Advanture Magazine Issue 06

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a magazine for the vanlife culture



Advanture Magazine





Advanture Magazine



The biggest issue of Advanture Magazine to date. Over 60 pages of adventure vanlife content in this dedicated publication.

Change can We d e d i c a t e at the state post-COVID




No doubt there are some amazing places to road trip in Europe. Here are 5 destinations to start considering for your next water sports adventure.

bring good and bad. this Park Up to looking of wild camping in the era.

Ever wondered if you could take on a DIY project and see impressive results? Check out this totally c u s t o m b u i l d b y v a n l i f e r, Te s s a , from the Netherlands.



Wa n t t o k e e p y o u r f o o d a n d d r i n k cold, in the most demanding of s i t u a t i o n s ? We r o u n d e d u p t h e very best options on the market to compile this buyers guide.



There is a new movement that we must all get on board with, to preserve the wild camping scene in the UK, Europe and beyond.

56 TRAVEL BLOGS: PLANB 60 CAMPER KITCHEN Did you every wish you were on the road for an extended period of time? How does 6 months on Sardinia and Sicily sound ...

Yo u h a v e t h e v a n , s o l e t ' s m a k e u s e of that kitchen. There is so much more to camp food than fried eggs, pasta and cup-noodles. Read on.



P h o t o s b y B r a d Wa t s o n

CO-EDITOR MASCHA BLOME DE TRANSLATORS MARIA GAMPER, DIETMAR BLOME CONTRIBUTORS MARIA GAMPER, DAVID HAMILTON-JONES, NICOLE HERRIDGE, TESSA DE BRUIJN, CHRISTOPH SOMMERFELD, BETH JOHNSTONE, LAURA FIDDES, TORGIT & MARC WEBSITE FACEBOOK /advanturemagazine INSTAGRAM @advanturemagazine EMAIL Advanture Magazine is created with love in Barcelona, Spain. The magazine is printed in the United Kingdom on environmentally c e r t i f i e d p a p e r. T h e p r i n t e r w e s e l e c t e d b u y s stock from sustainable sources, uses superior quality vegetable based inks, and recycles all of their waste products. All images are copyright to their respective owners.


A special thank you to the Patreon supporters who are generously donating to the creation of this magazine. Oliver Brown, J a m e s Ye a r d l e y, R i c a r d o R a m o s , J a n i k Vo t h , S a p t o , Noah Ve r b o o m , Liam Martin, Simo Korhonen.

↑ This 2008 Fiat Ducato SWB has a 2.2 turbo engine, has been Patreon supporter, painted NATO grey, and Janik needs Voth, preparing for a naming. Send Brad his yourMTB ideas!

weekend out on the trails.


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MEET A N a m e : J a n i k Vo t h DOB: 09/1997 Location: Germany Interests: Enduro MTB, vanlife, skiing, bouldering, mountain views Va n a n d s p e c : 2 0 0 6 Vo l k s w a g e n M u t l i v a n Beach 2.5TDI. Purchased new by parents. Upgrades: Eibach lift kit, aluminium engine protection plate, off road tyres 225/70 r16. Mostly original inside, including VW Multivan bags, roof cargo net, table in the d o o r. New floor made from wood, slideout kitchen, sideboard for clothes, bikemounts.


A M : H e y J a n i k ! Te l l u s w h y y o u j o i n e d Advanture Magazine on Patreon? Janik: I like to support the magazine and the people behind it. I have followed the magazine right from the get go and I have always enjoyed reading it and seeing the posts on Instagram! AM: For you, what would a week-long adventure in your van look like? Janik: Driving into the mountains to ride m y b i k e t o g e t h e r w i t h m y b r o t h e r. G o i n g a bit off-road in my 2WD and looking for new places is always fun, too. AM: Why is downhill MTB and vanlife perfectly suited? Janik: It fits perfect in multiple situations. Va n s m o s t l y h a v e a l o t o f s p a c e w h i c h y o u can use for taking your MTB with you. A n o r m a l c a r d o e s n ’t h a v e a n y w h e r e n e a r

as much. Also the people that ride bikes usually want to go out for the whole weekend, which means they need a place to sleep. And what is better than a van to sleep in? A M : I n o n e y e a r, w h e r e d o y o u s e e t h e Advanture Magazine going? Janik: Hopefully more popular because of its perfect fit for the people interested in such adventure vanlife.

We hope to share some more of our P a t r e o n ’s s t o r i e s i n u p c o m i n g i s s u e s . D o you want to get involved behind the scenes with the Advanture Magazine? Head to where we will give the supporters voting power on new content, special perks, and more a s t h e m a g a z i n e c o n t i n u e s t o g r o w.



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We discovered this amazing place by accident, while we were on our way to the national park of Corcovado, Costa Rica. Just after we entered “OSA peninsula” where the park is located, it becomes late and we decided to stop just by the side of the road on a little public beach. We didn’t

expect to open our eyes to this breathtaking view... The coconut trees, the calm bay, and the big Macaw parrots made this morning one of our best of this year... Follow us and our new van conversion in France. Laurie & Shahar @vantastip



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EDITORS NOTE. I l o v e t h e s u m m e r. T h e a i r f e e l s t h i c k e r and the heat intensifies the natural smell from the earth and the trees. These immerse me in and increase the feeling of better connection to the environment. U s u a l l y, I g o i n s e a r c h o f g o o d t r a i l s t o run, baked under the Mediterranean sun. B u t , t h i s y e a r, j u s t o v e r a n h o u r a w a y f r o m my home in Spain, I have found myself in an environment that feels like a well-kept secret. About 6 years ago, while car camping in New Zealand, I saw my first fly fishing streams. There was something perfectly alluring about the idea of searching for wild fish and spending time in such a magnificent environment, albeit of lower intensity than my normal adventures of trail running or skiing. Little did I know that of all places, Spain is a hidden gem for the sport. For those of you who have been following along on my personal Instagram, you’ll have seen me go from hooking every tree along the river to landing some beautiful brown a n d r a i n b o w t r o u t b y n o w. B e i n g a b l e to explore and map out this new to me wonderland has only been possible with having a campervan for a base. Getting lost in the woods has a whole new level of meaning for me these days.



Going back to even earlier days in my v a n l i f e s t o r y, t h e r e w a s n o w a y I c o u l d justify the cost of installing an awning on the side of my van for shade, a diesel heater for warmth or even being able to consider different features that a 12V f r i d g e c o u l d o f f e r. M y f i r s t v a n e n a b l e d me to start living the vanlife, but all those fancy luxuries were off the table. As with many things the improvements in technology has brought down the cost o f a c c e s s o r i e s f o r t h e v a n c o n s i d e r a b l y. To d a y, t h e n u m b e r o f b r a n d s a c t i v e l y developing gear for the adventure vehicle market means there is some quality kit available. Most impressive to me is the range of passive and 12V coolers. I took my tests to the very extremes to make sure that the manufacturers could not cheat us with false claims about performance and d u r a b i l i t y. C h e c k o u t t h e a r t i c l e o n p 3 8 for a buyers guide in that department. F i n a l l y, t h e p o s t - c o r o n a w o r l d i s r i g h t in front of us, but air travel is still a complicated topic. We greet this summer along with many people new to vanlife, camping and in some cases, simply new to spending time out in nature. W ith this we anticipate challenges to be thrown our w a y. O n p 4 8 , f i n d o u t h o w y o u c a n h e l p improve public perception of vanlife.


Exploring trout streams in Spain. These cold waters are home to beautiful native brown and rainbow trout, hidden in plain sight from the masses of tourists. ALEX BROWN


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1) STAINLESS STEEL COOKING SET: a really nice set with thought out features. The pot and frying pan have retractable handles, to keep them out of the way when not in use. Cutlery, bowls and cups for 4 people are neatly packed away inside the set when not in use.


2) WOOD STOVE.: incredibly small package and really well made. Makes any camp instantly comfortable. The design reduces smoke and gets the stove to a hot temperature quickly, so you can cook or reheat some food.


