Adventure Van Expo


Today's location is the slopes of beautiful Mount Hood, Oregon. We're here to attend the Adventure Van Expo which is sort of an event that represents one extreme of RVing, that is to say people who have taken class B type motorhomes 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 Mount Hood Meadow ski area.

Neil Morse: We're here at the Adventure Van Expo at Mount 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.

An adventure van is a class B motorhome 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.

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. Well, 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. We developed it over the last couple years after Ford discontinued their Econoline 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 out of fiberglass, and adding a wrapper lining on the outside. And then we're putting all our own interiors in just like the old Sportsmobiles, 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.

While wandering around here at the Adventure Van Expo, guess who we ran into? Our friends the Russos - you can learn more about them at weretherussos.com and also watch the show!

If serious backcountry RVing is in your plans, check out an Adventure Van Expo.

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