Friday, September 1, 2023

Getting to Van Drop Off (written October 25, 2022)

It is October 2022 - one year after ordering our van and 11 months after choosing Momentum Vans for our build.  So what has been happening during this period.

Lots. Of. Waiting.

I need to remind myself we were/are fine with the wait as this van was more intended as a retirement travel vehicle.  But once we got the van in the driveway (April 2022), we've been very eager to get to the build phase. 

This period has been taken up by us deciding what we want in the van, how it's laid out, and make choices that fit our 80% use case.  Things like bathroom or no bathroom, sleep east/west or north/south,  install DOT approved passenger seats, colors, fabrics, countertops, single or dual burner stove, and what do we install on the exterior - these were all questions we need needed to answer.

We are going with a bathroom/shower space.  We knew we wanted a toilet and knowing we would use it year round (in snow), we didn't want to rely only on an external shower.  Momentum also builds in quick drop shelves so you can use the shower for storage or prep, while being able to quickly convert for using the toilet or shower.    The biggest negatives to adding this this - takes up a lot of space and it's the most expensive part of the build.

Next biggest thing - we have two pugs so we want room in the bed for both of us and the pugs.  We plan to sleep north/south (so longer bed) and we will spend extra to add flares (think of these as the pugs space).  This takes up space but adds a big expense (flares are pricey). 

We did cut back on some external items.  We will not be doing  an aftermarket front bumper with a winch.  I've had a winch on our Xterra for years and never needed it.  Bluntly, I'm pretty cautious about where I go.  Having traction boards will likely solve any issues I may get myself into (hopefully).  We are replacing the fuel tank with a 47 gallon tank - this allows me to keep the spare underneath - so I don't need a rear door spare tire carrier.  I also opted for no storage on the rear door - just a ladder.  All of the things we eliminated can be added later and didn't constrain our van use in anyway.

Passenger seats were removed from our build.  Both of our kids will be out of the house or very close to leaving the nest.  They also have their own car.  So there is really not need to have the DOT approved seats.  We are opting for a cushioned bench seat instead.

We will have T-vent windows at the mid-point of the Van and we will use Awning windows in the flares.  We'll have both a fan and the Nomadic Cooling 2000 watt AC.  We want to ensure we have good ventilation (realizing this eliminates insulation) and the ability to cool quickly.  The pugs can get warm so maintaining cooler temps is important.

As for colors and materials.  Cabinetry will be natural bamboo and the countertops will be Paperstone (Cabernet).  Going for the wine color.  The floors will be 2Tec2 (lava).  Wall covering will be Hester (Moonmist) while the ceiling will be Softside (Pegasus Brilliant White).

Wheels.  Those were challenging to pick out.  I didn't really have a specific wheel.  So I spent time reviewing photos on various van sites to see what look I liked.  Then it's a matter of whether they have the size you want.  For example 16" vs 17".  We want 17" - more aesthetically pleasing.  We ultimately chose Black Rhino Havasu (this ended up changing to Method MR703).  I liked the design and high load rating (3300 lb).

As we decided on all of the bits, we also sat down with Momentum to describe placement of everything.  You might think that in such a small space, what choices do you really have for placement and sizing.  Well, there are numerous decisions to be made...and we've changed our minds several times.  I suspect we'll continue to change some things up until the point we are locked in on design.  One key decision - I wanted the galley on the passenger side so I could look out the sliding door while working on meals.  

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