With the first sprinkling of snow dusting the ground it was time to get out for a spot of weekend camping and the first camp of 2017.
Since we launched the Arctic Overland Film Series our feet haven’t touched the ground and although being flat out is a good thing we are solidly keeping things in check and focused on why we do this. Dan turned around at work and announced out of the blue that he had booked us onto WoWo campsite for a night so we could get away from CVC HQ and out in the great outdoors. We packed the vans, filled up with food, drinks and fire wood and headed off.
Although WoWo campsite may not be the kind of place that we would head to in the summer months it is a perfect stop over in the winter when you pretty much have the entire place to yourself. It gets really full in the warmer months and probably for good reason as it is an amazing venue but ‘Glamping’ isn’t really our thing so are more than happy to pitch up in the colder time of year. The cold weather isn’t so much of a problem and van camping doesn’t have to be just a summer pursuit if you get equipped with our Deluxe thermal window mat set here and pop top thermal wrap here.
The two vans headed their separate ways on Saturday but we met up again on the Sunday at Shoreham Airport for the RollingSlow (VW T25ers around Brighton area) meet. What a nice bunch of people they were.
First Weekend Trip Out of 2017 WoWo & Rolling Slow from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.
So what is Syncro Alchemy I hear you say…
Syncro Alchemy is a showcase of work buy a person who we consider to be the very best bus guy in the business. As well as fitting and creating the lay out of the 1.9 TDI (AFN) engine in the CVC Westy that has taken us all over the place he has personally built some of the best camper vans on the planet. Remember the big gold LT 4×4? That was just one of his builds but he has actually build many more, mainly in the form of VW T25/T3/Vanagon/Kombi vans.
Who is this guy I hear you say..
His name is Russel, he has forgotten more than most people claim to know about building and actually using VW 4×4 vans both on and off the road. If you haven’t ever heard of Russel until now there is probably a good reason for that. He doesn’t really get involved in the willy wagging business, his van build and engine conversion work simply speaks for itself. Russel is taking on work for selected customers who want van builds and engine conversion work and we can hook you up if you are serious about a project you want done on time with no bull crap. Just leave a comment if you are interested in a bit of Syncro Alchemy for your own bus.
So enough all ready about me going on how great Russel is at his job and let us show you his most recent South African, totally rust free van build project. After recently moving back to the UK from his Mother land of South Africa it was time for us to catch up after a few years. What better place than our favourite area of the UK.
Hitting the full screen option is advisable if you have a sold internet connection..
Syncro Alchemy from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.
This summers CampervanCulture.com Arctic Circle Video Series is creeping up fast. We took this opportunity to give the CVC Westy a bit of a shake down with some off road driving and chill time. This would hopefully flag up any weak points with the van so they could get sorted before we head north in a few weeks. It also gave the opportunity to test out some of the new camera gear we bought with the profit we make from the web shop that goes directly back into making the videos you guys and girls like to watch and we love to make.
Come ride with us once more..
Syncropendence A Perfect Summer Trip Video Series Shakedown from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.
Because we are more that just a web shop here at CampervanCulture.com we took a week off over Easter and headed out on another video making trip. We don’t really go out with making a video as the main priority on any of our trips away we just usually film where we end up as most of the time we have no idea where we will be sleeping that night until we find it.
This time it was back to Wales as we had unfinished areas to explore and wanted to carry on from where we left off on our last Valley Of The Dams video. We started in the Brecon Beacons and found some really nice spots and some fantastic walks. Lambing season is early this year and it was nice to see lambs being born literally at the side of the road. We have never explored Pembrokeshire so we headed west and boy where we in for a treat with what that area had to offer. The weather was the usual four seasons in one day and as the days unfolded you would think that we were stringing together a video of a mixture of different trips from throughout the year.
This was more than just a trip away for us, it was a chance to try out some of our new product ideas and test out some of our kit in preparation for this summers long trip video series. These trip videos would not be possible without the amazing support you all show us by ordering from our web shop. We would also just like to say an extra big thanks for all of you that have sent us kind emails and messages recently in support of what we do here, it really does mean a lot and keeps us doing what we do here at CVC.
So here it is, our new trip video…
South Wales Easter Camping Trip 2016 from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.
We are very much in tune with Vanlife and what Campervan Culture represents to us as both a family and as a business. At the very heart of what we have ever done here at CVC is getting out there having adventures and making videos, it doesn’t matter if it’s for a weekend or for months at a time.
