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.
Having had a really busy few months at CampervanCulture.com setting up the web shop selling our cool clothing range and all the other stuff that followed, and trading at The Adventure Overland Show the time has now come to get the vehicles ready for our planned North Africa trip starting in December.
We met up with some fellow Syncro owners from Club 80-90 at a camp site on Salisbury Plain to put the vehicles through their paces to flag up any problems as well as try out some new camping gear we bought for the trip.
As usual feel free to leave any comments and we will do our best to answer any questions you guys have.
Dungeness is one of the largest expanses of shingle in the world and is classified as Britain’s only desert by the met office. There have been five lighthouses at Dungeness, at first only a beacon was used to warn sailors, but this was replaced by a proper lighthouse in 1615. As the sea retreated, this had to be replaced in 1635 by a new lighthouse nearer to the water’s edge known as Lamplough’s Tower. There are two nuclear power stations at Dungeness, the first built in 1965 and the second in 1983. They are within a wildlife sanctuary deemed a Site of Special Scientific Interest and birds flourish in the warmer water created by the station’s outflow.
It seems an unlikely area to head off to for a weekend in any camper van but the area is in fact really interesting and feels like your in Arizona in one of those places that mad people go and live when they want to be alone.
I really injured making this video. It was made before any of us went full time with CampervanCulture.com and a great way of logging how any of our previous lives used to be.
The Morocco trip is sneaking up and money for it needs to be earned. Jed was approached by a guy who lived quite a way off who was having trouble finding anyone local with the confidence to take on some tricky plastering work. It meant working away for a few days so his Westfalia Syncro was used as accommodation and some cool wild camping spots were sniffed out. All three of us use our camper vans in our every day lives. Alan lives in his van in his job setting up and taking down all the staging and structures at the music events that some of you might attend in the UK. Jake’s work is web based and he can often be found using his van as an office on one of the many beaches in Cornwall.
This was a great chance to test out some of the new kit we have and once again the Trasharoo has turned out to be one of the most useful bits of equipment for wild camping, I really do wonder how we all managed before without one.
So grab a beverage and check out this latest video and feel free to comment,
Given the weather has been so good, we decided to take the opportunity to meet up and discuss our new range of clothing that should be with us on Thursday this week as well as sorting some new designs to follow right after. Amongst many others the new reversing light option we are due to take delivery of next week was also discussed, the new cool sticker range available next week, totally amazing Westfalia Joker roof bed pillow/kiddy guards in grey and brown, all the cargo docking systems that Al has been working on so hard plus lots more. I think we might have a summer trip planned to visit Jake@ CampervanCulture.com in Cornwall so that will be an epic video to share.
Oh and we spoke a bit about the North Africa trip later this year….
In CampervanCulture.com style we whipped out the cameras around the board room table and had serious talks about spread sheets and sales margins while filming it all…
This time we stayed quite near London and hooked up with good friends H, Ringo, Rob and youngsters Fern and Jules. Jed Louise and Isaac were in their Westfalia Syncro and Ringo and H were in their usual ride, the mighty VW LT Westfalia Florida. Rob left his Westfalia Syncro behind on this trip and turned up in the new high roof rental campervan that his company www.HeathrowCampervanHire.com have just got ready for you to hire and have an amazing time in. I have to say being a Westfalia nerd I was a bit taken back and slightly envious of the massive fridge, grill and this van even has an oven as well as Propex heating, extractor fan and get this…
It’s only done 60,000 miles!
As you can guess by the name Heathrow Campervan Hire is based right next to the UK’s main international airport and when you rent from them you have the option of picking up your fully kitted out campervan from the airport arrivals lounge. This is a great chance for all you guys in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the rest of the world to visit the places we like to go in the UK without the hassles and expense of importing your own vehicle. It’s also handy for all you guys in the UK and Ireland to just grab a cheap flight, pick the camper up and be off on your adventure.
