Vanlife

The Joys of Restoring your Vintage Caravan: Part 1

August 29, 2016

I have always been very passionate about camping and the outdoors. Growing up in Canada has provided me with plenty of opportunities to explore nature. Where most kids grew up playing hockey, I spent my time in the woods with the Scouts or my family and friends. The vast wilderness became my serenity.

Ontario Provincial Parks

I have brought my passion to Australia along with my co-explorer (and wonderful girlfriend) Agnes. We met back in Canada and have been on many adventures together. Over the years we have collected all sorts of camping gear. Most of our time outdoors has been spent hiking and tent camping. We never pictured ourselves camping any other way but that all changed with the arrival of Iago our 1975 vintage Viscount Caravan.

Viscount Caravan

After moving to Sydney, Australia we soon discovered that life outside the city was vast, distant and at times very remote. All national parks and state forests seem to be endless with plenty of hidden gems to be explored, many only accessible by four-wheel drive. For those long holidays we figured that it would be a good idea to have a “base of operations” providing some of the comforts of home. We plan to continue proper bush camping but now home won’t be that far off.

Bush camping

Over the next few months we will breath new life into Iago. I have already been onto numerous websites, social platforms and YouTube channels for inspiration. Let me share a few videos that helped me along the way.

For resealing your caravan windows this one was pretty helpful. And if you’re looking to reseal the corner molding and j-rail this one gives you a pretty good step by step approach.

Recently, I put a trailer together along with my first caravan renovation video to keep everyone up to speed.

So far I have spent the majority of my time replacing all the old butyl caulking around windows and corner molding. I cannot recommend butyl strip caulking enough! This stuff works a treat. Originally, I went to the hardware store and bought a tube of this stuff and it was a mess to work with. Use the butyl strip, it’s easy to work with, non-hardening and flexible. It has been great at keeping dust and water out of the caravan.

viscount caravan

So far very basic tools have been required. A hand drill, screwdriver, some drill bits, hammer, paintbrush, paint roller, cloth rags, mineral spirits and a paint scraper. Most of my time has been spent scrapping off old caulking and silicon (lots of silicon).

Viscount caravan

I have also spent quite some time working on the roof of the caravan. For some reason all the paint was removed right down to the bare metal when I bought it. If anyone knows why, please let me know. Anyway, I spent an entire weekend cleaning and sanding every inch. Afterwards I applied this white paint, which is flexible, dust and heat resistant.

viscount caravan

Inside the caravan Agnes is working on removing the cabinet doors. She is planning on stripping all the knobs and giving everything a fresh coat of paint. It is very surprising to see the amount of hardware already in the caravan. The only tool required so far is a trusty screwdriver.

viscount caravan

We still have lots to do, so please stay tuned. If you have any tips please share them with us know. We do want to keep the theme 70s retro with a modern and rustic twist.

Keep exploring and sharing your stories,

Brad

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  • Reply Tammara December 18, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    So glad I read this, we’re about to start the butyl caulking next weekend and have a tube ready, now thanks to your advice I’ve bought the tape, wish us luck ?

    • Reply Agnes December 19, 2016 at 8:44 am

      Hey Tammara,
      Wishing you all the best for your reno project!
      Im not sure if youve seen our reno videos on our youtube channel but Ive learned that the butyl tape is best for windows and doors; and the ezy-caulk is a better product to use on the j-rails and corner molding.
      If you havent seen them and want to check them out our reno videos are on http://www.youtube.com/c/blackpepperabroad
      Thanks for reading our blog,
      If you have any other questions let me know.
      Brad

  • Reply Agnes August 29, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Thats a great tip Jim. We actually already have LEDs installed next to the regular light bulbs, they work amazing and last a really long time!! Props to the previous owner who installed that.

    -Agnes

  • Reply Jim Baker August 29, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Brad change all the light bulbs to L.E.Ds you will extend your 12v battery use . But I’m sure you already have thought of that .

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