A breath of fresh air

When we first started building the campervan, a popular discussion was whether to install a pop-up roof to give us some extra head height inside. Actually, I’m not sure it ever really evolved into a discussion as such, it was more a case of:

Me: Please can we have a pop-up roof?

Paul: I’m afraid not.

It would have been a huge and expensive job to raise the roof, and seeing as we’re never going to spend a lot of time meandering from one end to the other, it’s been the right decision.

Yesterday though, we did enjoy a brief taste of vertical freedom, and were momentarily permitted to uncurl ourselves out of a nicely perfected stoop and stretch out to full height.

Admittedly it was a bit restrictive, and we couldn’t move our head for fear of being garotted but it was exciting nonetheless.

The hole is for our ceiling ventilation fan, which will provide a welcome through-draft during the summer months. Our fan is a Fiamma Turbo Vent P3.

So, how to install it:

  • Measure out a cardboard template to make absolutely sure the hole you’re about to cut in the roof of your van is the right size.
  • Draw around the template on the inside ceiling, and cut a 50mm diameter hole in each corner with a hole saw:

  • Using tin snips, cut out the rest of the hole according to the template.

  • Position the fan in place on top of the roof.
  • Drill 20 holes, 5 down each side, through the frame of the fan into the roof. Remove the fan.
  • Rust proof all the cut edges and exposed metal around the hole with a heavy duty primer.
  • Squeeze plenty of silicon around the edge of the frame and around the hole itself – we hopefully used enough to withstand a Queensland summer storm.

  • Place the fan in position on the roof with the hinge at the front (to stop it flying off when you’re whizzing along) and use stainless steel bolts to fix it in place.

At this stage Paul was on top of the roof screwing the bolts down while I was inside holding them from underneath, and trying to dodge the long drips of silicon that squirted through every time he put a screw in. (I can attest to its waterproof qualities though, it is still adorning my hair three showers later).

  • Wire the fan into the 12v circuit via the master switch.

You turn the handle to open up the roof, then switch it on. Ours provides an amazing breeze and should cool the campervan down pretty quickly. It does sound like we’re about to take off if we turn it up very high, so it’ll be interesting to see if we can use it at night.

As the pictures above show, Paul has now also insulated the ceiling using the remainder of the flooring insulation, so thankfully our hair no longer starts to sizzle when we bump into the metal ceiling. Next stage is the lighting!

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Creating a campervan kitchen

I’ve had a polite request for more campervan photos, so here’s a pictorial update on the kitchen (with as few words as I can muster!)

So our exciting delivery from Caravans Plus last week revealed a ceiling fan, a gas stove and a kitchen sink:

Caravans Plus has been a very useful supplier, we also bought the Thetford toilet and gas bottle casing there. And although they’re based in NSW, the delivery charge for everything in this picture was only about $30.

In preparation for installing the stove and sink, Paul came home every evening last week and lovingly sanded and oiled the wooden worksurface. Then he sanded it again with a finer sandpaper, oiled it again, sanded it again and gave it a final coat of oil for good measure. And then he cut a huge great hole in the middle to fit the gas stove. Still, the rim of the worksurface looks lovely and smooth:

The lid also comes down to create an extra worksurface:


It was obviously a cloudy day in Brisbane.

Paul also prepared the worksurface on the other side of the kitchen where the sink will sit. 

Neither the stove or sink are connected up to anything yet. 

The hardest bit with the worksurface was cutting around the handle next to the door – on the right hand side of the photo above. Paul used a cardboard template to cut around the edge, and the patent-pending right-angled pencil made another appearance.

So here’s an overall view of the kitchen, I think it’s looking beautiful!

Paul has already started work on the seating / bed configuration, so that will be the next chapter in the story. Just don’t mention the seat cushions. I was distressed to discover I have inherited no sewing genes whatsoever, and combined with an innate lack of patience and defiant new sewing machine, progress has been fairly slow.