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Modular camper van sleeps two and hauls gear, asks $37K

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It’s a daily driver and camper in one

A light grey van, the Free Bird. The door is open revealing a bed.
The Free Bird from Washington-based Caravan Outfitters brings an affordable camper van option to the masses.
Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter

The allure of #VanLife is strong, from the nomadic lifestyle to the ability to camp wherever, whenever. But although it seems like everyone wants a camper van these days, it’s not always practical for some people. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.

More than anything, most camper vans are expensive. Custom conversion rigs regularly run into six figures, and Class Bs from industry veterans like Winnebago and Airstream are top-dollar, too. It can also be hard to add another vehicle into the mix, and most camper vans don’t function as a daily driver.

Throw in height restrictions, HOA requirements, and storage space, and it’s easy to see while the #VanLife dream remains out of reach to many. Too often, the affordable, modular camper vans so common in Europe just don’t seem to be available here.

New companies want to change that. We’ve reported on the Recon camper van in the past, and today we’re looking at the Free Bird from Washington-based Caravan Outfitter. Built on the Nissan NV200 cargo van, the Free Bird uses a convenient slide-rail system that makes switching from camper van to cargo hauler a cinch.

The interior of a camper van. There is a red cushioned bed.
Four cushions combine to create a two-person sleeping area.

The slide-and-glide system allows all of the components to be installed or removed in about two minutes. The main cabin is a series of boxes that hold everything you need to camp. The kitchen is accessed from the rear in a slide-out kitchen box; it consists of a portable butane stove and two storage drawers. Another large storage box behind the front two seats houses a deep cycle auxiliary battery that powers the dimmable LED lighting, two USB power ports, and the 31-quart fridge.

The interior of a camper van. There is a red cushioned seat. A person is sitting on the seat. There is a camera next to them. There is a table.
A removable table and seating area is a good place to eat or work on the road.
Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter

A seating area and table makes a comfortable indoor dining or workspace, and then at night the table legs remove and the table slides in to form a mattress platform. The cushions combine to form a 76-inch full-size bed, with space for two adults.

Because the kitchen area is outside, an optional Batwing awning provides a covered area around two sides of the vehicle and makes cooking in poor weather a bit easier. Screen-vented windows, a roof-mounted vent, and roll-up window curtains provide ventilation and privacy. Caravan Outfitters also offers extras like bike carriers, a Yakima roof box, and a sonar bumper warning system.

While the Free Bird can only seat and sleep two people—families, you should check out this van—it is an affordable camper van. The 2019 Free Bird SV+ starts at $37,165 and now through November 30, 2018 there is a pre-order early bird special that gives you a $600 accessory credit; deliveries for 2019 will start in December.

Transforming the interior from day-mode to sleep-mode.
Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
Shades provide privacy and insulation at night.
Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
A person making coffee with a portable coffee maker on a shelf in a camper van.
A kitchen is accessed from the rear.
The interior of a camper van. There is a portable stove and a person is touching it with their hand.
The kitchen includes a single-burner, removable butane stove that can also be used elsewhere.
Pull-out storage drawers are accessed from the rear of the van.
Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
An awning provides shade around the vehicle.
Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter