Archive for the ‘Van/Boat/Camper Life’ Category

Wanderlust | Wanna Go On A Roadtrip? | West Coast Campervan Rentals

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016


Visit  and you will see what you can do when you fly into the West Coast and pick up something simple to explore and get lost and take the long way to get there.  You can stop at anything you want to stop at and you can find little gems to stay a while.

I’m always attracted to the West Coast.  A slow drive up the coast with lots of stops to see things, explore little shops and find a little place to have a nap in a hammock between two trees in the shade by the beach.  I think if you invest in a little camper van and use that money instead of the traditional hotel would be neat and great for the kids.  Add some gas and some little campsites and some food and you are set.





Cargo Trailer Turns Into Mobile Camper

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

On TinyHouseTalk,  I noticed a cool little cargo trailer turned into a camper.  The owner created a cool camper with neat storage ideas taken from some of today’s micro apartments.  The owner and his wife and dog have traveled over 4,000 miles exploring and saved money on places to stay along the journey.  80 sq ft.

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WanderWith.Me | Roadtrip Across The World | Wow + Incredible

Thursday, May 8th, 2014
An overland odyssey, of dust, snow, and distant shorelines, capturing moments of life and landscapes, cameras, prime lenses, weathered journals and rain soaked musings, inspirations, lyrics and poetry. Head and heart given to the road, the mysterious and ever unfolding unknown.” WanderWith.Me”

1-wanderwithme 1-tumblr_n5840pnZPh1qhxikro1_1280.png 1-tumblr_n46gz1VRul1qhxikro1_1280.png 1-tumblr_n4uy77Pr6N1qhxikro2_r1_1280.png 1-tumblr_n0lvddbtKP1qhxikro1_1280 1-tumblr_n2dsmh2Tl21qhxikro1_1280.png 1-tumblr_n3bwkzKsBE1qhxikro1_1280 1-tumblr_n4urwc5Yh61qhxikro1_1280.png 1-tumblr_myzrxdUyrJ1qhxikro1_1280 1-tumblr_mzpx86rfgM1qhxikro1_1280.png 1-tumblr_mzz9y3HQqY1qhxikro2_r1_1280Our quick interview with Colby & Alita is all it takes to re-open our eyes to how little we need, and how much we are missing. Grab a car, great company and get going. They are truly inspiring, in the most unpretentious of ways; two world travellers living the dream.


What were your reason/s for getting an ‘adventuremobile’?

The adventuremobile idea was an answer to questions about how to reach remote areas in the Americas and Africa, then stay awhile to experience and photograph them.


Why the Toyota, as opposed to any other off road campers and vehicles?

I’m a bit biased, but Toyota’s were well loved and depended on growing up in Bend, Oregon and you still see many 50 & 60 series cruisers around town there today. I researched other rigs, but the list of possibles shortened when looking at reliability, spare parts and roadside repairs. The rest seemed pure serendipity, as I got a heads up on a rare Troopy for sale on the side of country road in Vermont. The photos are still up online here, amazingly! I fell in love at first sight and purchased on the spot and over the phone, then spent three wonderful days with the owner and her family on their gorgeous woodsy property in Stowe, Vermont. I took two weeks to drive and camp in the truck while moving across Canada and the States, that after changing the fluids and tires out in Montreal.
It seems like you’ve done some work to the ‘Green Beast’. What customizations have you made? Any small luxuries added?

I had some years traveling abroad and living along the West Coast in an RV so had come to appreciate needing less and keeping life simple. This was Alita’s experience in her travels abroad as well as it allows more time for the creative work we both love. The first decision on the Troopy was to build only below the window line to keep a light filled open space inside the truck. The rest of the work was about self sufficiency with an idea to live comfortably a couple weeks at a time. Here are some of the customizations…

· AutoHome graciously sponsored us with an incredibly comfortable and rugged roof top tent

· Cabinetry to contain our food, refrigerator, tools, clothes, and misc. storage needs while also allowing room for sleeping indoors.

· Fabrication work to better secure the rooftop area which keeps spare parts, recovery gear, and extra diesel.

· Solar powered energy system for charging cameras, computers and the refrigerator (140W solar panel, inverter, sun charger, 3 optima batteries)

· 15 Gal water system with sink allowing us to filter water from hoses and rivers, reducing bottled water use. Also, a very handy outdoor solar shower.

· Our getting unstuck gear includes Toyo MT tires with 2 spares and repair kit, Winch with Nylon cable, MaxTrax, Tow Rope, Shackles, Hi-Lift & bottle Jack, Shovel and wood cutting gear

· Surfboard rack, maybe the most important item!


We can’t have helped but sensed a bias to travel in Mexico. Why Mexico? What other terrain do you guys conquer?

