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Winter issue

Cont e nt s

Winter 2017 From the cover 04 Action van man Rock climber, author and YouTuber, Nate Murphy talks vans

and 10 Wet wild Warleigh Weir’s wintry depths offer a not so average thrill


Danes do it

A hygge interior will warm up your van this winter

12 Make the snow your own



Icelandic serenity:

Explore the hidden depths of this Nordic retreat

18 Essential winter gear 06 Becoming full time van dwellers 25 What about ... Sleeping bags

26 Cooking with Vanalogue

34 Why choose a winter wetsuit?

36 Hearty meals for the brave

22 A look inside the unconventional

Our contributors


Daniel Alford - Jane Bentley - Tim Holmes - Greg Laudensagler - Andrew Meates - Lisa-Jane Meates - Kathleen Morton - Nate Murhpy - Ian Preater Daniel Start - Matt Swaine - Juliet, Frank, Wollie and Arnie Thompson - Matt Williams - Simon Williams - Eitenne Zwiegelaar - Katy and Allen

The team

Hope Brotherton - Elliot Hayes - Beth Hughes - Alexander Jones - Luke Meates - Harry Ridgewell - Alice Salter - Elinor Stephens

Get cosy the Danish way

How to achieve the Scandinavian look Van life is all about minimalism, comfort and practicality. A style trend which embraces all this is hygge. The Danes live by this concept of wellbeing and contentment that makes the ordinary moments more meaningful. Start by creating simple rituals. Invest in candles and brew your own coffee to make your van a hygge haven.The Danes can’t get enough of candles. They use them during breakfast, and at dusk over dinner. If you want to transform your van into a Scandinavian sanctuary, here are a few things to think about.

Plastic is so not hygge

Making the most of wooden furniture is key. Wooden panelling and reclaimed materials is one way you can add some Danish style into your van. A contemporary mix of minimalism and originality, it’s all about clever space saving solutions with multipurpose areas, serving a variety of functions.

Keeping warm this winter

Add some textures

Nothing says cosy like faux fur throws, woollen rugs or knitted cushions. Combined with candles, and the chimney fire, there’s no setting more hygge. Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book Of Hygge, explains,

“It’s about being with the people we love. A feeling of home”

Yes, an actual wood burner in your van! A wood burner is the essential purchase for keeping your van warm this winter. You would need to make a little chimney so the smoke can get out, Winter is now in full swing so, it is the but it’s a serious option to consider. It’s perfect time to embrace the hygge life a simple heating device that can warm and bring some Scandinavian style into up your van in 10 minutes. Perfect for your modern van. those cold nights.


Pronunciation:‘hue-gah’ Origin: Danish Meaning: A feeling of cosiness and warmth, Hygge is a defining characteristic of Danish culture.


We met Ian in Bristol. He is currently in the early stages of converting this old library bus into a home on wheels Image courtesy of Lisa-Jane Meates

Becoming full time van dwellers other and our two dogs!” Nothing else matters when you have the freedom to get up and go, which is what they cherish most about life on the road. While being free to roam, leading the simple life does come with its challenges. Juliet says finding free campsites is a struggle, especially in rural areas. Being full time van dwellers Juliet and Frank are now on the first they heave learnt a number of lessons. leg of their journey exploring Australia from their glampervan, lovingly named Just one of them is, “Be prepared for all kinds of weather and make sure Lucy. They have sold or given away you have a very well organised space 80% of their possessions, 10% has gone to storage and they are taking the where things are easily accessible.” Looking to the future, they hope to rest with them. “You’d be surprised by be on the road with Lucy for another how little you genuinely need!” six to 12 months. Their next dream is bigger and better. The couple say they ideally want to upgrade to a, big yellow bus to park up on a block of land and make a permanent home, where they can live a really beautiful, simple, sustainable life. Living off the land, and doing something they love is the ultimate While they’ve always longed to make aim. The couple sum it up with, “To be creative, enjoy the little things, be the lifestyle change, many have been healthy and to look after the animals puzzled by their decision. They say, and plants we share this earth with. “We are fine with showering in our Don’t be greedy, needy, rude and only sit down tub. We are ok with cooking consume what is necessary!” with minimal bench space! We are Take a leaf from their book and live ok with slow cooking, being outdoors your dream, share your passion. and living in a small space with each

