Over the past two days I’ve been very busy trying to find things which I’ll need when travelling or when building the wagon, which I’ll need to buy before leaving for sure. I had already the idea of having a transparent solar panel roof, not over the whole roof, but a line in the middle from front to back. These panels are nowadays quite common, and I found a website where they sell them for only €99 per piece, although they don’t say what the size is. They’re made for veranda’s, so I don’t expect them to be too small. It would be beautiful as a source of light ánd electric energy on top of the wagon, making it indefinitely a Vardo 2.0.
Besides the panels, I also already thought about the toilet. It’s a necessity to have, and in most houses a source of water-waste, and general waste of the compost coming out of the body. For a long time I was already known with the Nonolet, so I’ve checked it up and it seems to be the best option here. They have a build-it-yourself option which is much cheaper than a ready made, and provides the option to make it a bit more fancy in the toilet, instead of just a bucket. It is ventilated to the outdoors, and separates pee and poo from each other, so that the first can be disposed anywhere, and the second can be added to the compost.
Then, I’ll need a place to cook on, but also a heating. So I started looking up options where this is combined, and found in the end the ‘Traveller Stove‘. It is a small stove of half a meter high and 40cm in diameter, which runs on wood – I expect to be able to find that anywhere – and where you have 3 plates to cook on. I’m pretty sure that should do it in the wagon.
Another important issue will be the water. I have been wondering about how to recycle collected rainwater, and however I haven’t doctored out the whole process yet, I think I found a valuable and important aspect to this, namely the ‘Lifesafer jerrycan‘. It has a technology which filters out bacteria’s, viruses, cysts, parasites, fungi and all other microbiological water-pathogens, without the use of chemicals as iodine or chloride, UV light or electricity. It’s also taking out bad tastes and smells of for instance chloride and sulfur. I think this should definitely do when collecting rainwater, and if it hasn’t rained, it provides the option of using water from a stream or something in that sense.
In relation to the water, I thought of checking the expense of a sink, which turned out to be more expensive than I thought but a nice and bit cheaper one is about €85 all new, which should do. For the occasional luxury showering outdoors, I think I’ll get the Solar Shower of for instance Coleman, which isn’t a huge expense and now and then might provide some nice warm showers.
Staying in the water-thoughts, I started to think about washing. Especially when I want to have paying guests over, I need to wash the linen quite often, which is large and not easy to do in some small sink or a stream. Even though I haven’t found a good solution for large pieces of linen, I did find a good washing solution, namely the Scrubba. I would personally go for the backpack, since it provides the extra utility of being a backpack at the same time, and multi-usability is always good when travelling. Although I don’t think this little bag is big enough to fit large king-sized linen, it does provide a very good solution for the washing of clothes etcetera.
Changing my thoughts from water to more practical building solutions, I started thinking about isolation. The wagon obviously has to be isolated, since you never know what kind of weather it might be. There are lots of options when looking at the natural isolation solutions, and I chose two as potential options, though I finished with only 1. First I thought flax might be a good solution for walls and roof, since it is more isolating and thicker, but it is also a very expensive solution. For the floor I thought of cork, which is much cheaper, and is also sound-absorbing. Additionally it does not take as much space as flax, which might proof useful when building the wagon. So all in all, I think it might be best to use cork, in combination with isolation paper and waterproof paper.
The next day, my thoughts were more in the direction of the horse, and caring for the horse. I have thought for some time about building some sort of tent-like at the side of the vardo, in case it is storming and raining, where the horse can stay dry and relatively warm. Horses are able to stand many weather kinds, but we know that it can sometimes be raining for days, which I don’t think is very healthy for the horse either, and one never knows if there is a good shelter or tree-line where the horse can find some sort of comfort. Therefore I think it is a necessity to have some sort of shelter for the horse, and in a lack of temporary shelters for horses to find online, I started looking at awnings for campers, which actually pose quite a good option in my opinion. The price-range is between €400 and €800, so it is definitely not the cheapest option, but it might be proving to be absolutely necessary for the health of the horse.
Talking of the health of the horse, I was thinking of its feet. When walking so much on asphalted roads, as most of our roads nowadays are, their hoof might need some protection. Irons are commonly used, even though they are proven not to be very healthy for the horse. Therefore I have thought of using Horse Shoes instead (link is Dutch). They are a bit heavier but supposedly more comfortable option for the horses hoof’s, especially when used with the horse socks to protect their skin. I haven’t made my mind up yet, although I’m sure the hoof’s need some sort of protection. Besides, I think I need to do a workshop on how to trim the horse’s hoof’s in a natural way, which means I’ll also need to buy the necessary tools for that, which is not cheap, but cheaper and easier than every two weeks to some smith.
Last but not least, for now, I’ve thought about the working harness of the horse, which is also quite necessary when I want a horse to be in front of the carriage. They are sold second hand and new, obviously, and not the cheapest of all things. However, one can find it already for €150 second hand, up to about €1500 new. So I’ll have to have a deep and long look at this, preferably with some people who are already more expert at this topic than me. I’d like however not to use a bit, but instead use for example the Marylot Controller, which is the most softest way of controlling the horse via the nose. It is a very sensitive part of the face of the horse, however it is important for emergencies to have some sort of control-back-up over the horse. Not only for my own sake, but also for those around me on the road. Therefore I do believe it is important not to go on the streets with just a rope halter, as I am training my horse right now in.