Vanlife Q&A: Want a high top? Check your local junkyard. This was at one I stopped at they said around $150 for it.

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

Want a high top? Check your local junkyard. This was at one I stopped at they said around $150 for it.

My thoughts:

There are plenty of decent parts on wrecked or junked cars, even if you stay away from the main engine mechanical stuff. Tire carriers, springs, doors, hoods, all sorts of interior trims, etc.

Vanlife Q&A: Does converting a van require a change in registration / insurance?

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

Does converting a van require a change in registration / insurance?

My thoughts:

You don’t have to, but often there can be benefits. Some states have lower registration fees (while others are higher) and the insurance can be lower since there are statistically less incidents involving RVs. Then again, if they deem the value to be significantly more than the van it could increase your premium.

Call your agent and talk to them and research the DMV fees, and any property tax rates if applicable.

Vanlife Q&A: Low-profile roof vent?

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

Low-profile roof vent?

My thoughts:

You can get a [manual opening version ](https://www.amazon.com/Maxxair-00-04000K-12V-Roof-Vent/dp/B0050EEO94?tag=beachfront08-20) that is much lower profile and let’s you control how open you want it to be.

But as mentioned in other comments the limitation is that you can’t use it in the rain and it’s pretty unstable on the lid if open while driving.

Personally I would go with the [white Maxxair fan](https://www.amazon.com/Maxxair-00-05100K-MaxxFan-Ventillation-Opening/dp/B002OWAIB8?tag=beachfront08-20) because I don’t think it is all that noticeable. Plenty of white work vans have stuff on the top. If you really want stealth, get a used ladder rack and stick a ladder on there to help hide the fan and disguise yourself 🙂

Vanlife Q&A: Advice on painting laminate cabinets

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

Advice on painting laminate cabinets

My thoughts:

Easiest way I have done this is using Cabinet Rescue paint. Sand enough to scuff down then paint on. No primer required.

Those cabinets are pretty trashed based the picture of the chip board so I wouldn’t worry about trying to make them perfect. I’d probably roll and brush them without taking the doors off.

Vanlife Q&A: Those of you who installed roof racks and solar showers, how bad did it hurt your MPG?

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

Those of you who installed roof racks and solar showers, how bad did it hurt your MPG?

My thoughts:

Made very little difference for me. However the wind noise is a factor so plan on addressing that if you can with a deflector.

I have a basket over the cab, a light bar, and a full length rack with solar over the pop top.

Vanlife Q&A: Working remote with hotspots?

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

Working remote with hotspots?

My thoughts:

I highly recommend [this LTE router](https://www.amazon.com/Peplink-Pepwave-Cellular-Router-MAX-BR1-MINI-LTE-US-T/dp/B01MR5YKF9/?tag=beachfront08-20)

I looked around for a bunch, and this is by far the most professional one that is still not ridiculously priced. It can take 2 SIM cards and for each card you can load up a number of plans, set data limits to switch from one plan to another and prioritize them. Plus it accepts external antennas and is easy to 12v hardwire. It is basically designed for this kind of use for professionals. Not some hoaky hotspot that charges via USB and is tied to a provider.

That plus the $35/mo unlimited AT&T data only plan from ebay for primiary, a Verizon plan as the backup and external antennae and booster if you need them where you’ll be and you should be dialed in.

Vanlife Q&A: New question – how do I hook up an alternator isolator? No space for another clamp?

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

New question – how do I hook up an alternator isolator? No space for another clamp?

My thoughts:

You could get a [kit with the cable and terminals included](https://www.amazon.com/Dual-Battery-Isolator-KeyLine-Chargers/dp/B00WTAFR5W?tag=beachfront08-20) if you don’t want to get them crimped or do them yourself.

However, I like [this style isolator better](https://www.amazon.com/Cole-Hersee-48160-Battery-Isolator/dp/B001FQOGK8?tag=beachfront08-20) where the alternator output goes to one pole and each of the other poles go to the batteries. This way it truly isolates them vs the other which is more of a charging relay and basically connects the batteries in parallel for the purpose of charging because it requires bridging from the battery terminal itself.

Vanlife Q&A: The worst part of planning your rv route? What makes it difficult?

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

The worst part of planning your rv route? What makes it difficult?

My thoughts:

Random thoughts of things that can be important:

Lane widths, bridge or road weight or axle limits. Road surface conditions (not weather, actual road surface as in rust, pot holes, etc)

Construction zones and delays, height limits,

Weather conditions and preferences as they factor into your specific vehicle. For example, cross winds on the great divide may make you slow down to 60mph on I-80 when you could be going the longer way to the SE via I 10 or I 40 but still making better time.

Also weather conditions along the route so I can choose a route that not only gets me there but makes it easy to avoid inclement weather or super hot conditions, etc.

Understanding fuel burn difference on route based on not only distance but speed. Ex, I get 3mpg better at 60 than 80mph.

Distance to next fuel stops and what the prices are. Kind of like a heads up display.

Waze like info on police and road hazards, toll avoidance, and such.

Would be cool to be able to add messages/notes for other drivers to comment on things. Like fuel station restroom cleanliness, shower prices, road hazards.

More detailed info about overnight stops. Rest areas don’t always allow overnight and neither do all Walmart’s for example. Being able to search for them and have it up to date with municipal codes or other restrictions that don’t allow for overnights.

Food stops to make your own besides rest areas. Ex a nice little park only a mile off the main road.

Repair locations and what they work on.

Ideally create the profile for my vehicle and it will factor all those variables into everything. Fuel cost, routes, restrictions, etc.

For those with small campers and vans there may be additional features, like finding clean cheap showers or nice boondocking / stealth camping spots.

RV park listings and easy reservations for them plus campgrounds, hotels, and state or national parks without having to go through a bunch of other sites. Just click “book” for the dates you want and the app proxies it.

And all in one app please, as a heads up display and being able to control my music from phone or pandora and have all this work offline as well as connected.

I understand the massive amount of work this would be and work in a similar tech space. Feel free to DM if you’d like to actually discuss via phone or email. I have full timed in a travel trailer and about to do it in a camper van again.