The camper van industry has long been concentrated in the American West, with custom upfitters often headquartering in California, Colorado, and Washington. East Coast adventurers might feel left out from the #VanLife craze, except for the work of Maryland-based Off Grid Adventure Vans. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.
We first reported on Off Grid Adventure Vans in 2018 as they were in the beginning stages of their company. Unlike other pricey converted vans that cost well over $100,000, the team at Off Grid Adventure Vans wanted to build a more budget-conscious van. Their first models were sleek and well-thought out, all using the Ram Promaster as a base.
Today, Off Grid Adventure Vans is still focused on affordability while also offering more choice to consumers with builds on both Promasters and Ford Transits. They recently moved to a new facility in Frederick, Maryland, with a full in-house woodworking shop. The company now provides one of the most robust selections of cabinetry that we’ve seen in a van, allowing customers to choose different styles, finishes, woods, and paint colors. Unlike other industrial looks, this type of woodworking creates a cozy feel more reminiscent of tiny homes than campers.
They’ve also expanded into three different layouts. The Rambler—which costs $33,000 for the buildout—is still their most popular layout on the 159-inch Ram Promaster. In this model a full-size Murphy bed sleeps two and folds up when not in use. In its place are two long bench seats with a removable table in between for working or dining. Overhead cabinets and built-in cabinetry provide storage, while a galley kitchen includes a refrigerator, butcher block countertop, stove, and sink.
Two new models include a similar cabinet system but switch up the bed layout for storage. In Off Grid Adventure’s Summit and Vagabond, the beds are situated over a gear garage that provides space for bikes or other adventure gear. In all three of the models, interior walls are available in cedar, pine, hemlock, and other local woods, and customers can also customize the interiors of the three main cabinets so long as they stay in the same build footprint.
Other perks include the use of better, longer-lasting lithium batteries, solar power and an inverter in all standard builds, a roof fan, and dimmable LED lighting. Looking for a few extras? Off Grid Adventure vans also offers upgrades like an outdoor shower, compostable toilet, and four-season insulation.
Excellent woodworking and layouts notwithstanding, the allure of an Off Grid Adventure van remains its price. With 2019 Ram Promasters starting around $30,000 before options, the cost of a brand new van with Off Grid Adventure runs from about $63,000 to $70,000. The company has also expanded its financing arrangement which allows customers to combine the vehicle and the conversion into an auto loan. And if you’re looking to get into a van quickly, they have several new 2018 Ram 2500 159-inch Promaster high roof vans for $30,000 that are ready to be converted.
Curbed has seen a lot of camper vans since we first covered Off Grid Adventure Vans. I’ve reported on bold color palettes, over-the-top amenities, and futuristic concept vans. But while there are many new companies converting vans, almost all of them are geared towards the luxury market. While they may look good on Instagram, most of those six-figure vans are out of reach for aspiring van lifers. Off Grid Adventure Vans offers a reasonable compromise, building amenity-packed vans in fun layouts at an attainable price point. Other van builders should take note.