‘Winterising’ your Bongo

I was talking to a lovely American lady the other day about preparing her garden for winter. She called this ‘winterising’, with a lovely midwest drawl .  Although I’d never heard the word before I immediately grasped it’s meaning and I’m guessing you will too.

Apologies to any language purists out there but I do fully believe in the richness of our changing, alive language and so I am embracing the term ‘Winterising’.  Try it out loud – with the drawl.


Winterising your Bongo

1. Damp is not your friend.

Mould in the AFT (Auto Free Top) is a common issue in Bongos. So what can you do about it?

  • At the end of the season (and during the season if you can) give the inside of the AFT a thorough clean.  Try using clove oil (which has antifungal properties) as alternative to hard core antifungal cleaners. After all people will be sleeping up there.
  • Or you can make your own, I suggest using cat litter in tights like this. Use a claybased, non scented cat litter. Which ever you do make sure you place a few bags around in the roof.
  • Think about air circulation.  We remove the roof panels to let air circulate during the winter and if there is a delightful, fresh dry autumn day and you have the chance put the roof up that would be great too.

2. Salt is your most fiendish enemy.

As I have mentioned before Bongos are made for the Japanese market, they were not built for European road conditions.  The Japanese do not use salt on their roads which makes Bongo’s very vulnerable to the damage from salt used on British roads in winter.

  • It is really, really, really important to make sure your Bongo has been undersealed and waxolyed. This should ideally be done by a garage but the determined tinkerer could do it themselves.  Just make sure a thorough job is done, especially in trouble prone areas like wheel arches.
  • The underseal will protect your van from the vagaries of the british weather and the corrosive horror of salt.  Bongo’s have a bit if a reputation for suffering from rust.  The problem usually arises because owners have not applied and maintained their underseal.
  • Even with this protection we avoid using the Bongo in the depths of winter as much as possible.   If this isn’t an option for you I would try to give the underside a good hose down if you have a period of heavy road salting.Better safe than sorry.

3. Store your gear

  • If you usually store all your camping gear in the van then now is a good time to empty it out. Check through your gear. Clean, mend and store it away somewhere dry and away from mice.
  • Give the van a really good clean inside all ready for next season’s camping. Lovely.

Now things are all ready for next season better start researching your trips for next year.  Have a look at this useful map for some more inspiration!

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