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Old 01-05-2016, 07:11 AM  
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 472
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Default Re: PAV Adventure 4x4 Build

Lessons learned on first big winter trip

It was a big push getting everything wrapped up enough for our first big winter trip in the van. We spent 7 days and 6 nights up in Canada last week mostly near Roger’s pass. In general it went great. The van was a big hit for everyone involved. Temps were from -4 C during the day to -12 C at night, moderate compared to what they can be there.

What worked
  • The Espar D2 is just awesome…..makes all the difference. It is so nice to have a toasty warm van and easily dry out all the gear. We ended up running the heater all the time except when we were skiing. At night we left it on the lowest setting, 8 degrees C (wish it went a little lower), to keep the water from freezing. The maxfan vent was open but if we continue using the heater at night I want to add a CO2 sensor to be safe.
  • At the last minute I strung up 50 ft of 12V LED rope lights. These were awesome…super festive…nice tone 2700K….bright…and low power useage, 26W. Ultimately, I‘ll probably do something more refined and professional but I am sold on some sort of LED strings.
  • The 5 gallon water cans froze a little when we were skiing but remained useable the whole trip. We had 2 of them, which was about enough for a week for mostly 2 but sometimes 4 people.
  • With the Espar and lights we would use ~10-13% SOC/day from our 230 Ahr bank (inside the van). I was impressed with the low power usage. The solar became useless fairly quickly with snow on top. Driving to trailheads 5-15 minutes away and defrosting the windows to do so would add anywhere from 3-4% SOC. We never got below ~78% SOC. The battery bank seems to be sized about right for my winter use case. The EOM battery under the hood in the elements would have probably given about 1 day of use at this rate.
  • The bed system was great. It was nice to nestle the panels on top of one other to create more space to allow other to hang out inside. We would also set the coleman 2 burner up on top of the panels. A more formal kitchen has yet to be built.
  • I do not have any engine pre-heater options but it started right away every time. I was concerned about this as others have reported issues in the forum.
  • I decided to forego the window heater option as I expected that large window to see a lot of rocks driving in Canada and expect window replacements. Sure enough, I already got a small chip on this I think that was a good decision.
  • The ski storage slot works great. Put the skis in the bag and slide the bag in. A small amount of snow on the skis did not prove to be any reason for concern....water buildup in the van etc. The boot shells just got thrown in on top in the storage area out of the way. Essentially, the built in storage under one side of the bed functions like a rocket box inside the van. I think I am satisfied with this and do not need to pursue outside ski storage.
  • Really like the studded snow tire and wheel set I picked up about a year before I got the van! Very good deal at the end of spring from a guy that was moving……the guys was actually getting in the idling car and leaving town right after selling them.
Things to improve
  • Window insulation – As expected the front window covers I ordered with the suction cups (from EuroCampers) did not attach close enough to the front windows to prevent massive condensation buildup inside the windows…..actually broke my ice scrapper working on the inside of the window! Lots of idling was needed to warm the windows up enough to get the frost off even with scrapping. The covers I made from reflectix for the rear, slider, and opposite slider windows worked much better to prevent frost. However, the slider and opposite slider windows were so large that the reflectix started to bow inward toward the inside of the van compromising the fit. It seems like these two windows need something to hold it against the windows in the center. Maybe a sucker of some sort. I’ll try to make some reflectix covers for the front windows too to limit frost buildup. Driver’s and passenger windows will be easy. The front may not be.
  • Add more attachment points everywhere: below the bed, behind drivers seat on wall, on ceiling. I really need some L-track attachment points set into the OEM headliner in some way. This would enable lots of hanging and drying of clothes. Roger’s pass is pretty dry, so it was not a huge deal on this trip but the pacific northwest is a different deal.
  • Need a spout or pump system for my water. I like the 20L military water cans. Need to research the best method. Ideally, it would incorporate an electric pump.

Then there are off course the bigger projects like a small kitchen area behind driver’s seat, some storage above the kitchen up high, and better seating for more than 2 but those are larger efforts.
2015 High Roof 144WB Crew 4x4

Last edited by ddunaway; 01-05-2016 at 03:37 PM.
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