On days like this, I’m just so happy that I have a garage. We almost wouldn’t have had one, and it doesn’t even have a door, but fuck it. It has a roof and keeps some stuff dry when it needs to be, and on rare days, I can use it to make things, when the weather doesn’t allow me to do it elsewhere. I don’t need it for a car. Our ride does not fit our garage. We really had to beg the landlord to get this garage (it actually belonged to another apartment that was empty at the time and the prospective tenants expected not to have a car. In the end, he succumbed to our repeated efforts. He did not, however, install a door. He refused to, because this would cost money. He then somehow offered it to us for free, which doesn’t make much sense to me. He must not have realized that a door is not that expensive, and with two year’s rent, it would have already made him a small profit… Our landlord has a reputation of being very business savvy, but in my books this is not so genius…

Anyways. Garage. Free. I’m not complaining.

Maybe we should have gone for the pop up roof. (No!)

This summer has been one giant extreme weather event, with either water bucketing down, or the weather being super hot, or strangely chilly. It was 32 degrees centigrade yesterday, and the projections for this weeks are around 18 degrees centigrade. Maybe it’s the proximity to the Alps, combined with the (for German standards) southern latitude… You never know what to expect. I digress. It is – again – bucketing down today, and as I promised myself, I would upgrade some aspects on our camper van. So today, I finally did just that. And my free and doorless concrete hull allowed me to do just that without getting soaked.

Our Ford Nugget, as I have said many times before, is a wonderful vehicle, that perfectly suits our needs, in almost every way. However, there are some weird things that could have been better. For instance, storage space… There is quite some of it, but it could have been better planned out. On the back right side there’s a high closet that from what I have seen usually comes without shelves. It’s more of a hanging wardrobe. Now what the hell do I need a hanging wardrobe for when I’m out camping? To be honest, I don’t own a suit, and whatever I wear that could hang, I would personally just as easily stuff in a box or drawer. I’m an entomologist, people don’t ask me for clothing or fashion advice. In any case, the hanging space is tall enough to maybe hang stuff for tremendously short people. I’m from the tallest nation in the world and still 13 cm taller then the country male average height. Better design something useful. Such as. Shelves!

I needed shelves, and was aiming for two, but after finishing one this afternoon, decided to see if one would suffice on next week’s trip. If not, I’ll make another one. It already feels more like a closet with one shelf in it. It took me about an hour and a half to measure and make the thing and line it with a special rubber liner to avoid sliding of materials, but it’s already worth it. I have read somewhere that you can order similar shelves at Westfalia, but I couldn’t find them anywhere online. Knowing Westfalia, it would probably have been expensive. Now it cost me less than ten euros.

Take out that shelf and look at all that wasted space. I don’t see how anyone would want a hanging closet in a camper van. There may be a second shelf above in the future. The lower area has a pouch that nicely fits laptops and such, and fits larger stuff, such as folding chairs and my fishing rod.

We also added a bunch of cheap door hooks that allow us to hang clothes and towels. I don’t understand why this wasn’t already there. Do people fold their stuff when they undress, put it back in the shelfless closet, and go to bed? We bought the cheapest hooks we could find at Edeka (German supermarket). They work!

Stainless steel hooks for 3 euros apiece. Excellent! They fit on pretty much all edges of things inside this van. You can’t have too many…

I won’t have time to do the other things on my list today, as I got the ideas off of Pinterest (yeah yeah – stolen creativity is creativity too) only yesterday, and don’t have the stuff to build it yet. There’s a small shelf at the back end of the van in the high roof. I never understood why it was just one. Perhaps because some people install a window here, and that would interfere. What I found was a simple add on rack, that you could click in the existing rack, effectively doubling or even tripling the space for simple foodstuffs, or books or whatever. I’m not going to need it on my trip to the Netherlands tomorrow, but it might be good for our road trip later this/next month. I hope I find the time.

I mean – those flags we put up are decorative, but could be put elsewhere. The cutting board I bought last week and could be stored sideways, creating plenty of space for a spice rack – or similar – on top. We could anyway use space more efficiently. Do we really need tissues AND kitchen towels? Do I really need to read ‘The scientist’s guide to writing’ on holiday? Not sure.

I can hardly believe it. Yesterday I wrote about the window of opportunity and how it was so hard to find with two young kids. Maybe they read my blog post, and decided to give dad a break? Today I managed to do my ecological field work, we went shopping, I worked on the van, and even wrote today’s post and it’s not even dinner time. I need more days like this. (Except the weather)

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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