“I use my camper in all seasons and for a number of different sports and activities. Decathlon has always been one of my favourite places to shop at, and the Quechua equipment range covers me for the whole year. Recently I have been learning to fly fish on some lovely rivers in Spain, and come rain or shine, I have enjoyed getting up early before sunrise, fishing right through the day and into sunset. I fitted out my camper with a new stainless steel cooking set, folding cutlery, and folding kitchen set for preparing delicious meals. The new wood stove has also been a lot of fun. Essential on those freezing mornings, but equally as usable on a summer evening spent under the stars at camp.” Alex Brown

Editor, Advanture Magazine

3) FOLDING CUTLERY: the stainless steel cutlery sets are lightweight and fold in half to save space. A set of these are a must have for each person on board. Visit a Decathlon store to see the full range of Quechua equipment suitable for your adventure campervan. WWW.QUECHUA.COM


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PARK UP Finding that romantic paj In the UK, staycations and the desire to escape crowded cities has meant a significant increase in the number of motorhomes and campervans looking for places to stay overnight. This new surge of campervans parked in areas of natural beauty is creating tension between campers, locals, and local councils. While almost all understand the need to preserve both the environment that they enjoy and the goodwill of private and public landowners, there is a minority that are doing a significant amount of damage to both. Whether this lies with a lack of understanding or a lack of compassion, a single act of negligence can ruin things for t h e m a j o r i t y. As in many European countries, France has an established culture, supporting

“In Spain, you can find a campervan parking area in nearly every town. While these might not have the best views, they are totally free and provide a safe place to sleep, dump stations for the toilet, plus fresh water for filling back up.” Alex @alexbrowndop

Spectacular wild camps like this can be found, if you are equipped to venture a little off-road in Scotland. @Project.Mhor.Van

infrastructure and legislation where an Aire (a safe place to stop overnight, to fill up with water and to dispose of waste) must be provided for every town. There is no culture or infrastructure like this in the UK. The greatest danger is legislation being created that outlaws the way most of us would like to be able to enjoy the outdoor environment. In 2020 in Portugal, legislation was created outlawing all overnight stays in camper vans, unless in an official camp ground. Those breaching the rules face a €600 fine. We ran a poll on Instagram where, u n s u r p r i s i n g l y, a h u g e 7 8 % o f y o u w o u l d prefer to find a wild camp, rather than pay f o r o n e w i t h a t o i l e t a n d s h o w e r. B u t a t w h a t costs will this have on us all in the long run? So, what can we do. The most important thing is to work hard to maintain and improve the

"I think the cleanup feature in the StayFree app is a great idea. People love to show other people the hard work they’ve done and make connections with like minded people doing the same sort of thing. This app is a great idea and such a positive way to make a difference." Beth @sheisthelostgirl

Finding that romantic park up for the night could be a lot more difficult than what you have been previously used to. name van campers have. Respect all users of the spaces you want to enjoy and do more than simply leave places a s y o u f i n d t h e m - l e a v e t h e m b e t t e r. The second thing is to educate. Engage with locals and other users to promote the positive impact you are making and encourage others to do the same; help to educate those that a r e n e w t o c a m p i n g . To g e t h e r w e c a n create a culture known for preserving t h e s e s p a c e s f o r a l l t o e n j o y. There are also opportunities. Entrepreneurs are quickly providing alternatives to soulless campsites and overused wild camping spots featured on popular apps. Is private land-sharing a realistic solution, and would you opt to park up on one for a f e w € / £ p e r n i g h t ? AM

"I find places to camp by just following the road, seeing what looked good. But, in the UK this is getting harder. I would either choose sites with a quieter sea or lake view or I would go onto a parking app to chose spots. In Scotland some spots you need a permit for, especially near the lochs, but the rest you have the freedom to roam like in Norway for example. I prefer this freedom." Nicole @stitchaco

“We personally refrain from wild camping in Switzerland, our home country. The wild animals have a struggle to find undisturbed habitats. Since COVID-19, our government asked us not to travel far. With most campsites being totally full, a lot of areas like big parkings or fairground spaces became available. Several mountain railways in the country even started offering their parking spaces for a small amount of money, for overnight stays. We think it’s a great way to give people a legal spot for camping and without disturbing nature. It may not look great on a Instagram photo, but you can sleep peacefully and with a clear conscience. We are happy to use these offers, or use a campsite.” Sabrina @vier_raeder



Issue 06

WE ASKED YOU ... What is the vibe in your current area from police/locals/government? t h e p r o b l e m i s , s a d l y, too many people leave behind all their trash

terrible. the police and land owners don’t like us on their land here in Slovenia.

b e r e s p e c t f u l , k e e p l o w k e y, f o l l o w the rules and it is all good!

frustrated at the disregard some people show their local area

there is good vibes in N o r w a y, b u t w e a l l h a v e a responsibility to take care of freedom like this.

here in Italy it is not permitted to do free camping and it is so sad in the UK they want to put a bill in place to stop full time vanlife completely a huge fine, or seize the van :(

# A D VA N T U R E M A G A Z I N E @advanturemagazine


ISSUE 07 COMING FA L L 2 0 2 1 Searching for warmer climates, or getting your alpine gear ready? Use Advanture Magazine to help plan the upcoming winter season. Features: beyond the Schengen a r e a , e n a b l e d b y s o l a r, d i g i t a l nomad remote work, “old timer” and more stories from the road. Print subscriptions available at w w w. a d v a n t u r e m a g a z i n e . c o m


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And suddenly it felt like Hawaii! Moss-covered cliffs, the roaring sea and surfers below, complete with the perfect sunset - yet we were on our road trip through Portugal. We had almost left the west coast behind us, but were drawn back to the sea to say one last goodbye to the Algarve. Three months, travelling from north to the very south. We spent days in the mountains, countryside and on the beautiful coasts, but shortly before the lockdown would start, we decided to leave the country. Our backpacks were filled with chilled beer as we drove together with our friends one last time to Cordoama Beach. Sitting on the cliff and enjoying the most beautiful sunset of the trip, memories that we will never forget.

Helena, Chris & Alma. @thistimeoneway

Park Up

Portugal is right up at the top of the list for a van based journey. Stunning coasts, charming culture and great food are some of the reasons why! PHOTO BY HELENA & CHRIS



Issue 06

This summer, I have challenged myself to cross the Pyrenees via 4x4 tracks. Not in a regular 4x4, but in my 4motion VW T5.1 California. I love this region and want to revisit the mountains in a completely different way. I believe this crossing will only be achievable on the Spanish side. So, my journey will start from Urepel in France, descend to Ardanaz in Spain then Campo Real, go up towards Lake Yesa, push on to Sant Joan de Toran and then finally reach Andorra. Then we will make our return to the French side, en-route back to the French Basque Country. The first step is to complete modifications to my campervan. It is equipped with VW’s 4motion all-wheel-drive system and the all-important rear differential lock option. I’m adding to this, suspension modifications, under-body protection all-terrain tyres and all the necessary equipment to get us out of the challenging trail conditions we will encounter on the road less travelled. This is a project that is close to my heart and one I hope to be able to achieve, despite the current situation.

Kris William.


Park Up

The Pyrenees stretch over 430km in distance dividing France and Spain, with Andorra sandwiched in the middle. Winters generally see significant snow, so plan accordingly. PHOTO BY KRIS WILLIAM



Issue 06

The waters around Sardinia are superb for swimming and free diving. Imagine spending all day in the sea, then coming back to your van for a quick shower and then a cold beer. PHOTO BY ALEX BROWN

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Have you seen Luc Besson’s free diving movie “Le Grand Bleu” from the 1980’s? Filmed on Greek and Italian islands, it is exactly the type of trip I have been longing for, but combined with vanlife. And it is exactly what I got on Sardinia, relatively easy and affordable to reach with an overnight ferry from Barcelona. Sardinia offers many sides for different desires. It is possible to distinguish individual locations simply by their specific varied coastal features. So many secluded bays where I could jump out of the van in my bikini, with my fins and mask in hand. I love the turquoise ocean and rocky seascapes here. Those late, warm summer nights and sunsets on golden salty skin, felt amazing. The east to south coast with its headlands, secluded small beaches and steep rocky cliffs were perfect for deep free diving and living responsible low key Robinson Crusoe style vanlife. The little villages all over offer the best pizzas, pastas, and apricot or pistachio croissants you can imagine! The water shows off every shade of blue possible, from crystal clear turquoise to deep and dark blues. Most of the time, I could just see my air bubbles sparkling.

Mascha Blome. @misstravelista

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Sponsored kitesurfer Alina and friends, enjoying a prime van camping spot after riding all day. ALINA LISA KORNELLI

5 WAT E R S P O R T S ROAD TRIPS TO MAKE IN EUROPE. Europe boasts access to a number of oceans and seas, in varying geographic locations and each one supporting unique ecosystems. In the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea we can enjoy crystal clear waters, shared with marvellous creatures such as bluefin tuna and loggerhead turtles. While at the same time up in the Norwegian Sea, where you might need a wetsuit, you won’t need to look hard to spot one of the twenty species of whales that live there including orcas and humpbacks to name but a few of the largest.

Within relatively short distances, vanlifers can plan for unforgettable trips centred around ocean based leisure. Do you already love to practise a water sport, but are looking for somewhere i n s p i r i n g t o e x p l o r e ? O r, a r e you looking for something new to introduce to your life with a focus on getting the adrenaline pumping? Then here are our 5 top water sports road trip ideas to consider for your next road trip.