Meet the couple who made the move and are now living the simple life in their beloved glampervan, Lucy hat if there was another way to live? One with no stress and no daily commute. You’d jump at the chance, right? Juliet, Frank and their two dogs, Wollie and Arnie, did and here’s their story so far. The road to van life has been a rocky one, yet making the change couldn’t have happened at a better time for Juliet and Frank. For many years, they lived a corporate, country life, yet they always had the urge to live off the grid. Their dream came from days off, wandering from place to place and longing for a life free from the constraints of a mortgage, an oversized house, excess belongings and jobs they didn’t really care for. After ditching the nine to five, their dream has become a reality. They took a leap of faith and escaped the bustling city. They say, “We sold both our businesses and had been thinking of converting a van to travel and live, and thought what better time than now.”


“The freedom to be in a new location and the opportunity to explore and wander is the best part”


Images courtesy of Juliet Thompson

These pictures were captured by Daniel Alford in South Africa

Etienne Zwiegelaar parks up beneath the stars

On the road with Save money, get productive and live life to the max is He has got 52,182 subscribers and 5,267,839 total views on YouTube. He’s also the author of the Off-Grid Van blog. His name is Nate Murphy, and he lives in a van. Nate has travelled across Europe, the U.S. and Asia, all from the comfort of his self-converted van. Originally attracted to the low-cost and minimalistic lifestyle, Nate has now been living the van life for over eight months. “I like minimal living. I have been reducing the things I own for a long time, so van life was perfect for me,” he explained to us. Van living encourages a stressfree life by utilising particularly small spaces for maximum efficiency. Nate has used the skills that he has learnt during his time in his van to master this skill. He says, “I only really use 60% of the storage I have in my van.”

“For me, van living is not the end goal. It is simply a tool to enable me to do everything I want to do”

Less burdened by the things he owns, Nate is now free to enjoy a way of living that complements his hobbies. “I am using van life as an enabler for big objectives within rock climbing, music, writing, working on art projects, running a YouTube channel and taking a climbing product to market. This means I am living more productively in terms of output in comparison to when I had a job in a city. For me, living in a van is not the end goal. It is simply a tool to enable me to do everything I want to do.”

Projects such as the Off-Grid Van blog, which Nate updates regularly online, are testament to his increased productivity. Showcased online are various articles detailing the ins and outs of converting a van into a mobile home from scratch. Offering advice gained from real experience, it is hard not to admire the authenticity and practicability of what he shares. For more adrenaline-fuelled content you can read and view Nate’s high altitude adventures on his other blog,, as well as on YouTube. Shot in a beautiful 60 frames per second from his camera, each intense moment is captured and presented in all its glory. There are impressive climbs for experienced climbers to awe at, but there are also guides, such as ‘Overcoming the Fear of Falling’ for newbie rock climbers. “When spending so much time in deep-learning cycles it is very hard to get bored. Climbing pushes me to my limits physically and at times, mentally. Other projects that I work on, such as vlogging and writing my blog help expand my mind and ensure I am always learning and operating outside of my comfort zone.”

electronics and construction. He says this has helped him develop ideas for his van on the road. When he is unsure of something Nate says that he does most of his research online. Hunting for inspiration as well as guides, Nate finds that,“Things just work themselves out as you go.” With a growing presence online, the perks of van living are becoming more apparent to aspirational van dwellers. Despite this, Nate denies that his popularity has affected how he lives.

