When we first had our Nomadic Idea it was all about minimalism and travel. Then we found our Airstream Argosy. Now all we had to do is come up with a Tow Vehicle. The Van Plan was born. We weren’t looking for any old Van either, it was very specific.
Why a Van? As we sized up the Airstream one common question kept popping up over and over. What to do with all our backpacking gear? Another question and more relevant was: What to do when the Airstream can’t get to where we want to go? That answer was important because we love to go backpacking and we guide trips. The answer to both was…A Van!
A van could both pull our Airstream but act as separate CamperVan when hitting the trail. We could park in remote places where the Airstream just couldn’t go. But at the same time, be livable for a short period time with water, solar, and camping gear.
How did we choose which Van to buy? We went with a Boondocking Beast. A 1999 Ford E350 7.3 liter Diesel Van. It can tow 10,000 lbs (our Airstream fully loaded is 6,300 lbs) and can act as a fully autonomous vehicle by itself.
Complete 200 watt solar system acting as a charge station when we are camping with the Airstream limiting batteries capacity of our Airstream batteries. But with enough Solar to run 12 volt appliances including a Drive Sleek WeBoost, a 12 refrigerator, and lights in the Van when we are camping WITHOUT the Airstream. Our Van by itself has a deep cycle 100 amh AGM Battery
Have an auxiliary water reserve that includes 15 gallons of water with a 12 volt marine water pump. This gives our Airstream an extra 15 gallons of water increasing our fresh water intake to 50 gallons when camping WITH our Airstream. Of course, when we are camping WITHOUT our Airstream, we have plenty of water.
Our Van / Tow Vehicle will act as storage for ALL our backpacking gear. That way when we detach to go off road, we have everything we need to set up a base camp and go backpacking. And YES, forest roads that lead to trailheads are rough. The van as high clearance and is great for Forest Roads.
Finally: Our Van / Tow Vehicle will be livable. We can sleep in the Van when needed and have everything we need. It will also need to be stealth for those Home Depot sleep overs.
Since this video: We have done a revision to our Van setup to make it a little easier to sleep in. Our Van / Tow Vehicle attended the RTR in Quartzite Arizona and did amazing.