THE RETURN OF A SEMI-REGULAR FEATURE ON
KITERS AND THEIR VANS
You’ll find Jon Williams’ VW Caddy Maxi 2.0 TDI 2008 roaming the kite spots of Portugal around Lisbon. As with all the best vans, efficient use of space and minimal hoarding is the key to successful life onboard and we are impressed with the utility in this, one of the smallest and most affordable examples we’ve been inspired by in Van Vice.
WORDS AND PHOTOS: Jon Williams
I built every part of the conversion myself — you can teach yourself anything on YouTube! I literally started with no knowledge but went from zero to hero, learning isolation, carpet lining, carpentry and electrics. In my experience you need to be prepared to make lots of mistakes and for everything to take at least five times longer than you estimate. The total time to completion, taking it from a being a simple panel van, was around 250 hours.
Among my favourite modifications is the insulation made with acoustic foam and lined with easy stretch carpet liner. The van stays nice and cool even after three hours of direct morning sun, facilitating the all important lie in.
I also really like the dashboard desk extension for remote working at the kite spot and the wood / Portuguese style vinyl flooring.
“In my experience you need to be prepared to make lots of mistakes and for everything to take at least five times longer than you estimate.”
Storage options are really important in a small van and I’ve included a removable double board rack, custom rocker bed / sofa, inner roof racking and a clothes rail. I really like the double board rack but I’m most proud of the roof racking! (Though the rocker bed also a close contender…)
In terms of electrics I installed two 80mha leisure batteries (installed under the front seats) that are charged from the car battery via a VSR switch or mains hookup. These can power the fridge for two to three days if I go completely off grid). 30 minutes of driving per day will keep on top of the load from the fridge / laptop.
Finally, the Dometic CDF36 van fridge/freezer was expensive but well worth the money!
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