Outdoors

Gallery: The dust-tarnished adventure and camper vans of Overland Expo West 2018

Gallery: The dust-tarnished ad...
Zenvanz at Overland Expo West 2018
Zenvanz at Overland Expo West 2018
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One of the more distinctive vans of Overland Expo West, this Mercedes 410 4x4 was just a few spots over from us in the parking lot
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One of the more distinctive vans of Overland Expo West, this Mercedes 410 4x4 was just a few spots over from us in the parking lot
Hard to say if it was a camper van, gear hauler or work van, but this eye-catching orange Mercedes 410 4x4 was definitely among the more interesting lookers of the whole show
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Hard to say if it was a camper van, gear hauler or work van, but this eye-catching orange Mercedes 410 4x4 was definitely among the more interesting lookers of the whole show
Camper vans of Overland Expo West 2018
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Camper vans of Overland Expo West 2018
This Nissan NV3500 SL benefits from some 4x4 work from Utah's Advanced 4x4 Vans
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This Nissan NV3500 SL benefits from some 4x4 work from Utah's Advanced 4x4 Vans
4WD Nissan NV3500 SL
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4WD Nissan NV3500 SL
Camper vans of Overland Expo West 2018
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Camper vans of Overland Expo West 2018
Adventure Travel Sport Rentals shows off the new Winnebago Revel and its lift-up rear bed. The company's California branch lists it for $300/night
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Adventure Travel Sport Rentals shows off the new Winnebago Revel and its lift-up rear bed. The company's California branch lists it for $300/night
Winnebago Revel
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Winnebago Revel
Peace Vans' Mercedes Metris Weekender package comes with a pop-up roof, folding three-seat rear bench/bed, a table and other basic upgrades
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Peace Vans' Mercedes Metris Weekender package comes with a pop-up roof, folding three-seat rear bench/bed, a table and other basic upgrades
Pacific Northwest converter Zenvanz shows off a Sprinter 4x4 camper van conversion
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Pacific Northwest converter Zenvanz shows off a Sprinter 4x4 camper van conversion
Zenvanz packs a storage area below its rear bed
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Zenvanz packs a storage area below its rear bed
Zenvanz specializes in aluminum-frame cabinetry with bent bamboo panels
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Zenvanz specializes in aluminum-frame cabinetry with bent bamboo panels
Zenvanz specializes in Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 conversions and sells both full vans and DIY kits. Removable interior conversion kits start at $18K
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Zenvanz specializes in Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 conversions and sells both full vans and DIY kits. Removable interior conversion kits start at $18K
A closer look at the Winnebago Revel's power-lift bed
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A closer look at the Winnebago Revel's power-lift bed
The Winnebago Revel includes a single-burner induction range top
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The Winnebago Revel includes a single-burner induction range top
Based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4, the Revel is Winnebago's entry into the off-road-ready adventure van category
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Based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4, the Revel is Winnebago's entry into the off-road-ready adventure van category
Colorado's TouRig shows off its ideas on camper vans
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Colorado's TouRig shows off its ideas on camper vans
This Lil' Bulldog build from TouRig includes plenty of features and amenities, such as heat, hot water, Zamp solar panels, an off-road suspension and an upgraded sound system
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This Lil' Bulldog build from TouRig includes plenty of features and amenities, such as heat, hot water, Zamp solar panels, an off-road suspension and an upgraded sound system
A peek in the door of the TouRig Lil' Bulldog
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A peek in the door of the TouRig Lil' Bulldog
Zenvanz Sprinter at Overland Expo West 2018
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Zenvanz Sprinter at Overland Expo West 2018
TouRig's walnut countertops help create a warm interior
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TouRig's walnut countertops help create a warm interior
Inside the TouRig Lil' Bulldog 
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Inside the TouRig Lil' Bulldog 
TouRig Lil' Bulldog
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TouRig Lil' Bulldog
TouRig cargo management
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TouRig cargo management
TouRig at Overland Expo West 2018
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TouRig at Overland Expo West 2018
TouRig at Overland Expo West 2018
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TouRig at Overland Expo West 2018
Ruggedized Ford Transit on show at Overland Expo West 2018
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Ruggedized Ford Transit on show at Overland Expo West 2018
Beartooth Vanworks is another Sprinter camper conversion specialist, building vans inspired by its Montana surroundings
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Beartooth Vanworks is another Sprinter camper conversion specialist, building vans inspired by its Montana surroundings
This 2016 Sprinter High Roof 170 Wheelbase with Beartooth Vanworks Diamondback conversion package was listed at $77,444 at the show
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This 2016 Sprinter High Roof 170 Wheelbase with Beartooth Vanworks Diamondback conversion package was listed at $77,444 at the show