Our first night was spent in a very nice country pub then a short but very steep drive up a gravel track in the VW LT to one of our favorite wild camping spots. After a really nice nights sleep it was off for a quick walk then off to find a random campsite we booked into from the internet. Osney Lodge Farm Campsite was only £45 per night for the eight of us in three campervans and it is a great place to camp with kids. Off the ground open fires are allowed and they have a basic toilet block and a place you can empty your chemical toilet if required. They have a farm shop that does loads of local produce and BBQ items as well as beers and veg. We all had a great time and celebrated H’s birthday in style.
This time we headed west and onto Dartmoor National Park. Alan and Jed arranged to head into the park not really knowing where they would end up as usual.
A meeting with a cool group of guys called www.flyonix.com was arranged for a part of this trip so a big thanks to Alex and Rupert. We were able to step the video making up this time and it is all due to the fantastic support we have received from the CampervaCulture.com community and subscribers through the sales of our cool tshirts, Westfalia Skylight parts and other goodies over the last couple of months. You guys made this happen and a big thanks to your ongoing support.
Please feel free to comment and don’t forget if you subscribe for free to the website via email you get to see whats been added first.
When we set off on a CampervanCulture.com road trip we never really plan where we will end up or even head to on most occasions. Between the three of us we have built up quite a large list of cool places to stay as well as a bigger list of places we have been told about or have listed while passing on previous trips. Every video we have made never has a pre planned story board and we rely on random things that happen that you could never have found unless they were random.
This latest short trip was as full of randomness as usual but when we found loads of fossils, hung out with a massive group of Saxons, found a village that had been taken over by the army in WWII and has only been open to visit relatively recently and lots of it remains the same as it did back then, then bumped into CampervanCulture.com subscriber Tom and his amazing family in their Syncro Club Joker and we all camped out together in an epic camp spot, we had a random overload. It makes for a good video and we hope you guys like it and comment.
After a very cold start to this year we were finally blessed with some sun shine, although it is still quite windy and cold at night. It was time to hook up with some good friends we had not seen for a while for our second Gower camp out in South Wales.
The first night was a wild camp and after an early morning walk we were in for quite a treat due to the unusual cold weather for this time of year. What am I on about? Check out the video to find out….
Its February and its winter and its supposed to be freezing right?
Don’t know what’s going on but the weather forecast was good, Jed and his family had a weekend free so the plan was to pack the van up and go some place. Like all the the times you don’t actually have an agenda or a place to be at a certain time these weekends end up being the best ones.
There is no feeling like the one you get when your an hour away from home heading some place you that you are going to sleep that weekend but not knowing where that place is until you find it. Here is a video of such a weekend that only cost the fuel put in the tank and we hope you like watching it, please feel free to comment etc…
I dont even remember how it came about or even who mentioned it first or why but somehow during last year we all agreed the three of us with our families are going to explore North Africa in our Syncros from December 2013 onward. We had lots of planing to do but one thing was hanging over us and that us and all the people coming on the trip had never been all together at the same time in one place before and Harriet (Al’s partner) and Louise (Jed’s partner) had never even met before.
We decided to meet up and do a spot of camping for the weekend at www.wowo.co.uk and as luck would have it we picked the only time this year so far that had a generous amount of snow fall. We all got on great and had a great time but it was also time to test out some new equipment and even at this early stage we found a few faults with the things we need to trust. The cold weather killed Jake’s leisure batteries so they had no heating in the sub zero temperatures the first night (not so good when you have a baby only a few months old) and we tried to video the weekend and found cheap none brand memory cards hate the cold and stop working. Jake popped out on the Saturday morning and fitted new batteries that saw them through the rest of the weekend in comfort and I put the camera away due to the cheap memory cards and carried on enjoying the weekend planning and talking about what was going to follow over the next few months.
When we got home and back to work and school the following week Isaac (Jeds son aged 7) pulled his own small camera out of his pocket and after sitting down with him and popping a couple of photos in from the adults we made his first video together of the weekend we didn’t video.
So here goes, Isaac’s first Campervanculture video.