2018 was another year of many miles and adventures for GoneCamper!
Looking back at 2018, there weren't many epic journeys, but we still managed to accumulate over 40,000 miles of travel in our TWO GoneCamper vans!
The Dodge Grand Caravan GoneCamper is still rolling strong. We have made only one change and that was the replacement of the original tires at 45,000 miles. The new Goodyear tires have a 70,000 mile warranty! (Like most parts, replacement tires are better than the original equipment.) We bought the tires at Walmart so we can access the warranty along with tire rotations anywhere across the country as we travel.
GoneCamper overlooking the Mogollon Rim above Payson, AZ
The 2017 Grand Caravan now has over 57,000 miles and we have spent $0.00 on repairs. We have been very scrupulous in maintenance, with regular oil changes and tire rotations. We were offered a pre-paid maintenance plan by the Dodge dealer when we bought the van and this has allowed us to have the oil changed and all regular maintenance done at ANY Dodge dealer across the U.S. and Canada! We have crossed the country a few times in 2018 with the Dodge Grand Caravan and find it both easy to drive and very comfortable for long days of traveling.
As a couple, we use the full-size bed in the GoneCamper minivan. 2018, however, has been a year when most new camper conversion deliveries have been single beds for single travelers - almost exclusively female campers! For a single traveler, a single bed in a minivan makes sense. You have a 28-inch wide bed which means you have a 20-inch open space the full length of the bed. You can sill fold the bed back to form a chair, but you can also leave the bed extended 100% of the time on the passenger side. With the bed extended, you can also sit sideways and still have room for a small table, dog bed, or even a bike inside the van.
The GoneCamper single bed stowed for travel
2018 was also the year that GoneCamper expanded into beds for full-size vans. We purchased a Chevy Express van, insulated and paneled the walls and ceiling and installed vinyl flooring. The van has LED ceiling lights, a Max Air ceiling fan, plus an auxiliary battery that is charged by the vehicle alternator and connected to a charge controller and portable solar panel.
The LONG GoneCamper bed fits between the wheel wells of all full-size vans
The full-size bed was a result of van owners asking if the minivan bed could be installed in a larger van. Of course, the smaller minivan GoneCamper bed will fit in a large van. The minivan "footprint" (between the wheel wells) is 4-feet by 8-feet. But full-size vans like the Chevy Express are 52-inches wide by 10-feet long. We were dissatisfied with beds in vans that were placed across the back of the van. There are NO vans that have a full 6-feet of width above the wheel wells, especially after the sheet metal has been insulated and interior paneling installed. Also, why install a fixed bed platform in a van? Floor space is too precious to use half of the floor space for a bed that is used - AT MOST - one-third of the time.
The full-size GoneCamper bed frame retracted into a couch
So the GoneCamper folding bed for full-size vans was designed to provide a LONG bed at least 6-foot 2-inches in length. Then, the bed was designed to retract into a couch during the day. Finally, like the GoneCamper minivan conversion, the entire bed is completely removable in a few minutes. The bed is not permanently bolted to the van. This means the bed can be inserted into any passenger or cargo van to create a camper in less than 15 minutes! Likewise, when the van is needed to haul passengers or cargo, the bed can be just as quickly removed! Any work shelving or camper built-ins along the sides do not interfere with the use of the bed/couch in the GoneCamper conversion for full-size vans. (As shown above, the full-size bed is available with or without a rear headboard.)
The full-size Chevy van was chosen because it is a heavy-duty, proven chassis. We wanted a large van with a V8 engine that would tow a trailer. We have no faith in smaller V6 motors for towing, and especially dislike front-wheel drive vans for towing. As opposed to overworked V6's that are straining under load, the V8 in the Chevy tows with ease but still delivers 20 MPG on the highway!
Rubber Tramp Rendezvous 2018 near Quartzsite, AZ
During 2018, the Chevy Express GoneCamper towed our ATV to the King of the Hammers off-road races in California, as well as a weekend of riding in Moab, Utah. We took other camping trips to the "Rubber Tramp Rendezvous" at Quartzsite, Arizona, the Mint 400 races near Las Vegas, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, and the Superstition Mountains plus dozens of day trips. The Chevy GoneCamper also made two cross-country trips where we enjoyed long days of driving, followed by a comfortable night's sleep on the 6-inch memory foam mattress!
I post this Year in Review simply because we still get strange looks when we tell people we travel and camp in a van. We have not changed our opinion: minivans are GREAT for comfortable and economical cross-country travel. If you need more capacity for towing or for bulky sports gear like kayaks and bikes, a full-size van may better suit your needs. But in either case, it is GREAT to carry your warm, clean, comfortable bed with you!
Are you ready to travel and camp self-contained? Contact GoneCamper for more information on outfitting your minivan or full-size van!
Traveling Economically, Camping Comfortably, Living Frugally