Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

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Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by sammyboy on Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:21 am

I'm thinking of buying a HiJet, and I have some questions. I've been without a car of my own for a year, as we reduced to one, and I've done all my commuting by bike and train (I work on clients sites 90% of the time, so my mileage, and hence the time I spent behind the wheel, was immense). The missus has decided to make a life of her own, so I'm now thinking I probably need my own transport again.

I want something cheap to buy and run, and which I can camp in; doesn't need to be preconverted, I'll simply make a frame to hold a futon mattress a couple of feet off the floor, so there's room to stash things underneath. I have a huge Mercedes 508d bus, which is wonderful, but hard to park, and really bloody obvious (it's yellow, going on 8 feet tall, 18 feet long, and as an ex minibus, completely windowed) which means you can get hassled parking in some places. My initial thought was to get a van, as I imagined they'd be cheaper than the MPV, and for stealth camping, having no windows and just looking like an old van parked for the night is perfect. I see that the mountings for seats are there, and since I mostly wouldn't need more than 4, I'd put in a pair behind the driver, so I can carry my kids, friends etc, but whip them out for van duties and camping. Perfect!

Then I started to look at prices, and discovered that actually, almost all the bargains are MPVs, not vans. It would obviously be more pleasant for rear seat passengers to have a full set of windows, and 6/7 seats would be very handy occasionally, but I'm concerned then about the stealth camping potential dropping. If you put a full set of curtains on a vehicle, and shut them, then if it's parked in a town centre car park, it's an obvious target for bored policeman and youths with aggro on their minds. Any thoughts?

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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by sammyboy on Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:32 am

It occurs to me that mirrored film on the rear windows would go a long way towards stealthing. Is it permissible on the rear screen too, or does that break the law?

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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by 8bit-ash on Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:58 pm

Its fine on the rear screen. I've made a frame out of box section in mine then cut up a double ikea foam mattress from the bargain corner (£20). Made it so the frame slides out to make a 6" x 4" double bed which is really comfy and plenty big enough.

Got a traveller 3 owning off ebay too which fits perfect if you're camping for more than a night.
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by sammyboy on Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:50 pm

I've got a Coleman Classic awning which I use with my big bus, folds down smaller than a dome tent. I reckon that'd find a home under the bed.

Theoretically, I could make my frame in such a way that I could futonically (ace word) turn the bed into a sofa. If I did that right, I could even make it so that the first row of passenger seats could stay in, though they'd then have to live under the awning when it was all set to camp, and it would obviously be a no-go for stealth camping. Then again, with only bed space for 2, when would I ever need to stealth camp and also need the seats?

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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by Logi on Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:29 pm

AFAIK there's someone here used an Ikea futon in their van, seemingly it fit's perfectly?
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by sammyboy on Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:59 pm

Good to know! I want my frame to have more space under it that the standard (enough for a 5 litre water bottle to stand upright) but I might be able to modify the standard frame. I think that a simple legged frame with slats would do the job, but I might hinge the front part. That would mean I could lift the mattress, fold the frame back, then fold the mattress as you do on a real futon, and have somewhere to put our legs. That and a little camping table under the bed would mean the ability to cook indoors on a rainy day.

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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by rich the mechanic on Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:10 pm

Hi we have a MPV which also you get rear carpet as well as windows which you don't get in the van, we use ours for my wifes business and we are tinting the windows limo black all except the front three we will be making a curtain for behind the front seats because on occassions we come back from a show and then off to another the day after so don't want to unload as we only have steet parking and obviously don't want to advertise there is stuff inside and depending on how it looks if you get a street light on the other side we may need black out curtains inside but it will just look like a blacked out mpv and also for you if you completely black out you can use a light inside without anyone knowing.
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by HighlyJetted on Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:09 am

The MPV's are great because they usually have had an easy life and you can take them to the tip without a permit too. I think you'll love the Hijet, they are pretty pokey, really fun to drive once you get over the initial fear, and very very good on fuel. The 1.3 engine is the best in my opinion. The most multi purpose machine i've every owned.

When buying watch out for rot, they go under the corners of the wheel arches. Also coolant issues - when test driving etc make sure you keep it running for a good 30 minutes and hear the fan kick in and out a few times watching the temp gauge.

Hey Rich, the curtain idea behind the front seats is a winner - when hard winters come I found the heaters couldn't get the whole van beyond "pretty cold", so I made a curtain and it made a huge difference. It kept the exhaust noise down too.
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by sammyboy on Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:02 pm

Definitely sold on the idea. Should have some money in a few weeks, and I'm going to look for a 1.3 MPV with LPG if possible. I've done without a car for a year, so I can afford a bit of time making sure I get the right one. I won one on eBay about 4 years back, but the guy had sold it elsewhere and forgotten to end the auction. I was gutted. Not this time!

