These are a few additions / improvements I've made to Westly so far.
Older Vanagon campers like Westly came equipped with a single incandescent bulb fixture mounted above the stove/sink area. This very bright lamp illuminates the work area well but leaves other areas such as the top bunk in dismal shades of grey. In addition, you are sure to see spots for awhile if you look directly at it, especially if you have recently been outside in the gloaming or pondering the embers of a camp fire.
I wanted to add more light, but didn't want to run wires all around the interior, so I decided to try battery operated LED lights. I picked up a three pack of puck lights at Harbor Freight.
|The little round white circles are the lights|
|Kerosene lantern on ABS pipe hanger|
Can you tell I took all these pictures on the same gray, rainy day?
The Westy came with a 5-B:C fire extinguisher mounted just inside the sliding door behind the front passenger seat. This being a very important piece of safety equipment (especially when you are using things like kerosene lanterns), I figured that after 30 years it might be time for a replacement. I chose a First Alert FE10GR model, rated for Class B: grease, oil, gasoline, kerosene and other flammable liquids and Class C: small fires in live electrical equipment.
|Always accessible, inside or out|
Also accessible is the hand sanitizer, held to the wall by velcro so it doesn't get lost
Some important points to remember about fire extinguishers:
Mount securely in readily visible, easily accessible location.
If it has a gauge, needle should be in the green area. No dents or corrosion.
Don't test! Replace or refill after any discharge, no matter how small.
When using, stand back and aim at the base of the fire.
Be wary of the effects of heat and smoke. If you're not up to the task, get out!
For small fires only - if not immediately successful, get away and seek help!
Replace at least every 10 years even if it's never used.
Portable Solar Panel
Some day Westly will have a large solar panel array mounted on the roof. Until then, I use a low-power portable panel that I've had around for a number of years. It's amorphous silicon cells have a maximum output of 70 milliamperes.
|The ICP #04041|
I recommend spending your hard earned money on something better
I finally ditched the old ICP solar charger in favor of the GoalZero Nomad 7m. The monocrystalline structure, rated at 7 watts is more efficient that the old panel at converting sunlight to electricity.
The Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit came with eight NIMH batteries - four each AA and AAA and a flexible led lamp that plugs into a USB port. Phones, Ipods, Kindles, GPS's and other small devices can be charged directly from the solar panels under full sun conditions, or from the battery packs. There's also an adapter for cords with the vehicle lighter type plug end.
The panels are attached in a flexible cover that folds and fits in the glove compartment.
I've had good results placing it on the dash, or hanging it outside. It weighs about one pound, and can hang on a backpack for charging while traveling on foot.
If you look at the reviews, you'll see some people have had issues charging their particular devices. I haven't had any problems, but you might want to check that out before you decide to purchase a charger like this. Some day, maybe we'll have more universal battery/charger standards.
This little instrument keeps track of high & low temps. I usually keep the wireless outdoor sensor inside the fridge to get an idea of what the temperature extremes have been (in the interest of food safety). It's easy to place outside also, remembering to put it away when breaking camp. I added a visor clip from an old garage door opener remote to the back so I could hang it in various easy to see places.
This particular model was very cheap, and has just enough memory to keep track of high/low temps for a week. I may upgrade to a more robust model with barometric pressure, relative humidity, moon phases, sunrise/sunset, tides, excerpts from the Farmer's Almanac, etc. because I like to know these things. Then again, I'm sure I could get all that with a smart phone app. Now, if only I had a smart phone...
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