Vanlife Dream, Base Surf Lodge, Newquay heads to Scotland surfing
DIY Vanlife

The DIY Vanlife Dream

 

Living in Cornwall, we are no strangers to a campervan or two. Thousands of holidaymakers flood down each summer in motorhomes the size of a house, family filled caravans and cosy campers. Plus many locals and a few close friends live in their vans year round and call it their home. After hiring a vehicle for 2 weeks in Japan and doing a proper, schedule-free van trip, we knew vanlife would definitely be for us. We loved the freedom it gave us to go and be anywhere. As a couple of surfers and skiers, to have this freedom would be perfect for chasing waves and snow. So when we got home, we immediately started looking at what we could get for our money. We decided that we wanted a vehicle we could both comfortably sleep in, one that could fit all our surfboards and skis inside, and something which we could live in for a couple months at a time. We also, like everyone else, wanted something reliable to sustain our vanlife dream.

The Big Decision

Our previous vehicle, The Batmobile, was a black ford focus estate. A perfect surfer’s car with all the space in the boot for boards and the occasional night’s sleep. Many good trips to France and Scotland were had, but to afford our van dream we sadly had to sell it.

The options were buy a second-hand campervan or convert one ourselves. Having never built a home in a van before our first thought was to buy second-hand as it would be a lot easier and definitely quicker. However, after months of online window shopping for our perfect van, we soon realised that it would be extremely hard. Finding a vehicle itself which was in good nick was tough, but to find one with an already made conversion that would suit us, seemed to send us on a wild goose chase. We also noticed that the price difference between two similar vans, one being an empty shell and the other converted, was crazy. Realising the upmarket of an already converted van got us first considering doing the work ourselves. Plus, if we decided to build it, we’d have the freedom to design our perfect van!

Size Matters

We had a budget of £6000 between the both of us, which needed to include the conversion. So we were soon back online, this time looking at empty “builders’ vans”, hoping to find something with potential. First thing we were deliberating over was the size. Rob, being 6″2, wanted to ensure he could sleep comfortably, which meant sleeping across the width of any van was not really an option. For me, as a 5″2 tiny person, this would not have been an issue. Either way you can never have a bed too big. This meant a mid-wheel based van would be our shortest option to allow space for a bed and kitchen area. Once we started making rough plans for our interior we soon decided that for the small price to pay in the initial cost and fuel, a long-wheel base would give us a lot more space inside. Plus more storage for all our surfboards and other activities. As for height, our aim for the van was to go away for extended surf trips, up to 2 months at a time. Therefore being able to stand up properly, may be seen as luxury for other van-lifers, but vital for us. This meant we were looking for a hightop, long-wheel base van to convert into a home on wheels.

Time to Compromise

After reading a few online articles which reviewed the most reliable vans, we found that Mercedes and VW were regularly at the top. They both have similar models of vehicle but the difference in their engines meant Mercedes took the lead by a fair way. Online prices definitely reflected this, so we were looking for a compromise. We found many Mercedes Sprinters which looked amazing but were way out of our price range. We called up and looked at a couple we could afford, but decided pretty quickly on both viewings that they were not up to scratch. One was rusted through and the other had suspicious sounds coming from the engine. We were disappointed not to have found our perfect van but we took it as a hint that maybe we were shooting too high. VW crafters were our second option and there were a few which caught our eye but had too many miles on the clock. Something which seemed to be a regular occurrence when van shopping.

Our Lucky Day

A month passed and we were no closer to finding our perfect van. We had a quick look online at Mercedes Sprinters again, just to tickle the taste buds. Never thinking we would find one we could actually afford. However our luck must have changed. Shining at us on the screen was a 2008 white, high-top, LWB Mercedes Sprinter in great condition with only 80,000 on the clock. That may seem a lot, but for a van that is nothing, as they are built to run. With the build still to pay for, it was out of our price range, advertised at £5800. However, it was noticeably better than anything else we had seen even up to £8000. Plus it had only been online for 3 days, unlike the 6 month eBay regulars. It maybe seemed too good to be true, especially when we saw it had a new MOT with no advisories. So we went and saw it for ourselves and got goosebumps when we signed the deal at £5600. The guy was getting rid of 5 vehicles because his business was going under. Hence the reasonable price for a quick sale. We couldn’t believe our luck.

Still a little apprehensive about whether or not it was too good to be true, we took it to a mechanic friend in Newquay who checked it over before we spent any money on the build. He gave us the all clear, changed the oil and wax-sealed the bottom, ready for us to start the conversion.

The dream had just become a reality!

 

We will be sharing with you our journey to vanlife, including all our successes and difficulties in the DIY van build itself.

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Eco-friendly

Sustainable Living

Join the Fight for a Sustainable Future

Here at Base Surf Lodge we are taking action to be more eco-friendly. Our aim is to find practical, affordable and sustainable ways to reduce our carbon footprint in both the business and our personal lives. We will be sharing with you our successes and any challenges we face.

Earth-Conscious at a Low Cost

In the lodge, we already have a few things in place which are sustainable actions towards becoming eco-friendly. All of which are affordable and can easily be implemented in homes and businesses alike.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle  

By simply reducing plastic usage, swapping disposable for reusable and recycling all that cannot be reused, together we can have a huge positive impact on our environment.