We’re driving down to Argentina so Baja and mainland Mexico were some part of that but Mexico is also Alitas home country. As Alita has travelled here extensively, its been an incredible start to the journey in terms of getting to know people and places more deeply. It’s also been a great way to further reduce the things we found weren’t so needed, especially living in a smaller space.


Any good stories? Future travel plans?

Yes, and so many seem to start early in the morning! In Nayarit, Mexico, we awoke to a motorcycle outside the tent while camping miles down an extremely isolated beach. We climbed down to see a man hunched over, furiously digging in the sand. He then pulled a large leather satchel off his motor bike and started filling it with dozens of turtle eggs, to move them safely to an incubator. The sight of him – goggles on and motoring off down the beach on an antique motorcycle with a satchel full of eggs and his little dog hanging off the back was a movie-like sequence, but we weren’t quick enough with the cameras!


As for future travel, we’re looking to reach Panama by late Summer then fly back to Mexico and Oregon to spend time with family. We’ll return to the truck and the adventure in South America later this Winter.

♥ Colby & Alita

They have a great website with a Tumblr Template so follow them on Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook.  Links on the their website.  So follow their blog and amazingly photographed story here: WanderWith.Me

Boatlife | Tucker & His 28ft Newport | by Foster Huntington

Friday, March 14th, 2014

The boat rocked  slightly throughout the night.  Except for the squawking of the occasional seagull and the sporadic  sound of a diesel generator firing on in one of the many boats in the marina,  Tucker’s 28 foot Newport felt a lot like my camper.   Tired from the days drive, I slept soundly in my down sleeping bag. The sun rose over the Oakland hill shortly before seven and illuminated the cabin.  A small 12v fan circulated air as the fiberglass hull warmed up.

“Tucker…you up mon?”

“Good morninggg Vietnam!” He responded after a few groggy seconds.

“Ohh someone is a lil twwiired. Haha Lets  get some coffee started in a few?”

“I’m up, I’m up,” Tucker replied.

Within minutes, the kettle was boiling on the electric hot plate in the cabin.  Crawling out of my sleeping bag, I rotated around on my hip in the tight space of the ship’s birth and walked hunched over to the couch that converts into a full size bed.  The quarters were tight, but certainly livable, at 6’3, I found the headroom a little low, but manageable. A few 12v air circulators kept the fresh air from the bay moving around.  The space felt homey.

“This is great.  I see why you’re so pumped on living in a boat.  It’s just like a van, but more spacious.”

“It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

“Sure Seems like it.”

I first met Tucker 8 years ago when we were freshmen in college.  We became fast friends and spent the majority of the next three years of college hanging out together.  Tucker, a Maine native, came west for the first time with me two years ago on a road trip from Portland to San Francisco.  A year later, he packed up his belongings into a van and moved out to Oakland.  He now lives on his boat and works as a designer/carpenter and works out of his Astro van around the Bay Area.  The low overhead afforded by living on a boat lets Tucker be selective with the kind of projects he works on as well as giving him the freedom to travel whenever he wants.

Tucker’s simple kitchen runs off of shore power 120v.

Opening up the hatch for some added headroom.

Succulents in the port window.

The same succulents, but viewed from the ship’s cabin.

Greg and Emily.  They live one boat down on a 29 footer.  Greg and Tucker are partners in a design build business called Perspective Design Build.

The V-Berth.

Tucker making coffee.

Tucker enjoying a breakfast burrito.

After half an hour of enjoying coffee and breakfast, I grabbed my sleeping bag and backpack and crawled out of Tucker’s boat onto the dock.  At 7:40,  the marina was still asleep, as we headed past a handful of other pleasure boats and live-aboards.

“This is a pretty crazy set up,” I said as we passed through the gate on onto dry land.

“Next time we’ll go for a sail around The Bay.”

“Deal. I’m baking Boatlife.”


My notes:  Reminds me of Jason Froats who I worked with at Fidelity and Paul Demaiter who also spent a long time on his boat.  Then Marc & Carmen lived this life also.  I think boatlife is interesting and would be a fun thing to do in the summer.  Unless something like “Dead Calm” happens… 

Van x Year | Mathew Arthur | Living in 45 Square Feet

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

van × year from Office Supply on Vimeo.

Really interesting project and story and wanted to share + note.

Office Supply is Mathew Arthur – a designer living and working in Vancouver, Canada. Office Supply is a freelance practice (often in collaboration with other freelancers) along the lines of print design, web/mobile development and dimensional/3d design.

He wanted to spend a year living in his Van.  Living with less.

