Posts by shinobidef

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    I was looking sadly at the bag of rubbish in my van, surprised at how much we're still accumulating and started thinking to myself that I wish there was a way to just take a container to supermarkets and have it filled up instead of having to buy a new bottle/jar, etc.

    So then I wondered - why can't supermarkets have a space where you take your empty plastic/glass container or whatever and you just refill your olive oil/veg oil/sunflower oil from a little tap? It's something they could maybe have by the "deli" section. It would be great to have this option for people who buy containers/bottles of water as well, although I'm not sure if supermarkets would claim that this wasn't possible due to "health & safety" reasons of having to keep the water sealed in individual containers? It could maybe also extend to vinegars, cordials/squash.

    Additionally, there's not reason why grains couldn't also be bought without the packaging and just weighed into small bags, say (a bit like you do on the fruit/veg section). The weigh bags could be hessian and reusable.

    Supermarkets are probably a long way off the latter and I guess a lot people in this day and age are all about convenience so they want to get in, get their shopping done quickly and get out, rather than mess about with measurements and remembering to bring your container, and then there's people who just shop online anyway.

    But what do you think? Would you be happy to take refillable containers to supermarkets? If anyone was going to take it up, I'm imagine Waitrose would be the most likely candidate but then maybe others would follow suit.


    Have you had much trouble with police at all? The dreaded 3a.m.knock to move on

    We haven't yet but we did have a slight change of events OH had gone to our city "nature spot" yesterday as needed to do some work on the van - we usually only go there on the odd weekend.

    He heard a bang on the van and it was a guy on a bike and properly kitted out in uniform asking if we lived in the van. He flashed a badge and my OH, a bit flummoxed and court off guard, said "for the minute". The man then proceeded to tell him that he couldn't and asked where he lived, to which my OH said he lives with his parents but is travelling around for the summer.

    The man introduced himself as being from the council and said that this was a warning as he and the police would be doing the rounds over the next few months, finishing off with "and don't think you can just park up on the road either". I wondered if someone had dobbed us in, but apparently the guy said that the open skylight had been the giveaway.

    Frustrating to say the least but at least the coppers weren't with him when he arrived. We used to do quite a litter picking service round there as well...

    It's so hypocritical isn't it? In regard to H&S stuff, they could at least give people a CHOICE as to whether they are happy to risk food poisoning to eat a reduced or free sandwich. After all, the government is quite happy to let people smoke away and harm themselves based on a warning and graphic image on the packet. Madness.

    Mort-gage - haha, yeah I remember reading about that relatively recently as never thought of it before.


    t sounds like you don't have any toilet/washing facilities in your van but that would be essential for me

    We have a compost toilet which I just made out of a wooden toilet seat I bought nestled into a box made out of a stick frame and boarded with pallets. We use coconut coir to cover the shit up as I think this is more eco than peat, and I pee through a fixed funnel toward the front of the "hole" that feeds down into a 5 gallon bottle tucked away inside the box. I'm amazing at how quickly this gets filled up, especially when I spend 40 odd hours a week at work and consider myself to one of the most dehydrated people I know!

    The loo lid comes down on top but with the hot weather, it has ponged from time to time so we've been burning incense like mad! It's not ideal at the moment, but bearable - I wonder if we perhaps need a small fan? I read about one guy than had a small fan to ventilate but other people reckon they've had no issue with odours. I guess we would empty more regularly but a bit tricky when we're in London Mon-Thurs.

    We have a shower enclosure that we built and a 12V portable shower which is actually pretty good. We have a foot pump rather than a 12V one so it takes an age to fill up a large container with water - it does force us to use very little though. My hair is pretty long and since I started making my own shampoo, it's quite difficult rinsing my hair so it feels clean, but then I probably need to experiment a bit more.

    In all honesty, we're pretty dirty people by the usual standards but if the danger zones are taken care of, if I don't smell and I'm not making myself ill, then I don't worry too much, despite the odd look of horror from my mates :)


    What do you do for mail though?

    I'm lucky in that my work don't really mind me getting stuff delivered (I got an axe and some wood carving knives delivered the other week!) but I use a relative's address for things like banking and that's what my HR department have. It's great that now we have that Click and Collect thing as an option too.

    As for the lecky, we store all ours under our sofa and kind of hidden in a bookcase so it's out of site but easy to access. We have some mid-size speakers, a small hand blender, camera, two laptops and a large monitor for films, but we're going to get rid of the monitor. What do you do for work out of interest?