“I want to inspire or give some benefit to other people. I get a real kick when my work positively affects someone else’s life” Nate has a background of working with industrial design, which means he understands the key concepts in

Image courtesy of Nate Murphy

Nate Murphy

h u m a ns

this man’s motto…

“The recent building of my YouTube channel has not really affected my lifestyle other than giving me a bit more to do in terms of replying to comments. That said, I do get recognised by people in most places I go. This is mainly because climbers are really into the van life thing as well. I am currently looking to see if the other projects I work on, aside from van conversions and van life, can inspire or give some benefit to other people. So far it seems to be working but time will tell. I get a real kick when my work positively affects someone else’s life.” For anyone who is on the verge of investing into the van lifestyle, Nate

says that you’ve got to work out what’s best for you. He says that to buy an already converted van is expensive, but, equally, a lot of hard work is needed to make a non-converted van habitable. Nate recommends renting out a van for a few days or a week, and going on a trip to give yourself a flavour of the van life to see if it’s for you. If you happen to enjoy the freedom, low-cost living and waking up to beautiful vistas, then Nate says you should, “Just go for it!” The cost of travel for a year in a van can range between $5000 (£4058) to $1000 (£811.60). When you consider

the cost of going on a two-week holiday you realise how amazing this opportunity is. “Your life is all but a small holiday from an eternity of nothingness. To never have a year off, or three, to travel and have fun is practically insane!” Regardless of how beautiful the landscapes are, just driving around can be dull. “Use the time to learn new things, write that book you always wanted to or something that adds value to your life outside of generating money.” You can see more of Nate Murphy’s work online at his YouTube channel, his blog and his Instagram.

Cross country skiing The perfect sport to enhance your fitness as you push and tug along snowy plains. Cross country skiing can prove a challenge, but it is certainly worth it. Enjoy the beauty of the offpiste mountain range with views other skiers will never see.


We recommend heading to Italy. The 200km of groomed trails in the Helm region of the Dolomites offer a reliable, idyllic cross country experience. However, if you can’t travel that far, or are reluctant to face the ice, there are plenty of opportunities to try out snow sports in the UK on dry slopes.

Make the snow your own Ice climbing Grappling with the frozen surfaces of waterfalls, icefalls, rocks and mountains, ice climbing is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Different equipment is required for different surfaces and there is huge variation between different slopes. It is best to seek expert advice before climbing.

Where Take your van to the Swiss Alps, where the icy walls of Adelboden, Kandersteg and Cogne will provide a variety of slopes. Five day courses are available throughout the Alps for newbies: one-on-one teaching will ensure the greatest success.


th r ill see k e rs Snow kayaking Snow kayaking is just like normal kayaking. Only this version sends you downhill on a slope as opposed to a river! Considered one of the most extreme winter sports, this paddlefuelled phenomenon is as exciting to watch as it is to participate.


Very few places offer appropriate snow kayaking facilities, but fortunately for you, Monarch Mountain in Garfield, Colorado is one of them. Here, you can find 54 trails and two terrian parks as well as an extra terrain area, named Mirkwood.

Whether you are seeking relaxation, retreat or an element of risk, there is a winter sport for everyone Ice diving This sport is essentially scuba-diving in sub-zero temperatures and with only one entry point. For anyone new to the experience, a guide is an absolute must. You will also need to find a dry suit and plenty of fellow divers to create a safe underwater group.

Where Iceland’s underwater kingdom of Silfra is about as close to paradise as can be found. It is highly regarded for its outstanding aquatic beauty and depths of over 325ft. Plus it is even possible to cross the European border to America with your oxygen tank on your back.

Icelandic serenity Explore the hidden depths of this Nordic retreat

Ipeaceful silences. The bustling streets celand is a country known for its

of mainland Europe are a thing of the past and left far behind on this wintry adventure. But, we promise not to dwell on the snow too much. The island is inhabited by a mere 330,000 people, who are dotted across the country’s quaint plains in picturesque Nordic villages. So, escaping the noise of everyday life is quite simply guaranteed. Here, the outdoors have no limits, and this tiny nation boasts a number of inviting natural attractions, including; geysers, glaciers, waterfalls and, of course, the Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights are arguably the world’s most impressive natural phenomenon. It is no coincidence that Iceland is the best place to see them. The Aurora Borealis are at their strongest in January and February, when the Earth’s magnetic energy is in full force. To avoid any impassable routes in your van, we recommend starting your journey in Reykjavik, the country’s capital. Be sure to head away from the bright lights of the city and opt for a more scenic location. The Rangárþing Eystra region offers excellent views of both the East Ranga river and the luminous sky. Beware though, off-road driving is illegal here, so be sure to park up somewhere safe. The next stop from Reykjavik is the Blue Lagoon. Just a 40 minute drive away, the warming waters promises to sort out your winter chills. This geothermal spa sits atop a lava field, meaning the water temperature is a sweltering 37- 40°C.

