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Gypsey Gold Kitchen Conversion

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Ardent caravaners Johan and Elmarie van Wyk decided they needed a fully contained outside kitchen on their Gypsey Gold caravan. With a bit of planning and some professional help, everything they need for preparing meals is now sturdily integrated into their new exterior kitchen.

 

Gypsey Gold Kitchen ConversionWe’re keen campers, and our caravan is our second home. Because of this we’re always trying to –and ways to improve our levels of comfort while out caravaning. Johan’s a bit of a DIY person, but mostly an entrepreneur, so he’s always scheming and thinking up new ideas.

Our need for an upgraded kitchen on our Gypsey Gold caravan is where the renovation kicked off. The main motivation for this was the fact that often ablution blocks, with their washing-up facilities, are far from our stand, and when we do manage to get close enough, the hot water frequently runs out.

Gypsey Gold Kitchen ConversionWe decided we liked the idea of a complete outside kitchen unit, similar to the ones on some of the new Sprites. The difference with ours was that we wanted to have hot and cold water for washing dishes, as well as a two-plate gas cooker, microwave and a lot of working space. Plenty of outside plugs and additional lighting were our other requirements. We also wanted space for our cups, cutlery, spices and groceries on the outside, heightening the levels of convenience.

What could be better than arriving at your campsite after a long day’s drive and simply unlocking the outside kitchen unit, opening it up and ­ nding everything you need right there close at hand for your dinner preparations?

And departures are just as streamlined: when you’re ready to hit the road, you pack up your kitchen items into the outside module, close the lid, and voila, off you head!

Main inside changes

The washbasin unit became our TV cupboard, still with loads of storage space underneath. The microwave unit became an additional cupboard for towels and bedding. The crockery cupboard became extra storage space for smaller items: speci­ cally, for us, wine glasses.

Points to consider

When preparing for this renovation, vital aspects that we needed to take into account were weight distribution, quality of workmanship, value of the caravan and, importantly, whether the changes would be beneficial to the next person buying our caravan. Of course, cost effectiveness was also high on our agenda.

Gypsey Gold Kitchen ConversionWe didn’t do the changes and renovations ourselves, although I’m sure this would have been an interesting project. Rather, we got the professionals in. One of the specialities of our own company, Zambli Construction, is carpentry. For this reason we had all the carpentry, cupboard construction and ­fittings done in-house. Gibbon Caravan Clinic did the cutting into the side panels and ­fitted the kitchen unit’s door. Getting this all 100% perfect was vital, because we knew that if the fitting was done poorly, there would be water leaks from the rain and the plumbing, and faulty electricity or gas systems, all of which could be very costly, if not life-threatening.

We purchased all our parts directly from Jurgens Ci in order to keep the conversion as authentic as possible. The full conversion took about two weeks.

As a comparison, we took into account that a new camping trailer with a tent costs in the region of R140 000. A new basic caravan (Gypsey Rascal), with all its sleep-inside convenience, plus a kitchen conversion added, would cost around R150 000. Personally, we would definitely buy a complete caravan with this conversion rather than a trailer and tent, though it would be different if we were predominantly off-roaders.

We recently had our ­ rst camping trip with our renovated Gypsey, and we found nothing that we wished we’d done differently. Our three weeks were an absolute pleasure, and the new kitchen made meal preparation as easy as can be.

If any readers have queries about our conversion, they can contact us on 082 854 3094.

For a grand total of R32 000, including VAT and labour, we successfully had the following items included in our Gypsey

Gold outside kitchen conversion:

·Two basins

·Water tank

·Basin holder

·Geyser

·Gas stove

·Gas bottle

·Stove holder

·Water pipes

·Hot and cold tap

·Gas pipes

·Two pairs of stove and basin slides

·Electrical wiring and switches

·Crockery holders

·Plywood, tops, strips and handles

·Miscellaneous materials

·12 V light

·Microwave

·Sundries

·Side panels, doors and latches

·Two adjustable door supports

(This article was published in the June 2011 issue of Caravan & Outdoor Life)

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