Over the last few years, I’ve spent quite a bit of time traveling, camping and living off and on in the back of my 2001 Ford Escape. This has been my dream vehicle for over a decade now: it’s four wheel drive, seats four, sleeps two with room to spare and it’s beefy enough to tow a trailer. I’ve traveled in it for months at a time. With two people traveling long term, it’s tight and you can’t take much gear, but it’s doable without much fuss.
In early 2015, I began thinking about upgrading to something bigger in order to be a little more comfortable on those rainy days and to enable me to take a little more adventure gear with me on those longer trips.
The problem was, since I already had a pretty decent-sized vehicle, upgrading to a small van just didn’t seem worth it — I’d spend a lot to upgrade but not gain a huge amount of space. But on the other hand, I didn’t necessarily want to own a huge vehicle. I’d always scoffed at how unnecessarily big modern American vehicles were becoming. In the end, I decided to take the chance – it was going to be my home for part of the time, so space was a necessity.
If I was going go forward with purchasing something new, I wanted it to meet a few requirements:
- Fuel efficient
- Semi off road worthy (good clearance)
- Space for climbing gear and bicycles
What I will be explaining in the next few posts actually took place in March - May of 2015. It is currently January of 2016 and I’ve finally been coaxed into writing up my experience.
Unfortunately, since my build took place over the course of about six weeks, I didn’t have time or the forethought to take many photos. But I’ll try my best to scrape together the few photos I do have and tell you how I managed to buy my van, build it out and keep it running for 20,000 miles and counting.