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Thread: Stealth Campers: Van size trade offs

  1. #1

    Stealth Campers: Van size trade offs

    allo

    Just wondered what the received wisdom is on van size. I have my eye on a LWB Merc Sprinter for sale - what is the deal on country lanes / parking up etc etc. Obviously great to have the space and I was really hoping I could get something big enough to stand up in and I'm 6'3".

    Also: I would definitely like to be able to access live space from cab - did they make any Sprinters like that or can you poke a hole through or what??

    I say Sprinter but any comparably sized van will do but not keen on Lutons - too wide and even harder to get cab access.



  2. #2
    Pretty much all panel vans have an easily removable bulkhead.
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  3. #3
    Tuning In
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    Took my one off in 20 minster with a Spanna

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    Heavenly Creature popuptoaster's Avatar
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    Van stealth has as much to do with where you park as what you are parking i think, any van will look out of place down a leafy cul-de-sac even if there are vans already in there because the residents will all know who owns what vehicle. On the other hand there are trading estates that are littered with cars and vans in various states parked all over the place as small firms and motor traders park their shit where ever there is a space.
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  5. #5
    Lwb movano with one side window and blackout curtain instead of bulkhead and no problems past year on Hertfordshire lanes and North London streets. Using sainsburys WiFi to write this on a small road behind one of their big stores.
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  6. #6
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    You might consider one of the triplets - Fiat Ducato and it's peers from Peugeot and Citroen (although Ducato is best for engine). They are the widest, so if you use really thin insulation (alufloc or something like that) or attach a flare on one side, or simply by sleeping a bit at angle, you might be able to sleep across. This is because they are nearly square if you look at them from the back.

    Other panel vans are getting narrower as you go up, so at your height the only option would be to have a bed along the leght of the van.

    For some reason they are not popular in Britain, everyone here seems to be driving Sprinters or Transits, but don't believe in that rubbish that they are unreliable: look at all those Eastern European express cargo vans, they are eighter the triplets, or renault masters/opel movanos. And it's for the reason, those people know where to put their money.

  7. #7
    Heavenly Creature popuptoaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by orys View Post

    For some reason they are not popular in Britain, everyone here seems to be driving Sprinters or Transits, but don't believe in that rubbish that they are unreliable:
    have met many backyard mechanics that warn you to stay away from French motors in general and having had experience of being ina family run and owned cab firm business i'd say that's about right long term.

    Quote Originally Posted by orys View Post
    look at all those Eastern European express cargo vans, they are eighter the triplets, or renault masters/opel movanos. And it's for the reason, those people know where to put their money.
    They buy them because they are cheaper, economically it doesn't matter to them how long they last or how much they cost to fix as long as the van has earned back its purchase cost and bought them some profit, our cab firm bought Citroen BXs for the same reason, they didn't last as long and cost a lot more to fix than Sierras or Cavaliers but they were loads cheaper to buy as diesel versions so after two years they were in profit if any made it to three years old we'd just tidy them up, hide the fact they'd been cabs and sell them on but about 50% never got that far without something expensive writing them off.

    I don't think any vehicles are as bad as they used to be but you can't use fleets buyers or commercial buyers as a guide to what makes a good private vehicle they have way different priorities and often get discount for buying in bulk which can swing a sale.

  8. #8
    Heavenly Creature hotrodjay's Avatar
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    Stealth is a tough one, where are you going to park up most? If in towns or industrial estates then you want a white van but soon as you put solar panels on roof or a chimney then your not stealth. If you are in countryside then horsebox won't get a second glance a lot of the time. It is really hard to make a Livin van looked unlived in though. I've never understood the whole stealth thing myself.
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  9. #9
    Jesus is not your friend Fire-Tree's Avatar
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    Stealth is a way of life!

    I can't bring myself to put windows in, I've tried, I even bought one for £40.

    That aside, plain white van, black out curtain, don't leave shit in the cab, jobs a good un'.