Sooo.. the kids are off school for a week and what better way to take advantage of this than head out for a few nights wild camping. Mid February is a great time of year to head out, it’s started to stay lighter again in the evening and it’s usually too cold for fair weather campers to sleep out in their vans. The up side of this is that you can usually get away with camping in places that you wouldn’t be allowed to in the warmer months and everywhere is deserted. I expect any restrictions set in place to discourage free camping are not policed in the winter due to the enforcers being tucked up at home in front of the TV’s with their heating on thinking nobody in their right mind would be sleeping in a van below 0..
Come drive with us again while this time we head south west along the Dorset coast for winter walks, good food and stay at some killer free camp spots that we stumbled upon by pure chance.
It is worth clicking the HD tab if you have a solid internet connection and viewing in full screen.
February Coastal Free Camping from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.
A new year always encourages new beginnings and resolutions that head everyone in the right direction in life. At CapervanCulture.com we are no different. We spent the whole of 2015 putting most of our efforts into laying a solid foundation to the web shop selling only quality products so we could develop what we love to do the most and that’s to bring you the Vanlife travel videos that CVC has become so well known for. All the hard work has now paid off and we have just moved into a brand new unit here in South London to run the business side of things from the 4th of January 2016.
This now leaves us enough elbow room to get back to what we love to do the most and that’s using our van and filming our adventures out on the open road. Everything that is left after we pay our income tax and living costs will be put right back into doing trips and filming what we do, so we get to give a little back rather than just take your money and keep CampervanCulture.com far removed from being just another UK and European VW van parts web shop with no soul. It’s always been this way but you will notice that from this video onwards we have put our money where our mouth is and you can see that profits have gone directly back into something you can all enjoy to watch for free. By choosing CampervanCulture.com you have allowed us to invest in better, more advanced film making equipment so CampervanCulture.com can develop our skills and we have all of you to thank for this so we can keep on doing what we do and have you all along for the ride.
This first video of the new 2016 season was made after we originally wanted to carry on from where we left off on our previous ‘Valley Of The Dams’ video. We really had a feeling that we had unfinished business out in Wales as it felt like we were just not ready to head home last time. This Christmas the weather has been terrible up north and out west so after sitting down and looking at the Met Office web site there looked to be a small pocket of decent weather towards the south east so headed that way for four nights and see the new year in.
Come ride with us.
New Year Free Camping Trip 2015/2016 & What’s New At CampervanCulture.com from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.
Autumn is here so we decided to get out and about to admire the changing of the seasons. Wild camping was as usual excellent and we found some amazing places to camp for the few nights we were away. We spent most of our days around the Elan Valley exploring the many dams and lakes/reservoirs in the area and the evenings in remote wild camping spots around the fire.
If you are viewing using a solid internet connection it is well worth viewing the HD option.
If you are interested in any of the gear we use in this video it can all be found on the CampervanCulture.com web shop. Thanks for the support in keeping us doing what we do at CVC.
Wales – Valley Of The Dams Road Trip from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.
This last weekend is always marked down in the CVC calendar as the last weekend of summer. Every year this weekend gets good weather and the seasons turn the day after. We were not disappointed… We kept things pretty local as we were still packing up and sending orders out up until 3pm on Friday.
All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy!
Here is a short video of what we got up to and some of the random things that we found going on along the way, I hope you all like it.
The last weekend of summer 2015 from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.
As the end of summer is fast approaching we decided to head out for the weekend with friends for some free camping and to do some foraging. Mid September in the UK is a good time to do this a there are lots of wild berries and mushrooms. The red camper in this video is not a Syncro, it’s a van we lifted using a set of Gowesty 2wd lift springs that we sell on our web shop click here. With this suspension set up it really did open up a lot more options for where this van could go this weekend and use free camp spots that would have not been accessible to a 2wd van otherwise. It drove all the off road sections with ease it has to be said.
It was a very relaxing weekend and yes we can make toast using one of the CVC stove top toasters that is the only one that actually works and toasts as it should rather than just giving hot bread.
CVC HQ to the South Coast Weekend Free Camping from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.
Got a Facebook message from my friend Jan in Germany to say he was on his way over to the UK with his girlfriend Jenny, Martin and Sahara of Tigerexped.de. When he asked if we I wanted to meet up for teat I couldn’t resist throwing a day off and showing them one of our favourite wild camping spots. We did plan on doing some more off road driving but the weather turned bad with really heavy rain so the guys got kitted out in new boots and the girls got new coats to deal with the UK summer weather instead!
Just a quick video this time to see where we ended up.
CampervanCulture.com meets Tigerbus from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.
