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Star Party Accomodation....Minivan + __________.

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#1 Cotts

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 03:51 PM

I shall be attending several star parties each year but I am no longer going to sleep on the floor/ground in a tent.  No siree - bin dere done dat!  Mini vans are really comfy with a foam pad... But where to sit, store a few things etc....where do you live while at the star party?...

 

A few years ago I MacGyvered a star party 'home' from a 10' square 'gazebo' tent from Walmart.  I backed my minivan into it, raised the back gate and kind of tucked the loose material around the back of the van.  I slept in the van and the gazebo served as a 'vestibule' where I could put stuff and sit, entertain etc....  

see pic:

IMG_1852.jpg  

and

IMG_0122 (1).jpg

 

Not bad but the gazebo only lasted about two years - broken rivets, ripped and lost its waterproofing... and had to be thrown away.  Cheap crap.... But the concept has stayed with me...

 

So this product   tapped me on the shoulder today...   It is a far more sophisticated way of attaching a tent to a van. (The Brits call it an 'awning' but it is a tent).   It attaches at the side of the minivan rather than the back and has numerous straps/bungees to secure it to the vehicle and seems to make a pretty good seal.  It is expensive - will probably hit $1000 CAD shipped but it appears to be extremely well made...  It is waaaaaaay less expensive than a camper/trailer, that's for sure... Any UK folks have any gear from this company?

 

When set-up you can easily detach it and drive away for day-excursions.   Sleep in the van with the doors closed for mosquito-proofing...

 

What cleverness have others come up with?   What haven't i thought of?

 

I'll be wanting something for OkieTex....... 

 

Dave

 

 


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#2 ShaulaB

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 04:14 PM

I do not know about this product, sorry. We have a minivan too, so it caught my interest.

BUT my husband has used an EZ-Up 10' x 10' canopy for twenty years, 8 or 9 weekends a year, with Midwestern wind and summer rain. No loss of waterproofing ever, and no repairs have been needed. We also have a cheapo canopy which as been a pain regarding durability.
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#3 Bill Jensen

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 04:29 PM

Dave, I used to sleep in the car, then in the back of mini vans that I rented at the airport. The air mattress/sleeping bag combo still got old. Now when I go to the star party of choice, I rent an RV. It is worth every $$. It gives me shut eye when I crash about 4 AM, and that sleep means so much especially when I am there for at least a week.

 

Your solution looks great  but I could not carry a modified tent with me on the plane with the rest of my "stuff"

 

Some of the RV rentals have been problematic but now I have found a place that picks me up at the airport and then drops me back after I return. The same outfit rents to the family that sets up next to me. 



#4 alphatripleplus

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 04:33 PM

 

 

What cleverness have others come up with?   What haven't i thought of?

 

I'll be wanting something for OkieTex....... 

 

Dave

How much wind can it handle before suffering damage of some sort?



#5 SkyArcher

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 04:42 PM

This is the hot new thing around here.  

 

https://www.roadaffa...-rooftop-tents/

 

I can see five cars in the parking lot right now that has these new rooftop tents.  I’d might buy one but I don’t see how to get my dog up and down the ladder. I guess people feel safe in them from bears, snakes and other things that crawl on the ground.


Edited by SkyArcher, 25 June 2021 - 04:13 PM.


#6 csa/montana

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 04:59 PM

If the wind catches that, people inside would have a great ride, and sudden stop when it hits the ground.grin.gif


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#7 kkt

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 05:08 PM

If the wind catches that, people inside would have a great ride, and sudden stop when it hits the ground.grin.gif

And wake up to a bunch of small people welcoming you to Munchkinland.


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#8 photoracer18

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 05:08 PM

Just do a google search for "tent addons for vans and pickups" and you will find lots of gear.



#9 JimMo

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 07:53 PM

Hi Dave, Weren't you buying a cargo trailer to convert for star party use? Or a pop up camper? Seem to remember a thread about it a little while ago.



#10 Cotts

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 10:14 PM

Hi Dave, Weren't you buying a cargo trailer to convert for star party use? Or a pop up camper? Seem to remember a thread about it a little while ago.

