Camper vans aren't cool anymore - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 09:53:PM Thread Starter
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Camper vans aren't cool anymore

Someone posted the article about "van culture" a while back. Camper vans are mainstream, even un-cool regular jack offs have them. Sort of like when average people with average lives and average interests started getting tattoos; now it's cooler to NOT have tattoos.

I just got back from a trip to Nevada and Utah. I met up with my Brother to run the Zion Traverse route. In the places where I camp and on the road I saw many campervans, DIY and commercial (Sportsmobile etc). I think I saw two dozen 4x4 Sprinters this trip, Half as many Promaster RVs, a few Sportsmobilish Transits and several DIY Transits and Sprinters. Death Valley campground had almost as many campervans as actual RVs. Even way up the Kolob Reservoir road where I've rarely seen other people camping EVER there were 3-4 campervans. Last night I camped in the Alabama Hills and there were no less than 3 4x4 Sprinters and 2 Sportsmobilish Transits in the spots along Movie road.

Not that I'm going to drive and camp in something else, but after so many years of it being an underground DIY and enthusiast thing it has crept into the mainstream, and our secret handshake has been posted on social media for everyone to see. What's next, is everyone going to be allowed to join the Freemasons and be told all about our plans for world dominance?!

Everyone has caught on. But on the bright side, that means there will be more innovative aftermarket products available, and a boatload of used campervans for sale when gas goes back up to $5-6 gallon.


trip notes:

The back road from Rockville to Gooseberry Mesa (Utah) is really messed up going up from Grafton road, it is impassable unless you have 4x4 high clearance due to wash-out ruts and 1-2' diameter rocks sticking up in the 10-20 degree slope road. I got about 3/4 of the way up before I gave up backed down a couple hundred meters and did an 8-point turn to turn around; the "wide spot" was probably only 2 feet wider than my van is long. A guy on an ATV was shocked I got as far as I did, and I was able to stop a rental RV at the bottom before they attempted it. Limited Slip was great once I turned off traction control, but I was worried about getting high centered or banging the differential or shock mounts. I did high center on one spot, but it was just dirt so no damage. There was no signs saying when they were going to fix the road, if ever. The rains washed away the surface, so just running a grader on it won't do much.

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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 10:13:PM
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just look no further then: reddit/vandwellers, every person who can scrape up 1,000 dollars for a used van is on there! there motto seems to be why pay rent when you can live in a van for free! and use a gym membership for free showers.

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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 10:20:PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Michael Ophus View Post
just look no further then: reddit/vandwellers, every person who can scrape up 1,000 dollars for a used van is on there! there motto seems to be why pay rent when you can live in a van for free! and use a gym membership for free showers.
I did that for about 6 months in the 90's when my job vacillated between two sites a couple hundred miles apart. Not fun. I think there will be a big crackdown on van dwellers once they become a problem. Stealth or not.

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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 10:34:PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surly Bill View Post
Someone posted the article about "van culture" a while back. Camper vans are mainstream, even un-cool regular jack offs have them. Sort of like when average people with average lives and average interests started getting tattoos; now it's cooler to NOT have tattoos.

I just got back from a trip to Nevada and Utah. I met up with my Brother to run the Zion Traverse route. In the places where I camp and on the road I saw many campervans, DIY and commercial (Sportsmobile etc). I think I saw two dozen 4x4 Sprinters this trip, Half as many Promaster RVs, a few Sportsmobilish Transits and several DIY Transits and Sprinters. Death Valley campground had almost as many campervans as actual RVs. Even way up the Kolob Reservoir road where I've rarely seen other people camping EVER there were 3-4 campervans. Last night I camped in the Alabama Hills and there were no less than 3 4x4 Sprinters and 2 Sportsmobilish Transits in the spots along Movie road.

Not that I'm going to drive and camp in something else, but after so many years of it being an underground DIY and enthusiast thing it has crept into the mainstream, and our secret handshake has been posted on social media for everyone to see. What's next, is everyone going to be allowed to join the Freemasons and be told all about our plans for world dominance?!

