Nissan NV Stealth Camper: Refrigerator Woes and Blackout Conditions

Pouch Magnet

Pouch Magnet

WICKHAM CP, FL—I’ve been talking to a few fellow nomads about my Whynter refrigerator problems, and the consensus is there is definitely something wrong with mine. A few brief emails to Whynter support haven’t fixed the problem, but I will call them when they open in a few hours to see if we can find a solution.

The blackout curtains are up. These are mainly used in urban areas and are designed to keep the light in while leaving the appearance of a darkened, empty vehicle. This helps with both privacy and the law (even though I only plan to sleep in places that do not have “No Overnight Parking” signs, sleeping in a vehicle is generally frowned upon).

Though I tried several options, I ended up using the following for the curtains:

I cut the pouches in half, then seal a magnet in a each half. Now I have two, plastic encased magnets. I hold the curtain in place with the magnets, then, when I have them placed correctly, I staple the pouch magnets to the curtain. (Edit 12/07/2013: Instead of laminate, I now seal the magnets in a pouch of duct tape folded over a few times—does the same thing but holds up much better).

While driving, the curtains can easily be removed or simply “raised” by detaching the magnetized bottom of the curtain and attaching it above the window.

I mounted a curtain rod just behind the front seats and have two longer curtains hanging there (parting in the middle). I did the same for the doors/windows at the rear of the van. For the front, I used velcro to hold everything together (I hadn’t thought of the pouches yet). Stapling the velcro to the curtains helped hold the velcro to the fabric. For the rear, I simply slide the curtains closed, then seal them against the closed doors with the pouch magnets.

For the windows, the curtains are doubled over, showing the fabric to both the outside world and the inside. This also has the effect of doubling the heat blocking factor of the curtains. Because the windows are already deeply tinted, the effect from the outside—even standing right next to the van—is a solid black window.

There is still some debugging to be done on some minor light leaks and stowage issues. Also the rear curtains expose their white/plain side to the interior and—because the other (fabric) side is red—they appear pink. Still, I’m secure enough with my masculinity to be sorta OK with these pink curtains.


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8 thoughts on “Nissan NV Stealth Camper: Refrigerator Woes and Blackout Conditions

  1. Ohhh. Something always snags me for a poem. Today it was you.

    MAD? NO
    (for Wayne)

    Nomad Man is no madman—
    he just left off paying rents,
    and here’s more evidence:

    He camps in stealth and counts, as wealth:
    refrigeration, insulation,
    solar power, cookstove, tank,
    trunks, shelves, bunk, a battery bank …

    His play is mental; work, kinetic.
    Lo! his spirit is magnetic.

    (His curtained view’s magnetic too;
    this guy vouches for plastic pouches
    and his blackouts are part pink.)

    Of Tupperware, he made his sink;
    of foam, a pallet for his bed.

    He knows, he says,
    he’ll soon be dead.

    Is he “tied up” with letting go?
    No. Freedom’s free and ever so!

  2. The question that I always had about these 12 VDC compressor-based refrigerators (like the Whynter) is, Are they designed for 365 day per year usage, as household frigs or RV (propane/hydrogen/ammonia) frigs are?

    Any 12 VDC electrical gadget or appliance is aimed at travelers, which usually means 10 days of use per year. There was a chance that it was also designed for truckers, which DOES mean 365 days per year of use. So it was just an experiment.

    • I agree with you on the 10 days vs years analysis. Your two years of Whynter usage is a good indicator that the unit is designed more for the latter and was a prominent factor in going for a third unit (which is working properly out of the box).

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