    I guess it depends on Brexit, but with 5 figures, you could certainly get a decent place somewhere in Europe if you want to invest but depends on where you want to be/don't want to be in the longer-term.


    So, I guess I just need to make my decision and take the plunge.

    What will you do if you don't take the plunge? Best of luck and feel free to ask away - lots of full timers on here and I'll help if I can.

    Yeah people are unbelievable. My partner and I took a walk around the park/woodlands where we're parked last night and picked up a load of litter. What astonishes me is that a lot of people have scooped up their dog's poo to put into a plastic bag, only to then neatly tie it up and launch it into the undergrowth or...tie it up and hang it from a tree! If you can't be arsed to dispose of it properly, at least just leave the dog poo to decompose... I like people to see that we are picking up litter though in the hope that it makes them at least reflect on their own habits (if they are of the littering ilk).

    Kudos to you for confronting the woman. I can be a bit wimpish with that kinda thing but the people who park round here are pretty rough so I guess I'm being cautious - people have been knifed around here for less.

    On a side note, are you a member of the Nexus? Your profile pic feels strangely familiar..

    We move every night - we usually occupy the same 10 or so roads in the same borough of London on rotation but go to the countryside maybe every 1-3 weekends. No problems so far, although I am wondering what to do about winter and the cold! Might have to consider the £12 a night was bloody cold enough in early April

    Hey there

    We've been full time now for almost 3 months - overall, it's been an amazing experience but I have a partner who doesn't work so he makes my life easier in doing the chores/cleaning while I'm at work, although he's going to start working part-time soon. It's amazing how dirty/messy the place can get in a very small amount of time when two people are occupying the same small space.

    We full-time in London which so far has worked without any major issues. Saying that, this weekend has been a bit challenging as we found a nice "nature" spot to park up in and have been here on an off for the past month but when the sun's out, we get a bunch of rude boys who always seem to park next to us, blare their music out and then leave in their wake a load of Rizla papers, plastic cups and bags. In fact, that's happening as I write! But on the weekends we're out of London, it's great! I feel so much more connected to nature.

    It was pretty challenging during that really hot week we had recently but that's mainly due to not being able to open the back up in Central London.

    We've found we eat far less meat (partly due to hygiene reasons and making it easier to clean) but also cost and food storage. We are less wasteful as we can only store so much stuff.

    I wouldn't say I really regret anything as I know for the future but if I did it again, I'd make some changes to the refit. We also still have way too much stuff and as we're both naturally very messy and disorganised, it does make finding things a bit of a pain at times, so we're going to offload even more stuff soon. I miss having a grill for certain things but it's not a biggie really. We certainly don't miss the kettle and my hair is thankful for me not using straighteners on it. Keeping clean is quite hard work as is washing my hair (I can totally see why some people get dreads).

    Cost of living generally is considerably cheaper than if we were renting (even with all the trips out of London). With the money I'm saving from my job, I plan to travel for 12 months and look for some land to park up and attempt self sufficiency. No, it may all go horribly wrong - the van may get nicked, my partner and I may split up (he's the driver!)...and you have to be in a position to accept the unexpected but it's all an interesting experience if you can look at it without categorising too much into good and bad (easier said than done, I know). I sold my house 10 years ago - didn't make much profit, spent quite a bit going backpacking after that but I have no regrets and I never wanted again to to be in a mortgage situation since then, even when all my closest friends have properties in London and will presumably be a lot financially "better off" further down the line.

    I understand your plight! I've only been in the van a few months but I used to really enjoy making pizzas from scratch so I'm trying to also work out how to cook one without a grill or proper oven (we have a wood burner but won't be putting that on until winter).

    I have bought a Dutch oven but so far, I've only used it for standard hob-based bits and not very experienced with using them. I have seen a few pizza pie type dishes cooked in Dutch ovens on the net, but not sure if they've done this outside with the charcoal on top technique. Presumably, you can only use charcoal on top of a Dutch oven if you're cooking outside (and not internally on top of a gas hob)?

    Croatia and Montenegro look amazing! Saying that, there are some parts of inland Spain that look stunning and haven't been overtaken by hoards of tourists - I've not been to Spain since I was 11 which was 25 years ago and the fam always went to the usual coastal haunts.

    We never really encountered any Brits in Bulgaria (or many obvious tourists at all) except when we accidentally got on the wrong bus on the way to Balchik and ended up in Sunny Beach! Needless to say, it was an experience...

