4. The Back of the Van
The back of the van is one of the ‘less sexy, more practical’ elements to the build.
It was always going to be put in. With the van made of fibreglass, we can’t really have hanging shelves for more storage, which means that clothes etc have to be stored under the bed. This makes the garage double-important, with now a limited space to put the messy stuff’.
When filming, Leslie realised how poorly managed the space is in the back of the van. Forgetting about the garage is part of the magic about it, which leads us to our pro…
It’s a second room. The garage sometimes feels like it’s not part of the van, considering when you look inside, there’s just a lovely back wall. You completely forget that there’s 2 bikes, a gas cylinder, table and chairs, tripod, tennis racket and more behind it.
It’s great, in that sense.
Living out of a van, things get, literally, on top of you very fast. Being able to offset some of these ‘things’ to the back definitely relieves stress. You don’t want a heavy tripod bundling around the van, you don’t want a gas cylinder taking up space and you certainly don’t want a bike anywhere near where your bed is. Sacrificing a foot or so in length to give room for the garage is well worth it. Having a physical barrier really helps keep things organised.
As mentioned in the video, the rolling shutter door is a bit of a waste. If you had fold out barn doors, you could have a lot more storage possibilities. You could hang a shower set up, hang a wetsuit up, tie fishing rods and so on. With the van, the more things Leslie can hang on a wall, the better he feels about himself.
Another gripe, which is due to no fault of the van, is the storage of the bikes. They’re bungee corded in, which takes 15 minutes of awkward punishment. A wheel comes off, handlebars of the other are removed. It’s a long process that makes us using the bikes a truly rare occasion. However, we have the platform at the back which should be utilised to store at least one bike on. Leslie is just exceptionally lazy when it comes to engineering that not-so complicated design.
Lastly, the security of the back door is a bit basic. It’s just a padlock. Nothing too fancy. That being said, there’s nothing too expensive in the back to really worry about, and again, it’s completely separate from the main living space, so it’s not a design flaw.
All in, the back of the van is pretty crucial, especially if you don’t take the option of using the more traditional ‘elevated bed, then long storage boxes underneath’ approach that panel vans have. Looking at it again, Leslie definitely needs to redesign the set up, but he’ll probably leave that for another week or four.
Too lazy to read? Check it out in a quick video by yours truly.