Automotive

Urban-escape Ford Transit camper van with mobile office surfs the waves and web

Urban-escape Ford Transit camp...
The van already saw some mileage before the conversion, but it sure looks ready to add some more
The van already saw some mileage before the conversion, but it sure looks ready to add some more
View 36 Images
The highlight of Clarke's build is the streamlined office area, a computer cabinet that drops down to work as a desk
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The highlight of Clarke's build is the streamlined office area, a computer cabinet that drops down to work as a desk
Looking down the aisle of Clarke's Ford Transit camper van
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Looking down the aisle of Clarke's Ford Transit camper van
The kitchen area includes a dual-burner stove/sink combo, oven/grill and compressor fridge
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The kitchen area includes a dual-burner stove/sink combo, oven/grill and compressor fridge
We included this shot because it gives a good look straight down at the solid oak floor, on the left
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We included this shot because it gives a good look straight down at the solid oak floor, on the left
The rear wet bath compartment combines a toilet and shower
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The rear wet bath compartment combines a toilet and shower
A look at the convertible sofa bed that expands out to sleep two
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A look at the convertible sofa bed that expands out to sleep two
Clarke started work with a 2012 Ford Transit LWB
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Clarke started work with a 2012 Ford Transit LWB
A rather simple fold-out awning on the passenger side
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A rather simple fold-out awning on the passenger side
The van was designed as a work/play, wave-chasing stealth camper
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The van was designed as a work/play, wave-chasing stealth camper
The roof keeps busy with a solar panel and antennas
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The roof keeps busy with a solar panel and antennas
A closer look at the rooftop
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A closer look at the rooftop
Peek through the rear doors
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Peek through the rear doors
Van life doesn't have to mean quitting your day job ...
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Van life doesn't have to mean quitting your day job ...
The surfboard hovering over the office area really sums up what this camper van build is all about
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The surfboard hovering over the office area really sums up what this camper van build is all about
The computer cabinet closes and locks the equipment away; beyond an iMac, it can also be used to house a TV
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The computer cabinet closes and locks the equipment away; beyond an iMac, it can also be used to house a TV
The computer multimedia system includes a Pioneer stereo with Cambridge speakers
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The computer multimedia system includes a Pioneer stereo with Cambridge speakers
Easy access to the surfboard
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Easy access to the surfboard
Looking in through the sliding door
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Looking in through the sliding door
A better look at the kitchen equipment
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A better look at the kitchen equipment
Electrical work in the cabinet unit next to the kitchen
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Electrical work in the cabinet unit next to the kitchen
Peek inside the wet cell
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Peek inside the wet cell
Ready to shower
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Ready to shower
Surfboard rack
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Surfboard rack
The surfboard mounts are built on a fold-down shelf, so if you need the space for something else, you can pull the board down and store it on top
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The surfboard mounts are built on a fold-down shelf, so if you need the space for something else, you can pull the board down and store it on top
Sofa
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Sofa
A look at the expanding bed framework
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A look at the expanding bed framework
Skylight
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Skylight
Bed mode
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Bed mode
Sofa mode
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Sofa mode
Under-bed storage
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Under-bed storage
2012 Ford Transit adventure/office van
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2012 Ford Transit adventure/office van
The van already saw some mileage before the conversion, but it sure looks ready to add some more
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The van already saw some mileage before the conversion, but it sure looks ready to add some more
2012 Ford Transit adventure/office van
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2012 Ford Transit adventure/office van
2012 Ford Transit adventure/office van
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2012 Ford Transit adventure/office van
2012 Ford Transit adventure/office van
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2012 Ford Transit adventure/office van
The UK van build includes a right-hand drive
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The UK van build includes a right-hand drive

Tired of staring at the paper-littered wall of your off-white office cubicle? Perhaps a mobile office is the solution. At least this one is. This ultimate work/play off-grid adventure van escapes the 9-to-5, packing a multifunctional interior complete with an impressive productivity and multimedia suite centered around a foldaway office with integrated iMac. Whether it's a holiday or workday, you can cruise the city, coastline and wilderness without worrying about falling behind at work.

