt it to the floor or something?
post #38 of 121
Originally Posted by Garrett View Post
That Coleman unit looks pretty neat. Where do you put your 11lb tank? Do you bolt it to the floor or something?
It's so squatty that you really don't need to secure it. If you want, a simple bungy around the collar of the tank will make things super safe, but, let's face it, if a roll over accident occurs this poor guy has about a hundred other unsecured objects that are going to take him out long before the tank ever gets to the driver's seat.

I'm betting his karma has a different fate in mind though.
post #39 of 121

I might ask for one of those for Christmas...very good idea there.
post #40 of 121
Originally Posted by Garrett View Post

I might ask for one of those for Christmas...very good idea there.
When you get in close to 100 days/season, then average in even a modest single room rate of $40/night ( and how often can you find that at, or near a ski area ), my initial less than $100 investment after three seasons of use, about to enter a fourth, has so far paid for itself..................

Sorry, that's far too much math for Happy Hour.
post #41 of 121
That is a sweet pad there my friend!!!
post #42 of 121
Sick set-up. Me and my girlfriend is taking the car up to Cataloochee in December and plan to sleep in it for 4 days. You gave me some decent ideas. What area will you be in again? And for how long? We'll be taking a trip to Nederland (near Eldora) to look for a place to live in March.
post #43 of 121
hey, Andy, it might be cool if you post your list of stuff you pack and people can add ideas for you. for example (and I see you use it liberally) 1) duct tape, two rolls 2) roll of nylon chord 3)bundle of 1/2" dowel and so forth. With the above stuff, you can make whatever you need on the fly. When in Tahoe area give me a call for a shower and a bowl of soup. PM for details. best of luck. another author: Ken Kesey
post #44 of 121
a friend of mine once lived in a van for 3 months just to save his rent, he went to YMCA everyday to shower and poop. Funny that no one in his office noticed it.
post #45 of 121
don't forget the baby wipes!
post #46 of 121
.....down by the river?
post #47 of 121
You are my hero....seriously.

I am planning on doing this w/ a buddy after High School
post #48 of 121
hey man,
I've spent more than a couple nights sleeping in my jeep to ski, so if you're near Winter Park, PM me and I'll see what I can do to hook you up, I can at least offer a shower and cheaper lift tickets.

I second the person who said be careful of the Carbon Monoxide poisoning ... I tried that once, spent most of the night outside wondering why my body was trying to throw up when it didn't have any food in it

Also, the Therm-a-Rest recommendation ... a full air mattress has too much air space, you need the foam of a thick Therm-a-Rest ... I can't explain the physics, I just know it's warmer.

Have fun

andy (another one)
post #49 of 121
Originally Posted by tief schnee View Post
.....down by the river?

Whenever I see this thread, I want to add that too....

Chris Farley RIP
post #50 of 121
Originally Posted by SitSkiAndy View Post
I am fiercely proud of my time in the Army, and strongly believe that if it were not for the mindset I gained from my service, I would not have been able to cope with abruptly being in a wheelchair.
That's an excellent way to put it! I, too, am fiercely proud of my service. The mindset I gained from my service helps me cope with the romper room I work at, usually

A suggestion: instead of the roof-top box (not feasible, of course) or the elevated platform, maybe you could mount some hooks on the van's interior wall for hanging skis, just to get them off the floor. And I wouldn't hold back from putting foam sleeping pads under the air mattress. Get some cheap ones from an Army surplus (the good ol' TA50 kind) and cut/tape them all together to make a wall-to-wall pad under your air mattress and all else. It'll get mighty cold, and all the extra insulation will help.

I don't live right by any base area, but if you're up in the Bozeman area, PM, dude! I can offer a shower and some homebrew.

When you're out there in the AO, remember: stay alert, stay alive! And drive on with your bad self. hua!

Looking forward to reading your blog and TRs.

post #51 of 121
Thread Starter 
I've made a few adjustments to the set up in the last couple of days, largely due to some of the great advice and tips from you guys, so thanks.

I got hold of some carpet to cover the inside of the windows for added insulation and privacy. It was a nightmare trying to fit it on the windows as I couldn't get anything to stick to the plastic surrounds, thanks to second hand car salesmen's tendency to spray everything with plastic shine, which is basically oil and impossible to get off.