This wonder is also accompanied by other man-made features, including a waterfall. Other luxurious treatments include skincare pamper day sessions. The site has complementary parking with the entry ticket, so your van can be left with no inconvenience. Another less well-known hot spring is Reykjadalur (meaning steam valley). Situated further inland, it is still drivable from Reykjavik. The majority of hot springs here are scorching, but where the cold river meets them in the town of Hveragerði, a more satisfying temperature can be found.

The Northern Lights explained: The sun’s surface creates a cloud of gas, which is pushed towards the earth’s magnetic surface. This cloud produces complex changes and waves of charged particles flow through the magnetic field. When these particles collide with nitrogen and oxygen, the reaction is shown in colour.

Using Reykjavik as a base, follow Iceland’s 300 kilometre round trip, the Golden Circle. Begin by driving into the Southern uplands and ensure you stop at these key points along the way: Strokkur, Gullfoss waterfall and Thingvellir National Park. Strokkur is a fountain geyser, and just another reminder of Iceland’s natural wonders. It erupts once every 10 minutes and can reach up to 20 metres, it is not one to miss. Drive on to the Gullfoss waterfall situated in a canyon on the Hvítá river, to see one of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions Just remember there are plenty of quiet areas to stop, rest, sleep and breathe on the way.

Pa r k U p

If you drive the Golden Circle route in reverse, you can visit the beautiful regions of Nesjavallaleið and Hengill. The outstanding views are well worth the extra hour or so of stretching roads. However, winter conditions can cause difficulties. Download the 112 Iceland app which connects you instantly to the emergency services.

Did you know?

In the summer, the whole of Iceland can be explored in one trip. Follow route one, the island’s main ring road.

On average, 85% of Iceland’s energy is renewable.

Images courtesy of Andrew Meates

Essential winter gear Killer tread

Insulate your home

Not so cool van, dude

Protect your hands

This might seem obvious but in order to drive safely on a wintery road you need to install heavy duty winter tyres. These chunks of rubber carry 2500lbs on their back, which means they must be durable. Ensure a smoother ride, as well as much needed traction, by investing in good quality tyres with a winter tread.

Repel the heartless cold with a heater. You can get electric heaters, or even a fire burner stove (this requires some construction work). Gas is probably better than electric if you are on the move. There is no need to worry about draining your electric or connecting to the grid. Less stress and less cost but just make sure you set up a CO-alarm.

Before you begin your winter expedition make sure you pack your van out with insulation. Don’t be afraid of going overboard. Place the insulation over your interior windows, walls and doors – you’ll regret it if you don’t. Obtaining maximum comfort levels is essential to living on the road for the coldest months of the year.

Keep your hands warm this winter, it can get cold out there. You don’t want gloves that are too thick or remove all sense of feeling because you’ll struggle to cook yourself food, open compact storage space, or play your hand in a card game. That’s why thin, waterproof, but insulated gloves, are most practical.

Snug, but productive

You’re not going to be very productive if you’re trapped under a dozen blankets, but you don’t want to freeze and become the next big news story, either. A blanket with sleeves is the answer. Wrap yourself up and pop your arms through. You’ll be able to feel your limbs and continue doing the things you love.

Stay dry

If you don’t do anything about it, moisture will soon become your own worst enemy. You might have a, but have you checked your windows? Is that water dripping onto your floor? Don’t let your home become a private pool. Get a portable dehumidifier that can fit in a compact space, but still suck the wetness from your abode.

