Van setup with shade, shower

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axl
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Van setup with shade, shower

Post by axl » Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:04 am

Hi all, I've been thinking about a minimal, self-contained setup for two peeps on the playa, built around a van. Maybe this will help someone who's pondering something similar.

The idea is to get:
  • * a sheltered sleeping area +
    * a bit of shade +
    * a shower
... in a self-contained way with a minimum of setup fuss. Caveat Participor: this is untested.

What's Required
  • * a van
    * a flat rectangle roughly the length/width of the roof of the ban. I envision this constructed from 2x4 and plywood.
    * UV-shielding tarps (they're available, more expensive than regular tarp)
    * a shower base (frame made from 2x6, lined w/tarp, with standing platform)
The Drive
During the drive up, the rectangular thing is strapped to the van lengthwise, like so:
Image

This would call for either some stiff rubber pads (van roofs are curved) and some heavy-duty cinch straps from home depot ( ~$40 for a pair).

Setting up
Just unstrap the top rectangular plank and swing it cross the van. Restrap with cinches, perhaps in a cris-cross pattern (it gets a little sketchy here, not sure about wind forces).

Line the top with tarp, attaching to the ground on each side like this:

Image

The shower is on the more steeply sloped side. We're talking about a pretty minimalist shower here, just something to drizzle some water over your body. I envision taking a few two-gallon containers, and placing one on top of the wooden thing, over an appropriately cut hole in the plywood.

The other side of the van (with the longer slope) provides some shade for sitting in. Park the van so that the afternoon sun hits the shower side of the setup.

Image

Sleep in the van. Since the roof of the van is mostly covered with reflective tarp, it (may) (theoretically) stay a bit cooler. You can run the AC for a bit to cool things off in a pinch.

Potential gotcha's
  • * really need to strap that overhead rectangle down ... not sure how it will handle the wind.
    * an evap pond would add a lot of complexity to something of this scale. I envision carefully returning the graywater to containers and hauling it out. And taking very short showers.
    * unclear how comfortable it will be sleeping in a van on the playa
    * tarps tend to fight with the wind ... it could be loud
In summary
A self-contained, compact setup for two providing a wind-proof sleeping area, some shade, and a shower!

That's it my friends. Comments / additional brainstorming welcome. If you'd like to play around with the 3d model, grab my sketchup file here

hunter S
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Post by hunter S » Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:18 am

you can use a sprinkle can to distribute waste water from shower, two people, bio friendly soap, water the road.
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LeChatNoir
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Post by LeChatNoir » Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:32 am

I'm pretty sure the BLM would frown on that:
Water which has been used for something, like washing or cooking, is generally called "grey water" (yes, that includes your soapy, barely-used dishwater). Since we all bring lots of water to the playa, we all have lots of grey water to deal with. While it's tempting to just dump grey water onto the ground, there are a number of reasons why this is not acceptable. Amongst other reasons: if everyone did it, we'd be swimming in playa mud by Tuesday; water contaminated with germs and debris could wreck the Playa's ecosystem; and finally, our BLM permit forbids it.
From here:

http://www.burningman.com/environment/r ... water.html
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LeChatNoir
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Post by LeChatNoir » Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:37 am

Hi axl,

Your setup looks like it’d work fine. The only things I’d add is to make sure that you tie it off and anchor it very well. I’ve slept in the back of my truck each year, using a wood frame that assembles without fasteners and tarps stretched over that and roped down snug. It all knocks down at the end of the week and packs into the truck bed taking up minimal space. Your system will probably have some extra drag while driving, that’s all.

I can dig up some pics of the frame I use if you like and post them

Also, UV reflective tarps might help, but its hard to keep anything cool after that sun comes up.
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TomServo
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Post by TomServo » Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:56 am

Is the wood secured to the rooftop? I woodn't (heehee) count on the weight alone. By laying down the tarps, your basically setting sail...and will move that wood piece. Maybe guyline the wood to the outer edges of the tarp? Ok..not TO the tarp, but seperate lines anchored near where the tarp meets the ground..and on the shower side, just beyond. AND! Deep Stakes! 1 1/2' plus!
anything worth doing is worth overdoing..

