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Sleeper Sleeper: Toyota Sienna Campervan Build

Discussion in 'Quitters' Club' started by Boyink, Jan 31, 2021.

  1. May 10, 2022
    hudsonhawk

    hudsonhawk Well-Known Member 2020 Sponsor

    North Texas...
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    I love the sleeper concept of your van.

    I need to think about a camping set up for my new Grand Cherokee L. The 2nd and 3rd rows both lay down flat. Plenty of room for a bed but not a lot of storage space.
     
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  2. May 10, 2022
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
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    If you can elevate the bed, that's your storage space. We're pretty much all under the bed in the Toyota.

    I see other builds where the kitchen is either in front of or behind the bed and all I can figure is the owners are short.
     
    Zoomer likes this.
  3. May 10, 2022
    hudsonhawk

    hudsonhawk Well-Known Member 2020 Sponsor

    North Texas...
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    Unfortunately, I don't have the headroom you do. Creating under-bed storage would leave me cramped against the roof for sleeping I think. I will need to put the seats down, crawl in and contemplate what I can do.

    Removeable modules are probably my best bet if I do that.
     
    Boyink likes this.
  4. May 14, 2022
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
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    iowa.jpg

    Back home from MN. Didn't go quite as planned.

    We ended up bailing on a WI state park reservation because the site was so bad and the rest of the park so rundown and they had cheesed me off by charging a $11 day use fee in addition to the camping fees. That's the second strike for WI state parks...probably won't try another.

    So we just drove until I was dog-tired, then stopped at an Iowa Walmart. It was too busy to think about overnighting in, so I used freecampsites.net to look for options. Found the above spot just two miles down the road for $10/night. Pretty little county campground - figured it would be jam packed on a nice May weekend but there was only one other camper there.

    The spot you see is the furthest one back in the corner of the park.

    We sleep with our heads amidships - which puts us right by the side doors. I love it when the temps and bugs let me sleep with the door open. I was doing that here....letting the gurgle of the river lull me to sleep.

    I had just drifted off...when.....

    Splash!

    It woke me up.

    Figured a fish had jumped.

    Then a bigger splash....and continued splashing.

    Now I was wondering if a deer was crossing the stream and had gotten stuck...or some local kids were having fun and crossing the stream.

    But no other sounds. No animal breathing or whimpering.

    And no human giggling or cussing.

    The splashing continued....I got up and tried aiming my headlamp towards the sound. I have a good one..but it was slightly foggy and the range was limited. I couldn't see any movement.

    All the while the splashing is going on.

    Then it stopped.

    Then a couple seconds later to my right was what sounded like a stone coming through the trees...then ker-splunking into the water.

    Another kersplunk and splash.

    And another.

    Sounded like good-size stones.

    Now I'm wondering what's on the other side of the river. I couldn't tell if there was access there or not. I did see traffic in the distance through the woods.

    So there I stand (MsBoyink, I should note, is sawing logs through all of this...I wish I could sleep like she does).

    Am I being punked by kids with a slingshot or something?

    I stood there for around 15 minutes waiting...and no more sounds came from anywhere. No giggling. No movement through the trees. Just quiet woods in the night.

    I figure I'm not going to sleep well in this spot now, so got in and moved the van closer up to the front of the campground (and other camper) where I lay awake for a while wondering still what was going on.

    After waking up I drove us back to the spot for breakfast.

    I walked the banks where I could, looking for tracks in the mud. Just found a few deer tracks, but they didn't go close to the water.

    I still couldn't figure out what had happened....until a big bird flew through the woods. I didn't see what it was...but it gave me the idea that all the noise and splashing I heard was a bird of prey or an owl attacking something, getting airborne with it, then dropping pieces of it as it flew.

    I can't imagine what else it could have been.....
     
    SKT, Ol Fogie, jzeber and 2 others like this.
  5. May 15, 2022
    Ol Fogie

    Ol Fogie 74 cj5 304, 1943 mb 2020 Sponsor

    Jasper Georgia
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    We have spent a few of those nights ourselves camping in unfamiliar spots. Especially in known bear and cat territory. Strange sounds usually turns out to be something completely harmless, it is just confusing and unnerving not to be unable to identify it.
    Once when camping along the Alaska Hwy in a remote spot, I happened to be awake late when I suddenly hear what sounds like loud foot steps rapidly crunching in the gravel along side the camper. By the time I get up to see it was gone, could see nothing. Next morning there were big muddy boot tracks where someone had came by like they were probably running (long stride} they had not tried to miss a muddy spot near by but rather ran straight thru it onto the gravel by my truck and kept on going. Would have thought there would not of been anyone around for miles. :shrug:.
     
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  6. May 15, 2022
    Ol Fogie

    Ol Fogie 74 cj5 304, 1943 mb 2020 Sponsor

    Jasper Georgia
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    Once camping near the Great Smokey Mt Nat Park in a tent, we hear crunching outside, several directions, turned out to be several polecats ( skunks ) all around eating something crunchy in the area around us. Went on for hour or so then they left. Whew, we didn't make any sudden moves or sounds for a while.
     
