Scepter 5 gallon water container NPT or Garden Hose Threads

This is a relatively easy hack on Scepter 5 Gallon Water Containers.

This will provide you with a O.D. Male Garden Hose Thread Connector.  It will also provide a I.D. Female NPT Connection.  This will allow all kinds of DIY connections or accessories.

This was originally adapted so a short piece of garden hose could be attached to the 5 gallon Scepter Container.  To aid in transferring water into the gravity water fill on an RV/Camping Trailer, when boondocking.

The internal Female 1/2″ NPT is useful for screwing in a threaded brass valve.  The Container can be left on its side on a picnic table the valve opened like a spigot to wash hands, or fill other containers.

Click Link to full DIY article and Parts list

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Van Life – The things they don’t tell you!

Many enter into a full time RV life, or “Van life”, without the background to know what they are truly getting into. This way of life, may be nothing new to anyone that has camped through-out their lives.  But the endless duration of being bound to the road, may have never been their experience either?

Though this option for a way of living life, has certainly been glorified by Hollywood, recently.

Many even sell their life long homes to finance a rig with all the bells and whistles.  Then they set off on the road thinking everything will be wonderful and beautiful.  They ignore the big difference between camping for a weekend, or a couple of back to back weeks.  Verses finding one’s self camping and relocation for weeks, months, or even years.  They don’t even have a home base to return to, and take a breather.

Perhaps it has been a lifelong dream they attempt to fulfill?  Many will not communicate the true picture of this way of life.  They may only boast of the good part of this lifestyle?

Others set off on this lifestyle in their younger years.  They are out to live a life of adventure.  They set off trying to accomplish this lifestyle on a minimalistic shoestring budget.  They throw some camping gear into a vehicle and off they go.  No real plan.  They plan on finding odd jobs along the way when they run out of cash.  They are basically living one step up from being truly homeless.  They don’t think about things like winter that will eventually come.

Then there is a whole large group of those in between.  They buy or build a rig within a budget.  They have a means of income.  They set off to live a life on the road.  But many soon find out this type of life is nowhere near what it has been glorified to be.

During the Covid epidemic many have taken to the road as a way of living.   While there may be a romanticized view of life on the road, the true nature of this life is seldom represented factually.  They forget to mention the bugs, the dirt, rains, cold, too hot, constant living in a confined space, sickness or health concerns, and taking pets on the road with them.

For an example.  Those attempting to live on the “Cheap”, means they are overnighting at locations with a higher risk to their safety, or at least less pleasant surroundings.  Spending your nights in an Interstate Rest Stop or Walmart parking lot of an unknown part of a City.  Well that is not close to my idea of being safe or even pleasant.

Trucks stops with many people around 24/7, are a step up (safety wise) from a rest stop or Walmart.  But then you have to often deal with noise.   Sure, a truck stop is doable in a pinch here and there.  But do you seriously want to spend your time in one night after night?  This is a far cry from the vision of endless campfires or coastal vistas out your open window I envision.

More and more, safety is a major concern.  With increased crime, travelers are often a target if you put yourself in the wrong situation.  Fringe areas of larger cities often look safe during daylight hours.  Being a non-local you may find nightfall brings out an unanticipated scary element.  “Ignorance is bliss” mentality can get you into a serious situation.

Over-nighting in remote areas with no one else around can be equally as hazardous.

Attempting to eliminate personal risks, leads to more acceptable forms of “camping”.  Over-nighting where there is some form of supervision.   Safer nightly destinations like state or federal campgrounds that are supervised by some form of law enforcement, such as rangers.  Or commercially run campgrounds or RV parks.   But they are not free for the most part.

With the recent interest in camping.   RVing, and living the Van Life type of scenario, many are finding such campgrounds full.  If it is a popular destination with those awesome views everyone is seeking…competition for a site is exponentially increased.

Reservations systems are replacing “first come, first served” options.  All of which now require advanced planning, making reservations, having a credit card, etc.  That’s if you can even find an opening.  While smart phone apps can help locate such opportunities.  All of this leads back to a cluttered, regimented tech life.  The type of life, many were attempting to escape.

Places that used to charge something nominal like $5 or $10 a night are mostly gone.  RV type parks with all the amenities are easily getting $50 -$100 a night.  At the same time they are filling all their sites.