Wicked Campers are a rental company who supply those in need of a mobile home, but with a quirky and unique flavour. Each van is priced towards lower budgets, and are kitted out with a comfy bed, kitchen, lots of storage space but most importantly, a super cool paint job

Image courtesy of Lisa-Jane Meates

We spotted this bright yellow home on wheels in Bristol. It’s actually a converted horse box with room enough for a wood burner

A look inside the unconventional M

eet Matt Williams and his monster truck he calls home. In his day today life Matt’s a freelance software engineer originally from Bridgend, South Wales. He’s now the proud owner of a 1987 ex-German military army truck. We were lucky enough to get a tour inside this beast.. What’s known as an expedition truck, or overland camper, was originally in the hands of a South African couple who drove it 50,000km across the length and breadth of Europe. It’s already survived a hefty trip across the Sahara twice, and now Matt and his partner are ready to take it out on its next adventure. Like many other van dwellers, Matt longed for a simpler, cheaper and more relaxed way of living. He confessed, “I just got fed up of the mundane day-to-day and living in rented accommodation.” “I can’t think of a valid reason not to do it”, he said. And who could argue

with that, when his bill for the whole month is just £60, excluding food, he gets to travel and work from the comfort of his truck and park up in a new spot every day? “It can go anywhere, do anything, it’s a very capable vehicle – this just happened to come at the right time,” Matt said. He had dreamed of going travelling for a while, so he scoured the internet for over three years looking for the perfect companion; a ready-made vehicle, as he had no experience with conversion. “I’d been set on getting an overland camper, but then Brexit happened and the prices of vans rocketed up,” he said. A lot of trucks are sold over the continent, so when Brexit hit, the price of trucks soared up 15%. He added, “It was by chance that this truck was priced in pounds.” “I fell in love with it instantly, it just looks like a beast!” They moved in straight away. Matt and his partner will start their

next adventure together in May when they will leave for Scotland, before heading off onto the continent in Northern Europe to Lithuania where his partner is from. “This time next year we hope to be in Morocco,” he excitedly revealed to us. Before they set off, there’s some general tinkering to be done in preparation for its mammoth journey. “I’ve only had it for five or six months, and I’m now in the process of planning and getting ready for its next expedition.” “There’s a lot of maintenance that needs doing before we stick it in the Sahara,” he adds. They aim to be on the road for at least six months, then reassess the situation and one day buy some land to build on. “Me and my partner may not even come back to the UK, so we may be leaving indefinitely, who knows?” Matt’s best piece of advice is to simply start living your dream van life and take the plunge.

The little touches These outside storage boxes are also a great space-saving solution. There’s even room to fit a couple of bikes at the front.

Every inch of this van is put to good use. The golden rule for van living is to make use of all your space. These nifty hooks, hung from the ceiling, are handy to hold just about anything. Matt says that “living in a van you get used to the amount of space."

Images courtesy of Lisa-Jane Meates

What about ...

sleeping Down sleeping bags These sleeping bags are filled with the fluffy down of birds which are adapted to living in extreme cold. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you. Due to it’s ability to loft, the down filling can trap a lot of heat while using a minimal amount of material, giving it an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio. If you have limited space, there is no need to worry! These sleeping bags are so packable, you can store them practically anywhere. You will have to fork out quite a bit of cash for a down sleeping bag as they don’t exactly come cheap. They don’t do very well in damp conditions as the down can clump up when wet, and takes quite a long time to dry out. Cleaning down can be a challenge. They require specialist care, which is not ideal when you’re on the road.


What is best; a synthetic sleeping bag or a down one? Vanalogue are here to help clear up any of that confusion


t’s winter; ice has formed on your windscreen, your cloudy breath greets you in the morning and your moka pot is frozen to the modest kitchen counter. Although it’s a magical time of the year, winter can be miserable if you’re so cold that you can’t tell where your feet end and the ground begins. Keeping warm during the winter is essential not only for your happiness, but for your general wellbeing. It is in these conditions that getting the right sleeping bag is of utmost importance. But what should you get; down or synthetic?

