Craig VanWagen

It all started with a Canada Post van.

After returning from our last three-month trip, I had been eyeing up all possible road trip mobiles with the intent on someday purchasing one for the next adventure.

Wants:

drivability – not a huge sprinter/camper van seeing as I would like to be comfortable driving on the trip and afterwards for city driving;

fuel efficiency – the Jeep Liberty ended up costing $1 550 for about 3 months of travel (~10 000 km) in 2013;

comfortable – we couldn’t sit up in the Jeep and Kent could not fully extend while sleeping;

simplicity – something that did not require a lot of conversion work and could be easily transformed back into an everyday vehicle; and

affordability – because we are on a budget.

And then, I saw it. The Canada Post van.

The ford transit connect xlt is often used as a commercial cargo van. As such, it has large overhead clearance (I can almost stand in it at 5”2) and a decent amount of space in the cargo area. Kent and I can both fully extend behind the driver’s seat with plenty of space across for tossing and turning, side to side in the night.

We started our search for a used transit connect with decent mileage. Looking at vehicles that came in under $12,000 and under 150 000 km, we eventually purchased one at the end of January in 2017. Our beautiful red ford transit connect xlt 2010 rang in at 125 000 km and within our budget.

Craig VanWagen (read in a german accent; crag van-wagon) was ready for conversion into an adventure mobile. We headed back to Owen Sound to make use of my father’s large shop, tools, and most importantly, his skills (carpentry mage). After removing the seats (so much simpler than the Jeep), we laid down a 6”x4” sheet of Atlas EnergyShield foam board which fit perfectly and evened out the ridges in the cargo area. The insulation has a reflective foil on the front and an R value of 6.5.

After placing the insulation board, we laid a sheet of plywood that we stained for the flooring and then began the construction of the pull-out bed/bench. The idea for this type of storage bed came from pinterest. The layout allows a decent amount of storage and the ability to sit in the van comfortably but also to pull out part of the bench into a bed for sleeping. With loads of help from my dad, we put it together. He is the best (Dad, you are the best and thanks for putting up with all my specifications). Unfortunately, all the photos of the conversion itself are back home. Here are some photos of the finished product:

The bench.

The coziness is real. Note: the solar twinkle lights.

The perfect place for souvenirs.

The guidebook shelf.

What more do we need?

-Merissa

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