Preparing the Campervan for a Year on the Road

What is that smell?

That smell is a new adventure on the horizon. That smell is an impending road trip across New Zealand for a whole year. That smell… Well, the biggest smell of all is coming from our newly purchased campervan that is in serious need of a clean and DIY jobs.

If you read our previous blog post, you may remember us mentioning how we opened the door to a pungent aroma. Although the campervan was tidy, just a glance at the what was once a white ceiling showed that this van needed a lot of work. After all, we’re not entirely convinced that it has ever been cleaned or maintained during its 20-something years.

The clean is on!

Where was our first destination after buying our campervan? The DIY store. Exciting, right? There, we stocked up majorly on cleaning products from mould remover to glass cleaner, we got it all. NZ$110 on cleaning products: for real.

From then on, we have been cleaning the van excessively, starting from the ceiling and working our way down. We deodorised the wood, scrubbed all plastics with Jif, used soapy water on metals, shampooed the carpet, and the glass got a special glass spray treatment. Cushion fabrics said hello to a washing machine, something they clearly had never had the privilege of before.

Necessary replacements

Another way to get rid of bad smells is by simply replacing the things that offend the nostrils. When they are too far gone, just replace them. The first thing to replace, and we think you’ll be with us here, was the cassette toilet. We don’t want to get all up in its tubes cleaning excrement from its past users. No thank you! Get rid!

Getting a replacement cassette toilet involved quite an amusing trip to the “Porta Potti” place where Robin insisted on sitting on several toilets to “get a feel for it” in front of the salesperson. Somehow, she was so impressed, she threw some dissolvable toilet paper in for free. Nice!

Other things we replaced include:

  • Curtains (Laura’s mum’s mad sewing skills are seeing to that)
  • Liners to keep storage items in place
  • Car mats
  • Shower curtain
  • Microwave (it was broken)
When cleaning gets boring throw paper at each other. When cleaning gets boring throw paper at each other.

A bit of Do-It-Yourself

Remember when we said in our last blog post that we are not mechanics? Well, we’re not electricians or plumbers either. Is there anything we’re good at? In Robin’s case, it’s making the right friends with the right skills, because he managed to get the help of Dom, the owner of the Silverfern Hostel in Auckland, who does all his own maintenance work. Cheers, Dom!

First things first, Dom showed us how to replace the ancient gas bottles. He sneakily did some fixings of loose parts around the campervan while we weren’t looking. As expected, the fridge had been neglected for so long that its only use was a cool box. (Or chilly bin as they say here). Awning, lightbulbs and cupboard hinges were all fixed, which are best expressed in the images above.

Mechanical preparations

We’d done our pre-purchase inspection, however, the van needed to be serviced so little problems don’t become big problems while we are on the road. The mechanical service included a change of fluids, radiator repair and replacing the outside lights.

We’re all set

Well, it looks like the van is ready for the road. How about a test run trip to see how it goes? Catch us next time when we take the van on its first mission to the Waitakere Ranges in Auckland!

Laura and Robin

This is what intense cleaning and repairs looks likes in virtual reality
This is what intense cleaning and repairs looks likes in virtual reality Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Want more?

Read our guide! If you’re like us, preparing to travel New Zealand for a year, then check out our prepare your trip section of BackpackerGuide.NZ. We have heaps of advice on How to Get a Working Holiday Visa to What Type of Flight Ticket to Get.

To see how our trip goes, be sure to sign up to our newsletter which gives weekly summaries and behind-the-scenes insights. Social media buffs can also catch us on Twitter and Instagram for super short snippets into backpacking in New Zealand.

See you next time on our trip to the Waitakere Ranges!

This blog post was written in:

Comments
  1. Wow!! You guy r so good at everything. It was a hard work 🙂

    Comment avatar Ohxoxo
    21/05/2016 at 3:07 am
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By browsing our site, you agree to
our use of cookies and Terms of Service

Menu