Just a few weeks ago, I saw a total retro-rad VW bus all beat-up and covered in stickers in the parking lot of Snowbird. I started daydreaming about what a cool makeshift camper it would be, wondering if the owner was road-tripping across the Rockies, bouncing from resort to resort. Granted, the rear-wheel orientation wouldn't be great for maneuvering slick, steep mountain roads, but it would be a pretty sweet ride to show up, lot-camp and get first lift in.
Of course, being that the classic VW van is some 40 years old, it's not exactly a viable option for traveling off the beaten path. Especially not if you lack even the most basic automotive skills. Until VW brings back the microbus (which it's considering), the market is lacking a great van camper.
Or is it? Kevin Hornby Design, an automotive customizing service, recently presented the Ford Transit Connect Conversion. The Transit Connect is admittedly not as cool-looking as the old VW bus. In fact, it's downright pitiful.
But forget the looks and focus on the package. Hornby will outfit the van with all kinds of standard and optional camper equipment including a door-mounted stove, flip-up sink in the rear, clothes storage, and full bed. Depending upon what package you get, it will carry either 2 or 5 people.
At over $8,000, the price tag is a lot more than your Coleman tent. But it's not that bad when compared to other options like pop-up campers. And when you consider that you can buy the van and the package for around $30 grand, it's a nice alternative to a full-on RV. Not to mention it's smaller, more maneuverable and will get better mileage.