Those with rigs in the longer length range are finding it even more difficult to find a space in any type of organized campground.  If your rig is older or unsightly to any degree, you may be turned away or asked to leave.

If you park your rig overnight, in the wrong public area, and attempt to sleep.  You can expect to get ticketed for violating an ordinance that is often not posted, or the sign is missing, bent over, etc.  Some states or localities are more strict and on top of enforcement, than others.

Many have embraced boondocking.  It’s the “hippie” movement of our current time.  Camping in dispersed open area’s that have no rules against it.  Western USA often has open BLM land that snowbirds flock to.  They seek refuge to “winter over” where it is as warm as can be.  To socialize with like minded spirits.

Then in early spring as the area starts to warm up, these “full timers” disperse to other parts of the country where daytime temperatures are acceptable.   Perhaps even moving with the seasonal changes.  Often traveling to visit, stay, or update with family and friends.

Boondocking comes with its own joys.  Sometimes you can enjoy it as a solo rig out in the middle of the open desert.  Or “on the Road people” can enjoy grouping up with friends or acquaintances.  In fact, some areas of the USA desert southwest have huge communities spring up, creating relatively safe harbor for the winter months.   Quartzite, Arizona is one of the more well-known locations.  The area gets an influx of tens of thousands boondocking on open desert.

Boondocking also comes with its own set of un-pleasantries to be considered.   You don’t get to escape chores just because you hit the road and started traveling.  There is always something to be concerned about and worry about.  Are the solar panels keeping the batteries charged up, are we conserving our water well enough? Not to mention you might not have hot water unless you boil it?  Body wash-up in a bucket or pan…or perhaps you can enjoy the luxury of a solar shower bag?

If you aren’t keen on washing up in cold water.  Running out of water in the middle of a shower.  Or things like having to hole up in a small space during bad weather.  You might not want to sell the farm to purchase your rig.

You will find yourself thinking…. Are my waste holding tanks getting filled up?  Did I plan when and where I will legally dump them?  Paying to dump holding tanks is often met with at least a $10 fee.  Though at times, many campgrounds include that in their overnight camping fee.

Please don’t tell me you are the type that finds it acceptable to dump holding tanks out on the ground.  Believe me those types are out there.  I have tried to set up where they decided to dump their black tanks.  It stinks as bad as that mentality that goes with it.

Unless you are hand washing your dirty laundry in your sink.  You will have to factor in the time, means, money, and perhaps routine trips to a laundromat.  RV parks on occasion can be more economical if you do your laundry in their laundromat, dump the rigs holding tanks, and fill the rigs water tanks, all while paying for one night to stay over.  RV Parks often come with more amenities such as a pool or even a small store.

Many new to hitting the road “full time”.  Especially the “full timers” that have no home base to ever return to.  They often fail to think about things like, mail, doctor records, prescriptions, etc.  In this era of Covid even getting vaccinated if you are so inclined.  Living a mobile nomadic life,  moving from state to state. Erects many hurtles you must constantly clear.

Living this carefree lifestyle often comes with the unexpected.  A vehicle often breaks down.  You are basically going to have to leave your house and many possessions in the hands of a mechanic, repair shop, or their holding area.  If you have the means to rent a vehicle and get a place like a hotel, in this interim time, it may not be all that stressful.   If you are living on a shoestring and there is an expensive repair facing you.  Or you are out in the middle of nowhere with no hotel or rental vehicle available.  That can certainly elevate your stress or put you in a strange and often helpless situation!

Finally….  There is always the finality of life itself.  A consideration for a couple living such a lifestyle, that should be well thought out and planned for, well in advance.  What happens to a spouse or partner, should their companion be hospitalized long term, or pass away un-expectantly?  Pre-event thinking and planning applies to a solo person also.

Reflecting as a life long camper and traveler.   I have seen many negative changes to what I used to call “camping”.  The masses have discovered what I once knew as the best places to escape to.  But I am still out there trying to enjoy a campfire, sunrise or sunset, and that odd fellow traveler that brings with him/her the joy of their stories, experiences, and potential friendships.

 

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SPRINTER VAN RALLY

Are you interested in attending a Sprinter Van Rally – Lake Havasu, AZ?

