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Campervan HQ Gear Update: Nova Kool Refrigerators

Campervan HQ Gear Update: Nova Kool Refrigerators

When you're building a camper van, you have lots of choices for recreational vehicle (RV) appliances, and one of the most important is the RV refrigerator. Most mass-market North American RVs still use the older 3-way (propane/AC/DC) absorption refrigerators, as most have propane tanks and spend lots of time plugged into shore power at RV parks and campgrounds. If your RV camping style doesn't involve being plugged in, you'll probably want a more efficient refrigerator, and that's where a vapor-compression (compressor) refrigerator excels. Compressor fridges typically use a third of the electrical power compared to the typical 3-way RV refrigerator running on battery power, and don't...

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Camper Vans Part 2: Renting a Campervan or Motorhome

Camper Vans Part 2: Renting a Campervan or Motorhome

Want to build your own camper van? In this series of blog posts, we'll talk about how to do that. If you've never used a camper van or motorhome before, you'll want to spend some time renting a few different types, or borrowing a friend's. Nowadays an excellent source for short-term rentals of North American camper vans and motorhomes is RVShare, a Web site where people who own their camper van or motorhome can list it for rental when they're not using it (you can also check out this post about twenty Sprinter RV rental outfits you may not know...

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Camper Vans Part 1: What's Your Camping Lifestyle?

Camper Vans Part 1: What's Your Camping Lifestyle?

Building your own camper van is an exciting challenge. If you have the time, it's well worth the effort to produce a design that fits your needs exactly. Doing it yourself can be a great source of pride, and if done right, you can save a great deal of money in the process! I've written a 378-page book about converting vans into camper vans, the Sprinter RV Conversion Sourcebook. In this 15-post Campervan HQ series, we'll outline some of the same design and equipment considerations that I discuss in the book. I hope you find it useful! The posts will cover:...

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Camper Vans Part 3: Planning the Interior Layout

Camper Vans Part 3: Planning the Interior Layout

Want to build a camper van? This series of blog posts describes the process. Interior design of your camper van conversion is the most difficult and complicated part of the camper conversion process. You should strike a balance between spending a hundreds of hours planning and then having no time left to do the conversion, or deciding on a design without adequate thought as to whether it meets all of your needs. To get this balance right, spend time thinking in detail about how you will use your new camper van conversion before you buy a shiny empty van or custom conversion. Decide...

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Camper Vans Part 4: Choosing a Base Van

Camper Vans Part 4: Choosing a Base Van

Want to build a camper van? This series of blog posts will help you do just that. In this post, we'll discuss choosing a base van. In North America, domestic vans like the Chevy Express or Ford E-series vans are pretty tired designs, but they've soldiered on for decades virtually unchanged. Why? For many reasons: cheap gasoline prices, the "chicken tax" which has weakened outside competition since 1963 with a 25% tariff on the import of light trucks, and focus by the big three US automakers on other vehicles, especially pickups and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). However, in 2001, Mercedes...

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