Knowing that I’d be back in Quartzsite, though not this soon, I took the opportunity to make an Amazon order for a couple of things to make my van life better. Lucky for me, the order arrived early as well, so I took a quick ride down to BCM Mail and Ship to pick up my mail like a normal person.
The main item I ordered was this dual-fuel stove. It’s the same form factor as my old butane stove, which started spontaneously combusting a few months ago, so I got rid of it. I simply don’t feel safe using my MSR camp stove inside the van. It sits too tall and too precarious for my comfort, especially when Lister could go tromping through at any time. I know this size and shape stove works well, so that’s why I got it again.
This one runs on both butane cans like my last one, as well as propane through an included adapter hose. Butane got hard to find anywhere near Quartzsite last winter, so the ability to use those little Coleman propane bottles makes this even more useful to me. Plus, the propane adapter hose screws into this stove where the butane cans clip in like my last one. This means that when I’m using propane, this stove can’t possibly fail the same way the other one did.
But wait, there’s more! We originally designed the lowest shelf of the upper cabinet to hold my stove/grill, with a permanent hookup to my large propane tank underneath. We didn’t take the size and shape of the regulator into account, so it never fit properly, which is why I never used it as intended. I kept the hose, though, which attaches to the big tank on one end and emulates a Coleman propane bottle fitting on the other end. With everything hooked up, the stove runs directly off the big propane tank, just like I intended my original stove to do! I turn on the gas, flip down the shelf, pull out the new stove, and I’m cooking with gas.
Even better, when (not if) the local stores run out of the small butane and propane bottles, I can always get my big tank refilled at one of several local places that do that. I’ll have to refill a little more often while using it for both cooking and heat, but that’s okay. In fact, I’m thinking about buying a second propane tank to store in the trailer. That way, if I run out of propane on a cold night before I’ve made dinner, I can instantly swap tanks, then refill the empty one at my convenience. I’d still have heat and a hot dinner.
The old stove/grill will now be exclusively for outside use. I like cooking outside when I can, but that’s not always possible. Now I have a safe, reliable option for cooking inside as well.
Since I was making an order anyway, I threw in this pair of USB fans. I have a 12-volt “tornado” style fan I picked up at Love’s last year, but it’s too big, bulky, and loud for many of my purposes. I wouldn’t want to have it run all night, for example. But last night, just one of these fans running on low speed overnight kept me much more comfortable than the night before, using a minimum of power to do so. Yesterday I put them on the counter next to the sink to blow on me while I worked in the passenger seat. It’s amazing what a difference a small breeze makes, and they don’t draw much power, either.
This is just the beginning of the upgrades I’ll be making over the winter when I’m not moving around. so much. I honestly don’t even know what they all are yet, but I do want to add a basic power station to the trailer, as well as a flip-down shelf or workbench in there. I may also redo all my window covers, as some are really showing their age with small rips or paint rubbing off either side. I won’t be doing any major reconstruction, just continuing the evolution of my setup like it always does. When something stops working, replace it with something better for my needs.
We have a couple of those little fans. I bought them to go over the headboard on either side. I haven’t yet mounted them like I want. I’m hoping that the little stiff wire that extends them out will help reduce some of the vibration we experienced with our old ones. I will say, though, that they are a hassle to get back into the holes. I mean, you just twist them, but then don’t really stay in place, if that’s something you need. They kinda bounce back out. But they blow quite well for a little USB connection. Knowing me, I’ll probably disable the three-speed button in favor of a straight voltage knob so we can tweak them just like we each like it. That’s what I did with the old ones we had. Though it wasn’t so much the fans, as it was the piss-poor way the plywood over our board was mounted by the factory. I added about six more screws and that probably would’ve solved it.
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