Updated: May 22
Welcome to the next part of the Agnetha diaries!
Corona lockdown has given many of us the chance to ‘work’ on our vans.
Having shied away from a blank canvas, namely a Dispatch panelled van, I was left with some different work to do on Agnetha, my new Citreon Spacetourer.
The plush car interior meant I couldn’t do much ‘work’ without damaging it. What I did gain was more windows and built in insulation - but it all had to be worked around.
She was still looking a bit clinical and not very homely. Ok, she is meant to be a dive wagon and not a campervan. But she needs to be able to function as both. Stuff needs to be removable, swapped about and storage space for dive gear is important.
I bought a rug to brighten it up in there and make the floor comfy for bare feet.
Then I needed to find ways of blocking out the light when sleeping.
I found a set of cheap black out van curtains and they did the trick perfectly - complete with tie backs! Put the curtains on the rails first, then stick the rails up in the windows. One of the rails can be bent and formed into the shape of the window.
What I found when searching was a whole world of things designed for van and car conversions - there is a whole industry built around it out there!
The best buy I found was a blackout out windscreen cover from UK Custom Covers. Make sure you get the right size for your vehicle. It takes only a minute to put on and seconds to remove. You can then just fold it up and it goes neatly back into its pouch.
Next job was the bed. I did a lot of deliberating about this. I tried to get a custom one made but the cost was going up and I just wanted something simple that had plenty of storage underneath, was easy to remove and could be used for one or two people (got to consider my partner here!
In the end I went for a classic rock and roll bed, which slides out as a double. To save money, my partner Rich helped me build it and it was rather time consuming. Unless you enjoy building projects, I’d recommend for the extra cash you may want to get the vendor to build it for you and post ready-made. It is a lot dearer though.
For a simpler quick fix, there are any number of inflatable beds out there or even just use pallet furniture covers as mattresses. These are what I use on the bed frame.
You’ll need a few extras for the car before you hit the road. I bought a small powder fire extinguisher which is no bad thing to have in any vehicle.
Being a Paramedic, it’s all too easy to get carried away with my travelling first aid kit.
I decided to keep it simple and sensible - after all, this is my leisure vehicle - I don’t want it kitted out like an ambulance!
By far my favourite purchase is this storage caddy, or car trunk organiser.
It opens up into a rigid box with partitions so you can just chuck loose items in for your trip, especially in the Spacetourer where storage is limited and building some isn’t really an option.
There are nifty pockets all round it and I use it to keep things like loo rolls and books dry. You can also anchor it using the handy hooks to stop it sliding around.
Other creature comforts worth their weight in gold are over-seat storage pockets or car organisers.
These are nifty for keeping small nik-naks tidied away. I keep spare bulbs, fuses and a set of jump leads in one of these - just in case!
You will also need a bin.
I keep mine hung on the passenger seat and keep a small roll of biodegradable small bin liners in the bottom.
For the girls, you won’t want to go out without a tangle teaser which lives permanently in my car - and a she-wee for the great outdoors.
The pockets in the car organisers are perfect for these smaller items.
That's all for now!
Hang around for our next blog which will detail lots of essential - and very cool - items to take with you on your next adventure!
About the author:
Christine Grosart is an offshore Paramedic. In her free time, she is a cave diver, caving instructor and trustee for the charity Ghost Fishing UK.
She is one of the world's leading cave diving explorers and writes blogs and articles about her adventures, inspiring other women to take on the next challenge.