Ten common questions about the van

1.  Did you build that yourself?

     No, we can’t take credit for that. It’s a fully custom project that started as a GMC cargo van and was lifted and converted to 4×4 by Quigley, and then turned into an RV by Sportsmobile. 

2.  What do you get for MPG?

     Over past 6 months we have averaged 17.2 MPG. That includes all off-road 4wd time, as well as all trailer towing associated with our move. We had our Duramax Diesel tuned to improve power and economy by Adrenaline Truck Performance.  Note: I expect this number to decrease a bit after we install our Aliminess roof rack and kayaks. 


3.   Is that a 4×4?

     Yes. It’s a Dana 60 solid axel conversion done by Quigley.  At 60,000 miles we upgraded the shocks and springs with an Agile Off-road Ride Improvement Package. 

4.  Who builds those bumpers?

     The front and rear bumpers as well as the roof rack are all built by Aluminess located in Santee, CA. 

5.  Where do you go potty?

     That depends…when we are camped at a campground we utilize their facilities as much as possible. When camped off the grid, we have a Thetford Portapotty that serves the purpose. With the kids along, the Portapotty is an essential piece of gear. 

6.  Where do you shower?

      The van actually has a built-in outdoor shower, but water is a precious resource, especially when you only have 16 gallons of capacity.  Similar to the toilet, we enjoy campground facilities when available, and don’t worry too much about showers when we’re off-grid. A swim or sponge bath usually does the trick until we hit town for a resupply run. 

7.  Where does everyone sleep?

     Marcy and I sleep “upstairs” and the kids sleep “downstairs”.  The couch folds down into the lower bed and the pop-top raises about 30″ to create space for the upper bed.  The upper bed is a little narrower, but the panoramic view and cool breeze make it a worthwhile trade off. Additionally, the lower “bedroom” is better insulated and maintains a more consistent temperature through out the night which is better for the kids. 

8.  What is your power source?

     We utilize the Sun for pretty much everything. Although we do have the capability to plug into shore power, we rarely do so. We have two separate solar power systems, one mounted on the roof rack and a second portable unit that can be plugged into the side of the van. We store power in a single 12 volt 4D battery and can create A/C power with our 2000 watt inverter. 

9.  How much does the van weigh?

     Fully loaded for our big adventure we weigh in right around 10,000 lbs. 

10.  What does a van like that cost?

     There’s really no simple answer to that question as each of these vehicles is fully customized depending upon intended use.  However for comparisons sake, a new diesel cargo van is about $50,000 and 4×4 conversions run about $15,000. That gets you to $65,000 before the camper conversion and aftermarket goodies which can easily run another 30 to 40 grand.   We we’re lucky enough to find a used Sportsmobile with only 27,000 miles for $62,000.  Certainly not cheap, but still a great deal and we’ve been extremely happy with our purchase. 

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