At first, we weren't sure if this was a classic van with a new Sportsmobile conversion or a classic converted camper ... the owner told us it was the latter
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At first, we weren't sure if this was a classic van with a new Sportsmobile conversion or a classic converted camper ... the owner told us it was the latter
The current owner told us he's the third owner of this 1972 camper van, which remains mostly original, save for some new fabric and upholstery 
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The current owner told us he's the third owner of this 1972 camper van, which remains mostly original, save for some new fabric and upholstery 
Inside the 1972 Sportsmobile Ford Econoline pop-up camper
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Inside the 1972 Sportsmobile Ford Econoline pop-up camper
1972 Sportsmobile Ford Econoline camper van
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1972 Sportsmobile Ford Econoline camper van
Aluminess Products pop-top camper van on show
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Aluminess Products pop-top camper van on show
A better look at Zenvanz's aluminum and bamboo cabinetry
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A better look at Zenvanz's aluminum and bamboo cabinetry
Inside a Zenvanz Sprinter camper
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Inside a Zenvanz Sprinter camper
Zenvanz full bamboo interiors lend a light, elegant look that definitely says "home on the road"
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Zenvanz full bamboo interiors lend a light, elegant look that definitely says "home on the road"
Inside a Zenvanz Sprinter
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Inside a Zenvanz Sprinter
If there was one thing this year's OX West show was good for, it was introducing us to van conversion and parts companies we hadn't previously heard of. Zenvanz was one that impressed
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If there was one thing this year's OX West show was good for, it was introducing us to van conversion and parts companies we hadn't previously heard of. Zenvanz was one that impressed
Adventure Wagon sets up its signature MOAB Elevator Bed
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Adventure Wagon sets up its signature MOAB Elevator Bed
As we found out when we looked at Adventure Wagon last year, the company's modular kits rely on L-track mounted around the interior
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As we found out when we looked at Adventure Wagon last year, the company's modular kits rely on L-track mounted around the interior
Adventure Wagon Sprinter 
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Adventure Wagon Sprinter 
Adventure Wagon Sprinter
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Adventure Wagon Sprinter
Adventure Wagon camper van with fold-away Monk Bunk
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Adventure Wagon camper van with fold-away Monk Bunk
Moto-Skiveez custom camper van with James Baroud roof-top tent
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Moto-Skiveez custom camper van with James Baroud roof-top tent
Mitsubishi Delica adventure van
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Mitsubishi Delica adventure van
A look in the back storage area of the Recon Envy camper van
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A look in the back storage area of the Recon Envy camper van
California's Recon Campers shows its latest prototype ahead of full production later this year
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California's Recon Campers shows its latest prototype ahead of full production later this year
Inside the Recon Envy camper van
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Inside the Recon Envy camper van
Recon offers a neat, compact pop-top camper van based on the Nissan NV200
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Recon offers a neat, compact pop-top camper van based on the Nissan NV200
Recon aims to make affordable campers by working with the compact, affordable NV200. Its Envy package starts at just under $25,000 (before the cost of the van)
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Recon aims to make affordable campers by working with the compact, affordable NV200. Its Envy package starts at just under $25,000 (before the cost of the van)
Recon has developed a full touchscreen command center for its compact Envy camper
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Recon has developed a full touchscreen command center for its compact Envy camper
The Recon Envy has a folding cabin bed and pop-up roof bed
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The Recon Envy has a folding cabin bed and pop-up roof bed
Recon's folding seats also have a recliner mode
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Recon's folding seats also have a recliner mode
Recon's mounted a bike repair stand to its door, an accessory it's exploring offering
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Recon's mounted a bike repair stand to its door, an accessory it's exploring offering
Camper vans of Overland Expo West 2018
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Camper vans of Overland Expo West 2018
Beautiful river-inspired inlay in the drop-down table of a Ford Transit camper van from Benchmark Vehicles
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Beautiful river-inspired inlay in the drop-down table of a Ford Transit camper van from Benchmark Vehicles
Portland's Benchmark Vehicles specializes in custom Ford Transit builds like this one, but also works on other vans like Sprinters and Promasters
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Portland's Benchmark Vehicles specializes in custom Ford Transit builds like this one, but also works on other vans like Sprinters and Promasters
Inside the Benchmark Ford Transit camper
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Inside the Benchmark Ford Transit camper
Benchmark Vehicles' Ford Transit camper van
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Benchmark Vehicles' Ford Transit camper van