Jim, I'm floating lots of ideas on CN.  Cargo trailer conversion, pop-up, compact camper/trailer and now this van/tent combo....

 

and i get plenty of ideas back...

 

probably some shiny thing has yet to catch my eye...

 

Dave
 


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#11 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 12:23 AM

What about something like this??? Has AC if you have a hook up… sink and kitchen.. but no bathroom.. but that’s not an issue with camping facilities available near by!

 

 

 

 

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#12 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 12:25 AM

Hatch back kitchen..

 

 

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#13 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 12:26 AM

And the Oh so comfy bed on wheels!

 

 

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#14 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 12:27 AM

And the other end with AC and storage..

 

 

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#15 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 12:28 AM

And it IS shiny!!! lol.gif


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#16 Bill Weir

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 01:39 AM

This is what I settled on for star parties. https://www.leesurelitetrailers.ca I see there is a dealership in Ontario. I picked up mine at the factory in the Okanagan. I have the burgundy version because any lighting I have on inside shows as dim red outside. For when I go camping with my wife I have both the solid sided zip on tent and the screen tent. One attaches to each side. With both I have about 150 sq ft of floor space. It has withstood 50-60+ km wind at a mountain top.

 

Here’s me setup at the Mt Kobau star party. It folds up into the size of a double bed on wheels. A car barely knows it’s pulling anything. Look into other motorcycle trailers. 

 

Bill

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#17 AtlantaAstro

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 08:24 AM

Dave, I used to sleep in the car, then in the back of mini vans that I rented at the airport. The air mattress/sleeping bag combo still got old. Now when I go to the star party of choice, I rent an RV. It is worth every $$. It gives me shut eye when I crash about 4 AM, and that sleep means so much especially when I am there for at least a week.

 

Your solution looks great  but I could not carry a modified tent with me on the plane with the rest of my "stuff"

 

Some of the RV rentals have been problematic but now I have found a place that picks me up at the airport and then drops me back after I return. The same outfit rents to the family that sets up next to me. 

What’s the name of the place you use for pickup and drop off? Thanks!



#18 Jim1804

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 09:32 AM

Following - using my minivan as a camper for astrotrips has been on my radar for a long time - there’s a huge rabbit hole you can go down online with this. Mine still has to ferry kids to and from school, so I can’t do anything permanent, but there's some cool stuff out there!

Edited by Jim1804, 25 June 2021 - 09:33 AM.


#19 MikeMiller

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 09:43 AM

This is the hot new thing around here.  

 

https://www.roadaffa...-rooftop-tents/

 

I can see five cars in the parking lot right now that has these new rooftop. tents.  I’d might buy one but I don’t see how to get my dog up and down from them.  I guess people feel safe in them from bears, snakes and other things that crawl on the ground.

 

These seem like an excellent way to fall and break my hip while getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. :)

 

What do these people do when it is raining out, just get everything wet?



#20 MikeMiller

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 09:47 AM

What about something like this??? Has AC if you have a hook up… sink and kitchen.. but no bathroom.. but that’s not an issue with camping facilities available near by!

The trailer is bigger than the car, it is so adorable!

 

I am also surprised it is able to tow it, how much does the trailer weight when loaded?



#21 happylimpet

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 09:50 AM

we have this one, fits on the side of my VW T4 (eurovan i think you call them)

 

http://www.sunncamp....ducts/show/1403

 

much cheaper than your link!!!! so far so good! not expecting to get many year from it but its been brilliant so far.



#22 DSOGabe

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 10:52 AM

Jim, I'm floating lots of ideas on CN.  Cargo trailer conversion, pop-up, compact camper/trailer and now this van/tent combo....

 

and i get plenty of ideas back...

 

probably some shiny thing has yet to catch my eye...

 

Dave
 

I too recall of your plans for the pop-up camper. I would say that is the best idea. A real bed and at least a minimal kitchen goes a long way in making things comfortable


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#23 astrokeith

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 11:07 AM

I shall be attending several star parties each year but I am no longer going to sleep on the floor/ground in a tent.  No siree - bin dere done dat!  Mini vans are really comfy with a foam pad... But where to sit, store a few things etc....where do you live while at the star party?...