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W i n g F o i l i n g Ta r i f a , E S The newest sport to hit the ocean is a combination of modern kitesurf and hydrofoil design. The athlete rides a small board with an impressive “fin”, which lifts the board high out of the water once moving. The rider uses a “wing” that looks very similar to a small kitesurfing kite, to harness the power of the wind and get moving. The sport is getting a lot of traction at b e a c h e s a l l o v e r, b u t o n e p l a c e i n p a r t i c u l a r w o r t h c o n s i d e r i n g i s Ta r i f a i n S p a i n . W i n d p o w e r e d s p o r t s , v a n l i f e a n d Ta r i f a a l l g o hand-in-hand. A day never passes where you won’t see a number of vans parked up on the coast, which has a spectacular view a c r o s s t h e S t r a i t o f G i b r a l t a r. T h e c u l t u r e here is as cool as it gets, with a vibrant town offering copious amounts of tapas, cerveza and music late into the warm evenings.


FREEDIVING SARDINIA, IT The Italian island of Sardinia is surrounded by some of the clearest waters one can find. Yo u ’ l l n e e d t o t a k e a c a r f e r r y t o o n e o f t h e m a j o r p o r t s , P o r t o To r r e s i n t h e n o r t h o r Cagliari in the south. Both locations serve as excellent starting locations for a water sports van trip. The water around Sardinia offers incredible freediving where one can find a variation from shallow sandy bottoms to deep rocky drop-offs. It really is not difficult to find excellent places to park on the coast, so you can spend hours in the sea building up your appetite, then dive back in the van for a well earned lunch. Our suggestion for newcomers to the sport would be to explore shallow protected bays. Stintino in the north is nothing less than pure #travelpor n, where, the beaches easily rival those in the Maldives. Also, consider the beaches either side of Cape Carbonara in the south, which are equally a s i m p r e s s i v e . R e m e m b e r t o t a k e i t e a s y, and always practice in a group of people who are all confident swimmers.

For those born with gills, head straight to the insanely spectacular east coast for deep water and rugged coastlines. Pedro Longa, located in the Parco Nazionale del Golfo di Orosei e del Gennargentu, is well worth the testing drive on rough roads with a s e r i e s o f t i g h t s w i t c h b a c k s . H o w e v e r, t h e views will leave you open mouthed, both f r o m o v e r a n d u n d e r t h e w a t e r.

TOP LEFT Waterman Alvaro Onieva, pushing the limits of this new sport in Tarifa! BOTTOM LEFT & ABOVE: The waters around Sardinia are best enjoyed from under the surface for freediver, Mascha Blome. OVER PAGE LEFT: Surfers heading out for a sun down session in France. OVER PAGE MIDDLE & RIGHT: Swim run is very popular in Sweden. It could be a great way to explore areas that you can’t reach with the campervan.


S U R F I N G B A S Q U E C O A S T, F R & E S We couldn’t write about 5 water sports road trips to make and not include surfing some fun Atlantic waves. If you are looking to get away from the usual crowds, you might want to consider checking out some of the tiny surf spots dotted up and down the French coast. Most areas are served with an Aire, or some similar cheap parking option. Enjoy parking amongst the pine forests around Mimizan and Biscarrosse where there is a really laid back attitude, and enough different vans to entertain for days. If Spain is on the cards for you, then it does not get more stylo than a few days surfing Zurriola beach. Wild camping is a little harder around here, so it may be best to book a camp site or check for private land rental. There really is a lot on offer on both sides o f t h e b o r d e r, s o i f t h e n e w o v e r n i g h t parking regulations in France may put you off, head into Spain for a bit of an easier night. However with that said, head away from the towns if you want to enjoy wild camping. If you can’t make it as far as France and Spain, check out artificial waves closer to home. Some excellent wave pools are opening up around the UK and Europe so

it could be worthwhile as a trip in itself, or just to get back on the board and practise in the mean time. V i s i t i n g s o m e w h e r e l i k e T h e Wa v e i n Bristol, UK, allows you to get some time on the water and then enjoy some of the other local offerings. Visiting different wave pools could be a great way to combine some surfing alongside some city sightseeing that you might not have opted for if aiming for the coasts. SWIMRUN ÖTILLÖ, SE D i d y o u k n o w, t h e r e a r e o v e r 2 5 0 , 0 0 0 islands in Sweden? With fewer than 1000 that are actually inhabited, it certainly sounds like there is some exploration worth doing. So how does the adventure vanlifer achieve this you might ask? By s w i m r u n n i n g w e s a y. B o r n i n S w e d e n b a c k i n 2 0 0 2 , s i m p l y, t h i s sport combines swimming and running. On a recreational level this is a really fun way to quickly explore areas on microadventures. If you are prepared to increase the pressure, then you could enter one of the numerous organised races that are extremely popular up north. How far or long you move for doesn’t really

You don’t need to be a pro to enjoy sports like these! Local rentals, guides and outfitters will help you enjoy a range of sports and activities at your next destination.

m a t t e r. Yo u c o u l d m a k e a s e r i e s o f s h o r t e f f o r t s o n t h e s a m e d a y, o r o n e r e a l l y l o n g one. Whatever you choose, make sure that you have some warm clothes back in the van, and preferably something fast to heat up like a soup for when you come in with little energy left for cooking!

with the open ocean. And when we start to think about it, there are numerous things that you could choose from once you arrive. How about scuba diving in a freshwater lake? Or windsurfing on top of one? The lakes offer different scenery and different f o r m s o f w i l d l i f e t o e n j o y.

The gear you need, while minimal, needs to be considered somewhat. Depending on how much the water has warmed up by the time you arrive, you’ll most likely need a w e t s u i t e v e n i f j u s t a t h i n o n e . Ta k e a look for swim specific options, as you’ll definitely need the flexibility in order to run in it. Of course you’ll also need some goggles, a waterproof bag for your dry stuff (phone, wallet, small towel), and also s o m e r u n n i n g s h o e s t h a t d r a i n q u i c k l y. B a r e f o o t o p t i o n s a r e p o p u l a r, a n d w i l l transition better between water and land than a regular shoe can.

Lake Chiemsee could be a great choice i f y o u a r e d r i v i n g t h r o u g h G e r m a n y. M o s t famous for the Herrenchiemsee Palace, the lake has more to offer the vanlifer looking for a water sports adventure. Here, you could enjoy stand up paddleboarding when the water is calm, or even windsurfing when the wind picks up. The lakes in-land generally stay cooler than the oceans do, so you might need to consider that wetsuit, even in the summer months.

L a s t l y, p l e a s e i n v e s t i n s o m e s o r t o f buoyancy/swim aid. Some of the better ones double up as a waterproof bag, too. LAKE CHIEMSEE, DE It must be said that all around Europe there are some magnificent fresh water options, too. Lakes offer an environment that can feel much safer if you are not very comfortable

While you are in the area, be sure to enjoy some Bavarian culture. Look outside of the main towns for little village restaurants for a traditional taste of Bavaria. It would also be worth visiting some of the local campsites, who would absolutely appreciate y o u r b u s i n e s s i n t h e p o s t - c o r o n a w o r l d . AM If you are hitting the road in the coming weeks or months in search of some water based fun, then be sure to tag us in your photos on Instagram with #advanturemagazine and we will share the best ones.


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TALLER. Words by David Hamilton-Jones


2 8 - y e a r- o l d Te s s a f r o m t h e N e t h e r l a n d s c h o s e t o build her own. Not a project for the faint-hearted Te s s a h a s l e a r n e d a l o t f r o m o v e r l a n d a d v e n t u r e s that include a trip from Amsterdam to Southern India via Russia, China, Tibet, and Nepal. She knew what she wanted and welcomed the challenge. T h e f i r s t s t e p i s t o a s k h o w y o u w i l l u s e i t . Te s s a loves adventure sports including kitesurfing, wakeboarding, snowboarding, hiking and mountain biking. So, this was not going to be a traditional layout with a seating area by the rear d o o r s . Te s s a ’s b u i l d i s a l l a b o u t t h e ‘ g a r a g e ’ ; a place to store the equipment for these adventure sports. I n l a t e 2 0 1 9 , Te s s a a n d h e r p a r t n e r J a c q u e s f o u n d a van in the Netherlands. A 2013 long-wheelbase VW Crafter with 148,000 km on the clock for €16,800. A van build never goes without a hitch, but COVID-19 really presented a challenge.


TIPS FROM THE BUILDER » R e s e a r c h w i d e l y t o i n c o r p o r a t e a l l the best ideas in your own build. » L e v e l l i n g t h e v a n b e f o r e s t a r t i n g work, allows a spirit level to be used during critical points of the construction. » Ta k e y o u r t i m e a n d e n j o y t h e experience because everything takes longer than you imagine. » L i s t e n t o y o u r s e l f a n d t h o s e y o u trust, because people on social media can be mean about the ideas y o u w i s h f o r.

