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caravan living. :)

Hi ya all.

I am down in sunny Essex.
we purchased and old small holding the house is well it is in serious need of either a refurb and or a complete start again.
we are lucky we have ample storage using the barns and our ducks and chickens.

so we are in process of planning our escape from town life and heading into the world of a more self sufficient lifestyle.

I grew up living semi self sufficient. but would like to go the whole 9 yards (fingers crossed)

ok sorry I digress.

we are planning to live on site whilst we do work. (thanks to some amazing friends who are builders, electricians and plumbers) so this would be in a static caravan. I have read ALOT about how to survive the cold and I have a question regarding the idea of a Wood stove.

I understand a very basic idea but I am other than that a blank canvas.

where would I find out how and where to source these out and how to install.
also any advise on gas and electric set up to ensue the most efficient process.

we are defiantly going to use straw bales and also use to insulate an "porch" area.

I am a mum of 3 with a very good hubby who is working very hard to fund our ever grander plans.

and please feel free to send any advise or anything as all is welcome.....

sorry feel like I have asked a lot.

This has been discussed quite a bit on here. I think that some people on here are living like this at the moment. I am hopeless at searching, sorry. Someone will be along shortly. Smile

If you put wood stove caravan in the search you get loads of posts! Smile

Ask more. At least a few people here have lived on site during a rebuild. Some with kids, some with winters, some with ducks and some with woodbirners on site.


thank you all I will do as advised I love this site

Speaking as someone with a multi-fuel stove in a house:

1. Make sure whatever you install is properly installed and sealed with some sort of cowl on the top of the chimney so you don't get much rain running in down the chimney.
2. Buy a carbon monoxide alarm
3. Depending on age of kids get a really solid fireguard - the stoves get HOT.
4. Start stockpiling scrap wood now, ideally under cover.
5. Coal gives more heat and is easier to bank (cover in ash) overnight.
6. Put the stove on a nice wide hearth with a rim on it, so any burning log that falls out has somewhere fireproof to land and can't roll off the fireproof area.
7. Buy one of those non-electric campstove kettles and have it full of water on top the hot stove. It may or may not boil it, but it saves you electric on tea making and is often a good temperature for soaking tired feet or filling a hot water bottle.

hello ,get a good stove and install it properly heating ,cooking and hot water sorted in one unit

c vans can be very chilly but stopping the wind from blowing underneath helps (make it a skirt with bales or canvas )

minus 15 c in the bedroom was my record without a burner ,even the newfie wolf cross climbed under the covers

beware rats like underneath vans .chooks will steal breakfast and a pig in the bed can be a bit muddy so a half n half door is nice

with a bit of effort a static can be improved so as to be nicer than most houses
a really good idea is to make a boot room/porch to separate inside and outside ,this can double as a wood store etc .

if you put electric in remember to earth the skin to a rod as well as the circuit

get a smoke alarm,get a co alarm Wink

something i remember as annoying but easily fixed was the layout of walls ,seating ,fixed beds etc in a standard type of 32 ft static

i used it in the rough and for instance the inline,very narrow kitchen it was built with was difficult to use

(i went for bell tent and burner for the next winter which is nice for one man and his dogs but maybe not best for a family)

when was it became a family home removing bench seats ,sections of wall etc seemed simple and made a "sleeps six " into a sleeps 2 and a nipper with an open plan living/kitchen section fairly easily
the standard static layout is not the best use of the floor area for most types of family

as far as value for money a cheap used static + transport and a few alterations ,connections etc can be done to a decent basic standard for less than a years rent of somewhere that would probably be less nice and further away and you can sell it on or keep it when the house is done
bulworthy project

Great advice so far. Would add:

Put the woodburner as low as possible because heat rises so you want it on the floor not on a stand.

Consider the air flow caused by the rising air. Make sure that the air will flow around the whole living area so that you don't get cold and therefore damp areas. Making a gap between the walls and matresses really helps.

Season your wood well. People will tell you that ash and holly burn green but all woods burn better seasoned.

Try to site your caravan in a sunny south facing spot. It may get a bit too warm during the day in the summer but you can spend summer days outside. It helps with damp and heat in the winter when it matters.

Replace all lights with LEDs. They're more expensive but not as expensive as generating power.

I have found that a wood pile is counter productive. If you have wood, you burn it. If, however, you have a stack of large logs that still need splitting, I find I wear jumpers longer, and when the nagging becomes too much, I go and chop wood, and find that I'm much warmer than previously, in around 20 minutes.

Whereabouts in Essex? We're near Billericay

I have been living in a caravan alone, for a number of years. I would face it south, under a barn if you can-you don't step out into the nasties and you can abandon your wellies outside and less blows away under the barn as it is 3 sided.

Lived in 3 static vans in a U-shape config for 8 yrs. Had a 30'x8' space in the middle, which was covered over in corrugated plastic, and blocked off the open end with timber and put a door in. The coal boiler lived here which fed 2 radiators in each caravan, and kept the worst of the cold at bay. Also washing m/c's, dryers and freezers lived here as well.
Even though I'd insulated the water pipes underneath and boarded around the perimeter, the pipes still froze up. (-20'c one year)
If ever I had to suffer this again, god forbid, I think I would re-plumb all the pipework inside the van, as this was the greatest bugbear!
Don't forget to tie the van down to the ground if you are in a windy spot.
I don't envy you one bit!!

Was just thinking of this thread so came back to say - somewhere to dry the coats. Maybe a second hand greenhouse near your door?

Having somewhere for raincoats to drip dry and ideally get a bit further on to drying is essential. We live in a house without a porch (one pending....) and on very wet days get through several coats going out to deal with the livestock. Putting on a wet coat to go out into driving rain is bleh.
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