 

A few years ago I MacGyvered a star party 'home' from a 10' square 'gazebo' tent from Walmart.  I backed my minivan into it, raised the back gate and kind of tucked the loose material around the back of the van.  I slept in the van and the gazebo served as a 'vestibule' where I could put stuff and sit, entertain etc....  

see pic:

attachicon.gifIMG_1852.jpg

and

attachicon.gifIMG_0122 (1).jpg

 

Not bad but the gazebo only lasted about two years - broken rivets, ripped and lost its waterproofing... and had to be thrown away.  Cheap crap.... But the concept has stayed with me...

 

So this product   tapped me on the shoulder today...   It is a far more sophisticated way of attaching a tent to a van. (The Brits call it an 'awning' but it is a tent).   It attaches at the side of the minivan rather than the back and has numerous straps/bungees to secure it to the vehicle and seems to make a pretty good seal.  It is expensive - will probably hit $1000 CAD shipped but it appears to be extremely well made...  It is waaaaaaay less expensive than a camper/trailer, that's for sure... Any UK folks have any gear from this company?

 

When set-up you can easily detach it and drive away for day-excursions.   Sleep in the van with the doors closed for mosquito-proofing...

 

What cleverness have others come up with?   What haven't i thought of?

 

I'll be wanting something for OkieTex....... 

 

Dave

I've seen one of those here in the UK. Good quality awning. We had 30-40mph gusts and it didnt flinch.

 

Its an awning because it is an attachment to a van. This is important on UK campsites where it is usually one van or one tent per pitch. We often have to pay extra too!



#24 rhetfield

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 11:44 AM

Jim, I'm floating lots of ideas on CN.  Cargo trailer conversion, pop-up, compact camper/trailer and now this van/tent combo....

 

and i get plenty of ideas back...

 

probably some shiny thing has yet to catch my eye...

 

Dave
 

My cousin does the cargo trailer conversion for hunting.  He put some kitchen cabinets  and countertop with a small sink and camp stove.  He sleeps on an army cot.  Stuffs his ATV in it for transport, then pulls it out at camp.

 

I got a pick-up with a cap and pull a 19' trailer.  It can boondock for a week or so before running out of battery in the summer, but only lasts 3 days in the snow (furnace runs the battery down).  For a single person, a smaller trailer would have plenty of room and be easier to pull with a smaller vehicle.

 

A lot of people who do the van thing put the bed on a platform so they can store stuff underneath.


Edited by rhetfield, 25 June 2021 - 11:46 AM.

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#25 Cotts

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 12:13 PM

Lots of great ideas!!  Thanks!

 

My current thinking, which is subject to change at any moment, is that spending $10k -$20k on a trailer that will be used at most 5x a year is not fiscally wise..  Also, towing a trailer in the winter to get to the Winter Star Party (on my to-do list for the foreseeable...) is probably a dumb idea at best. 

 

I have slept many times in my mini-vans (I've had 3 or 4 over the past couple of decades)It is very comfortable with an Ikea foam mattress - as comfortable as any 'real' bed.  I first fit a sheet of 5/16" plywood onto the floor of the van to even things out.  Then a layer of the 2'x2' interlocking closed cell foam tiles. 

 

I might be quite happy with an EZ-up 10'x10' canopy and backing my minivan in as shown in my OP.  But there are so many excellent tent-minivan combos which appear very functional. I don't recall these existing a decade ago when those pictures were taken...  Advantages of these tent/van/combo thingys - a floor, privacy, ventilation options, sealed against insect pests....  Advantage of the EZ-up - simple and inexpensive....but no floor, no screen or windows....

 

At star parties a great deal of time is spent socializing, eating, reading and planning so a comfortable, shady place to sit with a table and some other stuff  is a must- a teardrop trailer doesn't fill this need - so I would still have to bring an EZ-up or equivalent...... more stuff to fit into the van which will already have a 20-inch dob in it...

 

I currently have the old pop-up that i bought from my partner's kids...  Thread.....

I shall use this for OkieTex.  Whatever 'new' system i decide upon will have to be in my possession by the Winter Star Party.

 

But I haven't given up researching...  I'm waiting to hear from the British 'Awning' people as to whether they ship to Canada....

 

Dave




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