After some investigating, Vanalogue have come to some interesting conclusions

Synthetic sleeping bags How can you stay relatively comfortable without shelling out a tonne of cash? You choose synthetic. Save yourself some money without compromising comfort. Nobody likes waking up to a wet bed. So why would you risk it in your van? Synthetic sleeping bags offer waterresistant naps all day, every day. Caring for a synthetic sleeping bag is simple. They are machine washable; which means less time cleaning, more time napping. Synthetic may prove to be more of a nuisance when packing and carrying – it’s heavier and harder to compact. When it comes to warmth-to-weight ratios, synthetic bags are easily trumped by their down counterparts. I don’t want to concern you, but after time, your bag might not be as snug as it once was. Each time you pack it, it’ll lose some insulation power. Not cool!

Cooking with Vanalogue:

Sweet potato and tomato stew

Spicy, simple and tasty food on the move Warm your heart and fill that stomach with this essential van living recipe


ooking in a van doesn’t mean you should skimp out on great warm meals. Follow this simple process for a satisfying mixture of sweet potato and spices. Creating a lovely rich aroma as it cooks, this enticing spicy sweet potato and tomato stew is both filling and comforting.

How could you resist? These guidelines will serve two people. For more, simply add ingredients following the ratio.

You will need: 1 Sweet potato, sliced into cubes 1 Onion, sliced 8 Cherry tomatoes, halved Turmeric, 1 tbsp

How to:

Garam masala, 1 tbsp Garlic powder, 1 tbsp Mustard powder, 1 tbsp

Cook the chopped onions in a pan and stir for a few minutes Add the sweet potato to the onion and juices Toss some of those cherry tomatoes into the mixture and continue to stir Finally, add the spices and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender


Meet Blaize, 9. He has been travelling in this 1987 Toyota for a few months now In the next issue, we chat to his owners, Kathleen and Greg about life on the road Image courtesy of Tiny House, Tiny Footprint

Swimming in the Wild Gain a new perspective on wild swimming in Warleigh Weir

Wild Swimming in Warleigh Weir


rom the snowy peaks of the Scottish highlands, to the thunderous shores of the Cornish coastline, there is no place and no activity that’s off limits to the vanner and their four-wheeled palace. But, perhaps you’re thinking that the British Isles are just too small for your ambitions. The UK can be stunning, but it isn’t exactly a big country. Wouldn’t you have seen most of it within the space of a few months? And what then? Van living is all about freedom, adventure and the unknown. There’s only so much to see over here and the rest of the world is waiting to be explored. Let’s just pause right there; it is easy to take for granted the places that seem familiar. That is why it’s important to stop, look around, and try to observe your world with fresh eyes. One really easy way to enjoy this amazing countryside from a completely different perspective is with wild swimming. Wild swimming is swimming in rivers, lakes, and pretty much anywhere that takes your fancy!

The Place Warleigh Weir, also known as Claverton Weir, is just outside the historical city of Bath, in South West England. Once you have finished looking around the picturesque city of yellowstone architecture, take the five minute drive through the lush Somerset countryside, until you come across the idyllic Avon river, tumbling over Warleigh Weir.

Now you’re probably thinking that all this sounds great, but at some point you will actually have to get into the water. Why on earth would anybody choose to swim in an ice cold river, instead of a heated swimming pool? Why even wild swim at all?

th r ill see k e rs

Things to look out for: Be aware of strong currents; the main current is usually in the centre of the river, or on the outside of a bend where the water runs fast. Shallow water usually has a rippled surface, but deep water is silky smooth on the top. Lookout for eddies – where water flows upstream against the current – they can be useful spots for getting in and out of water, as you won’t have to deal with strong currents. Watch out for patches of white water at the bottom of waterfalls. Natural buoyancy is reduced here so you sink in these spots. Never jump into water without testing it first; if you can see the bottom, it is too shallow and if you can’t, investigate it first. The last thing you want is to land on a hidden rock.

to be able to swim properly. Daniel explains, “The most important thing to remember is if the water is cold, people can swim about a tenth of the distance outdoors as they can in a warm pool. A lot of accidents happen when people jump in and head straight out into the middle of a lake and find that it is actually more difficult than they thought.”

