Author Topic: Minivan RV (Toyota Sienna)  (Read 1832 times)

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Offline magispook

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Minivan RV (Toyota Sienna)
« on: January 02, 2016, 03:33:36 PM »
I have not given up on my goal of a minivan RV.  We finally have a minivan again and it's a 2006 Toyota Sienna.  The two middle seats can be taken out and the back seats fold down into the floor.  So reconfiguring it for RV duty isn't as daunting as our old Chrysler.  A lesson learned from my journey on the Camino de Santiago this Fall is simplify, simplify, simplify.  To that end, I plan to use things we already have. Camping things will be the most efficient as they can be placed or removed without modifying layout and structural integrity of the minivan.  We have just about everything we need for different configurations from car camping to off-grid set up.  Three things we already have are Therm-a-rest compressible pillows ( http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FAATX26?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00  ), Therm-a-rest LuxuryLite mesh beds ( http://www.amazon.com/Therm---Rest-LuxuryLite-Mesh-X-Large/dp/B00G3Y2JPG/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1451765940&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Therm-a-rest+mesh+bed), and Therm-a-rest Trail Pro inflatable pad (http://www.amazon.com/Therm---Rest-Trail-Mattress-Olive/dp/B00G4V212E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1451766185&sr=8-1&keywords=therm-a-rest+trail+pro+sleeping+pad ) all of which can be found at amazon.com.  I wait until something I want shows up "used" which means a reduced price but quality is the same as new (quite often, the purchaser looked at the item and decided they didn't want it).  After my cancer, I decided any purchases I make must last me the rest of my life.  Hence, Therm-a-rest products.  Obviously you can buy these items at a cheaper price and some will serve the purpose but I caution that there is a Mesh Cot knock-off out there and it is reportedly poorly built and parts break unexpectedly.  Two of each of the above items when disassembled can be put in large pillowcase all together.  So they take up little space when not used.  They take up the entire back portion of the minivan when set up.  The mesh cot is especially useful as it will keep you cool yet comfortable in warm/hot weather (air flow under and over the cot) and warm and comfy with the pad and a blanket or fleece liner.  More in my next post.

Offline CountryLady

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Re: Minivan RV (Toyota Sienna)
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2016, 10:39:00 PM »
Wow, Magispook, that's good news. :gthumbsup1: Your new gear sounds awesome. I'll be watching for you to add more info on this topic.

Your earlier post on the Chrysler Mini-van camper got a lot of attention on the old OCH Board so I'm sure this one will also. Your posts are always fascinating and full of details. :claphands:

Offline magispook

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Re: Minivan RV (Toyota Sienna)
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2016, 04:06:06 PM »
We have a nice folding picnic table/umbrella combo ( http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000R4JOTM?keywords=folding%20picnic%20table&qid=1451940633&ref_=sr_1_2&sr=8-2 ).  Folded up, it measures 4.5" deep, 13" wide, 34" long.  I put it assembled in the cargo area of the minivan.  No need to put up the umbrella, of course.  Yes, it did fit but one has to scrunch up a bit even at my size (5'7").  My wife suggested a small Korean tea table (called a "sang") instead.  Measures about 13" wide, 20" long, and, with legs unfolded, about 7" high.  It collapses to about 1.5" when the legs are folded.  Takes up hardly any room at all and doesn't weigh more than five pounds (guess, probably less).  Simple is better.  We can transport the picnic table for outside use and use the tea table for inside use.  I have numerous Coleman propane stoves but they take way more space than a small one burner Korean stove that uses butane canisters instead.  Works better than a Coleman in my opinion.  More on kitchen later as there are plenty options and we probably have most of them in terms of off-grid equipment to include hand-cranked blender, solar cooker(s), fireless cooker(s), Thermos containers, Japanese Mr. Bento meal containers, etc.  Whether or not the items get taken on a trip depends on where and for how long we go.

Offline Garnet

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Re: Minivan RV (Toyota Sienna)
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2016, 05:30:46 PM »
Enjoy outfitting your Sienna and exploring with it.  I agree on the 1-burner stove that uses a butane canister.  I use a file box with rounded corners for minimal kitchen equipment and set it next to the stove.  The box and raised lid can serve as a windbreak. 

