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Old 10-21-2013, 03:03 PM   #1
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Single-Height Countertop with 4E Fridge and EB-50 Storage

Hi Everyone.

Still thinking about our build plans here. A lot is up in the air but as I peruse the gallery I get more and more ideas...and conflicts

Although I heard from Jonathan that the new 2.7 CF fridge is supposed to be a smidge bigger than the earlier model, I just don't think that it will be big enough. This has us considering the 4E. The idea of carrying plenty of fresh veggies, meat, milk, drinks, etc. has us leaning that way. I was concerned about loosing the upper cabinet/drawer but we're getting the door-mounted galley cabinet so I don't think that is an issue.

For those that have the larger fridge, did you go with the single-height countertop? I see that Blackeye did in his build. I like the large, flat surface for food prep but how much does this cover up the awning window? Oh yeah, we are back to an EB-50 (the most superior floor plan ) at this point.

This may be a needless worry but with only two real windows in the -50, I'd hate to loose the light or airflow from that front window being behind the countertop. I still can't confirm if we can sneak the small slider just aft of the awning window in the EB (would place it just above the cooktop near the sink.

On a related note, where do most of you carry dry goods? Cooking gear?

I was thinking that pots and pans could go in the cupboard above the porta-potti cabinet. Maybe more in the porta-potti cabinet itself (we'd likely get the cover and leave it against the couch and use it as an ottoman). Food and whatnot could go in the pantry just aft of the sink (clothing would go in the "closet" area as we plan to delete the bar in the rear of the closet and have shelves put in it's place). Dishes and cutlery in the door cabinet.

Still undecided on penthouse or Voyager (we really like Blackeye's former van). Love the PH for clearance of low-hanging trees on trails but the Voyager has that instant stand-up room and insulation for those winter trips to Saskatchewan (insert shivering emoticon here). If we go with the Voyager I'll just have Aluminess build a big brush guard around the front to protect it!

Thank you for any input!

Jim
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Old 10-21-2013, 04:51 PM   #2
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Re: Single-Height Countertop with 4E Fridge and EB-50 Storag

This sparked something I remember from my build. If you are planning to have a stove installed on your counter, the counter can only be made so high as there is a minimum distance required between the stove and the roof. A point in the Voyager top's favor might be that the higher roof may allow you to have a taller counter. I have a penthouse roof and a lower-height cabinet. With the top up, the counter almost feels too low, but with the top down, I think the higher counter would be unusable.

I find that my 2.7 cubic foot fridge holds much more than I think it will. I carry a small separate cooler with ice for drinks which leaves enough space for at least three days worth of cold food for two people, though I don't know what you eat so your mileage may vary. Most cooking gear and dry goods go in the pantry cabinet. Be sure to secure the porta-potti if you plan to store it outside the cabinet. It's not something you want to be hit from behind by if you should have to brake hard. Also, for airflow, I find I can't rely on natural breezes to do the job, so I carry a Fan-Tastic Fan.

I hope this is helpful.
Steve in L.A.
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Old 10-21-2013, 08:01 PM   #3
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Re: Single-Height Countertop with 4E Fridge and EB-50 Storag

I have the larger fridge and two level counter top, no built in stove. I get more admiring comments about my fridge than any other part of my rig.

Store pans/pots aft of fridge as well as dry goods. There a shelf in there.

Thetford porta potti with a leather cover sits between front captain chairs aft of doghouse. It's doesn't move.

We do all cooking/prepping outside so nothing gained for having equal leveled counter space for us.

The higher counter slightly covers driver side pop out window but you can still get a breeze. Lighting comes from windshield, all the windows on pass side, rear windows and pop top windows.

I like stealth so pop top gets my nod, but I would highly suggest an e-poptop to save your back and so anyone including the vertically challenged can pop it. The manual requires strength and a tiny bit of coordination.
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Old 10-22-2013, 05:17 AM   #4
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Re: Single-Height Countertop with 4E Fridge and EB-50 Storag

We have a 4cf refrigerator, stove, and two-level counter and all has worked out very well. The higher counter over the frig is just right for food prep. Everyone is different but we could not get by with a smaller frig...we like to stock up on food for a whole trip, even two weeks, and not spend time shopping.