“You can swim with otters and kingfishers and that gives you a real sense of connecting with nature”

The Reason Author of Wild Swimming and Guardian contributor, Daniel Start, is a passionate advocate of wild swimming across the UK. He explains that, “Wild swimming gives you an opportunity to get out into your local landscape and explore parts that you might not have known before.” It’s not just about getting outside and enjoying the exercise; it’s about adventure. “People find it tedious just going backwards and forwards in a concrete box,” says Daniel. “Swimming in the wild means you can get up close with wildlife. It gives you a frog’s eye perspective of the world around you. You can swim with otters and kingfishers and that gives you a real sense of connecting with nature.” Daniel lives about one mile down the road from the Weir, so he knows the place intimately. Surrounded by grassy banks and forested valleys, he says it is the perfect spot for first-time wild swimmers. He explains that this is because the Weir has, “Had a chance to warm up on the way down from the Cotswolds, unlike some smaller rivers which are much colder.” Plus, there are lovely beaches and pools for children to play in, as well as much deeper waters for serious swimmers and divers. It is the ideal spot whether you’re an experienced swimmer, or just testing the icy waters.

The Knowledge There are a few things that new swimmers need to bare in mind when taking the plunge for the first time. It is recommended that you get a winter wetsuit suitable for the colder season. Make sure that whatever you purchase is suitable for swimming in rather than surfing; sometimes the surfing wetsuits don’t give you the freedom of movement necessary

One thing that is rarely an issue is pollution. Thanks to better environmental practices, British waters are actually a lot cleaner than people may be led to believe. In many ways swimming in wild waters can make for a much cleaner experience than swimming in a chlorinated swimming pool. If you are still feeling a little nervous about getting stuck in deep waters, just stay close to the shore. You can always practice in shallower waters, and build up your confidence before venturing further out. But you don’t have to go out alone; take a friend with you! The Weir is the perfect place for large groups of people to hang out, be it on the grassy banks – ideal for outdoor cooking – or jumping off the rope swings further down the river. One of the best things about living in a van is the freedom

The Point it gives you; the world is your back garden. It’s all about looking at the world from a different perspective. When most people will see just a river or a lake, you will see a whole new world waiting to be discovered. Van life is about freedom, but it is also about looking at the world as a coloured canvas. Everywhere you look is rich with life. When you can apply that to your own local countryside, imagine how much richer the world on the road will seem.

Daniel Start Daniel Start is an award-winning travel writer, photographer and environmental consultant. If you are interested in taking up wild swimming, it might be useful to take a look at one of his books: Wild Swimming Wild Swimming Great Britain Wild Swimming France Wild Swimming Hidden Beaches

Great wild swimming spots across the UK Wales Llyn y Fan Fach, Brecon Beacons National Park Hidden under the shadow of the Black Mountain, this remote lake is a perfect place to cool down after a long hike through the Welsh mountains.

Northern Ireland Pans Rock, Ballycastle Situated on the eastern end of Ballycastle Bay, be prepared for some adventurous swimming around the beautiful rock formations. Just be wary of the fisherman looking for Pollock.

Scotland Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye With its crystal blue waters surrounded by waterfalls and unusual rock formations, it’s not hard to see how these magical pools gained their name.

North England Gill Force, Eskdale If you fancy jumping off the rocks into some deep water, the picturesque pool of Gill Force is perfect for you.

Why choose a winter wetsuit? We show you how not to miss out on that winter surf


inter. A time for cosy blankets and hearty drinks. But it is also one of the best times to catch some serious surf. However, that means braving icy winds and freezing cold waters. With the right wetsuit though, there is no reason why you can’t get out there. A winter winter wetsuit could transform your icy adventures, here are four reasons why.

Stay warm All winter wetsuits will be marked within the 5/3mm or 6/4mm range. The higher number refers to the thickness of the torso area, where heat is most needed. The lower number refers to your arms and legs, where thinner material gives you more freedom of movement.

Ward off wind It’s not just the icy waters you need to think about. Wind can be just as cold. Thankfully, the added thickness around your torso – where your core temperature is regulated – helps to protect you against wind chill too.

Keep afloat Thicker suits are much more buoyant. Floating more easily, they are ideal for beginners who may be feeling nervous about heading into uncharted territory.