    As for a chimney in a city, I have full confidence that no one would know what it was. Unless you're smoking, which you can't do anyway in my breed of hell, London. Same for solar panels, likely think it's some 'van work stuff', not some peasant in a van.
    Blog: Experiencing England in a car with no money
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  10. #10
    Heavenly Creature Wulfie's Avatar
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    I hate towns and have the serious need for open space or trees and as such gone for a 60s horsebox on a newer chassiscab which would be more or less ignored then had a brainfart after seeing a ledge which could see the motor fitting in at Appleby when it's done if all goes to plan.
    Not all who wander are lost
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  11. #11
    exiled cornishman wandering gypsy's Avatar
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    my truck aint stealth and nobody gives a fuck wherever i park, i reckon when your trying to be stealthy you attract the most attention
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  12. #12
    Non of this matters NomadicRT's Avatar
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    Old guy in a van near me has an ex lecky company van with original color scheme minus logo,full roof rack and orange beacons front n rear.Cant see his solar panel on the roof rack nor his burner chimney. He parks anywhere never be moved on or questioned even when his burners going.
    Hebridean at heart..everywhere else is just somewhere on the way back there...
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  13. #13
    Hear hear wandering gypsy scew the stealth park up n fuck em all!

  14. #14
    I was wondering how to hide my 7.5 tonner box van in plain sight, solar panels, sat dishes and skylights on the roof, windows and vents in the side, underneath lockers. CCTV.

    Then I realised something, I see something all the time in the part of England where I used to live, they park up for days at a time, have strong perceived security, not at all uncommon to see people going inside of one for long periods, and all the bits on mine has.

    https://flic.kr/p/9e9Jmh
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  15. #15
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    I'm fairly stealth in a way, obvious camper conversion but there's loads of those on the streets round here.
    My current spot there's two other campers - one new and shiny, one as old and battered as mine - that belong to old guys who live just up the road, and there's not much to show mine is any more lived in than theirs.
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  16. #16
    I thought stealth might work for me....never achieved it and have come to realise that it's quite self defeating.

    You are going to make noise. You are going to need ventilation (open windows, open roof light etc).....overall I reckon suspicious people (and troublemakers) are more inclined to mess with those who are trying to be invisible.

    Turn your lights and music up to reasonable levels and you'll be so busy living your life and not worrying about stealth that you won't even notice if someone notices you unless they really WANT you to notice them.

    I'm three years in a van and do get sick of the noise of the streets....I've spent a good third of my time on campsites.....I'm still trying to adapt...for sure be a respectful neighbour but total stealth is debilitating and requires tireless, exhausting effort and continual hyperawareness.
    Last edited by zendaze; 04-10--2017 at 11:36 PM.
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  17. #17
    journeyman rumpusmany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wandering gypsy View Post
    my truck aint stealth and nobody gives a fuck wherever i park, i reckon when your trying to be stealthy you attract the most attention

    Was that your truck The Grey Goose parked up in Nottingham this morning?

  18. #18
    Heavenly Creature
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    Quote Originally Posted by Languid Virago View Post
    I was wondering how to hide my 7.5 tonner box van in plain sight, solar panels, sat dishes and skylights on the roof, windows and vents in the side, underneath lockers. CCTV.

    Then I realised something, I see something all the time in the part of England where I used to live, they park up for days at a time, have strong perceived security, not at all uncommon to see people going inside of one for long periods, and all the bits on mine has.

    https://flic.kr/p/9e9Jmh
    Try as I might, I can't see that, just keep getting cannot connect to host.
    What is it?

  19. #19
    Heavenly Creature dieseldog's Avatar
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    A BBC outside broadcast truck. It would not be difficult to imitate that Languid, with a few "subtle" changes! If you so desired you could get away with that! Brilliant! Toby.

  20. #20
    exiled cornishman wandering gypsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumpusmany View Post
    Was that your truck The Grey Goose parked up in Nottingham this morning?
    no rumpus but not far, am just south of derby

  21. #21
    Heavenly Creature itinerant child's Avatar
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    Me and Harry ( wandering gypsy ) are very much on the same page with this.

