About two years ago, I unzipped the tent fly on a cold, right around 30 degree morning, and crawled out into the frosty air. I went to the water jugs, frozen, coffee would have to wait, and set to trying to get warm. It was at that time I noticed a guy come out the door of his van, stretch, and wave at me holding his hot mug of coffee. Bastard….
After 28 years of sleeping in the dirt, it was time to move on up to a bed and some warmth!
My wife Cyn started looking online for used vans since a new one was way out of our price range. After looking for about two years, on and off, we found a van in Dillon CO which is near our home and the negotiations began. The owner was buying a new one from Sportsmobile and had been using the van for about 10 years, it is a 2002 Ford E350 V10 and came with a modest Sportsmobile conversion. We went to “look” at the van, but thats like “looking” at puppies, you leave with a puppy, or in this case, a new van.
The most important thing for us was the pop top, some of our friends had vans without and it hurt my back to always be bent over, Sportsmobile pops the top giving you an eight foot ceiling and sleeping loft which was also needed since we have two teens who travel with us.
It needed a new water tank and a lot of updating such as new closet doors, a fridge, and solar which I set up with only getting shocked twice. Now the van can hold 20 gallons of water, plus five more if we fill up our Road Shower which sits on top, 10 gallons of propane which run the stove and heater, and the solar runs all the electric and the fridge.
We also redid all the upper bunk padding since it was pretty crushed down and had hard spots.
I removed the running boards it came with since they hung low and would get hit on some of the roads we drive getting to crags. I did all the work myself over about a year and have it pretty much where I like it now. Cyn and I can be out for weeks at a time with no problem, and moving from a cooler to fridge allows you to stay out longer since you don’t worry about food going bad in a cooler or getting water logged.
Now on a cold morning I brew up a nice mug of coffee, hang out in the warmth, and then wave to my tent camping brothers with a big smile on my face.