We get asked all the time about what gear we use while camping. For us camping just isn’t camping without a real fire and to be able to cook outside is a real bonus. One thing that can make things a bit uncomfortable on longer trips is having a fire in a raised fire pit like the BushPig and having all the smoke blow in the side door of the van, especially if the awning is out. Having a fire under the cover of an awning out of the rain while being outside until now has been a bit of a no go for us especially when on a trip when you only have a few items of clothes and you want to make them last. You really don’t realise how much your clothes and hair can smell like woodsmoke until you go into a supermarket or something for supplies and you soon realise how much you pong! On this weekend trip we are using our trusty stove that can be found right here if you are interested in finding out more about it.
We have recently upgrade our awning set up to the ARB with the CampervanCulture.com fitting kit. We ditched the Fiamma simply because on the F35 pro there are to many plastic parts and 85% had failed in one way or another. Sure You can buy replacement parts for them but they are extremely expensive and not viable when you consider the value of your damaged awning and how much it would cost to repair the parts that are broken. We looked hard at the ARB and there just simply wasn’t anything around that worked correctly to connect the ARB to a T25/T3/Vanagon. You can find bastardised Fiamma brackets around that are bent, re drilled etc in an attempt to make them do but we found them to sit to close to the top of the sliding door so the door catches the bag/zip, they sat to low so the add on rooms for the ARB were to saggy on 2wd vans and you had to hunch over to walk underneath them. The sides of a Westfalia roof would still catch the rubber trim and they also rattled from the feedback we read about and that is enough to drive anyone nuts. Fitting roof rack brackets was especially hit and miss so we took all of this info on board and custom made out own fitting bracket sets so we could offer a complete ARB awning set and a range of add on rooms for the vans we drive on our web shop right here. We then approached ARB wholesale and they loved what we had done and allowed us to stock ARB products (ARB are an Australian company) and buy in stock to have here at CVC HQ here in the UK for quick dispatch. Being an ARB stockist is quite a selective process and we are really happy to be part of this right now as it allows us to bridge the gap of Camper van and overland travel gear. We have all had to put up with plastic or nylon made products for years as camper van owners and our goal is to change this with all of the products we stock.
Camping lighting has been another thing we haven’t been able to settle on now for a few years as lots of lighting set ups are either extremely power hungry or require batteries or fuel. This seams crazy when you have such a big battery bank in the vehicle so we are now settled on our CVC magnetic light bar kits here.
The campsite we used this time is Osney Lodge Farm. It’s a great cheap place that is close to home and very near London Gatwick Airport, ideal if flying into to UK. It is big enough to tuck yourself away if you want some quiet time or if you have kit just park up at the top of the meadow near the trees where the kids all hang out and play nicely. http://www.osneylodgefarm.co.uk
Eight weeks on from when we did this epic 1800 km weekend rally and I think the hang over has just worn off…
What was this weekend all about? well let our good friend Bobby Willis explain,
“My good friend and business partner Shaun Bowden died last March while we were walking in Scotland, leaving behind a young family. The Glencoe Mountain Rescue team was fundamental in his search and recovery and they risk their lives in awful conditions for 100′s of people each year.
I went back up to Glencoe a few months ago to revisit the area where the accident occurred and as we were driving along a very beautiful Glen, we saw a battered old Land Rover that was Glencoe Mountain Rescue’s vehicle. That’s when I first thought how nice it would be if there was a Bowden Land Rover roaming around the area saving lives. Since then my friends and I have made it our mission to raise money for GMR to have a bespoke 4×4 rescue vehicle.”
We didn’t personally know Shaun but we did know some of his friends so friends and friends of Shaun’s friends all became friends together on the Bowden Big Weekender 8 weeks ago. We had the amazing voice and guitar playing of Tom Dibb join us in Jed’s van then we all met up at The Heritage Motor Centre then on to The Lake District and after a few hours at a place via Muddy Porn at Drumclog it was then onto Glencoe. Over £18,000 was raised and Bobby has donated his own grey Discovery that you see in this video to Glencoe Mountain Rescue to be converted into a rescue vehicle with the money raised. Chris at Quickfist UK has since donated a quick fist pack to Glencoe Mountain Rescue through us as we are one of his main stockists and as soon as the new rescue vehicle is built CVC will be sending up one of our Trasharoos to store wet ropes and other kit.
Here is the Bowden Big Weekender web site for you all to have a look at http://bowdenbigweekender.co.uk/about/ Although this was supposed to be a one off event it was so good that it made us think if it could maybe be an annual event with more activities included over a few more days. I would think a lot of our CampervanCulture.com brethren would be very interested next year especially those from Europe to get the genuine UK experience!
It was great for the CVC team to get out and let our hair down and have a random encounter with a fellow Syncro owner who joined in for a while.
Shaun Bowden Big Weekender from London to Glencoe in Scotland. from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.