Having read through some of our camper van coverage, UK-based New Atlas reader Matt Clarke decided to let us know about his own home build. And we're glad he did because the 2012 Ford Transit-based conversion is quite different from the average commercial camper, designed to untether the digital nomad from the urban grid while still supporting him or her with a full connectivity suite.

As Clarke describes it, the van was created to be used as an "off-grid, surf, live and work stealth camper van," and that usage is summed up quite nicely in the picture below, showing a surfboard secured over top a compact foldaway office. The computer cabinet face drops down with the help of struts, revealing an integrated 27-in iMac work station. The storage cube below the office cabinet un-bungees from the wall to double as a desk chair, and the worktop can also be cleared of the keyboard and used as the dining table.

The highlight of Clarke's build is the streamlined office area, a computer cabinet that drops down to work as a desk
The highlight of Clarke's build is the streamlined office area, a computer cabinet that drops down to work as a desk

The van stays connected via three roof-mounted antennas: a 3G/4G MiFi antenna for connecting to the web, a 2.4/5-GHz antenna for grabbing local Wi-Fi signals from cafes, campgrounds and the like, and a TV antenna with booster. A wired-in router shares Wi-Fi across multiple devices, while the accompanying audio system mounted above the computer cabinet pairs a Pioneer receiver with Cambridge stereo speakers.

That mobile office is sure to be power-hungry, and for all those trips that don't include a shore power hookup, Clarke wired in a full electrical system with 200-watt roof-mounted solar panel and three 115-Ah batteries. An external 240V hookup allows for shore power connection, and a series of 240V and 12V outlets allow for easy plug-in of onboard equipment and accessories. Along with solar and shore power, the batteries charge off the van alternator while driving.

The roof keeps busy with a solar panel and antennas
The roof keeps busy with a solar panel and antennas

Next to the office and below the surfboard rack, the convertible sofa slides out via runners, creating a sleeping surface measuring roughly 76 x 48 in (193 x 122 cm). The sofa frame includes integrated storage, and a medium wardrobe behind the kitchen provides additional space for clothing and other essentials.

Moving back from the office, the neat, compact kitchen block combines a dual-burner stove, sink, Thetford Spinflo Duplex oven/grill and 80-L Dometic compressor fridge/freezer. The sink is fed by a 90-L fresh water tank and Truma boiler. Clarke also squeezed a wet bath into the rear corner, providing a shower and cassette toilet with external-access waste removal door.

A better look at the kitchen equipment
A better look at the kitchen equipment

The main camper floor is made from 18-mm solid oak screwed into Line-X-coated plywood over top a layer of foam insulation. The remainder of the van cabin relies on a combination of foam and rock wool insulations. The van itself is a long-wheelbase Transit powered by a 123-hp 2.2-liter diesel engine. It started its conversion life with 135,000 miles (217,250 km), and if we're to guess, it's since tacked on some serious road trip miles.

Given the rise of #vanlife and the digital nomad lifestyle, we like to see multifunctional office/road trip vans and campers, focusing not only on living and recreating but also working on the road. Such vehicles really provide what you need to ditch the standard home and office life and live and work on the road for as long as your wanderlusting heart desires. Clarke has done a nice job giving this particular conversion a fully functioning office without limiting its ability to feed, sleep, wash and play.

A look at the convertible sofa bed that expands out to sleep two
A look at the convertible sofa bed that expands out to sleep two

Clarke says he built the van out over the course of four months, initially planning it as his own personal getaway rig before changing circumstances pushed him to sell it. A lucky buyer picked it up for £15,000 (approx. US$19,350), without the iMac, which is about what Clarke put into it, not counting four months of labor. Looks like a steal from where we're sitting.

1 comment
ljaques
Extremely well done, dude. Thanks for sharing it with NewAtlas and us. The van has just the right balance between tight & well accommodated. Offshore, what voltage do the computer, pumps, etc. run on? (12 bumped to 18 or 24v?) Will it sleep 2, or just play 2? VBG (That's built for 1, I'm fairly certain.) Surprising that you didn't go with 1/2" Baltic Birch for the interior to save weight while maintaining excellent stiffness. Anyway, kudos to you.