I want, perhaps need, to travel. However, I am not ready or willing to give up having my own bed or a modicum of creature comforts. The ideal situation would be some kind of small RV or van conversion offering what I feel are the essentials for comfortable day to day living while wandering like a gypsy. For multiple reasons, mostly financial in nature, this simply wasn’t doable in time for the 2011 Better World Tour.
In 2010 my Saturn ION was nearly totaled after being hit from behind on the freeway. Long story short circumstances led to the offending drivers insurance company refusing liability. In the end I told the body shop to just do the bare minimum to make it safe and legal. In all honesty, while not beat up, a previous adventure to the mid-west had left more than a few scrapes and scratches on my poor car so a few more missing parts and dents weren’t going to be a big deal.
When I started formulating plans for my trip in the summer of 2011, having ruled out purchasing a ready-to-go touring vehicle, what with the resale value of my car pretty much out the window already it didn’t seem like I had anything to lose by modifying it to meet my travel needs. Hence the caRV project was born.
The idea is to make a tricked out custom car camping car/recreational vehicle out of my Saturn ION. The first step was to identify what I felt were the most important elements that needed to exist in a caRV.
- Comfortable bed
- Ample power so that I could continue to work (i.e. use my computer)
- Minimal “transforming” of the space to get at my stuff, cook, sleep, shower, whatever
- Low key appearance to reduce hassle if I had to “illegally” camp somewhere
My primary concerns were comfortable sleeping, cooking, cleanliness, and ability to work from anywhere with minimal hassle. The idea went through various conceptual phases including a fantasy conversion as cutting the roof off and building the car out like a van conversion but that would have cost more than just buying a new vehicle probably, and wouldn’t exactly been low key.
While researching the whole concept I came across two amazing inventions that heavily influenced the remainder of my plans: The Swiss Room Box and the Tear Drop trailer.
With the genius of these two items in mind a plan formulated to rip out the backseat and build-out the level platform of the trunk all the way to just behind the front seats thus for minimal cost creating a large sleeping and storage area not unlike the inside of a “tear drop”. After a few false starts on how to do the “kitchen/bathroom” part of the caRV I ended up actually using a small utility trailer intentionally small enough to not look like a camper or a gypsy caravan in order to meet my “low key” criteria.