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‘The Flow State is being so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter: Every action, movement and thought flows inevitably from the previous one. Your whole being is involved, you're using your skills to the utmost and the result is a feeling of spontaneous joy.’ - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Live2Flow is the concept of a man trapped in an unfulfilling career who decided to pursue a life of Flow.  This blog is documents the activities of a man who swapped a desk for the great outdoors, dedicating himself to better his personal performance in his chosen sports and to pursue his passion of coaching and training others; the objective is to literally Live2Flow.  This is not a selfish obsession, Live2Flow aims to take these experiences to others and through passionate coaching and guiding help them experience Flow for themselves.

Metamorphosis of ‘The Dub’: Turning A VW T5 into an Adventure Sports Camper Part 2

Not leather, but vinyl has proven to be water resistant, wipe clean and not bad looking
Not leather, but vinyl has proven to be water resistant, wipe clean and not bad looking Bespoke low units give plenty of storage without compromising load area Even in passenger mode there is room for a boat on the units... but then in loading format the flat area allows 3-4 boats to be loaded with ease

This is the second of two consecutive blogs that describe some of the key changes made to my beloved ‘Dub’ and how they have worked out for me.  I started with a straightforward VW T5 Panel Van and over the last 18 months have slowly converted it into a versatile Adventure Sports Camper.  This second part focuses on the internal modifications, the first part here looked at the exterior changes.

PART TWO: INTERIOR

Is that real leather?  No is the answer, but there is a good reason for that and it is nothing to do with being squeamish about animal skins.  On purchase I decided to opt to have the seats covered with hard wearing, wipe clean vinyl, which has served me very well.  No worrying about covering the seats when I jump in to run a shuttle in wet kit.  I had intended to fit a pair of ‘captain’s’ seats but when I realized how useful the bench seat was the plans changed; handy storage underneath, folds flat when not in use and allows 3 to travel in comfort with the rear full of boats and kit - what is not to like?

Are you sure they can’t see in?!?  The other changes made at purchase were those that would underpin all that followed.  Practical waterproof textured vinyl flooring was laid throughout and has proved extremely durable.  The rear bulkheads were insulated, ply lined and covered in hardwearing, short pile carpet.  This has worked out well and although it can occasional fall foul of fluffing where abrasive boat hulls have rubbed against it I am reminded it was a good decision every time my head comes into contact with the van and it softens the impact!! Finally we decided to have heavily tinted privacy windows fitted on both sides to match the tailgate window.  This has proved to be the best of both worlds; loads of light and views for rear passengers but still high levels of privacy when camping.  In fact, I now don’t bother to fit blinds to the windows trusting instead to the fact they are almost completely opaque unless the inside of the van is lighter than outside – I just have to remember the rule 'lights off before stripping off'!

Hmmmm, soft, comfy bed…  For a few trips the ‘campervan’ was really a ‘camping in a van’ as we made do with inflating an airbed on the deck.  This was ok but we always had bigger plans and after some time plumped for a ¾ RIB seat/bed.  This was not a cheap option, but I have no regrets; as a seat it is crash tested with full seat belts and then it quickly shifts to a highly adjustable, super comfortable bed with minimal faff.  Incredible the difference it made, not only in terms of sleeping comfort and passenger carrying, but also adding structure to the rear of the van and bizzarrely, improving storage capacity by accessing the vertical space.

Where does this go?  I waited a good long time before the next step and gave the exact specification some thought.  I then took some time to find a conversion expert who could turn my ideas into reality and eventually turned to Nomad Campervans.  Nomad seemed to quickly understand my bespoke requirements and managed to turn my descriptions into a nicely finished reality.  I wanted the units to be the same height as the bed when folded flat to maintain the option of having a full width flat loading bay for multiple kayaks when travelling.  However, when in camping mode the units have a number of deep, top accessed hatches and a side accessed cupboard and draw that house all of the camping items I need.  There is no fixed stove as I preferred instead to use a mobile unit on the work surface and I didn’t want the complications of a sink and tap units, but I did have a fridge fitted to ensure fresh food can be stored.  It is now more luxury camping in a van than a pure campervan but it is worth the slight compromise to keep the costs low, the design simple and the load capacity and flexibility high.  The final touches were to fit a simple electrics set up; leisure battery, a converter and a few 240v and 12v sockets and some bright LED lights.  I particularly like the snake lights which seem to illuminate the parts other lights cannot reach…  I have been really happy with my choices and would not change the design if given the chance to start again.

The devil is in the detail…  Here are a few of my favourite little investments that make all the difference to living with ‘The Dub’.

Plastic Boxes – sounds so simple but using containers to split down the load areas makes everything organised and easy to manage.  I am especially delighted with my huge rear plastic storage box that fits perfectly in the gap below the rear seat shelf.  It could not fit better if it were bespoke.

Wind Deflectors – a small investment again but these allow the windows to be left ajar in all weathers without fear of foul weather entering, allowing air circulation and easing condensation.  Simple, priceless.

Picnic Rugs – rug on one side, waterproof on the other side, lay them over the seat/bed whenever it needs protecting from a load.  Cheap but brilliant.

Garage Flooring Set – this flexible flooring set was a real find.  I already used them in the garage/adventure sports storeroom but it struck me they would be perfect for protecting the top of the units.  Half an hour with a Stanley knife and I was right.  Lots of potential applications…

I hope you have found the last couple of blogs useful.  If you have any questions about the changes made to the Dub please use the comments section below to get in touch and I will be happy to help.

Meanwhile, follow Live2Flow on Facebook here to keep updated on my activities and projects.

Created on 23-Mar-2013 at 17:18