Camper vans and motorhomes are great vehicles for sports. They offer space to carry sporting equipment, somewhere to sleep if staying overnight and somewhere to make hot drinks and food. Below are some tips about carrying and storing sporting equipment.
Self built camper vans are a very popular option for those people with motorbikes. Many people convert the back of the van into a small garage, leaving the forward area as a living space. More details to appear here soon.
It is always better to store surfboards inside the van, rather than on top. Surfboards that are attached to the top of the van are likely to be stolen or may even come off when driving. Storing surfboards inside the van is generally done in one of two ways.
Strapping surfboards to the ceiling or walls of a van
If you have a van you cannot stand in (VW transporter, Mercedes Vito, etc) you can strap the surfboards to the ceiling, and it will not affect you when sitting in the van. If you have a medium or high top van you can strap the surfboards to the side of the ceiling, rather than in the middle, where you would reduce head height. Strapping surfboards to the walls are also a good option, especially if you have seating that runs down the side of the van, as the head space above the seating is probably not used. Also consider the head space in the cab, above the driver and passenger. This is normally dead space, and is good for storing at least part of the surfboards, with the rest running into the back of the van.
As most surfboard have the same profile you can store several on top of each other. Top-to-tail works well also, as the fins don’t interfere with each other. Storing the surfboards in socks is generally better than padded bags, as the padded bags take up a lot of room.
Straps with a quick release buckle are the best. Having a bungee can also help to quickly attached the surfboard, and then secure more tightly with the strap. Cupboard door handles make great strapping points. If your van is ply lined you can easily screw the handles onto the ply. Make sure that the handles have screw holes on the front, and not on the back, as is common with most kitchen cupboard handles these days.
If you are taking a longboard you will need to carefully consider where to store it. Mini-mals are less of a problem, but still require consideration.
Under floor storage
You might want to consider putting in a false floor to the van. This gives a large storage compartment underneath, normally with access holes at the back, accessible when the rear doors of the van are open. This will increase the height of everything in the van, but the boards, and anything else you put in there, are completely out of the way. You will reduce the head height in the van doing this.
Roof top storage boxes
Some regular roof box storage boxes are big enough to fit shortboards in. These aren’t too expensive, and are easily available. The storage boxes attach to roof racks or roof bars.
If you have mini-mal boards to store you can buy specialist surfboard storage boxes, which are bigger than regular storage boxes, but these are more expensive.
You can store surfboards by strapping them to roof racks. This isn’t recommended though for a long trip. The boards are at risk from theft or damage when you leave the vehicle unattended, or are sleeping inside.
Storing wind surfing equipment
More information to appear here soon.
Storing wet sports equipment
Just like when at home it is always best to store your equipment when dry. See below for tips on drying clothes and gear. But when travelling in a van it is not always possible to dry everything in time.
A water proof sports bag is great for keeping all of your surfing gear in. You can keep everything together such as shorts, rash vests, a dedicated sports towel (a good idea, it keeps you shower towel free from sand), boots, wax, etc. If you are not able to dry all of your gear before you need to move on you can just put it all in the bag, zip it up and put it in a locker or cupboard. It won’t smell and make anything else wet.
Drying wet clothes and equipment
A clothes dryer designed for hanging over a radiator is excellent for not only drying clothes but also for drying shorts and rash vests. It is also good for hanging wetsuits on a hanger, as it keeps the wetsuit away from the van and allows air to circulate around, drying it more quickly.
A line or rope tied between a tree is also good, but the radiator hanger doesn’t need any trees.