Yes, the taller frig does block the side window somewhat but you can still get a breeze through it and there is still lots of light from the penthouse windows, windshield, etc. we don't miss the drawer at all. Cooking utensils are stored in a plastic shoe box which fits tightly between the stove and exterior wall. Silverware is in a small, zippered bag stored in the storage above the sink. Pots and pans consist of a MSR backpacking pot set, small fry pan, and a couple plastic mixing bowls which fit inside the nesting pots. Those all are stored in the microwave.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:34 PM   #5
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Re: Single-Height Countertop with 4E Fridge and EB-50 Storag

I'm with Jack. I also use the taller counter top to get to the PH and I'm glad I have the lower section with the cooktop but YMMV. One thing I wish I had was a separate smaller freezer. I did see one van that had two small refrigerators. An interesting concept. If both needed great, when not, less power loss and it can be used for dry foods. Some other refrigerators can become a freezer by simply turning the thermostat down. So in a perfect world I'd just like to have a standalone freezer maybe twice as large as the little freezer in the 4CF. I want ice! Right now I haul dry ice and drink ice which lasts about a week. I'd rather make ice in the field.

As far as the window and my 4CF, I don't have an issue with it.

Dave
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Old 10-24-2013, 05:23 AM   #6
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Re: Single-Height Countertop with 4E Fridge and EB-50 Storag

Thanks for the info, Dave. Still waiting to hear back from SMB if the taller countertop can accommodate the cooktop with a Voyager top. If not, it's no big deal...it's more of an aesthetic appeal than anything else. I agree that the taller portion above the fridge still makes a decent food prep area. Just thinking back to Blackeye's van and how nice that large, flat surface would be plenty of room for two people to work...and being 6'5", easier for me to work at.

I'd totally be all over two fridges (I like my drinks with ice too...nothing worse that a warm-ish can of Coke in the desert and the ice cuts the sweet factor), especially with the -50 layout, but I'd hate giving up precious kitchen storage space. When we cook, we cook...no pre-prepped shortcuts. Maybe we just need a 34' class A

Sometimes SMB offers too many options. The more we go back and forth with this, the more I see this first van not being our last. Was it SMB-W that said most owners get it "right" by the time they build their 3rd Sportsmobile? Eeesh...
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:32 AM   #7
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Re: Single-Height Countertop with 4E Fridge and EB-50 Storag

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
One thing I wish I had was a separate smaller freezer.
Our 4 cf Isotherm refrigerator makes ice every night. That way it is frozen in the morning and we are ready to get up and go...
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Old 10-24-2013, 11:38 AM   #8
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Re: Single-Height Countertop with 4E Fridge and EB-50 Storag

One thing I think I'd do over is a bigger fridge. The small one, once you get in the required beer, doesn't really have much room for other perishables, especially if you're bumping around on bad roads. Veggies and meats take up a bit of room. And you loose some storage, but the other kinds of non-perishable food can be stored much more flexibly.

And try really hard to avoid losing window space. Some people like cave living, but for the rest of us being able to see as much as possible while seated in the van is a huge thing. You can always figure out what to do for storage after the build, but it's virtually impossible to get more of a view after the fact.
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:50 PM   #9
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Re: Single-Height Countertop with 4E Fridge and EB-50 Storag

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Originally Posted by rob_gendreau
One thing I think I'd do over is a bigger fridge. The small one, once you get in the required beer, doesn't really have much room for other perishables, especially if you're bumping around on bad roads. Veggies and meats take up a bit of room. And you loose some storage, but the other kinds of non-perishable food can be stored much more flexibly.

And try really hard to avoid losing window space. Some people like cave living, but for the rest of us being able to see as much as possible while seated in the van is a huge thing. You can always figure out what to do for storage after the build, but it's virtually impossible to get more of a view after the fact.
I couldn't agree more on having the window space. That's why I was concerned about having the taller counter cover up the left-front awning window above the fridge.

I'm almost willing to sacrifice that map pocket thingie on the right rear side of the van and put an awning window in its place. Any thoughts on that?
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Old 10-24-2013, 04:11 PM   #10
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Re: Single-Height Countertop with 4E Fridge and EB-50 Storag

Quote:
Originally Posted by yvrr
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
One thing I wish I had was a separate smaller freezer.
Our 4 cf Isotherm refrigerator makes ice every night. That way it is frozen in the morning and we are ready to get up and go...
Well the problem is how much ice I use which can't take the space of the frozen stuff I haul.

The larger 4CF is a must for me and I usually pack the freezer with food. On an average I'll use 2-4 large trays of ice in a day/night and maybe more depending who is with me.

Complex food prep isn't in my repertoire as a rule and I'm more of a BBQ fiend who cooks and prepares stuff outside so I'm limited on my supply of pot and pans. Inside cooking involves boiling water or steaming things. We all do our own things.
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