External Links

Foster Huntington | His Toyota Camper | Van Life

Thursday, February 6th, 2014



A year ago, I started fantasizing about campers other than my VW Syncro. It felt adulterous. I had been living in it for a year and half at this point and the cost of maintenance was catching up to me. Syncro’s are pretty amazing vans. Mine had an Audi engine, front and rear locking differentials and could go any where I wanted it. The problem was reliability. Only 300o were ever imported to the US, and very few people know how to work on them. Many times a minor break down such as a fuel pump or a starter turned into a week long search for a mechanic that was willing to work on it let a lone had access to the right parts. My van was made in 1987 and had 292 miles on it when I bought it. With the right maintenance, It will keep working forever, but my regiment of 40k miles per year were wearing on the car. From afar, VW van’s are very romantic. Living in one is a totally different story.

Unfortunately, there aren’t that many good alternatives to a Syncro in terms of capability, size and efficiently. Sportsmobile’s weigh twice as much and cost between $50-100k. Depending on the, year there are problems with the Diesel engines and the MPG are hard to swallow. Eurovans are plagued with electronic issues and never come in 4wd. A full size truck and camper is way to big. I wanted something, I could parallel park in a city and make my way around narrow forest service roads. Eventually, I settled on a Toyota Tacoma and a poptop camper.

Go to a remote area for an activity like surfing, snowboarding or climbing and you’ll likely see a Toyota truck with a pop top camper. Unlike a rare German 4×4, the parts are ubiquitous and any garage in the world can work on them. Sure they aren’t as “c00l” as a VW, but one break down in the Mojave desert cured me with my fixation of how cool my Syncro was.

After doing a bunch of research on forums like Wander the West and The Expedition Portal, I focused my attention on a Four Wheel PopTop camper. All though not the fanciest, they have been making campers for 40 years and have a cult following of people that use theirs in harsh situations. To maximize usable space, I decided to remove the stock bed and put an aluminum flatbed on the truck. This would allow for the side entry I loved about my van, as well as a lower center of gravity and increased storage around the wheel wells. On a tip from a friend, I got in touch with AT Overland in Prescott, Arizona and they helped design, source parts and work with Four Wheel to build the camper. The whole process from conception of the idea to delivery of the finished product in Prescott took eight months.

The ruberized canvas walls have an insulative layer that helps with condensation and keeps the camper warm in cold temperatures.

The camper is based off of a 2013 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab. The truck has a V6, six speed manual and the off road package. I upgraded the truck with a 2-inch lift from Old Man Emu, an ARB Bumper, Warn Winch, Airflow Snorkel, Firestone airbags in the back and a custom rear leaf set up from Deaver in Orange County.

Parked in Baja on the campers maiden voyage last summer.

When popped, the bed slides out to roughly the size of a Kingsize.

Extra fuel storage and some badges of honor from the road. Between the fuel cans are two Max Trax for putting under the tires in sticky situations.

AT Overland fabricated 4 Lockable aluminum boxes under the flatbed for extra storage room.

A 20,000 BTU furnace keeps me the camper warm during cold nights. This opened up a ton of possibilities for me.

Compared, to my Syncro, the Four Wheel Camper feels like a Four Seasons. It has an electric fridge (powered by two marine batteries and 160w panel) a two burner stove (two 10 pound cylinders) a furnace (runs off the propane and 20 gallons of freshwater and an outdoor shower.

This month marks the two and half year mark for living out of my vehicle. It’s flown by. My initial plan to spend a year on the road has morphed into a way of life. I love living out of a small space. It forces me to limit my possessions and conscious of the mess I make. Instead of buying something when I’m bored, I travel to a new place. My new camper gives me piece of mind to continue my travels . I’m hoping to have it for twenty years.

Here are some more links,

Gone Tomorrow (Ian Durkin),

AT Overland,

Four Wheel Campers.

Van Life > Sorry… Car Life | 2001 Toyota Echo Turned Into a Micro RV For RoadTrips & Camping

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Taken from:


Man Turns his Toyota Car into Micro RV for Stealthy Car Camping

toyota echo transformed into stealth car camper 001 600x449   Man Turns his Toyota Echo into Stealthy Micro RV for Car Camping
Who would guess this unassuming Toyota Echo would be able to sleep 2 people comfortably (if a little cozily, you do have to like your traveling companion)?

I believe you’ll really be awed by the simplicity of this car conversion so I encourage you to read the rest of the story and tour the entire car camper below:


When we make cross country drives it can get expensive to stay in a motel every night.

So for less than the price of one night’s hotel stay I converted our little 2001 Toyota Echo into a stealth camper.

I already had some of the materials on hand so really all it cost was the price of a sheet of plywood and a 6′x8′ piece of indoor/outdoor carpet.

toyota echo transformed into stealth car camper 002 600x801   Man Turns his Toyota Echo into Stealthy Micro RV for Car Camping
Above is the back seat in it’s day-to-day mode. Those are camping pads strapped to the front of the seat. We very rarely use the back seat to transport passengers but it’s still possible although not very comfortable at this point. I plan to add some cushions soon.

