There are campers, teardrop trailers, converted vans, and high-end motor homes that include all the comforts of home. And a lot of these homes on wheels take form and function into mind with smart, beautiful design.
Here at Dwell we are paying more attention to nontraditional residences. Along with featuring other fun and unique spaces like cabins, houseboats, and treehouses, our new weekly "Out There" column will explore those who live on the road along with their nomadic dwellings.
If you’re new to #vanlife and considering hitting the road yourself, there’s an endless array of motor homes these days. Not sure where to start? Here’s a few options to help you navigate the vast market of recreational vehicles.
Trailers + Teardrops
As far as trailers are concerned, there’s the classic aluminum-clad Airstream, which sleeps anywhere from a couple to a family of eight. The Bambi ($48,900+) and Caravel ($60,900+) are Airstream’s most compact and easy-to-tow trailers, coming in at 16, 19, 20, and 22 feet. The pint-sized spaces include two sleeping spots and a dinette, kitchen, and bathroom.
Vintage Overland’s sleek and compact teardrops are designed with function in mind. Each tiny capsule includes solar panels, a Goal Zero generator, and a memory foam mattress. With an aluminum exterior and wood interior, the design is beautiful as well. The Tuco ($12,500) is light enough to be towed by a small vehicle, and the larger Great Escape ($15,000) has a storage boot for gear.
Happier Camper’s retro design evokes a nostalgic feel. Designed with a modular system in mind, the HC1 trailer allows you to configure the space however you please. Models range from $24,950 to $31,625, and there’s also the option to purchase add-ons to tailor the space to your needs, with upgrades like a dry-flush toilet, outdoor shower and generator.
Cute and cozy, the Tiny Camper trailer starts at around $9,800 for the basic Eco model. The Lithuania-based company can ship the teardrop internationally. And they also sells DIY kits so you can assemble the chassis yourself for a fraction of the price.
Out this month, AntiShanty is a sleek 60-square-foot aluminum trailer that caters to an outdoor enthusiast’s needs. The Base model ($29,900) stores all your gear and has a queen bed/picnic table combo. And the Plus ($39,900) is a home on wheels with two queen beds and a stove, furnace, toilet, and road shower, among life’s other little luxuries.
While most recreational vehicles are for weekends and vacations, Living Vehicle was designed with living on the road full-time in mind. Starting at $199,000 the new 2020 model (out this week) is larger than the original version, has more off-grid capabilities, and is customizable with all sorts of fun upgrades. Think washer-drier combo, drop-down beds, and a home theater.
Campers, Vans + 4x4s
While Airstream is known for its timeless trailer, the company also has several lines of sleek motor coaches, which range from the cozy 19-foot Interstate Nineteen ($152,225+) to the deluxe Atlas model ($235,714+). The luxury van interiors include beautiful wood paneling and leather seating, along with fully equipped kitchenettes and bathrooms.
Known for its big motor coaches, Winnebago also has a line of vans made from the Mercedes-Benz and the Ram ProMaster chassis. The more affordable Travato, which starts at around $118,000 has four floor plans to choose from. And the top-of-the-line Boldt has all the trappings for nearly $200,000.
On a smaller scale, there’s also the option of going with a 4x4 vehicle like the all-electric, American-made Rivian. Both available for pre-order with delivery in late 2020, the R1T truck ($69,000+) and R1S SUV ($72,500+) are built with al fresco living in mind. The gear storage tunnel underneath the car to be outfitted with a camp kitchen. And there’s also a tent platform on the bed of the truck.
If you are looking for a van that has been converted into a cozy abode, there are a few companies who can do the work for you.
ModVans launched their CV1 model in summer 2017. With pricing starting at $78,475, the souped-up Ford minivan has a top that pops and a modular build so that customers can mix and match the features (think furnace and propane tank) that they desire. The company also offers RV financing to boot.
Portland, Oregon’s Outside Van converts Sprinter vans and Ford Transits. Buy a camper that is already completed or send them your van to rig to your liking. Since it’s a fully custom shop, the vehicle is unique to you with prices dictated based on your needs. They charge $19,000 for a basic conversion, or you can get all the bells and whistles for $200,000.
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