After a few attempts I found the best way to do it was to use thin strips of sticky back velcro around the edges of the windows, then cut the carpet to size and put the furry side against the window so it sticks onto the velcro.

It seems to of worked really well, completely blacking out the windows from the outside, and should add some insulation and cut down on frost build-up. Plus from the outside it just looks as the van has blacked out windows and so shouldn't raise any added attention or give away the fact that someone has converted the van to be lived in.

I can remove all the covers when I'm driving and quickly put them up when it comes to sleepy time.

I've used an emergency blanket as extra insulation for the roof, again I used velcro to keep it in place. Hopefully it will help keep a lot of heat inside and not just act as a huge area for condensation build-up.

Plus it gives the van that whole 70's disco vibe and cheers it up a bit, it was starting to look a bit like a cave with all the grey and black.

I'm still playing around with trying to utilize some of the space on the walls and windows, it pretty difficult trying to do so without leaving any permanent holes or damage to the van itself. At the moment everything can be stripped out very easily, just a case of peeling off the velcro strips, and the van is back to it's original condition.

I've got a couple of trunk organizer type..........things, to hold stuff that would otherwise litter the floor, but trying to hang them from existing parts of the van is a pain. I'l probably leave these down for traveling and put them up once I'm stationary.

I've completely given up on the air mattress idea, and gone with 3, 2 inch thick rolls of foam for a mattress. Although I am still using the un-inflated air mattress as a protective and waterproof cover for it.

I'm probably going to do a trial run in it tomorrow night to see if I have enough insulation and find any other problem areas. I'll let you guys know how that goes.
post #52 of 121

That velcro/carpet idea is ridiculuous.

(but you need a RED L.E.D. so it doesn't interfere with your night vision.)

You'll be happy you went without the air-mattress. It would've established a leak somehow anyway.

props to you.

When do you hit the road again?

Oh... and which window will you vent when you sleep?

Have you gotten a glove dryer yet?
post #53 of 121
Originally Posted by SitSkiAndy View Post
I'm still playing around with trying to utilize some of the space on the walls and windows, it pretty difficult trying to do so without leaving any permanent holes or damage to the van itself. At the moment everything can be stripped out very easily, just a case of peeling off the velcro strips, and the van is back to it's original condition.
From the picture it looks like you can use the passenger side seatbelts to hang skis on. You can either protect the seat belt webbing and use that, or hang something from the brackets that the seatbelts go through.
post #54 of 121
What kind of sleeping bag do you have? More is better, is the philosophy here and in a van things get cramped pretty quick.

Your move to foam will be well worth it, essentially, just the weight of your body compresses the insulation in the bag so the "R" rating goes to zilch point schizz and then your body heat goes right through the air in an air mattress so ...in essence, your foam is your insulation.

Getting a lightweight down (cheap) bag that would compress down the the size of a football probably isn't a bad idea; it could double as a pillow and if the fuel runs out will give your regular bag a major comfort rating boost.
post #55 of 121
Hey Andy, just curious. Are you sleeping with the skis inside the van? Why not just leave them outside, seems like you're going to be sleeping in pretty remote locations, theft seems unlikely. Or even under the van. You'd have a lot more room at night that way.
post #56 of 121
Thread Starter 
I'm getting a load of questions about this, sorry I cant reply to each one with fancy quotes and stuff but I'll try to cover most of them here:

1. The ski's are all mine. I'm taking 7 pairs with me, which is slightly excessive saying as I can only ski on one at a time, but I have SL, GS, SG and DH races, plus hopefully the X Games and lots of free skiing so I need the full quiver. The ski's are mainly living in the front passenger seat but I am toying with the idea of hanging some from the roof when I'm not traveling.

2. Parking at Breckenridge. I'm going to get an overnight parking permit that will allow me to park in town. It doesn't allow for camping/sleeping in the vehicle though, hence the extra detail in trying to make sure the van looks normal from the outside and doesn't leak light at night. If I need to then I'll make the wal*mart in frisco a base for a couple nights so I can run the generator and stuff.

3. I have a backyard camping type sleeping bag (the camo you can see in the pictures) which I'm using as a bedspread on top of the foam mattress. I'll be sleeping in a -30 bag and will use the bedspread bag as a supplement if I need it.

4. I have an 11lb propane tank for the cooker and catalytic heater, its not bolted down but is well wedged in a corner. The only way it will come free is in the case of a vehicle roll. In which case I have more than a few problems.

