Monday, July 07, 2014

Van camper performance exceeds expectations

We just took from our first official camping trip in our Chevy Express. The van camper performance exceeded the expectations that I had. It is going to be a good tool for mission trips and for general travel.

Van camper
The first camping trip was to see friends at Walt Disney World. Comfort and gas mileage in the camper van were much better than I expected at this point in the conversion.

Gas mileage hovered around 15 mpg for the round trip. I had been warned to expect around 11 or 12 mpg and was pleasantly surprised.

However; filling the tank from empty should come with a health warning. We paid around $85 and up at today's prices. Ouch!

Traffic was heavy at times, bucketing rainfall and storms balanced out the times that we sailed through. Our Chevy Express held its own in every instance. Handling was what I expected in dry conditions but exceeded my hopes in the torrentional downpours that we faced.

Comfort is good as a camper van. It's still in the conversion process so not everything is installed. Right now, our temporary couch and bed is a metal framed futon. Wall storage is a hanging closet organizer and the plywood flooring should be installed next week.

The forward facing air conditioner is install in the rear of the van. A port-a-toilet serves as a less-than-ideal emergency bathroom that works for now. Our clothing and towels are stored below the futon in under bed storage tubs.

I was pleased at the space to walk around the futon. My daughter and I didn't need to open it fully. It may be crowded when John and Tomlin join us but we'll take it as it comes.

Flexibility as a van camper provided reassurance. The storms were bad enough that my daughter and I considered spending the night out. It wasn't in our budget but some stores will allow you to park overnight for free.

You can't do that in a car like you can in the converted Chevy Express. Comfort and reassurance are second to gas mileage and vehicle performance. Flexibility alone makes makes me happy with the van camper. Add the other factors in and it looks like the van camper and I will be friends for a long time.