In this post and video I will give you a little van tour of Mercury!
It was a long fight to get together the money for the new van, but with help of the About Wings Community, we did it!
So let’s get started, shall we?
The next great age was dedicated to the Roman culture. Which is basically a ripp off of the Greek culture. And so, they basically stole Hermes and simply renamed him Mercury.
Therefore, I figured: Mercury is the next stage of Hermes. And so is it with my vans.
Mercury is a Fiat Ducato from the year 1991 and he’s been to quite a few places in Europe already, as the stickers on his side indicate. He’s even been to the North Cape, where we want to take him too.
I don’t know much about van engines, so I can’t tell you too much about that. Mercury is a Turbo Diesel and also doesn’t have servo stirring support. Which was complicated to adapt to in the beginning.
He’s equipped with a bike rack, which is awesome, since we were thinking about getting bikes anyway.
I’ve already told you, that we didn’t have any big source of electricity in Hermes. But this would change soon with Mercury!
While it’s not included in this video yet, we did get a solar panel and a battery, additional to the one we had already. I will write a separate post about this soon in addition to this van tour.
Also, we can plug in electricity from an outside source. I don’t think we will need this often on the road, but if we stay somewhere for longer, with a source of electricity, it will be lovely to have this feature!
Mercury is equipped with a 80L fresh water tank and an 80L grey water tank. Both of which keep making trouble to this day:
The fresh water seems to have little black and brown crumbles in the tank. We tried to flush them, but never got rid of all of them. We are using a 10L water bag (aff: US/UK/DE) now. It’s surely more useful, considering, that we can’t fill the van up anywhere. However, it also takes up more space in the kitchen…
The grey water tank keeps giving us a head ache with really bad smell, coming up from the drains. We are trying to use only bio degradable products, to be able to just empty it anywhere, and can’t just use chlorine to clean it. We are now sealing the drains with their plugs, whenever we don’t use them.
If you have any idea how to fix this, please let us know int he comment area!
With the gas we could run our stove, the fridge, the heating system (although, right now it looks like this is broken…) and the hot water boiler.
However, the gas bottle hasn’t been checked in two decades. And having it checked would cost us 300€. If it’s not okay, it would cost us another 900€, to buy a new one. And honestly, we simply don’t have the money for that right now.
We are allowed to drive with the bottle, though. And supposedly it’s save too.
Generally saying, Mercury is a huge improvement over Hermes. One of the big things is, that we can finally ventilate properly. Which should rule out mould, like we grew it with Hermes in the end.
Something that was also quite important to me, when we picked a new van, was, that the sitting area was separate to the sleeping area.
And especially with a small RV like this, it seems hard to cover sitting area and bed.
The magical part about Mercury, though, is that the bed comes down from the ceiling. That’s right. The entire bed just folds away during day time. The only thing we have to do, is flatten out the blankets as well as possible (In the video this part comes up in the end of the van tour).
When I write this post, we’ve actually taken two Polish hitchhikers and have hosted our friend Ágota for a night. Which is awesome and I’m looking forward to many more guests more!
One thing we were a little concerned about, was storage. Mercury doesn’t have too much, once you take off the roof box. After two sessions of clearing out, we reduced our stuff (okay, mainly mine) to the necessities.
As mentioned before, our gas cannot be used at this point. So we can’t run the fridge on the road (which we wouldn’t anyway, to be honest). And also, we can’t make use of our fancy stove, that you can see well in the van tour video. For now, we only have the water bag on it.
However, we need to cook, if we don’t want to waste too much money on restaurants.
But, we do cook simple meals in the van. I will probably start collecting simple vanlife recipes in a future post. For cooking, we mainly use our 12V water kettle (aff: US/UK/DE) and the Biolite Campstove (aff: US/UK/DE).
The kettle we use inside with our solar battery to make soups, mashed potatoes, ect. The Biolite outside, when we are in nature or in a BBQ area in a park.
Yes, we have a bathroom!
However, there is no toilet. We are still to try out a composting toilet system (our in our case: Bucket with saw dust), but so far it was never necessary due to the fact that we could always find public toilets of some sort.
We do have a sink, which can be slid to the side, in order to make more space. Also, we have a shower head in here, which we could use, if we had water in the tank. As mentioned before, if we could use the gas, we’d also have hot water. The boiler is hidden in one of the cupboards in the bathroom.
Which brings me to the next point: The bathroom inhabits more storage, that we lovingly call our basement.
My conclusion of this van tour is, that Mercury is just so much more advanced in comparison to Hermes. However, he’s also much less stealthy, which has come to be a problem in Austria. But we are still trying to improve our strategies.
We can stand up straight in the van, we can (kind of) cook and we can wash our selves and our dishes (for now at least to a certain extent.
What do you think about our new van?
And do you have any tips how we could clean the fresh- and the grey water tank?
Let us know in the comment area!
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