Over the years of travelling the outback my camp mainly consisted of a swag, lean to or tarp to keep the rain off  &  the simple luxury of a fridge to keep the beer cold & a couple of solar panels to charge the battery while the fridge was running.
Later I modified my Troopy with a pop-top roof & use to sleep in there when only camped for short periods & while on the road.

      Well seeing all my prospecting mates living in luxury after a hard days swinging & hitting the sack in a comfortable bed after a few ales & a chat around the camp fire while my body was telling me the aches & pains needed a few more coldies!!!!LOL, my mind said enough is enough so I've joined the clan of silly old farts & caravan xxxx.....& awhile back I bought a little 10 footer Cabana Van & spent the period up to now renovated it to my liking by fitting a new gas cook-top, repositioning the fridge, new canvas pop-up surround, new ceiling panels plus a few odds & ends.

       For auxilliary power threw in a couple of 130 amp hour deep cycle AGM batteries coupled in parallel to give me  sufficient 12 volt DC power for long periods of camping.
I have also setup a 600 watt pure sine wave inverter which will run off the vehicle battery while travelling to supply 240 volt AC power to the 3-way fridge & a 5 amp battery charger connected to the van batteries to top them up if necessary & this inverter will be used while camping to supply all my 240 volt AC needs.
Some will say why are you running your 3 way fridge off 240 volts AC & not the 12volt DC supply when travelling!!!?

      If you do your sums you will find that a 3 way convection fridge will run more efficiently on 240volt AC power then direct 12 volt supply from the battery because the 240 volt heating element is bigger, more efficient, & as a plus... the inverter can also be used to run the battery charger to charge your van batteries as well when on the road .
Your vehicle alternator will need to be rated to a minimum of 90 amps continuous running to supply the load to the inverter when it is running to handle the extra current load.

       I used heavy duty 8mm wiring plus 50 amp Anderson plugs to connect from the vehicle start battery to the van 12 volt power supply to eliminate voltage drop.   I picked up the inverter on e-Bay for $135.00.

       I also have wired the van with low power LED lighting to reduce battery power consumption.
The suspension was raised 4 inches, A-Frame lengthened  & Chassis strengthened as well fitting 14" rims & tyres to help getting across those tricky creek beds when travelling off-road!!!!!
For those not familiar with the Cabana van set-up...both the front & rear single bunk pods swing into a vertical position when travelling & swing out when in use. This action also raises the roof to stand up height & lowers for travelling,  so when extended the van is 15 foot long & when folded in for travelling....10 foot long.
The Table folds down & the seat cushions lay flat across it to make a double bed if required.

      To assist in keeping the van batteries fully charged while camping I have a 300 watt solar blanket connected to a  40 amp MPPT solar regulator.  This type of regulator allows the panels to give full current download to the batteries.
Had to get a gas compliance certificate as the rules have now changed significantly recently with regard to caravan gas appliances so make sure your van is legal for insurance purposes.
It is now fully insured, & ready the go.....so no more setting up tarps & swags in the pouring rain & cooking over a portable gas stove while trying to keep dry!!!!!!LOL

       The efficiency of the 3-Way Fridge was improved by fitting a small 12 volt fan inside the cabinet to circulate air over the cooling fins.  I also fitted 2 larger fans adjacent the evaporator to help extract the heat developed while the fridge is running.  I found that this does drop the cabinet temperature by a couple of degrees during hot weather.  The van is very light (less then 1 tonne loaded), has a 70 litre water tank, a 9kg LP gas bottle & you hardly know it's behind when towing. I have since upgraded the AGM to 1.5 tonne & fitted 9 leaf hanger springs.


      I now have a fully retractable side awning fitted as the original had deteriorated to a stage where a new one was needed.  This has also side walls which can be easily fitted if necessary.

      My fridge setup has been upgraded to a Bushman 60 litre 12 volt compressor unit which draws only 1.5 amps when fully cooled down. This is one of the most efficient compressor run fridges I have come across.  It fitted quite neatly into the old fridge space.  I also utilized the existing LP Gas line to fit an external gas bayonet fitting for use with my Webber BabyQ & a portable gas stove when cooking outside the van.

Invested in a portable shower cubicle which clips onto to van outside wall when camped & swings out into position for use.  When finished with it easily folds back into its storage bag. The bag is then unclipped from the wall & stowed inside the van. Hot water is supplied by a LP gas Aquacube hot water system.




Side View [Roof Raised]

Side View [Roof Raised]

Side View [Roof Lowered]

Spare Wheel Setup

Rear & Double Bed

Table & Seating 

Rear Bunk Lowered In

Gas Cook-Top

Sink & Cupboards

Fridge & Cupboard

Ceiling Panels & Lighting

12 Volt Power & Inverter

12 Volt Switchboard

Fridge Circulating Fan

Fridge Exhaust Fans


New Overhead Cupboard

Annex With Flyscreen

Annex With Flyscreen

Solar Power Setup

Annex Roof Setup

External Gas Outlet Fitting

New Fridge Installed

New Fridge Opened

New Hanger Springs

New Brake Assembly