Don’t let a lack of space hinder the adventure. Take the planning stage seriously so you can take it all with you. @THE_LOSTVAN


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BEAST: VW LWB CRAFTER - 2013 model w/ 148k km, €16,800 - 6.5 months build time - Previous van builds: none - Biggest challenge: cutting and fitting woodwork so it was precise.; it had to be perfect

Planning. After starting the strip out of their van t o g e t h e r, Te s s a a n d J a c q u e s t r a v e l l e d t o South Africa where Jacques is from. The plan was to get married, return to the Netherlands to complete the build, and then honeymoon in their new campervan. When lockdowns were emplaced, the wedding w a s c a n c e l l e d , a n d Te s s a r e t u r n e d o n h e r o w n t o s t a r t t h e b u i l d . U n f o r t u n a t e l y, t h e resultant travel restrictions meant Jacques was unable to rejoin his fiancé, so what we s e e h e r e i s a l l Te s s a ’s w o r k . B u t l o n g b e f o r e f i n d i n g t h e i r v a n , Te s s a had been planning. Hours of research online and trawling through Instagram for novel ways to fit and organise all their requirements into the small space, resulted in a very long list of wishes. Though it was clear that even with a longwheel-based platform, compromises would have to be made. Designing the garage. To s t o w a l l t h i s g e a r a n d h a v e a f i x e d b e d , rather than one that must be made up and packed away every evening, a lengthways bed with a tall and deep garage was the

- Favourite part(s): huge 173x200cm bed, inside shower/toilet room, seating area for work and dining - Sports equipment on-board: kitesurf, MTB, surfing, snowboarding, skateboards, hiking, yoga

solution. Designing a way to organise things from the outset was critical. To t h e r e a r o f t h e g a r a g e s p a c e , f u r t h e s t f r o m t h e d o o r s , t h e b a t t e r i e s , i n v e r t e r, a n d a 120-litre water tank are secured. This ensures the heaviest items are fixed over the rear axle. On the right wall there is also a water connection to another shower outside for cleaning boards or bikes. Regardless of the season, the bikes were to be used frequently for transport as well as for mountain biking, so a sliding rack was designed to mount them securely and allow them to be removed without disrupting everything else. This sliding rack also houses a stack of four crates and a space for helmets and boots, so there is no requirement to crawl into the back of the garage to get to small items. Depending on the season, the remainder of the garage is designed to accommodate surfing, kiteboarding or snowboarding g e a r. A r a c k i n g s y s t e m w a s d e s i g n e d s o t h e s u r f b o a r d s s t a y o n t h e i r e d g e . F i n a l l y, space under the boards or hanging from the doors was allocated for the remaining items on the packing list.

UNNAMED : MAN TGE 4X4 - Budget: van €39k (new), conversion €26k - Main upgrades: poptop, Seikel liftkit + snorkel, side popouts, winch - Reason for project: upgrade from VW T5 to

larger adventure van for family - Delivery date: summer 2021. Collecting with brother and road trip back to the UK



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Designing the living area. One of the biggest design decisions for a van of this size is whether to fit an internal shower or not. The desire for Te s s a a n d J a c q u e s t o u s e t h e v a n i n w i n t e r meant that an internal shower was indeed n e c e s s a r y. Te s s a a l s o i n c o r p o r a t e d s o m e u n i q u e a d d i t i o n a l f e a t u r e s . A Tr u m a C o m b i boiler allows hot water and air heating f r o m e i t h e r a g a s o r a n e l e c t r i c a l s u p p l y. The shower cubicle has been designed with one of the four heater outputs from t h e Tr u m a e n t e r i n g i t , w i t h a r o o f v e n t t o allow ventilation, so any wet gear can be h u n g i n s i d e t h e s h o w e r t o d r y. T h i s w i l l significantly speed up drying and reduce potential condensation and damp hanging around the living space. A l s o f o r y e a r- r o u n d u s e , o n e o f t h e h e a t e r outputs is plumbed into the garage area. T h i s e n s u r e s t h e w a t e r t a n k w o n ’t f r e e z e and also provides heat to the bed above. W i t h s p a c e a l r e a d y a l l o c a t e d t o a s h o w e r, Te s s a i n c l u d e d a N a t u r e s H e a d c o m p o s t i n g

t o i l e t . T h e s e s y s t e m s d o n ’t r e q u i r e l a r g e quantities of water or chemicals, and an extraction system prevents smells from escaping. Te s s a i s a k e e n c o o k s o s h e w a n t e d a minimum of a three-burner hob and oven. T h e s e , a n d t h e Tr u m a , a l l r u n f r o m a n underslung 40-litre LPG tank, which can be filled at any service station with an LPG s u p p l y. T h e r e i s a n i s o l a t o r i n s i d e t h e v a n to turn off the gas supply when not in use plus a gas and a carbon monoxide alarm f o r s a f e t y. A s w e l l a s h o t a n d c o l d w a t e r from the tap over the kitchen sink, there is a separate drinking water tap that goes t h r o u g h a f i l t e r s y s t e m . F i n a l l y, t h e r e i s a fitted 12V compressor fridge complete with a small freezer compartment. F o r r e l a x i n g , e a t i n g a n d w o r k i n g , Te s s a designed a multifunctional seating arrangement. Both the driver and passenger seats can rotate. For working and dining, a custom table (fabricated

Turtle Wax is the perfect brand for van-lifers because, like turtles, they take their houses with them everywhere they go!

Vehicle supplied courtesy of @syncrotime

WAX BEFORE YOU RIDE. Visit us at TURTLEWAX.CO.UK to complete your road trip



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b y Te s s a ’s b r o t h e r ) s i t s b e t w e e n a s i n g l e bench seat and the rotated drivers’ seat. When required, the table can be lowered, and a cushion placed on top to provide a longer bench seat with a view looking out o f t h e s l i d i n g s i d e d o o r. Security was critical, so additional locks were fitted to all doors, plus some further measures. But we’ll keep those secret here. The ability to camp for multiple days selfs u s t a i n e d i s w h a t m a n y v a n l i f e r s s t r i v e f o r. Te s s a o f c o u r s e h a s a c c o m p l i s h e d t h i s , s t a r t i n g w i t h 3 x 1 8 0 - Wa t t s o l a r p a n e l s t h a t were fixed to the roof. A set of four 100Ah lithium-ion batteries were fitted, so the couple could survive winter conditions when there would be less solar available f o r r e c h a r g i n g c e l l s . F i n a l l y, a 1 5 0 0 - Wa t t inverter caters for any 230V requirements. Building the van. Te s s a r e c r u i t e d s o m e s u p p o r t f r o m h e r father and brother for just a couple of areas during the build. So, with no prior experience, she completed the build h e r s e l f . Te s s a a d m i t s t h e r e w e r e m i s t a k e s that were costly in time and resources, and that there were a few frustrations and

Photos by Tessa & Jacques @the_lostvan

tears. But this is the case for almost every s e l f - b u i l d e r w e c o m e a c r o s s . H o w e v e r, the skills learned, the enormous sense of achievement, and the feeling of pride makes these trials more than worthwhile.

“But I loved it so much - even when I was crying! Because it is so amazing to see what you can create, even without any prior knowledge, and I’m so proud of all t h e s k i l l s I h a v e n o w ! ” s a y s Te s s a . How the build performs. The real question is, did the design and construction work out?

“I can honestly say that everything worked out perfectly; the garage is so easy to use, I can get to all my gear without moving a hundred things, and I love that!” W h i l e C O V I D - 1 9 w a s k e e p i n g Te s s a a n d J a c q u e s a p a r t , Te s s a l i v e d i n t h e v a n o n her own for seven months. The 1.73m by 2 m f i x e d b e d i s a r e a l l u x u r y, t h e f i l t e r e d d r i n k i n g w a t e r e n s u r e s s h e i s n ’t b u y i n g plastic water bottles, the batteries are p r o v i d i n g e n d l e s s p o w e r a n d t h e Tr u m a heats the van in only a few minutes. Imagine t h e a d v e n t u r e s t h a t a w a i t . AM


Your Journey to a new Sound Experience The new series of Alpine Adventure Audio sound solutions for the Volkswagen T6 / T6.1 have arrived – with the listening and mobility needs of motorhome and camping van enthusiasts in mind.


