Jeff takes us to the Adventure Van Expo

Jeff: Today’s location, the slopes of beautiful Mt. Hood, Oregon. We’re here to attend the Adventure Van Expo. The Adventure Van Expo is sort of an event that represents one extreme of RVing. That is to say people who’ve taken Class B type motor homes and built them into rugged off-road, off-the-beaten-track type adventure vehicles. Well, the expo is a gathering of vehicles like that where they exchange ideas, look at cool new products and so on. We think it’ll be a pretty fun thing to see, so come on along and let’s go take a look. 

The expo occupied a good portion of the parking lot at the Mt. Hood Meadow Ski area. Neil Morse: We’re here at the Adventure Van Expo at Mt. Hood and Adventure Vans are built out, sprinters and Mercedes vehicles that have been customized for special purposes: sports road trips. Some people live in them. And what we have today is actually a show put together with probably some of the best builders all over the Pacific Northwest and you know, basically from the west we’re drawing from Washington and Southern California as well.

Jeff: An adventure van is a Class B motor home, generally outfitted with features designed for longer term off the grid living in comfort. Many have four wheel drive for go anywhere capability. Spectators can learn a lot from seeing the adventure vans on display. 

Alex Connors: I’m here representing DIY Van. We’re located in Hood River and we help people in the initial stages of their build. So they bring us an empty van, tell us the direction they wanna go, and we provide the first crucial steps to get ’em in that direction. One is insulation and two is product support when it comes to fans, solar insulation, wiring and that just gets ’em going and then they have a pretty good idea from when they stop by where they wanna take their van build to the next level.

Jeff: The relatively small size of a van means owners need to be clever about designing an efficient but comfortable interior plus suitable exterior storage facilities. An old favorite Volkswagen vans with camping conversions. were also present at the event.  It can be successfully argued that Sportsmobile was instrumental in shaping and improving the entire adventure van class of RVs. We stopped by the Sportsmobile booth where the owner Alan Feld, has a pretty exciting new product to tell us about. Alan Feld: This is the new. Sportsmobile classic and we developed it over the last couple years. after Ford discontinued their Contour-line in 2015. But it was such a popular truck for us that we’re getting the cutaway chassis from Ford, so the front end is Ford and we’re building the whole back rear half at a fiberglass and then lining it with a raptor lining on the outside.  And then we’re putting all our own interiors in just like the old sports mobiles, but it’s got our four wheel drive system which has the Dynatrac axle, the Atlas Transfer Case and Custom Fox suspension.  So it’s all the good stuff that. we’ve been using in the past, but on a brand new cutaway chassis from Ford.

Jeff: Event attendees can learn about a wide range of specialized camping and vehicle products on display.  Dean Johnston: Yeah, so we’ve got here today is the pop-up pit from Fireside Outdoor. This is a portable fire pit that is quite unique. in that it allows for having open fire virtually anywhere It’s a small portable design with a proprietary stainless steel mesh that allows you to burn firewood or charcoal right on the mesh. The heat shield underneath it protects the ground or the surface that the fire is on, protecting it from the fire. You could have this on a wood deck, asphalt, driveway, on your grass and it just won’t damage anything.  It’s excellent for leave no trace and being able to have a campfire wherever you like. Evan Douglas: So today we’re looking at our Rad Mini. This is our folding E-bike and so really popular with the van guys as they can. store it a little bit easier.

You’re gonna have a 750-watt motor in the back. That’s basically gonna be two of me pedaling at full steam behind you. Right behind the seat here we have our battery that’s gonna give you 25 to 45 miles worth of riding. And it’ll keep you at 20 miles an hour for that. The coolest feature about this bike though is it’s gonna fold down. So if we switch the latch here and swing it around, we can actually break the frame and then we’ll swing this around, and it’s got a little stand there on the bottom so it doesn’t damage any of the good stuff. Pop the latch here and then it’s gonna fold down. That way you can tuck it right into your van or RV and it’s gonna hide away nice and neat.

Tyler Bech: My name’s Tyler from Guzzle H2O and what we’re looking at here is our product called the Spigot Stealth, which is a onboard water filtration and purification system. It’s got a carbon block filter and an LED based UV purification system. and you hook it up in your RV between the water pump and the faucet and it makes your water taste great and it kills 99.99% of any microbiological hazard that might be in your water.

Jeff: If serious Back Country RVing is in your plans, check out an Adventure Van Expo.