Vanlife—as in truly full-time this-is-my-only-abode—isn’t for everybody. When I take a lap around my neighborhood, it seems there are at least a handful of modern conversion vans on each block. In talking with a number of owners, the frequency of use ranges drastically from the dedicated few who get out nearly every weekend, plus the occasional big trip a year to the majority of owners who get out around once a month—maybe more in the summer.
The problem with a van that has been converted into a camper is it can mostly only be used as a camper. Granted, there will be exceptions, but this was what the team at Adventure Wagon wanted to address. They designed a system so a conversion van doesn’t just convert once into a camper van, but so it can easily convert as needed from camper van to cargo van to a high-capacity people-mover.
The team at Adventure Wagon (adventurewagon.com) loaned us a van to test out on a trip to Utah. Our family of four needed the double bunk system plus four seats with seatbelts for on the road. It was a simple setup with a Dometic electric cooler as the extent of our kitchen and a Goal Zero battery and solar panel to power the 12-volt electrical lights and USB outlets.
The entire interior of the van can go from a camping configuration to totally empty in about 15 minutes. To do this, Adventure Wagon uses L-Track (logistics track) to anchor all of the modular pieces in the van. This is a common system used in a number of other cargo hauling industries, including aviation. The L-Track is installed along the floors and walls, and it’s how the chairs, bed shelves, and cargo bags are secured to the inside of the vehicle. This means, when emptied, the van can be used for household DYI projects to haul full sheets of plywood or other materials when it’s not being used as a camper van.
The van proved to be very convenient on our 1,000-mile journey. We had two bed shelves stacked in the back of the van. Initially, we thought the kids would want to be on the top bunk, so we set the bunk higher up, sacrificing some of their headroom for my wife and me on the bottom bunk. This also left plenty of room under the bunk for gear storage where two long sliding drawers could come out of the back of the van for easy gear access. Van camping is always going to be a little crammed with four people—even though the kids are small at 5 and 8 years old.
On our drive home, we foolishly thought we could find a campsite near Moab. Instead, with evening approaching, we managed to find a dispersed camping location near town just before dark. And this is the beauty of the fully contained camping van system. After grabbing dinner in town, we just parked, boiled up some hot drinks, and settled into bed.
Modular design makes a van from Adventure Wagon versatile for adventure, DYI projects, or moving lots of people around town.