We particularly like Benchmark's cutting board/stove lid
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We particularly like Benchmark's cutting board/stove lid
Benchmark Vehicles' Ford Transit camper van
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Benchmark Vehicles' Ford Transit camper van
A refrigerator across from the main kitchen block in the Benchmark Ford Transit
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A refrigerator across from the main kitchen block in the Benchmark Ford Transit
A look at the dual-burner stove in the Benchmark camper
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A look at the dual-burner stove in the Benchmark camper
Benchmark Vehicles' Ford Transit camper van
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Benchmark Vehicles' Ford Transit camper van
Benchmark Vehicles Ford Transit camper van
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Benchmark Vehicles Ford Transit camper van
There are plenty of stretched high-roofs at Overland Expo, but the pint-sized Delica adventure vans are always among our favorites
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There are plenty of stretched high-roofs at Overland Expo, but the pint-sized Delica adventure vans are always among our favorites
Colorful Ford Transit camper van at Overland Expo West 2018
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Colorful Ford Transit camper van at Overland Expo West 2018
Ford Transit camper van – notice the home theater-like system up high toward the front of the cabin
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Ford Transit camper van – notice the home theater-like system up high toward the front of the cabin
We like the under-bench fridge/freezer
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We like the under-bench fridge/freezer
Audio and entertainment are clearly a big part of this Transit conversion
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Audio and entertainment are clearly a big part of this Transit conversion
A microwave over top the bed of a Ford Transit camper
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A microwave over top the bed of a Ford Transit camper
Backwoods Adventure Mods Sprinter
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Backwoods Adventure Mods Sprinter
Arkansas-based Backwoods Adventure Mods specializes in beefing up the Mercedes Sprinter with bumpers, lights and recovery gear
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Arkansas-based Backwoods Adventure Mods specializes in beefing up the Mercedes Sprinter with bumpers, lights and recovery gear
Striking pop-top van with digital camo wrap
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Striking pop-top van with digital camo wrap
Camper vans of Overland Expo West 2018
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Camper vans of Overland Expo West 2018
Van Compass Ford Transit camper 
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Van Compass Ford Transit camper 
We thought that Van Compass did the conversion here, but according to its website, it specializes only in mechanical components, so we assume someone else did the interior work
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We thought that Van Compass did the conversion here, but according to its website, it specializes only in mechanical components, so we assume someone else did the interior work
The Van Compass Ford Transit looks like a highly capable adventure van for gear hauling and overnight camping
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The Van Compass Ford Transit looks like a highly capable adventure van for gear hauling and overnight camping
Ford Transit camper van on display at Van Compass' booth
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Ford Transit camper van on display at Van Compass' booth
Idaho's Van Compass specializes in ruggedizing Mercedes Sprinters and Ford Transits with aftermarket suspension, steering and armoring components
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Idaho's Van Compass specializes in ruggedizing Mercedes Sprinters and Ford Transits with aftermarket suspension, steering and armoring components
Gear Aid shows its outdoor tools and accessories, along with a custom Sprinter van
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Gear Aid shows its outdoor tools and accessories, along with a custom Sprinter van
El Kapitan shows off a Mercedes Sprinter-based camper van
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El Kapitan shows off a Mercedes Sprinter-based camper van
Beyond campers, El Kapitan specializes in all kinds of van conversions, from luxury vans and limos to toy haulers
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Beyond campers, El Kapitan specializes in all kinds of van conversions, from luxury vans and limos to toy haulers
A look inside the El Kapitan camper van
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A look inside the El Kapitan camper van
El Kapitan offers all kinds of options on its camper vans, from microwaves, to lithium batteries, to induction cooktops. It's even created a camper van with a built-in piano (not surprisingly, the piano van wasn't at Overland Expo)
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El Kapitan offers all kinds of options on its camper vans, from microwaves, to lithium batteries, to induction cooktops. It's even created a camper van with a built-in piano (not surprisingly, the piano van wasn't at Overland Expo)
El Kapitan camper van
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El Kapitan camper van
California's El Kapitan has three decades of experience upfitting vans
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California's El Kapitan has three decades of experience upfitting vans
Zenvanz at Overland Expo West 2018
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Zenvanz at Overland Expo West 2018
Recon Envy in the wild
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Recon Envy in the wild
Recon Envy out and about in Arizona
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Recon Envy out and about in Arizona
Big van hauling a little extra sleeping space
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Big van hauling a little extra sleeping space