5. The large cooler box is strapped down and cant move, everything else is held in place by it's location and the things around it. Again the only way things will come free is in the case of a vehicle roll. I dont much like the idea of that at all.

6. I dont have a dedicated glove warmer, but with the cooker, catalytic heater, electric fan heater and the van's internal heaters think I have enough options for drying kit. I have some cargo netting that will be hung across the root to act as a drying area for clothes each night.

7. I'm hanging a cover in between the front and back of the van to make the area to heat smaller and to again create the illusion of a normal vehicle for anyone looking in the front windows. For venting I am going to experiment with leaving a front window open slightly, or one of the back windows.

8. To make sure no-one can steal the generator while it's running outside I've got a chain and bike lock to secure it to one of the door handles on the van. If anyone wants to steal the generator then they have to take the door too, in which case they are impressively HUGE and are welcome to both.

9. My itinerary so far is:

2nd - 10th Dec: Breckenridge. (races 6th,7th & 8th)

10th - 27th Dec: Winter Park (races 17th & 18th)

27th - 7th Jan: Park City (Spending New Years with my girlfriend, not in the van! Races 1st & 2nd)

7th Jan -1st Feb: Winter Park area (free skiing anywhere I want and getting ready for the X Games at the end of Jan).

1st Feb - Season End: back up-to Canada to meet up with the British Team, have some actual coaching and enter a few more races.

10. If anyone does see me on the hill (a bright orange sitski with a number 13 painted on the front is fairly easy to spot) then make sure you say hello and come for a couple turns to show me around (I've never been to any of these hills before).

And if anyone is willing to take a few pics and some video of my skiing it would be great for MA and a help me have something to show potential sponsors. I'm always skiing by myself and dont have a chance to get any decent pics of myself.

I'm heading out to add the final touches to the van and hopefully do a trial run tonight. More pics to follow.
post #57 of 121


Andy you are the man!!

Good luck to you.

My wife had asked me what I would do if we ever broke up, and I told her "id save up money all summer and live in a van all winter in CO and ski ski ski!". She thinks im insane!

As for: "Since you will be traveling that much ... consider getting a cargo net or lash downs (bungees), to keep all of that stuff from cutting loose and killing you in a crash or roll over."

What excellent advice.

I too would have some pepper spray or something of the like just to give me some extra security.

As an ex-trucker I can tell you that the Walmart advice is excellent. Walmart will let you sleep in their lot any time, any place. A good backup to have.

Im curious to know how much money you put aside for this, would you mind giving a rough estimate? Or maybe PMing me with an estimate? Just like to have an idea, you know just in case.

My only wish is that I was taking my vacation out west this year and could offer you a warm bed and a shower for a night or two!! Alas maybe if you are doing the same thing next year!

I also love the idea from an above responder about having a good book or 3 or 4! Reading helps you get to sleep on nights you crawl in and just arent tired! Plus it gives you something to discuss with a few of the local chics if the opportunity arrives!

Your living the dream man, good luck and happy skiing!

PS..I'm a Gulf war vet myself, and also wish I could be there in Iraq or Afgh with my fellow soldiers. Unfortunately for me my recent ACL injury has thrwarted any plan i had of rejoining for the mission, and those days are now past. I have nothing but respect for you, and the utmost heartfelt gratitude.
post #58 of 121
Originally Posted by SitSkiAndy View Post

27th - 7th Jan: Park City (Spending New Years with my girlfriend, not in the van! Races 1st & 2nd)
I 'll be in Park City from the 22nd - 29th, so I'll keep my eyes peeled for you -- if we end up at the same mountain on the same day, I'll try to figure out if there's an epic equivalent of a "change for a nickel" cry.

Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed that this snow moving in really dumps some accumulation and hooks us up with a good base for the 18-24" each day that my imaginary, 1-month-out weather predictor is calling for.
post #59 of 121
rainx wipes will keep the condensation from your breath while sleeping to a minimum on the inside glass.

Heated underground garages are best for scoring a really good night's sleep. You can usually slide in after dinner and be out before 7am without the property manager catching you.

If you want to know where they are around Summit County, Co - email me. Happy to help ya.

Love the ski bum spirit.
post #60 of 121
By the way Andy, you clearly rock.
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