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Road Trip Outfitting: The Cabinets

August 10, 2017

 

One of the most iconic features of the Westfalia camper is the distinctive cabinet system used for organizing supplies and equipment whilst traveling.  With its built-in look and the radius-cut design used for the cabinet doors and drawers, it's the perfect blend of style and practicality.  I assume they'd agree, as they went so far as to badge their cabinets with the iconic Westfalia logo.

 

So I decided to use that style as inspiration when designing a set of cabinets for my Element.  My cabinets, however, would have very different space constraints and requirements in anticipation of the Ecamper conversion scheduled for next week.

 

I like traveling with the rear passenger-side seat in the truck, but folded up.  It's a good place to work in the road or just relax when parked at a rest stop.  Accounting for the rear seat would also ensure adequate space for sleeping when popping the top is impossible or impractical.  

 

Beyond that, I had two requirements that my Elemefalia Cabinet System (Model EC-I) had to satisfy.

 

First, I wanted the cabinets to be deep enough at the floor to store a Coleman Duel Fuel stove and long enough to store camping and fishing gear in one large compartment.  

 

Second, I wanted to use the cabinets as a ladder or set of stairs for accessing the Ecamper's sleeping area.  This meant the center would be open, like two shelves with the top shelf recessed.  Cubby boxes would flank the shelves on either side.  

 

Each box would have two doors for access from the passenger seat or while standing outside the vehicle at rear or side.

 I used maple plywood for the walls and premium pine for the shelf and corner reinforcements.  I angeled the front and rear sides to maximize storage, stability, and aesthetics.

 In a nod the the Westfalia cabinet design, I made all access doors with radius corners.  I also routed the edges to avoid injury from sharp corners and edges.  I also masked the natural wood with an Elemefalia logo before painting.

 

After painting, I sanded the edges to give this set of cabinets an antiqued appearance. 

 

After final assembly, I was pleased with the result and excited to install Elemefalia Cabinet Model EC-I into Ellie for an extended sea trial road trip. 

 

When not in use, the entire system can be removed, disassembled and stored in a 3'x3'x6-inch wooden storage box.

 

The time, matietials, and craftsmanship required to build this cabinet system is significant.  But to interested parties, an Elemefalia Cabinet Model EC-1 will be available for purchase and, if desired, installation into your Honda Element starting September 2017.  

 

The base price will be approximately $2000.  Additional options like interior cabinet lighting, antiquing, and 12-Volt/USB outlets can be added for an additional cost.

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