Well we knew this trip was going to be the biggest test of the van and us ever – from a couple of months in the freezing Alps snowboarding, down to Morocco and the desert sun in the Sahara – all without going home… A big ask….
As we’re going to be spending a lot of time in the van, we’ve added the following accessories:-
- Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere iPod dock We went into Comet and docked our iPod touch into all the small speakers, and most sounded tinny and pretty crap. However, this dock sounded superb and sounded as if it was much bigger than it actually was. So we bought one from Amazon (cheapest) and it is great. Its remote control, has its own 10hr battery so you can take it out of the van, and also the DC mains adapter is 12.9v meaning if you want, you can risk it direct off the habitation battery.
- Collapsable water container. As we will be parked up for a few weeks in the alps, it is likely we won’t be in range of a water tap (that isn’t frozen_, so we got a small 8L collapsable water container which we will use daily to top up our tank.
- Washing up bowl. Not for washing up, but just to drain the waste continuously into so that when it freezes we can just empty it in ice form daily.
We have been away in the winter before and have been pleased with how the van performed, though there is room for improvement. We made the following changes to the van:-
- Winter Tyres: We fitted Continental Vanco Winter 2 tyres – full snow tyres on the van, and after speaking to Continental direct I have been assured they are fine for summer use as well. These do seem to do the trick
- Chains/Rope/Spade: We now carry snowchains, tow rope, and a folding spade just in case. And we now keep these INSIDE the van – as nothing worse than trying to put on metal chains that have been stored outside…
- Thermal Curtain: We changed the normal cab curtain for a full-length curtain made of blackout and fleece. Keeps all cab draughts away from habitation area.
Summer / Morocco Preparation
We’ve not really done much for Morocco – we’re happy we’re on snow (and mud) tyres which I guess will be good in sand! And we’ve also got a spare Calor-Lite bottle as if our Gaslow runs out we won’t be able to fill up in Morocco easily. So this is just our insurance.
Insurance was a challenge for this trip – no one wants to insure you for long snowboarding holidays, or even holidays of > 90 days, and of course a single trip policy can’t cover this. However we did succeed…
- Van insurance: We are with Safeguard and they cover the entire trip, unlimited miles, unlimited time abroad, and importantly they cover Morocco as long as you reqest a Green Card (which we have already).
- Travel insurance: This was the hardest to find as very very few companies cover trips >90 days, and very few cover winter sports more than 17 days. However, Nationwide now give a “free” annual insurance policy with their flex account. Not the best and limited to 31 days – but…. You can upgrade it. For £210 we added on upgrades to increase trip length to 150 days (and can extend to 180 days when we are away!) and also to add winter sports. I have had it confirmed that winter sports is covered for the ENTIRE length of the maximum duration. The policy wording isn’t clear, but I phoned and had it conformed as okay by 3 different staff. Cool.
Apart from that, we updated TomTom with the latest databases, bought lots of chocolate and biscuits, and just sat awaiting the last Postman delivery for the last-minute eBay presents and off we went….