    I think we'll just go ahead with our same plans - quit my job next year and head for Europe, hopefully finding somewhere to get residency before Brexit (but keeping UK citizenship), and just remind myself that life is uncertain.

    I didn't realise that about the car registration thing in France as well. I wouldn't normally let that deter me as would just by a local vehicle cheaply - it was more that our vehicle would technically be our home as well (the camper van) so I wouldn't want it to be stuck somewhere because we weren't legal to drive it after the 6 months...but then who knows, it might not even make it past Spain's roads! :D

    Hi all

    I was wondering how many people are planning or considering to leave the UK and apply for European residency in the respective country before Brexit kicks in?

    I know it's a way off yet and we have no idea what will happen in terms of the rights of UK citizens to obtain residency in EU countries but with me and my partner unlikely to meet the criteria as it stands for non-EU residents to obtain residency (employment or serious savings, etc), we're hoping to get our foot in somewhere before it's possibly too late. I personally can't stand the thought of being trapped here - especially with the cost of land, the restrictive planning permission, more and more restrictions are being brought in in terms of living in vans/parking restrictions, and the Tories still in.

    But where to go..? We lived in Bulgaria for a while a few years ago which we surprisingly really liked - I don't know if I could see myself settling there "permanently" though in terms of buying a bit of land. Portugal still seems the cheapest place in Western Europe and handy that it's closer to the UK but having read a lot of red tape stuff, that's even looking like a potentially unrealistic option. I read something about you not being allowed to have a British car in Portugal for more than 6 months of the year so that's the camper out! I also read something about you not being able to stay in a temporary dwelling for more than 6 months on your own bought land unless the plot already has a habitation license - something which is highly unlikely if you're buying a cheap plot or agricultural land to be self sufficient.

    Just feeling a bit deflated with it all this morning (following a period of positivity and hope!) so if anyone has any stories of what they've done or what they're planning in terms of living more simply and sustainably outside of the UK without being tied to extortionate rents and mortgages, I'd love to hear!


    I've been looking at land (just online) recently in Portugal as my partner and I are hoping to move out there next year and get residency before Brexit kicks in. If you still haven't had any takers by then, I'd be very happy to come and have a look!

    It looks gigantic relative to the nearby town/village - what size is it?

    We're looking for somewhere we can set up a home (in a yurt most likely - we have a camper but wouldn't be able to get it on site based on the description) and set up some veg beds, possibly some swales and a food forest. I've been interested in building with cob for a long long time now so it would be great to do some building experiments with different materials, although bringing in materials that can't be grown or found onsite is likely to be very tricky if not impossible. I'd definitely get some Mimosa Tenufloras planted to help recondition the soil, plus they're great in drought and areas prone to fire. I'd get some goats in to help get cut back on some of overgrowth.

    It sounds like an incredible opportunity regardless so hope someone takes you up on the offer!

    I sadly had to give my cat to my nan, although she's very happy as her one passed away last year. We did consider keeping him with us for a while, but decided we were being selfish as he's quite a nervous cat and hates change so much so that even if he noticed a sock on the floor that hadn't been there the day before, he'd edge around it nervously. Paranoid, like his owners :D

    He loved the van when it was static - he'd come bounding over as soon as he heard the keys going in the door, but the 6 hour journey to drop him off was horrible. I reckon it might be possible if you had a cat from a kitten and got it used to it and were mainly in rural areas or had a deaf house-cat but it really depends on the cat I guess, based on the posts above and some blogs I've read.

    Thanks guys - I'll chill! I did say to my other half, if I lose my job, I lose my job - I'm only covering for a friend as a favour so was always gonna be relatively temporary anyway so if I let go of that, the worry stops. I work for a financial firm so they're really hot on that compliance stuff but fortunately most people just think it's really interesting so I'm sure things will be fine and it's my usual paranoia...!

    As for my nan, she owns her house and lives with her son but I'll check with her to make sure there's no implications of me being registered there.

    Thanks for your responses. My bf parks in supermarket car parks when I'm at work so I'll let him know about the ANPR cams.

    I did look at Boatmail as came across it on another site, but what I was thinking of doing is registering the van's insurance with my nan's address - that's where I've got my bank registered to - and if anyone in authority asks, to say we're travelling around the UK for a year, which we technically are as we plan to explore the UK every weekend - we just don't move that much on the 4 days I work! I could still get unstuck, however, if stopped and was asked where I'd been parking (as don't have any proof to say we've been parking on land with the numerous owners' permission).

