The First Real Test

A last Minute Test…

After completing a few final bits on Saturday, we decided last minute to load up and head of for a short overnight trip. This was the first real test since building everything. As we are heading to France soon, we wanted to make sure all the installed parts work and function as intended. If we encountered any problems on this short trip, we could set to work and get it right for the big one.

Where did we go?

Together we headed up in the van to Thetford Forest in Suffolk, UK. We know from experience that it’s a nice area, and a great forest to explore. Although there are mountain bike trails, it is not great for those that want a lot of downhill runs. Of course it is still a fun ride, but you need to have a certain amount of fitness to be able to smash around the full red route. It takes you around the whole forest but is mostly flat. That mixed with the wind that blows through some of the open spaces causes some tired legs. I have to be honest though, It didn’t help not having ridden in so long!

Parking up inside the forest can be expensive. I think it is around £12 all day which does seem like a lot. However this does help with the maintaining of the forest and puts you closer to the facilities. We did not want to have to pay this twice as we would be staying overnight. You are also prevented from camping in the forest car park and the gates shut daily, so we found a spot just down the road.

The spot we found it still within the forest and gives you trail access to the main ‘High Lodge’ centre. You can find it by following trail signs posted at intervals along the paths. The location we stopped at was an open car park which does not get locked up, and is also FREE! This was a major benefit for us. As this is located in the forest around 60-70 meters away from the road, it does get dark, very dark. Because of this, just be aware of doggers and the like. We didn’t have any real issues and found this spot was actually more for dog walkers than anything else.

Here is the location of the car park

Did it all work?

Surprisingly we found that our efforts to build a van that worked for us had pulled off. We had no major issues in the sense that our running water solution worked okay, along with the fridge, storage and bed. Everything worked as intended which made our time away in the van enjoyable and effortless.

The essential tasks are of course going to be made a little more difficult in such a small living space, that’s a given.  For us though, it was about making it as friendly and easy as possible. For some van dwellers who have a large enough space, perhaps the tasks are a little easier, but what you have to remember is the space we have is only very small. Especially for for 2 people and 2 bikes with all the kit. All that said, we had a comfortable and enjoyable time away and makes us look forward to our trip around France and the alps.

There are perhaps 2 things that stood out to us as being potential issues. As we have recently had a window installed in the side of the van, we now need a curtain of some sort to stop light and people peering in whilst we sleep. Thats not too difficult of a job, but something we noticed. The second thing that came to our attention is water usage. After drinking, cooking and washing up, it is surprising how much water you use. On a full load we have 20 litres, but realistically this would last 3 days at most. For us this weekend, it lasted just about 2 days. Something to consider expanding in the future, but for now we will have extra stored in the top of the van.

For any questions, feel free to contact us and we ill get back to you! Happy travelling!

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