Sunday, July 18, 2010

Photo Van conversion - phase 1 (screens)

I had been contemplating a new vehicle for a long time, something that could meet all of my needs -  short distance travel (grocery store, etc), plenty of room for photo gear and ability to live out of it on  extended road trips. I settled on a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan, with tons of space and the magical stow-and-go seating system. Never thought I'd be a mini-van owner.... this is an image killer for my bachelor lifestyle!

I'm in the process of customizing the van and the first step was to have screens made for the windows and doors. Good ventilation is critical to camping out in a vehicle, both to prevent moisture buildup and to stay cool in hot weather. But most importantly, screens keep out the bugs!

I had a local upholstery shop (Grey Bruce Upholstery in Wiarton, Ontario) custom make screens for the back hatch, side doors and front windows. The screens attach by velcro and/or sleeves that fit over the door frame. The cost was about $625 plus tax.... well worth it for good sleeps!

Stay tuned to the blog for more details as I continue to trick out the van for photo travel....  


    Our family travelled around Europe for four years in a Dodge van. With todays solar systems and techie "stuff", this project should be fun. I'm watching.

  2. Cant wait to see the complete conversion Ethan. Cheers! Glenn

  3. Anonymous5:01 PM

    Cool idea! Would you worry about bears or other critters getting through the screens? (I'm thinking about food stored in the van). I love the outdoors but am a bit of a nervous Nelly regarding bears! Kim

  4. Thanks for the comments!

    Kim, I keep the doors shut when I'm not around the van. And when I am in there, I'm not worried about bears... they're not really threatening like you see in the movies. If they come around, you usually just have to yell and they run away.

  5. Ethan,
    Good luck with the new wheels. I'm still lovin' my Eurovan, but I don't blame you for trading in the Westfalia.


  6. Good post. I've been contemplating the same issue recently. I've made no decision yet. I look forward to seeing your progres

    - Frank (

  7. Anonymous1:12 AM

    What?!! You paid $625. plus tax?! I did mine myself with scissors, measuring tape, 2 rolls of screen and velcro. I paid 45 bucks altogether, tax included.

    Big spender indeed!