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This image is dedicated to the feeling you got this summer when you were able to go adventuring again and to relax by a camp fire in the evening with kindred spirits. That’s what it’s all about. “We held this first gathering in our private wild camp spot in Scotland. It was worth the efforts just to see people enjoy camping again. So we’re going to hold another gathering soon. Next, will be a week long vanlife co-working event, where people can work, share ideas and socialise around a camp fire in a safe place.” David, founder


Wild camping in a Spanish desert. We had no problem keeping food cold where the daytime temperature was over 40c. ALEX BROWN

2021 COOL BOX & 12V FRIDGE BUYERS GUIDE Due for a cold beer after a solid day of driving? Or maybe you want creamy yoghurt with your granola first thing in the mor ning ... Keeping food and drink fresh and cold presents a challenge in a campervan. Our buyers guide to 12V fridges and passive coolers offers easy ways to overcome them. Words by Alex Brown

We might tend to associate a good fridge with van camping during the summer months, but there certainly is more to consider if you are camping in all seasons. Sure, in the summer you need to keep food items cool to preserve them for longer and to enjoy something refreshing, but do you have enough power on board to feed a powered cooler or would you be better off w i t h a c o o l b o x ? A n d i n t h e w i n t e r, a m b i e n t low temperatures can falsely affect the electronics and trick the fridge into thinking it is at a lower temp that it actually is which could result in spoilt food. The two options we can consider using in the van are either a powered cooler/fridge, or a passive cool box. Powered coolers

PASSIVE COOL BOXES PROS & CONS • no need to wire up with vehicle electrics • durable models can be used outside, and even used as additional seating • weather proof • the smallest/lightest units can be carried away from the vehicle easily • no electronics or moving parts that could fail • can be used in cold weather and won’t be thermally affected

• melted ice collects as water and can ruin food • need to source ice, or re-freeze cooling packs • no temperature controls • ice and cool packs take up valuable space inside the chest • less constant temperature level can be maintained (warms up as ice melts)

run on 12V can be wired into the vehicle electrical system (DC), and some also come with an additional cable so they can be run at home or while on a campsite with regular electric (AC). A passive cool box usually uses ice to keep the contents cold, but some brands now produce cool packs that you freeze ahead of time. There are a number of important reasons why it is wise to carefully look at the pros and cons for both 12V powered, and passive c o o l b o x e s . I f s p a c e a n d b u d g e t a l l o w, a combination of both options would result in a comprehensive set-up for a complete adventure vehicle. Also, a portable cool bag adds flexibility if you want to carry things a w a y f r o m c a m p w h i l e o u t f o r t h e d a y.

12V FRIDGE PROS & CONS • consistent temperature level and control • no need to source ice • a good model cools down very quickly • a good model is very efficient on power consumption • some models include a freezer shelf • some models can run on DC and AC power

• generally are more expensive • need to provide continuous power while switched on • consider the cost of repairs down the line • heavier & less durable, less suitable for outdoors use • could become thermally affected in cold weather


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COOL BOXES Passive cool boxes have come a l o n g w a y i n d e s i g n r e c e n t l y. Forget the €20 discounted special at your local super market, we are considering adventure ready options here. A great cool box needs to ultimately keep your contents cold, but also needs to be rugged enough to use outdoors, and light enough so you can actually move it around. New comers to the scene, QOOL, are making a grand entrance. The materials used in their boxes are very impressive. T h e i r p a r e n t c o m p a n y, VA Q - Te c , produce insulated solutions used in shipping all sorts of delicate food and medical supplies, including the COVID vaccine distribution around Europe. As we said, we are considering high-end options here! We can confirm that the claims by QOOL on how long ice can be kept in their units is accurate. Having spent days in the Spanish desert photoshooting, both the M and L size coolers still held frozen cool packs as well as chilled food and drinks. The cool packs from QOOL are available in a number of temperature ranges. Once cooled down, the packs are able to maintain a stable temperature for the duration of multiple days or even up to a week. While we did not bother to get in there and measure t h i n g s o n a t h e r m o m e t e r, o u r packs for the -2°C to +2°C range were frozen for at least 5 d a y s . Te m p e r a t u r e s i n t h e desert were in around 40c outside, and we did not worry about how often the lids were opened and closed. Keeping delicate food such as fish and meat was not a concern, and the unit was easy to wipe down clean after we had finished the trip. But they are not cheap, and €400 will get you a size M with 4 temperature elements. See where that difference in price pays off in the features list opposite.

as the go-to range of coolers to throw in your truck, van or boat. We love the huge choice of colours and sizes that YETI offer their wide range in. We w e r e s e n t a Y E T I Tu n d r a 3 5 , that has a nice basket inside to separate some food items. Much heavier than the QOOL box, but moving the cooler around camp is not too much Next up we have YETI. Iconic in of a problem. Priced somewhat a multitude of outdoor sports cheaper than the QOOL, at

under €300 not including any cool packs, you feel like you are getting a lot of cooler for y o u r m o n e y. Features that are nice on the YETI include the interior basket, which hangs just under the lid. Here you can store f o o d i t e m s t h a t y o u d o n ’t w a n t t o u c h i n g t h e i c e b e l o w. A d r a i n plug makes it easy to remove a n y w a t e r, a n d t h e t h i c k r u b b e r

latches securely fasten the lid down. The rugged nature to these boxes leave us with no concerns about mounting one to the exterior of a vehicle, such as on a roof cage.


In fact, the YETI feels so tough, as if it would out-live the majority of vehicles. Pick wisely as it could be with you for years. But we have to make it clear that the QOOL greatly outperforms the YETI.


Both the QOOL and YETI are great options for using outside of the vehicle at your camp. The Q O O L i s c o n s i d e r a b l y l i g h t e r, b u t w e f e l t t h a t the softer exterior could wear out faster than t h e s o l i d U V- r e s i s t a n t p o l y e t h y l e n e o f t h e Y E T I . Both are the perfect height to sit on or use as a surface for food prep, and have carrying handles that lay flush in the casing for easy movement. Both brands produce a comfortable cushion so you can use the box as an additional seat at camp. We also really like the range of backpack cool bags from YETI, which offer another convenient way to transport food away from the vehicle. Better suited for day trips, rather than overnighting with, the comfortable YETI Hopper is a backpack in design, and can be bought in a range of sizes. The larger 24 easily carries enough food and drink for 2-4 people, and you can fasten additional items to the bag thanks to the multiple rigging points. The bag looks great, and we’ll certainly keep one on board during the summer months.

QOOL BOX M (27L) €400 • Longest time holding ice, possible over 1 week (using supplied cool packs) • Very lightweight • Great option for using in the dirt on overland style trips, or as additional seating

• Cool elements are smaller & more efficient than ice • Shock resistant • 2 sizes available, M & L • Made in Germany • Not as aesthetic as other options on the market


YETI TUNDRA 35 €280 • Extremely durable, hard wearing • Nice dry goods basket included, separates items from touching the ice • Drain plug for melted ice

• Could be mounted on the exterior of vehicle • Range of accessories • Heavy compared to other on the market • Wide range of colours

YETI HOPPER BACKFLIP 24 €340 • Great for day use and totally reliable • Lightweight • High quality design, secure zipper, adjustable straps • Ability to mount things to the fixing points such as fly fishing rod • Not foldable or compressible



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12V powered fridges If you are planning to travel long term, either full timing or for long periods off-grid, then you are going to need a 12V powered fridge. As far as we are concerned, there are just two brands worth considering. Dometic and Engel. Both manufacturers have a comprehensive range, covering a wide variety of total volume and fridge/freezer options. We’ve extensively tested two similar sized units, both around the 35l mark, in the hot Spanish summers right down to freezing temperatures in the mountains. This sized 12V fridge is really the largest size you would want to consider in something like a V W Tr a n s p o r t e r o r s i m i l a r mid sized van, and keeps two people comfortably fed and watered for 5-7 days. While some vans today have enough power on-board to live off-grid for weeks at a time. At this time, the majority of vanlifers have only a single additional AGM battery to run all of their electrical needs. Efficiency is everything when it comes to keeping a 12V fridge running and maximising your happiness on the road. To p l o a d e r s For this guide we only looked at top loading chest-style coolers, and not front loading types. But a solid plus point for the top loaders is that cold air sinks. When you open the lid, you are going to lose less cold air and that means the compressor needs to run a little l e s s , t h u s s a v i n g y o u p o w e r. Another very important thing to consider when choosing your top loading fridge is how the lid operates. Does it lift up lengthways or sideways? Does it hinge, or lift off completely? Can the hinges be moved to allow you to choose what way the lid opens - think how useful that could be when planning your build! We pitched the Engel MR040 against the Dometic CFX35 because we felt it was a fair comparison for the needs of t h e a d v e n t u r e v a n l i f e r. W e want to use our fridges outside

from time to time, be that for seating, or just bringing the b e e r s c l o s e r. D o m e t i c c l e a r l y wins with regards to the amount of gadgets packed in, but the Engel feels more durable, it scratched less, and might just be that bit more long lasting (based on the reviews we have read online, of users owning their Engel fridges for more t h a n 3 0 y e a r s ) . Yo u c a n m o v e u p in price-point with the Engels to get a stainless steel case and more features similar to those found on the Dometic CFX.

Cooling efficiency From start-up with an ambient temperature of anywhere from 20-30c, and with an empty fridge, each took less than 30 minutes to cool to around 3-5c. Yo u ’ l l b e a b l e t o f i n d t h e e x a c t power consumption of these fridges online with a search, but what we can tell you is real world experience using them in the wild. Both offerings come in durable plastic casings. The craftsmanship of both is top quality and you really see where the money goes. The packaging of both was extremely protective, so ordering online i s n o t a w o r r y. T h e D o m e t i c case seemed to pick up a lot of scuffs during use, probably d u e t o t h e d a r k e r c o l o u r. H o w e v e r, t h e r e a r e a d d i t i o n a l protective sleeves available for both of these fridges, should you want to keep them scratch free. The Engel is considerably h e a v i e r, b u t b o t h c a n b e m o v e d around using the carrying handles even when loaded.