    I wouldn't even mind paying a proportion of council tax (as I still use of public recycling bins and make use of roads, street lighting), but they they don't make that an option!

    NickJ - have you ever been stopped/asked any questions relating to residency?

    Hi all

    I've not posted in a while as been busy with my conversion but we're now in Week 2 of officially being full-time van dwellers :D

    I decided not to lie at work as didn't want to be dishonest and waste loads of energy in concocting stories as everyone knows I was doing a tiring commute from one part of the country to another and moving closer to work, but as I work for a small but very corporate firm, I'm trying to get myself prepared for some awkward questions (especially as we have a tiny in-house legal team)...

    So far, no one has given me any hassle (just a few raised eyebrows) but am I right in thinking that if I'm moving around all the time (we literally move locations every night), we're ok in terms of the law aside from the possibility that we could be prosecuted by the Council for sleeping on public land with no parking restrictions?

    I'm expecting a few people to quizz me on Council Tax, but if I were a person deciding to backpack around the UK for a year (or even a foreign person doing the same), I wouldn't be paying said tax? I did read something about you having to pay a full year's tax if you were in a static caravan but as that's not the case, would this still apply to me?

    I'm sorry if this is already covered in the forums, but I'm reading so many different things on the net about this being legal, that being illegal, etc.!

    Thanks in advance :flower:

    Exploding minds..yep! The thing is I know absolutely nothing about DIY and as we'll be living in this, I'm concerned that if I don't get the "foundations" right, anything I do on top could potentially be a write off later down the line!Thankfully, I pretty much know the materials I'm using as well as the suppliers for everything else so hopefully this will in many ways be the most stressful part...she says.

    Thanks LV. Does anyone know how to lay the XPS floor? I've emailed the manufacturers but no one has responded. The floor is thick plywood so I was thinking of laying a polythene sheet to act as a vapour barrier and then putting the 30mm Fibran XPS on top (no glue), followed by vinyl planks (again not sure if these should be floating, or glued down)?

    I would say I'm definitely introverted and unsociable most of the time, although I also have moments of being anti-social (but indirectly if that makes sense). I grew up as an only child so have always been very happy in my own company, and these days I am quite picky also about the company I keep so I only really have a handful of mates - I suppose I'm very guarded. When I see them, I generally really enjoy their company, although I think I've changed significantly over the past 5 years or so, so sometimes I find I can no longer connect with them on certain things. Like my dad, I can be in social situations at times and just suddenly feel I need to get the hell out of there. His method is to just leave and not really explain himself, but my friends would probably struggle to understand if I did that and just consider it downright rude or dramatic!

    What I truly, truly want is to just not give a feck about what others think. Oh, to have that ability! At the ripe age of 35, I'm still completely confused as to my identity. I seem to swing from deeply caring about humanity to feeling absolutely disgusted by people. I've spent a lot of time alone over the past year and although some have got on my case about it ("it's not good for you", "too much thinking is bad", "you need to get out more" blah blah), I was finding that I was actually having the space I need to face my shadow and work on a few things. Now I'm back at work, all that exploration that I feel still needs to be done has kinda gone out the window!

    I think working back in London again has definitely brought out my more anti-social side. I find myself getting worked up much more and it's very difficult to slow down and think calmly. If I try to adopt a non-rushed and mindful attitude when on the Underground, I'm just forced to hurry and get swept along with the crowd (or risk physical interruption, whether that's someone pushing me aside or treading on the backs of my shoes!).

    Great - thanks everyone! Lots of useful information here. Yeah, the weight is a bit consideration and we're definitely going to have to revise a few things - my OH is taking the van to get weighed today so we can get an accurate idea of the kerb weight with the box on the back. We will definitely have a wood burner but as we'll be stealth initially, I'm conscious of having that on the go too much! We're going to make face frame cabinets with thin ply skins so hopefully they won't be too heavy.

    For EPS or Celotex, what kind of gap do you use between the wall and the insulation, and is the gap on both sides? Is it work covering some of the aluminium walls with flashing tape?

    As for the flooring, I'm waiting for Kingspan to get back to me about the XPS as don't know if you can lay that straight down or if you need a vapour barrier. If there's not much of a difference between that and EPS, I may go for the latter.

    I'm wondering the thinnest wood cladding I can get away with - hoping for 5mm and will maybe just restrict to 2 side walls.

    So the flooring could go something like this + bitumen/soundproofing + batons + gap + PIR/EPS/XPS + 1/2" ply (or bubble foil for extra insulation) + vinyl/lino?