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Above and below is the trunk area deck. There’s a cut out on the left to securely hold a 5 gallon water bottle in place.

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Under the deck there’s room to store a wooden folding table, camp stove, a laptop and a few other small things. A plastic dishpan will hold our kitchen stuff.

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Above and below the transformation to sleeping deck is taking place. Front seats are slid all the way forward and seat backs are tilted toward the front of the car. The bottom of the rear seat has come off and is placed securely over the transmission hump. Three pins along the edge of the seat will fit into corresponding holes on the underside of the deck so everything locks securely in place.

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Two views of the fully extended sleeping platform. Just over 6 feet of space with your feet extending into the trunk area. With the self-inflating sleeping pads it’s a comfy but firm bed.

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Notice the two white U-shaped things protruding just below the rear deck. They were there to hold the back of the original seat in place. One of my goals in designing this was not to permanently alter any part of the car so that everything can be put back to stock should we decide to sell it. So I built this little folding table that fits onto those things.

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Voila! With the addition of my laptop and a couple speakers the car is transformed into a media room to watch DVDs or listen to CDs.  I’m reclining on the back side of the forward tilted front seats. With a couple pillows it’s actually quite comfortable.

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And we even have a storage space for it, check it out below:

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Here’s the trunk fully loaded for a trip. With 2 of those super comfortable reclining outdoor chairs it’s a pretty nice camping rig if you like to spend time in the great outdoors. It takes us less than 5 minutes to pull everything out and set everything up. I still need to address having some kind of system for privacy though. I’m thinking that one of those old-fashioned roll up shades attached to the rear deck could pull over the entire sleeping area and no one would even know you are there.


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I discovered these great alternate compact camping chairs at Amazon. They hold 300 lbs. and fold into a 4″x4″x14″ case which will allow me to store them under the back deck and eliminate the large amount of space taken up by my current folding chairs (shown above). I plan to have all camping equipment in the car at all times so all we have to do is pack a bag of clothes and go.

Honda Element Camper Wanted | Explore + Everyday Vehicle

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

1-tiny ecamper-001Watch a video on YouTube here about it.

Would love to purchase a used Honda Element and then have the eCamper installed to make it great for camping with the kids.  Imagine using it for everyday commuting and you can easily pop the roof and sleep in the top in the Spring/Summer & Fall with proper sleeping bags.  It would be great for roadtrips anywhere or extended travel that gives you the option to save so much money by not even renting a campground for the night (or expensive lodging).  Use that money for food and adventures instead.

This company also makes one for the Jeep.

Summer of (Family) Love | Tiny Home Roadtrip | VW Camper Van

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

by Kirsten Dirksen


family in the field

One of the most elusive goals in life is determining just what you need to live. As co-founders of a site on simple living (, we’ve spent the past eight years examining the unencumbered lives of others, but this summer we had the opportunity to try out micro-living first-hand when we packed our family of 5 into a Westfalia campervan for a filming roadtrip through the Pacific Northwest.

Limiting ourselves to one backpack per person, the five of us moved into our 50-square-foot mobile home (a 1981 VW Westfalia “Westy”, purchased used off craigslist). We hit the road determined to cook all our own meals (propane stove & refrigerator included) and to create our home every night in a different location (RV parks not included, infant potty included).

With no advanced reservations and only interviews to guide us, we visited the homes of regulars in the tiny house world. With each stop we picked up some new piece of wisdom about life’s essentials. Tiny house builder Dee Williams (Olympia, WA) asked us to consider: “What do you want to hold in your arms when you die?” Boeing engineer and Seattle micro-apartment designer Steve Sauer explained he’s less interested in simplicity and more focused on having control over the things in his life. Oregon Coast surfboard-maker Lanny Shuler thinks you can be happy anywhere as long as you give your mind time to heal through meditation.

Between interviews we found places to sleep on small side roads, downtown streets and even a Walmart parking lot (they’re well-known for being open to overnighters). We learned to live with our chosen basics: a frying pan, 1 pot, a wooden spoon, some utensils and a few plates, Swiss Army knife, castile soap (for dishes, body, hair), water bottles, sunscreen, a few changes of clothing and a smartphone (for navigation and communication).

More importantly, we discovered how it feels to live close: to each other (3 to a bed for some of us) and to nature (with a home so light and permeable, the outdoors became part of our home). We explored forest bathing in old growth redwood groves and Olympic Peninsula rainforests and lakefront, pushed the limits of “freedom to roam” (e.g. the Swedish Allmansrätten), mingled with accidental pantheists.

“Summer of (family) love” is a roadtrip film that brings together some of the bigger names in the tiny house world with one family’s attempt to live deliberately with just the essentials, if only for one season.

(this short doc is laced with some videos that she has done that feature other people living tiny.  I have about another hour to watch this.)