Safety Buying a 12V fridge comes with some worthy considerations. Most importantly is that they are heavy and large. If you were to have an accident, are you safe? How will you securely fix the fridge to prevent injury? There are frames available for both of the fridges in our guide, that you fix to the floor of the van. This is great for implementing in a bespoke build. If you are adding the fridge into an existing build, then you can use the carrying handles to fasten the unit down with straps to We did however find that in anchors like cargo hooks. very cold climates such as when skiing (sub-zero temperatures), 12V fridges need continuous the fridges become thermally p o w e r. B o t h c o m p r e s s o r s o n a f f e c t e d . T h i s c a n o n l y b e these units are very efficient, because the electronics are and you will hear them turn tricked into thinking that the on and off throughout the unit is colder than it really is. day to keep the temperature This means the compressor controlled. Battery protection does not switch on, and the needs to be considered internal compartment could p r o p e r l y. T h e E n g e l d o e s n o t w a r m u p i f l e f t u n a t t e n d e d . O u r have a control panel so you tip, get a few cups of snow and need to spend a little time to throw them inside, and place figure out how much to dial beers outside for half an hour! down to. Whereas the Dometic has a beautiful LED screen A nice feature on both of these where you can set your exact is that the power cables are not d e s i r e d t e m p . Yo u n e e d t o p e r m a n e n t l y f i x e d . T h i s a l l o w s monitor your leisure power the cable to be unplugged to s y s t e m u s i n g a v o l t a g e r e a d e r. e a s i l y m o v e t h e u n i t i n o r o u t A simple one will do the trick, of your van allowing you to make sure you do not drain the battery lower The little extras than the recommended safe The Engel is basic and limit. straightforward. A single dial controls the temperature and A huge plus point on the CFX is a one LED shows if the unit has built in battery protection. The power or not. The Dometic computer will stop operating includes an internal light, USB the fridge, should your voltage port (extremely useful) and d r o p t o o l o w, s a v i n g y o u f r o m e v e n W I F I s o y o u c a n m o n i t o r potentially damaging your things on your phone via an b a t t e r y. B a t t e r y v o l t a g e i s a l s o a p p . Yo u c e r t a i n l y h a v e a t o u g h shown on the LED panel. c h o i c e b e t w e e n t h e t w o ! AM


ENGEL MR040 €699 Parameters: while we did not get seriously technical with voltage or temperature readings, we did focus on real user experience. Both fridges in this test have been used in the same temperatures, in the same vehicle and on the same battery setup (1x90ah AGM leisure battery). Our tests have been carried out over two years to give some longer term opinion.

• Very efficient and insulated well • Huge removable basket that fills the entire space • Hard wearing ABS case construction with rubber anti-slip footpads • Removable handles slim-lines the unit • The ability to change the side of hinges is a bonus

• Operates on both AC and DC • Heavier than the competitor • One dial control gives no temperature indication, but can freeze down to -18c • 1.5l bottles can stand upright • Quiet operation


DOMETIC CFX35 €859 • Very efficient, cools down in no time • Large internal section, with smaller area for fruit or other delicate items • LED control panel allows accurate temperature setting, voltage reading, battery protection, WIFI and more • Very light for its size

• Internal compartment light is great • USB port next to the panel is surprisingly useful, especially when using outside • Handles retract to save space • Operates on both AC and DC • Feels like dirt could enter the case easier than competitor



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Spend a little bit of money in those locals cafes and bars. Moments like these are why you are on the road anyway, right? @ALEXBROWNDOP

SUPPORT THE LOCALS when you cut out these luxuries, your habits change and you deduce you could go further on your travels if you maintain this practice. Research on other travellers turns up the same way of life. Living small and not eating out. If like us, this is the attitude that you will start your travels with, you will meet many similar vanlifers along the way. You will hear stories about how they have not been to a restaurant for ages.

Words by Christoph Sommerfeld

Before we went on our trip we lived in the city of Düsseldorf. A city full of thousands of vibrant restaurants, bars, local food stores, craft shops and other locally owned shops. All of these businesses rely heavily on customers that enjoy the food, drinks, and handmade goods. That was the life we were living - consuming. We loved it and prioritised it. But, when we decided to embark on a world trip, our priorities changed. In order to increase our travel budget we decided to cut any unnecessary spending. And, what is the first thing that is cut? All the ”luxuries” like restaurant dinners and coffee shop afternoons. When you save for long enough,

However, we now think this goes a little too far in the wrong direction. Don’t get us wrong, we don’t go to a bar or a restaurant every day or even on any regular basis; we see them as a reward, not as something that kills your budget. We also see these as opportunities to immerse in the culture of the places we travel. We recommend that you do treat yourself to that tasty national dish that you have heard of. Also, treat yourself to a nice cup of coffee once you reach the parking space at the cliff, take that moment to reflect on the journey you are on. Finally, when you are looking for fresh food and vegetables, don’t go to the discount store, check for a weekly market somewhere and enjoy the hustle and bustle of that place. This will help to support the local communities you are travelling through. In addition it will not only give you tastier food, but also let you experience the local culture way better. And that is why you are on the trip anyway, right?



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KEEP IT CLEAN was more concerned about all the extra water I would have to carry and the additional weight it w o u l d b r i n g o n . S o m e f u l l - t i m e r s s a y t h e y c a n ’t l i v e w i t h o u t a s h o w e r, w h i l s t o t h e r s s a i d i t j u s t becomes a storage area! This is usually caused by a f e a r o f r u n n i n g o u t o f w a t e r, o r m a y b e t h e f e a r of needing to find enough ... S o l e t ’s t a l k a b o u t k e e p i n g c l e a n .

Words by Nicole Herridge W e a l l n e e d a w a s h . W h e t h e r a s h o w e r, b a t h , s i n k , i n d o o r s , o u t d o o r s , r i v e r, s e a t h e r e a r e s o m a n y ways to have a wash whilst living in a tiny space, or whilst adventuring on the road. I created my own tiny space in an Ex British Te l e c o m s Tr a n s i t Va n . O n e o f t h e b i g g e s t d e c i s i o n s one finds themselves on this type of build is, do I have room for a shower or maybe even a bath ? Currently I have a cold water sink with an electric pump, and sometimes I boil some hot water on t h e s t o v e i f I n e e d t o w a r m u p . I d i d n ’t h a v e the space for a bath in my layout, and really I

PRODUCTS KEEPING YOU, AND THE E N V I R O N M E N T, C L E A N . E C O - F R I E N D LY P R O D U C T S A R E A M U S T H AV E F O R E V E RY VA N L I F E R , A S E V E RY D R O P O F W AT E R W E D I S P O S E O F C O N T R I B U T E S T O LAND AND SEA POLLUTION. HERE ARE SOME O F T H E B E S T O P T I O N S AVA I L A B L E T O H E L P K E E P B O T H Y O U , A N D T H E E N V I R O N M E N T, CLEAN. Soap Bars: I recommend face and body vegan aloe sailor from and Norse Shampoo bars They have amazing sets for men including beard sets to keep the guys groomed while on the road. To o t h p a s t e s : T h e s e a n d o t h e r h y g i e n e p r o d u c t s can contain nasties like micro plastic beads. Opt for an all-natural alternative to avoid polluting both yourself and the environment.

The best option is to build an interior shower b a s i n . Yo u c a n s a v e s o m e m o n e y b y f i n d i n g a u s e d s h o w e r t r a y, t h e n i n s t a l l i t w i t h i n a w o o d e n f r a m e . Line this space with waterproof panels and seal it well. But of course, this is a huge task to consider implementing into any build. Baths are a real treat, but how do you fit one into a van or bus ? It is possible, I have seen little mini rectangular tubs made the same way as the s h o w e r, w i t h a w o o d e n f r a m e a n d s h o w e r w a l l panelling. Add a lid on top and you even have a bench, too. E a s i e r t o c o n s i d e r, a r e s h o w e r s t o b e u s e d o u t s i d e of the van. There are many affordable pump kits t h a t c a n b e p l u g g e d i n t o a 1 2 V s o c k e t f o r p o w e r, and the pump just needs to be submerged into a v e s s e l f u l l o f w a t e r. S o l a r h e a t e d b a g s a r e a n o t h e r great, low cost option. Just be sure to find a good place to hang it up.

