Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Camp Swankie, LLC

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Camp Swankie offers amenities found only in the most exclusive homes.

The good life can be yours! The recent fad to spend big bucks for outdoor kitchens and living spaces for sticks & bricks residences has always struck me as odd. Why pay huge amounts of money to regress? You want to go outside – then go outside. Then I realized why as I viewed Camp Swankie, located several miles east of the Enterprise. Camp Swankie is the real thing: a true outdoor kitchen area, with a separate 3-season living area. Seeing this camp made those posh homes seem like they were struggling to get vestigial camping experiences built into them. Actually, I guess Swankie’s screened canopy qualifies as a 4-season room, because it is “location-adjustable”. To be able to comfortably use it in winter or summer, you change altitude.

But these amenities here are not just for show. Today’s exercise was to add insulating curtains to another camper’s passenger van. Passenger vans as living quarters offer plenty of light, but 30-40 degree temperature drops at night play havoc with comfort, especially when there’s no heat source. Cargo vans can be insulated without too much trouble, but passenger vans are a difficult proposition because of all the window glass. All the pre-existing interior trim and panels tend to make insulating impractical. So, a decision was made to attack two main issues: cold air drafts at door gaskets and windows.

Deft shopping at a local thrift store netted two kinds of thick cloth, and Swankie broke out a real sewing machine to do the honors. Thick curtains were made to hang front and rear – one at the rear doors and one separating the driver’s area from the living area. A thinner material was used to fashion permanent curtains along the side windows. More impressively, it was all accomplished in just one day!

Who packs away a sewing machine??? Is there a TIG welder and a collapsible greenhouse in there, too?

Who packs away a sewing machine??? Is there a TIG welder and a collapsible greenhouse in there, too?

Well, when you live in a van and pull a sizable cargo trailer, anything is possible. There's a little workshop area up front!

Well, when you live in a van and pull a sizable cargo trailer, anything is possible. There’s a little workshop area up front!

A Swanknovation, Reflectix is stored out of the way with Vecro tabs.

A Swanknovation, Reflectix is stored out of the way with Vecro tabs.

When needed, the Reflectix is easily placed against the window to minimize radiant heat gain.

When needed, the Reflectix is easily placed against the window to minimize radiant heat gain.

The rear curtain is much like the front one: floor to ceiling and split in the middle.

The rear curtain is much like the front one: floor to ceiling and split in the middle.

The side curtains are held top and bottom by baling wire linked to small brackets screwed into the plastic trim. The goal is to limit the cascade of cold air coming from the glass.

The side curtains are held top and bottom by baling wire linked to small brackets screwed into the plastic trim. The goal is to limit the cascade of cold air coming from the glass.

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13 thoughts on “Camp Swankie, LLC

  1. Actually took two days, Doug. And the main purpose of the dark window curtains was to give more stealth from the outside than did the previous daisy flower curtains, which may still be used on the inside, sewn unto the backs/insides of the dark curtains, but that can be done on the road. And Insulating Styrofoam or reflectix can be slid in behind the fabric curtains for more insulation later. But the main goal was to get the dark curtains up for more stealth and privacy. (what is not inside the trailer is a large massage chair which I could sure use after two days of sewing… it’s harder than it looks)

    • Swankie, this article reflects years of research by three teams of van conversion experts. Plus, if you read something in print, it must be right. Besides, as the project leader, designer and principle laborer, I’d say you’re way too close to this project to be able to give an unbiased opinion, don’t you think? Surely you can see the conflict of interest here as well. Still, in order to make obvious my gracious nature, I will concede that the true goal of the sidewindow curtains was to provide more privacy. There, I said it. Perhaps next time, I’ll even ask a question before writing. Hmmm. Nah, too radical. 🙂

  2. Rachel on said:

    She certainly did a wonderful job!! My beautiful Jehosheba is so much warmer now!!

  3. Linda Barton on said:

    This was fun to read. I am glad you are all having fun.Stay warm.

  4. Thanks Linda. Seems like the Trail Vixens over at Camp Swankie tend to gather for the Two P’s: projects or parties. And they do have fun, at least until the ranger shows up!

    • Trail Vixens?? Lol! Projects and parties? Seems to me you showed up for a couple of those “parties” too! Lol. We did have fun! 🙂 Trail Vixens … hmmm lol…I guess I can accept that term…

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