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Unique Vans - Jeff Johnston visits the 50th National Truck-In on RVing Today TV Segment 2024-07

Jeff Johnston: RV owners are lucky people, they can use their RVs to help pursue their hobbies and special interests in comfort and style. Many of the people building custom vans, known as Vanners, include living facilities in their vehicles. They range from basic car camping styles to more elaborate class B RV motorhome setups with complete comfort and convenience amenities. Bev: And so it’s fully set up for camping or for living in, I’ve been there as long as 3.5 months at a time. But it’s got a refrigerator, it’s got running water, an induction cooktop, it’s got 10 gallons of water storage under the bed, a 200Ah lithium battery, air conditioning, like, it’s really comfortable for me to be in here.

Jeff: Attendees at the recent 50th Annual National Truck-In, the biggest gathering of vanners in the US, arrived in a variety of custom and camper-style vans. The Logan County Colorado Fairgrounds hosted close to 700 custom vans of all types. Regardless of how well a custom van is equipped for camping comfort, times change, people get older and want more amenities, children and grandchildren come along, and the idea of spending days in the confines of a van becomes less appealing for some. Many of those individuals start towing an RV to the events, like the Nationals, so they can have both their on site comfort and their custom rig to enjoy. In addition to the fun parts of the weekend, like the custom van show and the nighttime bright and shine showcase, we toured the event and chatted with several RV-owning vanners to learn how the use of an RV improved their enjoyment of the hobby.

Mike Phillips: We basically bought the smaller version because I pull it with a ’55 Chevy Panel and it gives us a little room to, you know, be sleeping comfortably due to inclement weather and stuff. We do a lot of car shows and if we’re out of town, we can set up camp, don’t have to worry about getting hotel rooms. Yes, I mean, it will sleep four of us, you know? It does have the heating and air conditioning in it, all the comforts of home.

Suzanne Stone: I started vanning in 1983, and that was a while ago, and what we found as we got a little older was we really love the comfort of a camper or an RV, so that we could really relax throughout the week, and it has a lot more room, than a van does, to live in for a week. So, we love ours. This is a “Cougar,” it’s fifth wheel. Usually we pull our own camper with our van, but this year we decided to rent a camper, and it’s just been wonderful staying in this for the whole week.

Rick Kenney: Well, we pretty much started buying it when we started doing a lot of the Nationals, and hosting the Nationals and working the Nationals. Then it became, “We need a more comfortable space to get out of, you know, the weather or, you know, to rest and relax.” So that kind of is where it started, out we started with a pop-up, and we went and brought another pop-up, and then we graduated up to two trailers before we got this one. So we’ve kind of just gradually got larger trailers for the most part, so. Well, it’s very comfortable, so we can cook and shower, and you know, clean and everything, and dress in there, rather than trying to do it in a van, pretty much. So that’s really the benefits, really, the comforts of home.

Jeff: Rockhounding, bird watching, custom cars, hiking, regardless of your hobby, an RV can help you enjoy it all that much more.