We have a contact in Lake Havasu, Arizona that approached us and would like to organize a large “Sprinter Van” Rally.

This is an initial feeler to find out if there is enough interest? We were told they have hosted up to 400 standard RV’s in the past at a similar type Rally.

This would be boondocking for the most part in a large central facility, on level gravel, with access to restrooms and showers on the premise. Also a large enclosed building with power, water, and sinks, to accommodate events, pot luck meals, etc.

This is on the edge of the city. Close to stores, Lake Havasu, hiking trails, and London Bridge.

This may be open to Mercedes Sprinter factory conversions, commercial outfitter conversions, DIY conversions, standard Sprinters, Outfitters, Suppliers, Builders, Accessory Retailers, etc., depending on the interest and feedback we get.

If you are remotely interested or know of someone. Please share this in any Sprinter group you may be in. Then those interested in seeing this become a possibility, Email me directly so we get some number of interested people.

In the Subject please type:

Interested in a LHA Sprinter Van Rally

In the body of the email.  Briefly indicate why you would attend.  Something like:

“I don’t have a Sprinter but am looking to purchase in the future.”
“I have a Sprinter and just want to camp and socialize with others.”
“I am an Outfitter and will show off some of our builds or options.”
“I am a Retailer that sells Sprinter Accessories.”
“I am a Wholesaler/Retailer that sells Conversion Materials”
“We are a dealership and will have vehicles on site to show and sell.”

 

Email to:

Goyakpacking@yahoo.com

In about 30 days, I will pass on any accumulated interest.

Thank You!
ConversionSprinterVans.com  (Our Facebook Group – Please Join)

 

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CASSETTE TOILET Evaluation – Thetford C402C

This is a personal, unsolicited, evaluation of a cassette toilet we installed in a 2019 Sprinter 144 conversion about 14 months ago.

This may be useful information for those that may be at the beginning of a build, facing similar choices and decisions.

At the time of starting the build.  We were skeptical and worried we might make a mistake by installing a cassette type toilet.  Rather than a conventional RV toilet complete with an exterior holding tank, and exterior vent.

Any reluctance had to do with possible smells and stink.

After using the unit for 14 months,  And running some of our own very non-technical tests.  Namely, applying the basic “sniff test”.  Even after letting #1 and #2 waste percolate for two weeks.  In fact we let it percolate inside the closed up van, in the height of the summer desert heat, of Las Vegas, NV. USA.  Two weeks no less.

While we have used the toilet many times the past 14 months, we wanted to reserve judgement until it was put through the high heat of summer!

We have concluded the unit certainly passes for our use.  Any fears or concerns we had originally, were unfounded.

Click Link for more details on the Thetford C402C Cassette Toilet

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First SprinterConversionVans.com meet-up

Thanks to one of our Facebook Group members Paul Klotz.  We had our first Sprinter Van meet up.  (Halloween 2020).

With the threat of Covid and trying to social distance to be safe, this was a perfect location.  For the most part we kept our distance from each other in an outdoor environment.

The event took place in an “off grid” Ghost Town location in the state of Nevada, USA.   About a 3 hour drive north of Las Vegas.  This Ghost Town is generally located near Death Valley California, just across the state border in Nevada.  Enough of an “out of the way” place, that cell phones were useless trying to text or access the internet.

We enjoyed the Halloween weekend in an appropriate place.  Complete with a beautiful full moon.

At an elevation of around 5000 ft, the time of year we went, and being a desert climate.  That meant pleasant days, but cold nights.  The day time temperatures were pushing 80°F.  The low night dipped to 28°F.  It was cold enough to freeze water left in things like dishpans.

During the day we found ourselves moving our camp chairs to any piece of shade we could find along side one of our vehicles or tents.   Once the sun set we moved those chairs as close to a campfire as possible.

Walt, (one of the few locals) opened up the saloon for us.   Though with the threat of Covid and attempting to social distance the best that we could,  that experience was short lived.  But nice to say hi to Walt since most of us hadn’t seen him in about 4 years.

Some of us biked around the old town.  There are endless things to look at.  Old buildings, old machinery, mine head frames, old vehicles, and parts of old iron scattered everywhere.  Photographers will probably run out of time and memory cards trying to capture this place.