Do no damage A thicker wetsuit is also more durable. So, when you are scrambling over craggy rocks or getting bashed about in white water, you don’t need to worry about damaging it! It will also give you a little more cushioning you for when you – inevitably – fall off your board.


Hearty meals for the brave

Clapshot You could be forgiven for thinking that this is just ‘Scottish mashed potato’, but you’d still be wrong. This hugely satisfying food will keep you full, warm, and content on those cold winter nights. All you need is potatoes, swede, chopped chives or shallots and salt and pepper to season. Boil the potatoes and swede, add the rest of the ingredients and mash to create a delicious mixture. If you want to go all-out Scottish, serve the clapshot with some haggis.

Tattie Scones A super easy breakfast snack which can be made on the road, this handy recipe will keep you going with little effort. Varying from region to region, the recipe can be developed depending on where you go – for example, using sweet potato for extra sweetness. To cook your next breakfast; simply mash potato with butter and salt (to taste), and add flour to create a doughy substance. Then, roll out the mixture and bake on your stove, fire or griddle. Who knew eating authentic Scottish food could be so easy?

Weird and wonderful Scottish traditions

Coal carrying What about running with a bag of coal on your back? The Kelty coal carrying race in Fife has taken place annually since 1994. Now home to the Scottish Coal Carrying Championship, competitors race up a 1km uphill through the village with up to 50kg of coal on their backs!

Simple Scottish recipes to keep you warm while on the road


et full, feel hearty and live out your greatest Scottish passion with these simple, yet quirky, traditional food recipes. They’re easy and quick for when you’re on the road. Give these recipes a go so you’re prepared for your next stop to Scotland.

Moffat sheep race

Tourists flock to watch Scotland’s annual sheep race. More famous for toffee, they also race sheep down the town’s high street! It’s a sight to behold as the sheep all dress up in dummy jackets, while negotiating a series of obstacles.

tuc k in

Kedgeree With a history still unclear to this day, kedgeree is said to have originated from Scottish soldiers returning from India in 1790. They brought back Indian ingredients and ideas to form the dish; consisting of tasty flaky fish, with boiled rice.

Clootie Dumpling This little pudding is a tasty Scottish tradition – consisting of dried fruit and spices. The name, clootie, refers to the strip of cloth that was originally used by Scots to cook the pudding in boiling water, then dried by a fire or oven. It’s made up of fruit, such as raisins or sultanas, suet (raw and hard meat fat), sugar and spice and milk which binds it. In northern Scotland, it is common to have clootie dumpling with treacle, while in other places the tradition is breadcrumbs. Hot custard makes for a great partner to this interesting dessert.

Beautiful Vans

Images courtesy of @thejourneyoflife


ourd is a 19 passenger, 1995 Vendura 3500. 6.5 diesel that has been converted into a camper by owners Katy and Allen. Gourd has been equipped with solar panels to be as off-grid as possible. The couple also bring their dog Mya, a chihuahua dachshund cross, along for the ride.

Our friends

Wicked campers are one of

our favourite van rental companies, so you can start planning your winter adventure now

Here at Vanalogue, we pride ourselves on having the best connections in the business and these are some of our top picks for the winter issue:

The British Longboarders Union is the official heart of longboarding in the UK

Poler are the trend setters for fresh outdoor gear

Surf Snowdonia is the UK’s first revoluntionary surf lagoon and provides the ultimate outdoor adventure experience

Surfers against sewage is

an environmental charity that aims to protect the UK’s oceans for a more environementally friendly future

Cornwall is the heart of the English surfing community, so where better to have some of our friends

Gul performance apparel is the UK’s largest

sports apparel company has been going strong for over 50 years and a proud friend to Vanalogue

Join the lifestyle: Subscribe to Vanalogue today for only £26, saving £6 and receive an exclusive 30% off code for Poler!

“For me, van living is not the end goal. It is simply a tool to enable me to do everything I want to do�

Issue number:01

Vanalogue Winter Issue  

A magazine for those who love all things van and van culture. Created by MA Magazine journalism students at Cardiff University.

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