November 4, 2017
There is no doubting the marvel of engineering and design that Volkswagen and Westfalia put into the widely beloved campers. We often look at how to improve aspects of the design with major and expensive upgrades. Here are 5 simple DIY hacks we have done and love.
- Storage Hammock: This might be our most used hack, as both Tracy and I get into it at least twice a day. It is a pretty simple hack, but does require a sewing machine. The storage hammock is exactly what it seems. A hammock of fabric that hangs from the ceiling over the bed. We used 4 self adhesive circular hooks stuck to the AC vent. We made a cotton rectangle with a bungee around it, sewed the bungee into the edge of the fabric with the corners cut out to access the bungee. From there, you simply loop the corners around the hooks and you are ready to rock. We keep our tooth brushes, deodorant, glasses and other commonly used items in the hammock.
- Privacy Curtain: For cockpit privacy, the most common solution is to purchase the snap in option that covers the front wind screen and windows. These are great as it allows you easy access to the cockpit, but does take a bit of time to set up and can be difficult to store when not in use. We decided to make our own cotton curtain that hangs just behind the front seats. We used a large rectangle piece of fabric with a little addition to hang into the aisle. A bungee runs the top length with loops at the and a cut out in the middle. The loops hang on the already existing hooks on the pillars close to the top of the seatbelt. We added a large carabiner to the latch for the pop top to hang the centre of the curtain on. The best part is it takes 3 seconds to hang and take down. When down, we simply roll it up and put it behind the driver’s seat.
- mntGLO Mood Lighting: This is an easy one, and one that gets us a lot of comments. The factory lighting isn’t that nice in the Westy. It is yellow, harsh and only lights up one spot. The worse part though, is it runs off your starter battery, so if you leave it on, it may leave you stranded! Big Agnes mntGLO lighting kits are designed for tents, but work great in the Westy. We run 2 strips, one up each side of the van. The batty packs sit nicely in the storage hammock and the other end of the light hooks nicely to the trim right behind the front seats. Each strip runs off 3 AAA batteries and last a few months of daily use. We use rechargeable AAA batteries so we aren’t tossing them out. You could use any USB battery pack to run them as well.
- PVC Solar Shower: The PVC solar shower is likely the most work and most expensive hack, but totally worth it after a hot and sweaty day in the desert. We used 2 chunks of 4 inch by 4 foot black PVC with a T shaped filling valve between them. Simply cap the one end and add a spigot and air valve to the opposite end cap. The air valve is used to pressurize the shower using our bike pump. We used multiple heavy-duty zip-ties to hang it from our roof rack. For full details, check out Where’s My Office Now’s full build article.
- Paper Towel Holder: This might be the easiest and most handy hack on this list. Simply use the leg of the front table as a paper towel holder. Lift the leg out of its holder, slide your roll of paper towel on and you are good to go. Pro tip: Use a bobby pin to prevent the roll from unraveling. (Thanks to Peter Kraiker for this one.)
- Westy Lounge: While the #WestyLounge isn’t truly a hack, it may just be one of the best kept secretes. The back seat/bed has 2 little hooks near the hinge. You can partially open the seat and hit these 2 hooks to turn your bed into a backward facing lounge. Open the tailgate and watch the sunrise while enjoying your morning coffee. If you want to, you can upgrade those hooks and get 2 different angles! Get those hooks from our friends at Crepe Attack here…
We hope you like and try these inexpensive hacks. Also, let us know your favourite hacks in the comments below!