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  7. May 15, 2022
    ITLKSEZ

    ITLKSEZ Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

    Post Falls, ID
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    We are never aloneā€¦
    :D
     
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  8. May 15, 2022
    Snoops

    Snoops If I could get over the vertigo, I'd be done! 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Idaho
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    Sasquatch!!!!!
     
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  9. May 15, 2022
    Ol Fogie

    Ol Fogie 74 cj5 304, 1943 mb 2020 Sponsor

    Jasper Georgia
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    That was my first thought as well, then my wife said " what size boots do you think he was wearing?"
     
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  10. May 15, 2022
    Jw60

    Jw60 WRPD855 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Sedalia MO.
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    Obviously he nibbled on some tires to make sandals
     
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  11. May 17, 2022
    jeepstar

    jeepstar Well-Known Member 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Sheboygan
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    Which park?
     
  12. May 17, 2022
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
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    Perrot State Park.
     
  13. Jun 4, 2022
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
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    Some recent modifications to our Toyota #siennacamper:

    IMG_3275.jpeg

    #1: Camco RV paper towel holder slides onto a bracket which means you can remove it for transport or to use at the picnic table.
    #2. I split the rear bed section and hinged the two sections separately. This lets us access either the cooler or the dry food independently without having to clear everything off.
    #3. Added a place to hang the trash bag where any drips go on the ground vs. in the van.
    #4. Added a small table. It wedges under a piece of angle iron, and stows between the cooler and rear of van.

    IMG_3279.jpg

    Telescopic towel bars made from electric conduit attached to the roof rack. Hitch pins hold the inner bars in place during transit.

    00054F8F-B425-470E-B40F-07ED66401CEB.JPG

    This is what we built the van for - free camping at Missouri Conservation Areas. This one had a small camping area with a pit toilet. Other than a few people visiting the boat launch into a river we had the place to ourself Friday night and most of Saturday. It was very quiet, mostly just birdsong and some cows in the distance.

    Then the advantage of not paying for a campsite kicked in. It got a little busier, we'd each had enough so packed up at 6:00 PM and headed home.

    The next big puzzle is being able to charge devices after a couple days. I know all the cool kids go solar but I'm not sure the expense is worth it. More research to do.
     
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  14. Jun 4, 2022
    Glenn

    Glenn Kinda grumpy old man Staff Member

    Apopka, Fl
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    FWIW there are portable, chargeable lights that can also be used to charge devices. I bought a couple at Costco. I have no idea if they would work for what you need.
     
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  15. Jun 4, 2022
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
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    Yea - there are all kinds of gadgets to sort through. I already have a little LED lantern that has a little solar cell on top and a jack to charge other things. Didn't do much for MsBoyink's iPhone though.

    I'm leaning towards adding a 2nd "house" battery. There's room under the hood, easy enough to isolate and charge while driving. Then we can swap to a 12v fridge and stop managing ice, plus have enough juice to charge things. Could add solar down the road.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2022
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  16. Jun 4, 2022
    Glenn

    Glenn Kinda grumpy old man Staff Member

    Apopka, Fl
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    I was pretty sure you were aware of them but figured I'd throw the thought out. I haven't tried the charger part so I don't know how well they work. Having a second automotive battery would definitely be a big plus.
     
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  17. Jun 5, 2022
    Ol Fogie

    Ol Fogie 74 cj5 304, 1943 mb 2020 Sponsor

    Jasper Georgia
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    x2, We added 2 aux batteries for our little camper, If we are conservative we can camp up to three days, (not using the furnace) just led lights, recharge phones, 12 volt cooler and the water pump. Driving the truck re charges them. We debated solar but with us moving to a new campsite almost every day or 2 the truck keeps them charged just fine. Also if we camp in a developed campground we can just plug up to a 15 amp service and the camper not only runs on the 110 volt but it has an internal charger for the aux batteries. I have a switched isolator bypass so that in an emergency the camper batt charger can be used to charge the truck starting batteries from either the 110 hookup or a small generator (Honda 2000) we carry for those 3-4 day campouts at reunions and camp meetings.
     
  18. Jun 5, 2022
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
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    A friend has good things to say about these Bluetti units. One runs his 12v fridge for a few days.

    Price seems steep, but by the time you buy a battery, inverter, and all the plugs/connectors it might be close to that anyway.

    And we just topped 200K on this van - not sure how much more I want to build into the van vs. things I could easily port to another vehicle.
     
  19. Jun 5, 2022
    Ol Fogie

    Ol Fogie 74 cj5 304, 1943 mb 2020 Sponsor

    Jasper Georgia
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    Over on one the Rv blogs some of those guys claim to be able to continually run their 12 volt danfross compressor coolers non stop year round with the correct solar setup of solar panels, controllers and AGM batterys. Not sure of all the details though.
     
  20. Jun 13, 2022
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
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    FWIW we just turned over 200K on this thing. Bought it with 184K. Never had a high-mileage car run and drive so well. Doesn't burn oil - which just plain freaks me out.
     
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