Do you have net curtains for your openings for bug season?  Just wondering if it would be possible to rig something to hang from the liftgate when it's up.  I have a minivan and like the way the liftgate extends the useful part of the vehicle with rain protection and a little shade.  Also, the slider doors give good ventilation - along with bugs. :)

Offline magispook

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Re: Minivan RV (Toyota Sienna)
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2016, 08:24:13 PM »
Garnet, we think alike about that liftgate.  There are tents designed to hook to a liftgate on SUVs and minivans. I like the concept as you significantly increase your "room."  We received a canopy such as the ones you often see at flea market tables.  We also received a screen that attaches to such a canopy but unfortunately it is not the same length as the canopy we got.  My thought is it may be big enough to attach to the canopy in such a manner it ends where the openings on the liftgate end.  Of course that means you get into and exit via the van but that's what you would do without the canopy anyhow.  Alternatively we have a pretty big room-sized mosquito net we bought as newlyweds in Korea years ago which will work.  I also have one military cot sized net which my wife will get.  Last resort and I will not do it is to close up the van.  I like the portable kitchen rig you described.  I noticed at our local Sam's Club sells a tailgating focused table that attaches to the end of a SUV or minivan.  That would extend the kitchen area and double as an extra bed (using a quality sleeping pad) if you have that canopy option.  Of course, if you camp in bear country, the coooking area will have to be considered.  The big advantage to having that good-sized cargo area is that you have so many options to configure it.  For example, if you are merely traveling from one location to another, a camping toilet, suitably secured to prevent sliding, would be quite handy if the food at that last restaurant doesn't agree with you or you simply get caught in a traffic jam such as seems to be a daily occurance on I-95. Privacy can be rigged with appropriately cut cardboard to form door and walls.

Offline Garnet

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Re: Minivan RV (Toyota Sienna)
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2016, 03:57:17 PM »
I have some long panels of wide (maybe 72") black net illusion (fine nylon net) from a former "room" cobbled together to go behind a maxi van.  They are edged with a strip of black broadcloth.  Didn't use them all that much before scaling down to a smaller vehicle.  But just couldn't see tossing them.  I think I will take a look and see if they might be joined somehow to go plumb over the back half of my minivan.

When Joann had all their utility fabrics half price, I looked at some outdoor screening and decided it didn't look better than my panels.  Not sure if mine would screen out noseeums, though.  But I can't say I ever encountered noseeums. 

I'm pretty sure we won't be doing car camping anymore.  But sure as I discard stuff, the opportunity may come along.  Probably will be doing more picnicing than camping.

However, this beng the year of the National Parks, it will be tempting to check out some.

Offline magispook

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Re: Minivan RV (Toyota Sienna)
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2016, 04:10:15 PM »
That material seems to be something I would have really wanted back when I was doing platform style magic.  I am loathe to get rid of stuff I can see potential repurposing uses.  This just reinforces that mindset much to the chagrin of my wife.  Sounds like it would work.

Offline CountryLady

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Re: Minivan RV (Toyota Sienna)
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2016, 11:48:38 PM »
Oh, yes~! I know the fine, black net of which you speak. :Yes1:

Long ago and far away, when I was young and productively self-employed as a professional photographer, I would frequently use small pieces of fine, black net, placed over the entire front of my portrait lens when taking studio portraits of women :whisper:especially over the age of 35 or 40, 50, 60 or more. The subtle softening effect was as magical as Magispook's wand. It truly enhanced the subject's beauty without resorting to heavy retouching. Years melted away, and everyone would draw a breath when shown the portraits. That bit of "magic" is partly responsible for my success as a professional photographer.

Want to see the effect for yourself...? First take nice closeup photo, then do the same shot after you get a small (8-12 inches square) piece of soft, fine black net (from craft net size to smaller openings) and rubber band it snugly over your camera lens (telephoto lenses are the very best), or if the lens is too small, put it over the entire camera, keeping it close to the lens. Its best to find a willing subject to do some experiments with at first. This is easiest with SLR (single-lens reflex cameras) lenses.

White net produces an airy, angelic, ethereal quality, great for portrait subjects wearing white, and for babies. :claphands: I'm happy to answer questions if you have them, and if you'd like to discuss other creative photography techniques, just let me know...

Yes~! I know *very well* the fine, black net of which you speak. :smitten: :1-giggle:

Offline magispook

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Re: Minivan RV (Toyota Sienna)
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2016, 04:51:15 PM »
Still have not given up on the "RV."  Seems no matter what we do or how much work I have or don't have, there is no time for a mini-vacation or even a weekend trip.  If we don't have important things to do, we end up puppy sitting for our daughter or doing other things for family.  Have yet to even celebrate our 40th anniversary.  Really only have Saturday for down time (wife's Sunday is taken up all day with church and Korean community) and need to get things done that could not be done during the week.  Don't know how folks find the time.  But I haven't given up and won't.

Offline Garnet

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Re: Minivan RV (Toyota Sienna)
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2016, 08:17:28 AM »
Try for a day trip now and then with a picnic lunch or a hot meal using your small camp stove.  The appeal of a campground in a natural setting with solitude, a place to set up camp,  may be a reality of the past.  It may be necessary to find it in our own back yard or combine an outdoor experience with a shopping or business or health appointments.  Or there may be a pleasant road or parkway with pull off areas. 

Along with the illusion net curtains for the slider doors and lift gate, get a supply of silver screens with a way to fit one into the windshield or suspend for shade at a side window or door ... and to layer over a cooler.

About the illusion over the camera lens, with a SLR are you back to film using a print or slide service?