Repurpose  

Turning old bunk bed slats into raised beds is just one example of how we try to repurpose things here at Base. By giving things a new purpose we reduce our costs and our waste.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products 

We use Ecover who are a leading brand in eco-friendly, plant-based cleaning products. From their business model to the ingredients they use, Ecover are on a mission to save the planet, while giving us the chance to be truely CLEAN.

Hanging Out  

The many benefits of hang drying instead of tumble drying include longer lasting and fresher smelling clothes. But more importantly, saving pennies and the planet!

Energy Efficient Windows  

We have double glazed windows which are more energy-efficient due to their better insulation. This reduces our heating bill but more importantly our carbon emissions. A cheaper alternative is using insulated blinds, which also work well for temperature control.

Bamboo is Best  

We have swapped to bamboo toothbrushes, as an easy way to reduce our plastic waste. We have also got into wearing bamboo socks as they are incredibly soft, naturally anti-odour and eco-friendly. Our personal favourites are Sexy Socks as their designs are all so jazzy!

 

At Base Surf Lodge we strive for continuous improvement, therefore this is just the beginning!

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Base Surf Lodge Newquay, eco-friendly living for a sustainable future
Eco-friendly

Our Plans To Be More Eco-Friendly

Why being Eco-Friendly is important to us.

At Base Surf Lodge we want to be more eco-friendly, quite simply because we love and care for our environment. As a couple we spend our lives outdoors surfing in the summers and skiing in the winters. Living by the sea and in the mountains means we are lucky to always be surrounded by nature and wildlife. The unspoilt, snow-covered landscapes and the feeling of wilderness in the mountains is what draws us back year after year. While spending the summer months surfing in the ocean gives us a real sense of freedom and a true passion we cannot imagine life without. Hence why our appreciation for the natural world grows each day.

As skiers and surfers we are always excited for perfect conditions, whether that means a bluebird powder day or perfect crystal clear waves. Sadly, what is becoming more and more of a reality is how environmental issues are impacting the world we live in. During the last few winters in the French Alps, we have had many days of rain in months you would always expect to be below freezing. Also you only have to watch David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II to know the world’s oceans are filling with plastic. More and more environmental issues are being brought to light with the help of social media and the news. However the most eye opening reality check is seeing it for yourselves. From the top of Scotland to the tip of Cornwall and all over the world, environmental issues are a growing problem and we want to start taking action to help.

Small things make a big difference.

Here at Base Surf Lodge we know that, at the moment, we’re far from perfect. This is why we are taking action. From now on we will always be looking for practical ways to reduce our carbon footprint and our plastic usage to be more eco-friendly.

The aim is to share with you, our successes and challenges in moving towards a more sustainable life. This is in hope that we can join together and fight for a ‘greener’, more sustainable future.

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New Surf School at Base Surf Lodge Newquay
Surf

*NEW* Our Very Own In-House Surf School

Starting this summer, Base Surf Lodge will be providing surf lessons from their very own in-house surf school.

If you have been with us before you will know that Big Green, which is run by Dale, has been the surf school at Base for the past seven years. We cannot thank Dale enough for bringing in his love for surfing, his enthusiasm and his contribution to our great reputation. As good friends of Dale’s we are pleased that Big Green’s leap to Crantock Beach has been very successful the past 2 years and gives Dale the great opportunity to expand further.

New for 2018 – Base Surf School

Meanwhile here at Base Surf Lodge we are super excited to be running both the accommodation and surf school together as a couple. With our combined years of experience in both industries, and having already been a team for 4 years, our goal is to make Base even better! So as well as the new surf school, this winter, Base Surf Lodge is getting a new look.

So come and visit us this spring to see the same friendly faces but with a new and refreshing feel!

Rob and Lou

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Surf and Stay Packages Newquay, surfers at sunset
Surf

Explore Cornwall with our Surf and Stay Packages

Come and truly enjoy oceanside life here at Base Surf Lodge with our Surf and Stay Packages.

Perfect for individuals, groups of friends and families alike. Our Surf and Stay packages give you the opportunity to come and relax knowing your days away are filled with fun, laughter and time to explore Newquay and Cornwall.

Take a look 

 

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By submitting this form, you are granting: Base Surf Lodge, permission to email you. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. (See our Email Privacy Policy (http://constantcontact.com/legal/privacy-statement) for details.) Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.

Learn How to Surf with Base Surf Lodge, Newquay
Surf

Boots Off This May Bank Holiday

Learn how to surf with…

Quiet BeachesRolling Waves and Fresh Sea Breeze

While the beaches are quiet and the swells are frequent, this May is the perfect time to come and learn how to surf. And what better place to do so than on Fistral Beach, the home of British Surfing.

With two bank holidays we are offering you two chances to treat yourself this May, with our Boots Off Bank Holiday surf and stay package.

Take a look

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As a thank you for subscribing you will immediately receive 10% off everything!

 


By submitting this form, you are granting: Base Surf Lodge, permission to email you. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. (See our Email Privacy Policy (http://constantcontact.com/legal/privacy-statement) for details.) Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.