Beth Buczynski

Adventurous Couple Meanders Down the Pan-American Highway in a Solar-Powered 1967 VW Van

by , 01/19/13

Dangerz, Volkswagen, green travel, retrofit, solar panels, RV, camper, Pan-American Highway, VW, design, eco-friendly materials,

The Dangerz started by pulling out the wet, rotten and moldy foam and shag that was on every inch of the bus. This huge task revealed a sticky yellow glue residue that had to be removed as well (and proved even nastier). Having all of that ick out of the bus was much better for breathing, but hard on the ears. The empty van was basically a tin can on wheels. They installed a layer of foil-backed butyl (RAAM’s BXTII) on almost every surface to reduce vibration and provide the perfect thump testing grounds, and then covered that with closed cell foam (ensolite) to stop ambient noise bouncing around inside the bus.

Then it was time to imagine an interior that could double as a home while on the road. The Dangerz eventually decided on a variation of the traditional “Westy” van interior design, and set about installing the needed bed, seats, cabinets and kitchen equipment themselves.  A few months later, they had a popup table attached to the rear cargo door; perfect for holding the tunes and happy hour beverage of choice.  To the right is the propane cooktop with kitchen storage above and a space for a water tank below. The fridge lives on the left, right next to the lounge/couch that has spare tire storage underneath. The slats that make up the couch pull out to form the bed.  At the front the slats simply latch onto the cooktop cabinet.  By the fridge, the two low cabinet doors open to form a base for the bed. No, the material on the cabinet doors and fridge face isn’t bamboo. It’s Kirei, another eco-material, made of 100 percent recycled sorghum root. “We found it absolutely beautiful and thought the contrast and texture were perfect for the camper,” write the Dangerz.

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