The van life movement has been gaining momentum for years, but it seems to have reached a fever pitch. Over the past six months or so, we've been seeing new US-market van converters pop up virtually every week. Much of that van life is focused on highways and paved backroads, but the real spirit of adventure travel isn't bound by yellow lines and graded pavement. The recent Overland Expo West demonstrates that there are plenty of van campers willing to follow the call of adventure well off the beaten path, rambling over snowy roads, rocky trails, muddy fields and anything else in their way.

Overland camper vans really picked up at the 2018 Overland Expo West show where they left off in 2017. It seemed there was a conversion brand or aftermarket van parts specialist (or three or four) down every aisle of this year's show, custom vans serving as advertising for brands that don't even do van work, and plenty of van lifers making the stop in Flagstaff. We got to get a little more hands on with some vans we've covered in the past, and we also learned some new names along the way.

1972 Sportsmobile Ford Econoline camper van
1972 Sportsmobile Ford Econoline camper van

From 70s-era conversions, to all-new Sprinters and Transits filled with gorgeous woodwork, and from super-compact four-sleepers, to 4WD Winnebagos, the show had a little something for every van lifer and lover. Jump to the photo gallery to take a closer look at the lifted, ruggedized exteriors and cozy, fully outfitted interiors of the camper and adventure vans of Overland Expo West 2018.

3 comments
guzmanchinky
I love my Sportsmobile. I carry a small dual sport motorcycle on the back and an electric skateboard inside and I could seriously live in it full time it's so much fun. The bed up top in the pop top is so comfy, and opening up all the windows by a beach or in the forest is amazing. Seriously, it's like camping but wayyyyy better. Don't get a high roof van, they are more convenient, but you are inside all the time. With the pop top it's like you are outside on top of the van.
guzmanchinky
Oh and you don't really need 4x4. Just get a used E-series van (maybe $10k for a good one) and have Sportsmobile cut the roof and put the pop top in (about $7,000). The rest you can DIY. Saves sooo much money. And get one with the BARN doors, not the SLIDE door. That way you can mount a shower and take showers anywhere on the side of the road in privacy (well, people can see your feet, I guess).
ljaques
OMG! You can buy a new home here for the same price as a Zenvanz. I'm with you, Guz. Many friends lived in their old Ford vans for a time over the years. I'd like to check out the little Mitsu Delice, too.