Thoughts on this minivan shade structure idea....

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didjeridude
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Thoughts on this minivan shade structure idea....

Post by didjeridude » Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:55 am

I'm travelling from o/s and I won't have much time to prep a fancy shade structure. I just need to be able to hit up walmart and home depot on the way from SF intl airport and get what I need. I do have some scope to get help locally ahead of time though. Anyway, I'm planning to camp in a dodge caravan minivan and I'm considering (one of) the following two options to create shade and a little bit of privacy:

1st idea is simple and well known: just park the dodge minivan under a 10*10 ft instant gazebo and attach 2x sidewalls. Secure the f**k out of everything with gaffer tape, rope, rebar and/or lag strews etc. Not sure how tough the material is of those ozark gazebo tops and side walls though. Maybe they get shredded after first big gust of wind?

2nd idea is to get a 16x30ft heavy duty silver tarp and then gaffer tape a couple of 10ft lengths of 2x4 on top of 4x foam yoga blocks which would sit directly on top of the roof (at each corner). This would raise the tarp up off the roof allowing airflow. I could make a little overhang on the entry side. Secure the tarp as per option #1 above. As long as the tarp is anchored down firmly on all sides, the pressure on the foam blocks should keep them in place... or am I dreaming?

The pro of #1 is that I can probably just hammer in rebar and gaffer tape the legs, but there are fewer points of contact with the ground. Pro of #2 is that heavy duty tarp is stronger and there are more points of contact. con is that I'll have to either bend the rebar to create a hook, or use lag screws which might need a drill. I'm staying in a camp though with a 100kw generator so I probably will have access to a drill.

Thoughts or suggestions most welcome :-)
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Ratty
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Re: Thoughts on this minivan shade structure idea....

Post by Ratty » Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:27 am

A car rack can get ripped off of the roof if you attach a huge tarp to it. I would attach your foam blocks to it. You can run your ropes over the other side of the van and tie around your tires but the ropes will be in the way. It will be very noisy and may ruin the paint job on the van.
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didjeridude
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Re: Thoughts on this minivan shade structure idea....

Post by didjeridude » Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:41 am

It's likely there won't be a rack on the roof anyway. I figured out the total distance from ground, up over the vehicle and back to ground on other side which is about 22ft. So actually a 16x20ft tarp would be a good size. It would be possible to anchor each side of the tarp to the ground with a 1 ft gap at ground level on both sides of the van. Then nothing would actually be touching the vehicle except the foam blocks sitting on the roof.

The only thing that concerns me is whether I can create the necessary tension on the tarp so that the foam blocks stay fixed on the roof, because I can't think of a way to secure them to the vehicle otherwise.

Also, I can just burn the 2x4 at the end.
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Token
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Re: Thoughts on this minivan shade structure idea....

Post by Token » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:45 am

Anything touching the vehicle, no matter how well you tie, strap or ratchet things down, will become a very fine grit sandpaper and damage the paint when the brutal winds come in.

Tarps we have today, the cheap crap from China, WILL shred and cannot be used as a stressed member, i.e. tension will kill them. This is why you will see allot of Aluminet and NATO grade camo netting out there. It takes the abuse and is silent.

You still get allot of tarp out there, some know how to cope with it, but it is always loud as fuck and most fail as main shade panels.

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Ratty
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Re: Thoughts on this minivan shade structure idea....

Post by Ratty » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:54 am

Using bungie cords lessens your chance of the tarp ripping. Your paint will suffer. It will be a huge pita to get in and out of the van.
Pictures or it didn't happen Greycoyote
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666isMONEY
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Re: Thoughts on this minivan shade structure idea....

Post by 666isMONEY » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:44 pm

I have minivan with roof rack and use 10x12 nylon tarp . . . used it at BRC for at least six times. I park the minivan facing about 5 to 10-degrees south of sunrise so early morning sun hits the sliding door on driver's side. Tarp covers south-facing windows and the back window. Sun shade covers front window. I tie the tarp to the wheels or anything underneath the minivan (bring lots of nylon string). Bad thing about attaching to the wheels is you can't move the minivan after tied. Since you don't have a roof-rack, maybe use the spare tire or a milk crate? (If so, you will need a bigger tarp) The tarp flaps a bit above the sliding door, grommet hits vehicle but I stuff a plastic bag with tennis ball inside it and it doesn't hit the window/van. Around 2pm it gets too hot inside so I'll find shade elsewhere.

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Token
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Re: Thoughts on this minivan shade structure idea....

Post by Token » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:55 am

Three 8 foot 4x4, two 12 foot 2x6 cut in half and a 12x24 tarp, some nails, stakes, and a good amount of rope can give you a 16x12 foot A-frame shade. The Viking tent so to speak.

All you need is some common sense ingenuity, learn to tie a few knots, a hammer, and your mitts.

Won’t cost you much either. Bring a spare tarp. Or better yet, use a knit shade cloth like Aluminet - lightweight, let’s wind through, proven durability, reusable, can be used as a stressed member. It costs more but at the end of the day, when the tarp fails, what will be the price of misery?

Don’t damage the rental van. It makes it harder for folks in the future to rent.

didjeridude
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Re: Thoughts on this minivan shade structure idea....

Post by didjeridude » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:54 pm

Update. Thanks for the advice and suggestions folks. Based on some of your feedback and additional reading, I'm just going to park the vehicle under a larger 1" EMT flat shade structure which we're building for the 20 or so tents we expect in our camp. Far better use of shared resources :-)
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