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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by rich the mechanic on Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:59 pm

I think the MPV's all have sun roofs but not sure if the van does if you are stelth camping you can vent if its warm wiyhout it looking funny with the windows open a crack for air.
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by sammyboy on Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:07 pm

I'm closing on being able to make a purchase. It's been very frustrating seeing all sorts of bargains go by on eBay, but it'll be a few weeks til I have the cash. I was pleased and surprised to see that at this time of year, I could even pick up a professionally converted camper for my money, but as nice as it would be, camping trips will be the exception not the rule, and it would cost me a lot of utility in terms of the seats and the ability to remove them and have a van. My hope is to get one with an LPG conversion though, that would be sweet.

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Camping Hi Jet Style!

Post by rjdutch on Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:20 pm

Here are some pictures of my camping HiJet with the Ikea Exarby Sofa bed in the back. It all folds flat to make a comfy double bed, and best of all, you can just lift the whole thing out if you want to use it as a van!

http://s1203.photobucket.com/albums/bb386/redjet2/.
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by EvaInNorfolk on Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:55 pm

Is that a hospital table? Absolutely brilliant idea! One I'll definitely be pinching Very Happy
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by rjdutch on Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:01 pm

EvaInNorfolk wrote:Is that a hospital table? Absolutely brilliant idea! One I'll definitely be pinching Very Happy

It sure is! £10 in The British Heart Foundation Charity shop! Very Happy
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by Logi on Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:14 pm

I just love this picture Very Happy

[img][/img]
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by rjdutch on Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:06 pm

Logi wrote:I just love this picture Very Happy

The couple in the Talbot next door loved the Hi-jet! Smile
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by EvaInNorfolk on Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:59 pm

sammyboy wrote:I want my frame to have more space under it that the standard (enough for a 5 litre water bottle to stand upright)

I'm thinking of hanging a water container high on the side so it has gravity feed to kettle (tea junky). I used to have use of a VW Type 25 (like the other van in the awesome photo - where is that?) but my man decided he wanted a life on his own - seems to be a lot of that about at the moment. Anyway, we had a pump in the VW to get the water from a tank on the floor up to the tap above the sink. Sounded like a fog horn. affraid I think it would have to be a fairly small water tank as too much weight up top might tip her over! Laughing Anti-ballast...
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by rjdutch on Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:04 pm

Aye, best to keep the weight low down! I have roof bars for my Hi-Jet, but I'm not sure how much I'd dare stack up there!

The picture is a campsite in Staffin on the Isle of Skye! sunny
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by EvaInNorfolk on Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:09 pm

Road trip? Convoy of Hijet campers heading to Skye would be a sight to behold cheers
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by Logi on Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:33 pm

EvaInNorfolk wrote:Road trip? Convoy of Hijet campers heading to Skye would be a sight to behold cheers

Hijet Owners Annual Meet Cool



(tho i'll wait and see if i can weld mine onto some new metal first.....)
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by waz on Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:37 pm

Hi rjdutch, been looking at your photos. Neat the way you have done the van. I have one of the portable gas rings like the one you have but never used it, are they any good?

Waz
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by rjdutch on Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:53 pm

waz wrote:Hi rjdutch, been looking at your photos. Neat the way you have done the van. I have one of the portable gas rings like the one you have but never used it, are they any good?

Waz

I was impressed! We even managed to do a steak with ours! We got through two gas cans in 11 days, and drank a lot of tea - although we ate out a few times too Wink

Count me in on the road trip / annual meet! redjet is newly MOT'd and ready for action! Very Happy
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road trip skye !!!!!

Post by bones 851 on Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:56 pm

convoy 10/4 the roads up there are just fine for the hijet, up up up, down down down , steep bends sharp bends, perfect fun, you would have to go in may or september though, or you,ll never get out the van damd wee midges,,,,,, went this september to glen sligachen, fun for mountain bike and kyackin ,,,,,, Mad
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by rich the mechanic on Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:18 pm

EvaInNorfolk wrote:Road trip? Convoy of Hijet campers heading to Skye would be a sight to behold cheers


Except if there is a breeze on the bridge then it would definatly be a sight.

As for the water tank we had a roof box on ours and it made it feel very twitchy in the wind only did the one trip like it and the missus said never again.

But there is no reason why you couldn't hang it up when you get there and put it on the floor while driving we have bars across the inside of the roof and we slide in the display meshes and a few light bits over our heads.
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by EvaInNorfolk on Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:29 pm

When's the annual meet? Need to know how long I've got to get the van ready!

Went to the Borders in June/July 2010 and tried some mountain bike centres there. I only do fire tracks - no good on the really technical stuff! Saw amazing wild life like really big deer and eagle-type things. I also saw the horse fly (cleggy?) that bit me on the arm that needed a trip to the pharmacy Evil or Very Mad Planning on hitting the trails around Thetford at Christmas to get back into it a bit. Have van, will travel!

Like the idea of hanging the water tank when in camping mode.
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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by Logi on Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:54 pm

Dunno about Skye, i'm tempted by a wee run to Applecross in mine sometime though.

http://applecross.uk.com/campsite/









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Re: Considerations of a HiJet for camping/general use

Post by rich the mechanic on Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:26 pm

WOW wow WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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