For the more adventurous there is another Ghost Town over the hill, about 6 miles away.  Stateline Ghost Town.   There is only 1 remaining cabin at that location.  Some of the stamping mill foundation and mine shaft head frame remain.  But you better have the vehicle to attempt this adventure.  The road there is rough gravel, and at times disappears under sand in the bottom of several dry wash stream beds.

When the sun set on our four day camp out.  We were reluctant to head back home to the routine of the “now normal” life we all have dealing with Covid.

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SUB FLOOR (Van)

Typically you will be installing some type of sub floor (van).  Cargo vans have uneven floors.  A series of peaks and valley’s in its metal sheeting.

Finished Passenger vans often have a more finished level floor.  But they may come with bench seats you now have seat lock down tracks to contend with.

I have a passenger van.  I am pulling most of the bench seats.  In my build (with the thought of being able to return it to its factory state if need be), I am covering the existing factory finished floor.  Covering everything such as seat lock down tracks, and D Ring tie down points.

I am using 3/4 inch plywood with strategically placing 1/4 plywood on the underside facing the van floor.   To shim it higher than any protrusions.  This is to miss the track and D Ring hardware that is slightly higher than the factory floor.

This new base covering will flatten everything out.  I used existing track bolt locations since there were factory welded nuts that made ideal anchor points.  It required removing the existing bolts and replacing them with longer bolts.

Don’t cut the sub floor plywood too tight on the edges or you will create squeak points when driving down the road.  It is better to have a 1/4 to 1/2 inch edge gap.  If you want to fill the void, use some type of caulk that remains flexible.

You can counter sink your anchor bolt heads or use “Cup Washers” to get a relatively flush mount.  I intend to have a finished covering of spun rubber commercial interlocking carpet squares. over this plywood sub floor.  That type of carpet can be installed over “Cup Washer” installation and never be noticed.  If need be, the bottom side of the carpet could be routered out a bit, just above any “Cup Washer” location.

Another method, which we are incorporating is to use the existing seat track, and fabricate adapters to create floor and wall partition anchor points.

If you intend to install some type of vinyl finished flooring, you may want to counter sink any bolt heads.   Or use Elevator bolts through new holes drilled in the van floor, with washers and nuts under the external floor of the van.

Plan before you drill any new holes through the floor.  You want to miss the frame and any other critical things like fuel lines, electrical, brake lines, etc.

For thin vinyl flooring you may want to fill any counter sunk bolt head voids, flush.

I personally don’t believe counter sinking would provide adequate anchor strength.  It would be my third choice, after a Elevator bolt.  Counter sinking, and even using a washer, would remove at least half the depth of the wood.  You have to think of the weight of other items that will attach to the sub floor.  Then the stress and strength to remain attached even in a moderate vehicle accident.  If you are OK with that method, then it is an alternative.

Once your sub floor is installed and secured, you can proceed with your layout and build.  This will provide an excellent foundation to draw your layout on, secure partitions, cabinets, or attach hold down brackets for things like water tanks and batteries.

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FRONT SEAT SWIVEL ADAPTER – SCOPEMA

We wanted to installed swivel adapters on the two front factory stock seats of our Sprinter Van.

Doing some on-line research there appeared to be at least 4 top choices that were rated.  We eliminated any that appeared wiring cutting and splicing would be required.  In fact should the unit we purchased require that, we will most likely return it.  Not that we are not capable.  We don’t want to hack into the seat/seat belt wiring and start voiding factory warranties.

Please follow our Link to Seat Swivels – SCOPEMA for upates, photos, installation and our evaluation.

 

 

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TENT & AWNING STAKES Industrial Strength

We love these DIY Tent Stakes so well, we decided to share the info.  We think any half handy person could fabricate these from common materials.  Four of them for about $25.  A simple DIY project.

These stakes are great for EZ-ups.  For sandy area’s.  For conditions that subject you to windy conditions.

Click this link for Info for Fabricating your own Heavy Duty Stakes


Note about the image:  This is a 10×10 Commercial Grade EZ-up style straight leg awning.  With an attached “Standing Room” brand tent.  The tent is fully enclosed.  4 Flap zippered walls and screens, and full floor and overhead top.  No Bugs!

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