Other Items and Notes
We tested several glues and resins over the years and found that the only one that reliably works is JB Weld Original Formula. It does not soften or degrade from interior heat buildup or exterior sun exposure. It is great for gluing to metal and fiberglass surfaces. For glue together insulation materials, we use 3M 90 Spray Adhesive.
Equipment and Parts
The vehicle is pretty general purpose for us so we keep a lot of extra tools in it. We also keep spare van parts for items that could fail without warning, rendering the van undriveable, and include an alternator, starter, belts and hoses, water pump, radiator thermostat, and other items small items. The difficulty is not getting items replaced or repaired, but getting parts in a timely manner. If something fails on a trip, as long as we have the parts, we might be able to do it ourselves or get the vehicle to a mechanic who can do it same day.
Gas Mileage and Engine Power Changes
Pre-upfitting mileage averaged 15 per gallon. Now it is 11.5. With the extra weight, bigger tires and more friction from the additional moving parts in the drivetrain, we have noticed a small reduction in power driving on highways with longer and steeper grades. Not a lot, but some, but which was partially offset by changing the muffler that gave us back some power.
To minimize having to pack and unpack for day or overnight trips, I keep a lot of my gear in the vehicle, including bike equipment, rock climbing gear, ski equipment in winter, ski wax and bike tools, etc. This makes it a lot easier to just go or if I am out for the day and have time, I can take a detour and do some activity, and if needed, perform basic maintenance or repair. I hate having to come home from a long day like skiing and have to wax my skis, but if I have the equipment, I can do it really fast from the road.
Our dog crates are kept in the vehicle along with other dog gear.
We have a full kitchen setup that stays in the vehicle. We don’t use it much as we prefer to precook and throw in the fridge/freezer.
We use a porta pottie and in place of showering, we use presoaked hand towels in a solution of soap and essential oils.
First Aid Kit
We have a large first aid kit for human and dog use, which also contains other items that we have found over the years to be helfpul. The kit stays in the vehicle at all times. It is kept in a 100 liter pack so we can grab it and carry on our back if needed. But it is much too big and overkill for general activities, so we have divided it up into smaller pieces: when skiing or biking there is a small kit; for hiking with the dogs, we take the small kit + a second bag with other items. Other items that stay in the main kit include extra liquids, meds and salves, and full gas masks with cartridges that are important to have if we ever get caught in a wildifre situation or even just happen to be in an area where heavy smoke has drifted in from a wildfire.
We keep a basic carbon minoxide alarm in the vehicle to protect against any buildup. It ordinarily would not from operation of the Webasto heater but if the exhaust from the heater happens to blow back into the vehicle via an open window while sleeping, that could be a problem.
We always track weather conditions, road conditions and other potential hazards along our routes and plan accordingly. And it is not just localized risk; being in the western states where we live and predominantly travel, wildfire smoke can drift across states to create poor air quality.