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mojo
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Post by mojo » Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:07 am

If you use ratcheting tie downs to secure the load, re-use them as guy lines to secure your wood. You might want to put some fasteners into the wood before you leave for this purpose.

The most important thing is to set it up for a trial run BEFORE you get to the playa.

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phil
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Post by phil » Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:32 am

On gray water, here's a quote from the link our black cat gave:
However, if you're in a very small camp, with minimal dish and body washing water, you might choose to pour your grey water through a filter or sieve (better, a paint sieve or even pantyhose), disinfect the water, then, since it is treated, disperse it on your street to keep down dust.
Now here's my question: where does the BLM define gray water? I'd like to take a look at their definition so that I follow their rules concerning gray water.

(Note: I don't want to know any particular person's definition. I want to know the BLM's definition and where that definition is located on or off line.)

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phil
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Post by phil » Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:42 am

Axl, your plan looks like a good idea. Louise and I had a similar shade our first year, but we just slammed the van doors on our tarp and then staked it out from the truck. Shade only on one side. If you have a white van and tape foil over all the windows, I think your van will remain cool - ours does with no shade over it.

My two concerns are (1) damage to the roof of the van from that platform; the wind _will_ take hold of the tarps and give them a very good shaking. (2) Having the platform ripped off the roof and blown into my tent and shade and camp and van; having my windshield knocked out in the middle of a dust storm will not make me happy.

Image

5x5
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Post by 5x5 » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:05 pm

i sleep in a red van on the playa, with no shade over it. i hang fabric inside to keep the sun out, but i think this year i'll try the aluminum foil instead. (the fabric hung straight down and the air between the window and fabric heats up.)

it's ok. you can't sleep in very late. like 8/9 max. i strip off bedding and clothing as it gets warm, and if i open the door, i can get a little more rest as it's still cooler outside than inside.

it's wamer/quieter at night which i like.

i question whether you need the plank of wood, or if beams (and more tarp for the top) would do the same thing with less bulkiness. however, securing them for wind would be more difficult.

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mojo
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Post by mojo » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:09 pm

I have seen a lot of people use foam swimming pool noodles as cushioning between their vehicle and whatever they are attaching to it. Anything touching the vehicle (like tarps) will move, flap and abrade the paint of not cushioned.

hsdavis
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Post by hsdavis » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:19 pm

A good way to test this out is to set the entire rig up and then drive 80 miles an hour on the highway for 2 hours. This will give you a good indication as to how it will hold up in a playa dust storm. If you're lucky, it will rain like hell during your test to get the full effect.

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phil
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Post by phil » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:35 pm

hsdavis wrote:A good way to test this out is to set the entire rig up and then drive 80 miles an hour on the highway for 2 hours. This will give you a good indication as to how it will hold up in a playa dust storm. If you're lucky, it will rain like hell during your test to get the full effect.
Seriously, that's a good thought. If you wouldn't be comfortable doing this in the real world, it's not going to work on the playa.

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Cassidy
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Post by Cassidy » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:57 pm

Hee hee... strap the wood onto the van really tight!!! I'll be watching for the flying van during the dust storm on Thursday... :wink:


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TomServo
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Post by TomServo » Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:44 pm

Van roofs are kinda flimsy..so I would buy a couple large sheets of that padding shit you find at fabric stores. 3" thick? and use that as a buffer between the wood and your roof. Love the van idea...vans don't blow away like KIAs do. Simple..and easy to set up. If you're gonna keep the doors open, disconnect the battery the second you find your spot. And any grommets in your tarp, that are being used..reinforce with duct tape.. corners make an arrow shape on both sides, with 3 strips..side grommets with a T shape, using 3 strips. Never lost a grommet using Duct Tape.
anything worth doing is worth overdoing..

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