Water: We decided to use the “house water” system only for showering, dish washing, bathing, etc. We use a separate 5 gallon container for our drinking water.  When designing the van storage, make a cabinet space to fit the kind or water container(s) you will be storing in the van! You will be happy you did this. If needed, the water container can be carried into Walmart and filled from their filtered water dispenser or simply exchanged for a new filed container.

Floor plan: Many van floor plans are completely filled with “stuff”: extra cabinets, storage, etc.  We intentionally left the space in the left rear quadrant open to allow room for walking, a portable table or whatever.

Cook stove:  Locating this next to the sliding side door allows for venting during the warmer months. If you have an extended period of rainy weather, you will be glad you have the ability to cook inside the van. We use propane for cooking only . . .

Kitchen Cooking Pans: Joan got a light weight set at BassPro that allows all the pots and pans to be stored in 1 compact package. I know some RVers swear by their heavy cast iron cooking skillets.  We don’t. Light and portable is the way to go.  Your mileage may differ!

Roof ladder: We choose a Werner ladder (Model MT-13) because it has a weight limit of 300 pounds (compared to 220 for some other brands), folds up to nicely fit inside secured to a bulkhead and is quite stable when standing on it to access the van roof.

Window insulation: Our first night in our RV was in the mid-west and the overnight temperature dropped to 3 Degrees (F) with a strong wind. We did not know about Reflectix insulation.  It comes in rolls of 25 and 50 feet in both 2 and 4 foot widths. It is light, rolls up easily, is readily cut with scissors to fit your interior window shape. We use “clear plastic“ suction cups (AC Moore) to anchor the top of the front windshield insulation to the top of the window.

Earth Magnets: Are magnets that come in many sizes, shapes and strengths. We opted for something a little less expensive and strong by getting our round magnets at AC Moore.  We use them to help hold our insulation in some of the windows as well as anchor the No-See-Ums screening in the sliding door opening.

No-See-Ums insect screening: We couldn’t find this in New England but readily found it at Home Depot in northern Florida. The 20 X 20 mesh is smaller than conventional screening and keeps the small biting insects out! If you run your fan to vent warm RV air you will be very glad you installed this screening at your air intake points!

Sleeping Bags: I saw this somewhere in an RV newsgroup and immediately implemented it. In colder weather we use 2 sleeping bags: one rated for -20 degrees and one rated for 40 degrees.  They are the same size and can be zipped together.  If it is cold, the warm one goes on top; if cool, the thinner bag goes on top.  Good idea.

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Fine Tuning ... Our unique (New England based) van . . .

Above: Werner ladder in installed position (seen from inside looking forward)

Left: ladder unfolded and ready for use