    I park up wherever I want in a respectful manner and people leave me alone to do my thing. In a respectful manner I mean that I dont leave any litter,I dont block entrances,I am polite to anyone who comes by and I dont leave shit and loo paper where people will find it.
    I think that it is one of the positive points of being in an older vehicle that people are a little afraid to aproach to be complaining arrogant pricks as they do not know what to expect and others see that you are doing no harm and as long as you do not outstay your welcome leave you at peace.
    I have said it before on here many times and will say it again, if you look like you are hiding or are not just a camper passing through then people will worry than there is something amiss.

    In my 30 years or so of experience,stealth is rarely the best mode to operate in

    A decent long wheel base van with hightop can go most places and get away with a u turn if need be,whereas a truck,bus or a towed caravan can cause you problems from time to time when you get to the end of small tracks or dead end roads.

    Something to stand up in is nice where you can have a fixed bed and table as well as a decent log burning stove (Made by Julian the gypsy is a recommendation from many of us).

    I have had larger vehicles and apart from high fuel costs,accessibility to certain place has often been a problem.

    Here in France I have often spoken with owners of large campervans who have spent all their travels parking up next to other vehicles in specificly created campervan parkups because they are too large to park up in forests and on the side of lakes.

    My advice would be- dont go too small or too big and dont give a shit about stealth. This is based on experience.

    Good luck in getting right what works for you.

    Love and light

    fly xx
    anything is possible,that my friends is a mathematical certainty ;-)

  22. #22
    Non of this matters NomadicRT's Avatar
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    In all honesty i think you just have to use the method that suits you best. Its pretty impossible to.be stealthy with a trailer on the back so i dont bother but my van on its own is pretty low key but i still get asked if i plan stopping long because people see the side window curtains and assume im planning on stopping...to be fair that only normally happened on supermarket car parks....I dont and cant live in it anyway,its just my tug and the curtains were to keep my dog cool.Its also my day van when im out doing photo or art work.
    I have made it more stealthy because im in wild country a lot and a telephone box red van sticks out and visible for miles so its now dark green.

    Id agree though its more to do with how you behave than anything.If you turn up with an attitude and noisy,disrespectful and leave a load of shit about people wont like you being there...often campers behave like they dont give a fuvk about anybody or their property and disappear after a day or two but its not them theyre causing issues for,its the people who follow and get tarred with the same brush.
    Behaviour like that -not necessarily from our community - has lead to a loss of parking and camping around Loch Lomond and parts of the Trossachs.The same nobs who caused the ban are now moaning they cant park there.
    If you want to keep being free to park anywhere you want without hassle -stealthy or not -dont behave like an arrogant cunt.
    There are advantages of being low key not just from.not attracting the attention of authorities but also unwelcome attention of the local bored feral yobs or opportunists.If you keep getting unwelcome attention from residents or the law and regularly moved on then maybe you need to look at what youre doing wrong ?
    Last edited by NomadicRT; 05-10--2017 at 03:33 PM.
    Hebridean at heart..everywhere else is just somewhere on the way back there...
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  23. #23
    Stealth v not stealth arguement has been going on since the first post on this forum and it will be going on still on the last, done both, I prefer the word unobtrusive to stealth, you cannot hide a 7.5 tonner, but you can make it less than obvious it is a home parked outside someoneís house. As my post earlier suggested I was going to wrap mine silver and get a magnetic sign for the door suggesting it was an outside broadcast or film support unit. Then I can do both. Take the sign off for campsites that donít allow commercials, stick it on if near prying eyes or if I want to park up down a country lane without drawing hassle even though I may have the satellite dish up. I do arial videos, so it could be true. People are scared of cameras and hopefully they will keep their distance.

    As for France and obvious campers, they are like a herd, you park up in a spot and before you know it 3 have parked next to you. Most people seem to like being with other campers.

    Size? My bus was too big, my van too small, and my stolen Chevy 28 footer was about right. Other peopleís needs will vary.
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  24. #24
    Looking Stealthy is fine but I snore like a train
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