    I have been using Van Dog's ebook and also the Sprinter sourcebook for a bit of guidance but they do offer very different approaches in a few areas.

    Sometimes I wonder if I'm overthinking everything but as you can probably tell, I'm pretty clueless when it comes to any building work - lots to learn! Thanks again all :)

    Thanks Colin - any special reason (cost, effectiveness) you didn't for for EPS or XPS on the floor?

    Do you have a vapour barrier underneath your floor Celotex? I'm really confused about floor insulation as thought it had to go across batons so it wouldn't touch the steel floor - if that's correct, wouldn't it sag? Very new to this so lots of Qs! :)

    Ok I'm new to van conversions and not in the building trade...but here's my 2 cents from my own research which I'm still doing...

    I had originally planned to use Celotex or Kingspan (PIR) but decided against it after reading about how it's not good re: condensation - one guy online had posted a response from Celotex saying that they did not recommend it for use in campers as there will always be a vapour barrier either side when used for building applications. I think I read about one chap also saying it wasn't good for load bearing qualities and the sort of motion you get from driving. Saying that, loads of people use Celotex, seemingly without any problems so feel free to re-educate me on this matter!

    The next step up from this is EPS I believe, and then XPS with the prices reflecting that :) I had a quote for 30mm Kingspan XPS (10sq metres) for £100 which is the cheapest I've seen it for so far, but I've emailed Kingspan to see what they say about using it as a camper floor. However, I think Celotex has better insulative qualities than EPS and XPS.

    I've taken the plunge and just put a deposit down on a 2005 Sprinter Luton! :happydanc

    I've had a read through some of the posts on here and see a few of your folks have made what sounds like a great Luton conversion so if anyone can help with the following initial questions, that would be great.

    As we'll be stealthing, are there any MOT/legal implications of cutting an access hole through the cab? What would we need to reinforce it with?

    For the wall and floor insulation, I had originally planned on a panel van so I was going to use XPS board on the floor and Ecoquilt foil on the walls, but as the walls of the Luton are aluminium (currently with vertical wooden batons running down each size), would I need to consider an alternative for better insulation? Our first year will be in the UK so we will definitely need a good level of warmth. I have heard those aluminium walls can be pretty noisy but the only soundproofing I'm aware of is mass loaded vinyl (v expensive) and flashing tape.

    As for the roof, it's one of those semi-opaque ones and very blue! I'd like to put a Seitz light in and we'll have solar panels so again, it will need reinforcing...but what with?

    Weight is a bit concern but as there's no tail lift, I think the payload is about 1.5T. We plan to clad with softwood timber and use a vinyl wood effect floor.

    Thanks in advance!


    Scotland's your place for van dwelling...if you can handle the weather! I think it's Norway as well that have the "Right to Roam" policy where they encourage people to get closer to nature.

    Lots of people successfully do it, and even with a few disasters along the way, I think to myself "Well what an experience it would be"! I like how many van dwellers say that it forces you to think creatively, but that also a calm mind is essential (particularly if you're co-habiting in a small space). I have some friends that literally cannot do without 2 showers a day and all their "stuff" so the thought of even going camping for one night is horrendous :D

    We're planning on moving into a van full-time next year - buying one today! Loads of times I've thought to myself, what the heck are you thinking? Really!? Did I mention that I'll be expected to turn up looking relatively smart for work 4 days a week in Mayfair...ha!

    Loneliness and parking seem to be the two most common "downsides" for van dwelling. My partner and I lived out of a bag together for 9 months in each other's company virtually 24/7 so I know we'll be ok there and (probably) won't resort to throttling each other, but the parking is an issue.

    I'm hoping we can get around it by using that parking website where people rent their car parking spaces out for very little money and just stealth it (or move to one of the free parking places overnight). As I'll only be working 4 days a week, we hope to disappear off to the coast on those days.

    As this is quite an idealistic way to view it, I've had to budget money for AirBnbs and campsites, but our aim is to boondock as much as poss. I'm hoping I can rely on a dose of my partner's charm to get ourselves out of a spot of bother as it's worked for him with a prior very sticky situation indeed! Our other backup is housesitting for a week here and there to 1) get some animal time 2) give us a break if we need one and 3) provide the much needed parking.

    I am expecting that there will be stigma and looking clean and tidy will help people not form immediate negative preconceptions. I think the suggestion from EnglishLens is excellent - by picking up litter and generally being respectful, it will help people look more kindly upon those opting for more alternative lifestyles.