Safety & Rescue Gadgets

After working some more on the kitchen countertop, I sit down and show some of the safety and rescue items that should be part of any Vanlife experience. Especially, when you head out to boondock or while off-road driving.

Kitchen Countertop

The movable part of the countertop, that hides the induction cooktop, returns to the workshop to be finished. The top is sanded with an orbital sander, starting with 80 grit and followed by 120, 180, 240 and 320 grit. I may give it a final manual sanding with 500 grid. Then the edges are sanded down by hand, to remove the sharp edges.

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Before applying a finish, I clean the wood with some paint thinner. This will clean the material and give a temporary view of what the end result will look like. The thinner will evaporate quickly.

I prepare some Shellac Flakes and leave them until the next day, before I apply the Shellac. For now, I go up to four coats with a 1000 grit sanding between coats.

Safety Gadgets

I is necessary to stay safe when living in your van and so far, I have installed the following items.

  • Smoke and CO2 Alarm
    While a smoke alarm is useful at any location, a CO2 alarm might seem superfluous in an all-electric van, however vehicle exhaust fumes could always entire the interior of the van at any time. The installed gas heater is also a source of concern.
  • Fire Extinguisher
    I have currently one extinguisher attached to the wall behind the drivers seat and conveniently located for an engine fire or other exterior issue. A second extinguisher will be located close to the kitchen at a later time.
  • Car Window Glass Breaker
    Located on the wall behind the drivers seat for use in case I have to exit the vehicle through a window in an emergency.

Rescue Gadgets

  • Drive Belts
    The 2016 Ford Transit engine uses two separate drive belts; in case one of them wears down prematurely, I decided to buy and store one of each: Motocraft JK6553 and Motocraft ‎JK4577A
  • Tire Repair Kit
    Repairing a tire with a small hole, made by an undesired nail, can be easily done with this repair kit. You could avoid, having to use your spare tire.
  • GooLoo GP4000 Jump Starter
    Sitting at my favorite location, enjoying the views for a week or two and finish a couple of hikes, is my ultimate aspiration. The drawing down of the vehicle’s starting battery, might become an unwanted issue. This heavy-duty Lithium jump starter should help me get on my way. It doesn’t hurt to be able and help another stranded driver too.
  • Traction/Recovery Boards
    I have been stuck before in a sandy area and traction boards may help you get out. Always deflate your tires first for extra traction.
  • Foldable Shovel
    A small shovel helps immensely when digging out the wheels of your van. It also comes in handy, to cover the flames of your evening fire pit, before you go to sleep.
  • Come-A-Long
    When everything fails, a come-a-long or manual winch could still pull you out of a muddy or sandy hole. I added two long straps and a D-ring to complete the setup.

While I was on a spending spree, getting many of these items, I also bought:

  • Garbage or Trash Picker
    It frustrates me, seeing the garbage that is left by other hikers or campers. Cleaning up a campsite with one of these grabbers, when you arrive, will go somewhat towards protecting the environment and leaving it pristine for the next person.
  • Silicone Foldable Dog Food Bowls
    Always struggling to preserve some space in the van, I decided to leave behind Joey’s current, heavy food bowl and replace it with these smaller silicone bowls, that store flat and are much lighter.


Jellas Orbit Sander
Trash Pickers
GooLoo GP4000 Jump Starter
Traction/Recovery Boards
Tire Repair Kit
TEKTON 4-Ton Dual Gear Power Puller – Come-A-Long
Foldable Shovel
Red Outdoor Fabric
Motocraft JK6553 Drive Belt
Motocraft ‎JK4577A Drive Belt
Car Window Glass Hammer
Fire Extinguisher
Foldable Dog Food Bowls
Shellac Flakes
Woodworking Clamps
Woodworking Glue
Paint Thinner

*Some of the links above and in the video, are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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