Skin products: Above all, look after your skin because your older self will thank you. A valuable choice of words that the founder of Ah... Skincare gave me a long time ago. My go to skincare product is made from 100% natural ingredients, vegan friendly and the only skincare product I know of that helps any skin condition. From n o r m a l s k i n , d r y, a n d o i l y, t o a c n e a n d r o s a c e a . I r e c o m m e n d t h e To m a t o & C a r r o t M o i s t u r i s e r S u n c r e a m : R e e f s a f e c r e a m s a r e n ’t t h e r e t o j u s t p r o t e c t c o r a l s a m i l l i o n m i l e s a w a y. P o l l u t a n t s i n many creams and micro-plastics from packaging h a s f o u n d i t ’s w a y i n t o o u r s e a f o o d . M a d e f r o m a l l - n a t u r a l i n g r e d i e n t s a n d v e g a n f r i e n d l y, V. S u n is a responsible sun protection made entirely in G e r m a n y, w o r t h t h e e x t r a € € . v - s u n . d e Stitchas hand crocheted soap saver: It is made from 100% hemp perfect for sensitive skin, preventing irritation. A dual combination as a soap holder and hand exfoliator for your face and body adding a little luxury to vanlife with a massage.

Start small. Include a new eco-product one at a time to spread out the cost. Inspire others by showing them how you make the transition. @ONTHEFREESIDE

When you shower, use all natural and environmental safe soaps and gels. Shower guilt free and wherever you like, providing no one is looking! @THE.REDCAMPER


Issue 06

RISE OF THE GREEN NOMAD Wild camping has come under fire in recent months, mostly brought to the attention of the general public as a result in the booming numbers of people taking some sort of camping or campervan holiday post-lockdown. Interview by Maria Gamper

The allure of finding that perfect spot to park up at for a night, or even a few days, is becoming extremely hard to achieve. All of the spots marked on popular apps are a nightmare for the locals living close b y, w h e r e c a r e l e s s c a m p e r s a r e l e a v i n g a ton of trash and simply have a disregard for the environment around them. So what i s t h e a n s w e r, s h o u l d w e j u s t b e c a m p i n g on paid-for campsites from here on? In previous issues of Advanture Magazine w e a l i g n e d t h e Tr a v e l B l o g s s e r i e s w i t h the parking app, StayFree. We feel that the approach by the founders of the platform know the importance of the responsibility we all face, but it needs support from the wider vanlife community if they are going to be able to set an unprecedented example in order to keep our wild sites open and free. On the map, StayFree holds a collection of beautiful and wild spots to park up at, including some official camping grounds that offer something a bit more exciting. They have been promoting #greenvanlife since launch, and created the app to combine vanlife with caring for nature. Tr u e e x a m p l e s o f g r e e n n o m a d i s m , t h e young English couple Beth and Jake, have been doing their part around Europe to clean up the scene and to spread the message of responsible camping.

“Green nomadism means everything and i t ’s t h e o n l y w a y v a n l i f e s h o u l d e v e r b e done. In many ways, living in a van is very sustainable” Beth tells us over email, her current camping sight unknown to us and probably for better reason. “While living in a van it makes sense to use minimal water at all times, when I say minimal water I mean things like, using a spray bottle for washing dishes, using a couple of drops of water to wash your face, having a flannel wash daily inbetween weekly or biweekly showers and using a foot pump so you only use exactly the amount of water you need. Also most vanlifers drive less than the average daily commute to work. When you can live wherever you like and you f i n d t h e p e r f e c t s p o t , w h y m o v e ? Yo u have everything you need with you at all times and many van dwellers work online a n y w a y. I t ’s a w i n w i n i f y o u a s k m e ! Another reason why vanlife can be so sustainable is because people who live an alternative lifestyle like this, are more likely to be in touch with nature and the outdoors. They have a stronger desire to treat it well. Many of the van dwellers we’ve met are vegan which is incredibly beneficial to the environment for all the obvious reasons.”

AM: How do you like the idea of leaving camp spots better than you found them? Beth: It is so important! Clearing up a whole load of rubbish is surprisingly fun and feels amazing when you look at what you’ve achieved afterwards! AM: How do you usually find your camp spots (in terms of cleanliness)? Beth: It completely depends on where we are. We found the most littered camp spots were in Spain. The wilderness of Spain has a really big fly tipping problem and itis probably impossible to fix that. In some places it was as if someone had just dumped an entire truck l o a d o f r u b b i s h a n d t h e r e ’s no way we could have fit

it all into our van. We are talking tiles, sofas, tables, pallets, mattresses, chairs, big black bags full of foul s m e l l i n g r u b b i s h . T h e r e ’s a lot of this in England too, but so far it has been quite manageable to clean up. I f i t ’s a f a i r l y m a n a g e a b l e amount, we grab our litter pickers and get to work! Most of the time there i s a b i n v e r y c l o s e b y, s o the fact that there is litter there in the first place is mind blowing. AM: Why is it important to promote the cleanup of camping spots? B e t h : F o r m e p e r s o n a l l y, i t ’s f o r t h e a n i m a l s a n d t h e environment. If you love animals the best two things you can do is stop eating them and help clean up

the environment to make it a safer place. Cleaning up the environment as a van lifer is particularly important because e s s e n t i a l l y, all of the outdoors is our garden. Seeing someone throw litter on the ground is like watching someone throw litter into your back garden. A l s o , i f w e d o n ’t c l e a n u p these spots, one day they w o n ’t b e a v a i l a b l e t o u s . Being able to park up for the night (especially in the UK) is getting harder and h a r d e r. There are always new “no overnight parking” signposts being put up and the increasing amount of pollution might be part of the reason for this.



Advanture Magazine

HOW THE CLEANUP FEATURE WORKS Did you notice some rubbish at the spot you have just arrived at? 1. 2. 3. 4.

Take out your gloves and pick up that trash! Open StayFree app, navigate to your current spot and then click on the “cleanup” button Make a quick photo of your efforts Post it in StayFree to motivate other users to join the movement!

A M : Va n l i f e i s g a i n i n g i n p o p u l a r i t y. Do you see it as a burden on the environment to have more people involved? Beth: In some ways yes I do see it as a strain on the environment and in other ways I think it could be a great way to get people to start looking out for it too! When you spend this much time in the great outdoors you open your eyes to the a m o u n t o f d a m a g e t h a t ’s h a p p e n i n g a l l a r o u n d , a n d i f a n y t h i n g , t h a t ’s j u s t g o i n g to make people more passionate about looking after the environment. I do think a lot of things need to change in order to cope with the influx of people getting camper vans, especially in the UK. It needs to be made easier for people t o e m p t y t h e i r t o i l e t s i n a s a f e w a y. Spain and France are very well set up for campers and have black waste points e v e r y w h e r e . W e j u s t d o n ’t h a v e t h a t i n t h e U K a n d t h a t ’s a r e a l p r o b l e m . P e o p l e k n o w i t ’s w r o n g t o e m p t y t h e i r t o i l e t i n n a t u r e , b u t p e o p l e a r e l a z y a n d w i l l d o i t a n y w a y. We need to make it EASY for people to do this safely and without environmental damage. AM: One of the main issues is toileting at camp spots, how do you deal with not having a proper toilet while camping full time? Beth: We have a little toilet in our van and make sure we only empty it in the designated areas. Sometimes it can be tricky to find a place but there is always a c a m p s i t e s o m e w h e r e n e a r b y. M o s t a r e kind about allowing you to pay a small fee t o e m p t y, e v e n i f y o u d o n ’t s t a y t h e n i g h t .

F o r t h o s e w h o d o n ’t h a v e a n y k i n d o f toilet in the van, use public toilets or use the leave no trace method: make sure you are at least 200 feet from the nearest water source, dig a hole at least 6 inches deep and remember to take your toilet paper with you to dispose of in the bin when you get back to your van. AM: What was the most exciting clean up you ever did? Beth: One of the greatest cleanups we did was in Spain. It was a beautiful forest spot that was extremely busy during the w e e k e n d , b u t b y M o n d a y i t w a s e m p t y. In the morning we collected all of the w e e k e n d e r ’s l i t t e r. T h e r e w a s a h u g e bright yellow waste bin at the entrance and exit of the car park but maybe t h e y d i d n ’t s p o t i t i n a l l t h e w e e k e n d ’s excitement... We watched the sunrise and the fog between the trees as we made the forest beautiful again. We had a laugh and really enjoyed our morning making up funny stories about the unusual pieces of litter that we found. We felt great when it was all clean and had a well deserved b r e a k f a s t . AM


Beth and boyfriend Jake travel all over in their Vauxhall self converted van. Look at the beautiful space they created together, which they can call home. @SHEISTHELOSTGIRL

StayFree and share your next cleanup! Download the app and join in with the #greenvanlife movement, to help keep wild spots clean. The most important rule of green nomadism is to leave the spots better than you’ve found them. Our app is used by thousands of vanlifers and we feel responsible for educating and encouraging them how to do so. Cleanup with StayFree.