Everyone has caught on. But on the bright side, that means there will be more innovative aftermarket products available, and a boatload of used campervans for sale when gas goes back up to $5-6 gallon.


trip notes:

The back road from Rockville to Gooseberry Mesa (Utah) is really messed up going up from Grafton road, it is impassable unless you have 4x4 high clearance due to wash-out ruts and 1-2' diameter rocks sticking up in the 10-20 degree slope road. I got about 3/4 of the way up before I gave up backed down a couple hundred meters and did an 8-point turn to turn around; the "wide spot" was probably only 2 feet wider than my van is long. A guy on an ATV was shocked I got as far as I did, and I was able to stop a rental RV at the bottom before they attempted it. Limited Slip was great once I turned off traction control, but I was worried about getting high centered or banging the differential or shock mounts. I did high center on one spot, but it was just dirt so no damage. There was no signs saying when they were going to fix the road, if ever. The rains washed away the surface, so just running a grader on it won't do much.
Your are right. If I have one they can't be cool anymore. Also, I totally missed out on the whole "have a tatoo, have not a tatoo cycle. Sounded like a great trip.
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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 10:48:PM
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The bigger picture is not only that vandwelling has become trendy and/or necessary, but that the popularity of camping has grown immensely. It's risky to depend on a walk-up campsite on a weekend anymore, and the best campgrounds are booked 6 mos in advance, a few minutes after midnight when the reservations are released.

It's great that so many people are enjoying the outdoors, maybe then they will realize the importance of preserving it for their grandchildren. But part of me also hopes it's a passing fad, I miss the days when I could just roll up to Kirk Creek in Big Sur on a Friday afternoon and have my pick of sites.
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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 11:12:PM
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RV / campers must be more popular in locations that have nice weather because i live
in the mid west and i seldom ever see other campers.
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 05-07-2017, 12:41:AM Thread Starter
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The bigger picture is not only that vandwelling has become trendy and/or necessary, but that the popularity of camping has grown immensely. It's risky to depend on a walk-up campsite on a weekend anymore, and the best campgrounds are booked 6 mos in advance, a few minutes after midnight when the reservations are released.

It's great that so many people are enjoying the outdoors, maybe then they will realize the importance of preserving it for their grandchildren. But part of me also hopes it's a passing fad, I miss the days when I could just roll up to Kirk Creek in Big Sur on a Friday afternoon and have my pick of sites.
I don't use campgrounds unless absolutely necessary so I'm always amazed at how full they are when those occasions arise. Campgrounds are just like a crowded city apartment building, except the walls are thinner and people are smashed together even closer. I'd rather stay home.

We've turned around and went home more than once thinking we'd get a campsite at Samuel P Taylor (the kids like it) on a weekday. Figured out that I need to make reservations several weeks ahead of time, and it's hard to PLAN that kind of thing, usually the stars only align a day or two before, and everyone is available and the weather is good.
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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 05-07-2017, 01:49:AM
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What I really hated (I have done a crapload of motorcycle touring/camping) was when the showers were in the same room as the toilets. I built my shop with separate areas from that experience. (The gag reflex).

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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 05-07-2017, 09:39:AM
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I've been looking at many decent campgrounds in an effort to plan a trip with the Van. It's really tough to locate a string of available campsites. When inquiring via phone, the reasoning was that they were trying to curb the number of campground disturbances that had been occurring when people could just drop in and have a party. They also limit the length of stay's in many cases to stop people from taking up residence and thus keeping others from being able to enjoy the camp grounds. I have a state/locally managed lakeside park within 5 minutes. It has campsites/RV pads with real bathrooms and a dump station. There's electricity in the bathrooms but that's it and water is via a spigot at the site. Campfires are not allowed due to the many spare the air days and fire dangers. The cost per night is $40.00, max stay is 7 days and they are booked solid most of the summer time.

I live in a home that was built in 1956 for a little over 50,000.00 including .9 acres of property against a hillside. It's a upper middle income neighborhood with a very low crime rate. It's now "As Is" appraised at over a million. You don't have to look much further to understand why many of the permanent homes now have four wheels and their residents have P.O. Boxes and why your favorite boon docking spot is now a small city of van's and mini rv's.
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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 05-07-2017, 10:28:AM
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If you want a campground with full hook-ups is one thing but my wife and I are continually amazed at how many decent campgrounds exist throughout everyplace we go (at least West of the Mississippi).

BLM sites, county parks, National Forest campsites - almost always having decent crappers and a source of water. On the other side of the river, Walmart has come to our rescue more than a few times.

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