Advanture Magazine

T R A V E L B L O G S W o r d s & p h o t o s To r g i t & M a r c

The winter of 2020/21 will be remembered as Corona w i n t e r f o r m a n y. C o m p l i c a t e d t r a v e l r e g u l a t i o n s h e l p e d curb the spread of the virus, but also created many problems for those on the road. At the time when t r a v e l w a r n i n g s w e r e r e - i s s u e d i n O c t o b e r, To r g i t a n d Marc were lucky to already be in Sardinia.

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Advanture Magazine

“Nobody could have guessed at the time that last winter would be something very special. After circling the Iberian Peninsula over the previous year we decided to leave our apartment in Cologne in e a r l y s u m m e r. O u r V W T 6 . 1 SpaceCamper has been our home since then. During the autumn holidays we still saw a lot of Bullis and campers on the road in S a r d i n i a . S u d d e n l y, i t w a s said that the island would be locked down. While a number of campers had to return home, we decided to c r o s s o v e r t o S i c i l y. G o i n g home was not an option, because that we already had with us. Little did we know that we would spend the entire winter on the island. Having spent two months on Sardinia, our tour would continue for another five on S i c i l y. W e c o u l d n ’t t e l l y o u a lot about the campsites as w e d i d n ’t g o t o a s i n g l e o n e . Restaurants? All closed. And most of the museums, churches, theatres and the like were barricaded and boarded up. Now you could ask yourself what we were doing here for such a long time. We can guarantee one thing, we had never become bored! We were constantly on the move. Both on-road and off-road. Lingering is simply part of an abundance of impressions. Because S i c i l y i s b i g , v e r y b i g . To be precise it is 25,711 km², making it the largest island in the Mediterranean. But not only is the island big, it is also very complex.

W h e n y o u t h i n k o f S i c i l y, you probably think of the sea and the beach first. 80% of its area is made up of tricky mountains and hills. We come to value the moment we were having. It was not just a lower number of campervans that we were seeing, but more that there were no tourists at all. The Italians tightened their corona requirements, but it did not spoil their mood. Although masks in public and night curfews were not only ordered, but also observed, the focus seemed to be on the few positive things.

AGAINST ALL BAD EXPECTATIONS WE WERE WELCOMED WARMLY BY THE SICILIANS WE MET In Sicily we found our places mostly through Google Maps. We were looking for quiet beaches or places in the mountains to camp all alone. When we saw houses on the first stretch of the street on the aerial map, we assumed that the path was relatively easy to drive. U n f o r t u n a t e l y, t h i s o f t e n turns out to be a mistake. Because many buildings have been abandoned, nature has been claiming b a c k t h e s p a c e . I t ’s r e a l l y shocking how many places a r e e m p t y. A n d t h e r o a d is mostly off-road so you have to be prepared. This really is not a problem for our vehicle and is actually pretty fun. But it often turns our schedule around. We have been to Sicily before and of course there are some pages you can find online for inspiration.

If you search Google, you will mainly find SEO optimised blogs. Sicily in seven, eight, ten days. But is that enough? Maybe to get a first impression for the time crunched t r a v e l l e r. B u t i f t h e r e i s one thing that has become very clear to us on this i s l a n d , i t i s i t s v e r s a t i l i t y. T h e r e i s n o t o n l y o n e S i c i l y, not only the beautiful Baroque towns, fishing and mountain villages, the sea, the mountains and lakes. Sicily is more, much more. Sure, there are not only the beautiful sides. We also reported a little about the downsides. But often it is precisely these somewhat dilapidated places, lost places and abandoned villages that have a very special charm. And Mama Etna, as the Sicilians affectionately call their volcano, is enthroned above all of this. In conclusion, what did we make of Sardinia? We were particularly impressed by the hinterland and the opportunities to drive offroad. Especially that around the mining area of the red r i v e r. S a r d i n i a a n d S i c i l y offer too much to find out under time pressure. Sure, not everyone can award themselves five to seven months to travel like we have. But, the bottom line is we can say that even with seven months now done, we felt that we did not explore e v e r y t h i n g . I t w a s , h o w e v e r, enough to fall in love with these beautiful islands.” If you are planning a trip to Sicily or Sardinia, our tip would be to visit the hinterlands. Yo u c a n f i n d a n u m b e r o f t i p s on our blog and Instagram @planBwagen

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Advanture Magazine

CAMPER KITCHEN There seems to be a common myth that you have to stick to basic meals when you are camping. Simple pasta dishes, pot noodles, sausages and smash might be some of the first springing to mind. Te x t & p h o t o s b y L a u r a , B r o w n B i r d & C o LT D

It was only when I started living full time in a campervan that I suddenly had the realisation that I could actually cook everything I did at home even without a built-in oven. The other glorious realisation was that I actually enjoyed cooking now I had more spare time after giving up the full-time job I had. Living in a house and having all the associated time and money pressures that it came with, really ate up time. It allowed me to get creative and consider how I could cook things in

a smaller space with much more time to play with. W e d o n ’t h a v e a b u i l t - i n o v e n i n o u r campervan, which we live full time in. For us, an oven would use up valuable space. We have also saved weight ( c o o k e r s a r e h e a v y ! ) a n d m o n e y. I ’ m not saying everyone should forget about having a cooker but what I wanted to share in this article was the many different ways you can cook in a van without the need for home luxuries and gadgets that take up too m u c h r o o m a n d p o w e r.

D i s c o v e r a w h o l e w o r l d o f t a s t e s f o r l i f e o n t h e r o a d a t w w w. b r o w n b i r d a n d c o m p a n y. c o . u k

FRYING PAN Yo u w o u l d n ’t b e l i e v e h o w m a n y t h i n g s y o u can cook in a frying pan that you would normally automatically use an oven or m i c r o w a v e f o r. W e c o o k p i z z a s , t o a s t i e s , popcorn, naan breads, welsh cakes, cookies and nachos in our frying pan. In fact, we used to use a ridge monkey type g r i l l i n g d e v i c e b u t f o u n d w e m a d e b e t t e r, more evenly cooked toast/toasties in the frying pan. Our only tip with this is to buy a deep pan that allows you to cook everything in (e.g casseroles with added dumplings on top, curries and risottos etc). Hints & tips • Use a lid – it will help to reduce the amount of condensation in the van • Cook pizzas (ready made or van made) on a low heat with a lid on – this helps all the ingredients cook through evenly

OMNIA OVEN The ingenious little stove top oven. It takes up much less room than a real oven, weighs next to nothing and works on nearly all hob types.

course). Some of our most proud creations have been a full blown vegan roast d i n n e r, v e g a n t o a d i n t h e h o l e , c i n n a m o n b u n s , b r e a d a n d p i e s t o n a m e b u t a f e w.

We use ours at least 3-4 times per week to both cook and bake - you would be amazed at the creations you can make. In fact, we’re pretty sure you can cook anything in the Omnia which you would in the oven at home (with a little imagination of

Hints & tips • Bake on a low flame (for cakes and bread etc) • If cooking chips/wedgies then get the oil hot in the pan before putting the p o t a t o ’s i n – i t g e t s t h e m c r i s p y !



Issue 06

ONE POT DISHES A saucepan is a must have in a campervan. Spend some time to make a list of dishes you like the idea of, which will later make cooking and washing up simple. One pot dishes are perfect, if you are short on time f r o m h a v i n g b e e n o u t a d v e n t u r i n g a l l d a y. The idea of these dishes is that everything gets chucked in the one pot at different stages, and you end up only cooking with one pot. T h a t ’s n o t t o s a y t h e d i s h e s n e e d t o b e b o r i n g , y o u c a n c o o k p l e n t y o f t a s t y d i s h e s t h i s w a y. One pots we love • Puttanesca: using linguine, olives, capers, red onion, chopped tomatoes and chilli for a bit of kick • Ve g e t a b l e B i r y a n i : u s i n g c a u l i f l o w e r green beans, basmati rice, curry flavouring with a big dollop of yoghurt • Mushroom meatball gnocchi stroganoff

OUTDOOR PIZZA OVEN So, the idea with campervan travel is taking the slow road and enjoying the great outdoors, right? Then why not cook outside when you pull up at that perfect spot! Enjoy the views, get some fresh air and on a practical note – avoid filling up the van up with condensation and smells from cooking.



We know a few fellow vanlifers who have outdoor pizza ovens, creating a unique camp vibe and great crispy pizzas. Ooni pizza ovens are what we have experienced and they are very easy to use, pizza ready within minutes. They are available as gas powered, charcoal powered, wood fired or multi fuel. They are quite specialist in that you can make only pizzas in them but if you like pizzas or flat breads then they are brilliant and definitely look the part. Pizza oven tips • Be patient getting your pizza oven to the right temperature – putting your pizza in too soon may prevent the base from crisping up • Semolina is perfect for covering pizza peels and any pizza assembling areas ensuring easy movement of the dough


Photo by @ayorkshiresoul_


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