Ford Transit Connect camper van conversion beckons, for under $15K

It’s only natural to daydream about escaping into the Great Outdoors in your own self-contained rig as a way to break free of the coronavirus and its various psychic and physical constraints. We totally get it, though we can’t in good conscience recommend it, and more on that in a moment. But for now, let’s fawn over these images of the latest camper van based on the Ford Transit Connect.

The Family Camper Van conversion comes from Denver-based Contravans and is based on the seven-passenger, long-wheelbase Transit Connect cargo van. Total cost for the conversion starts at $14,698, including the tent.

It’s billed as seating and sleeping five, though the latter assumes good enough weather for the rooftop tent to be in constant use. And three people sleeping up there? Well, it’s a Roofnest Condor rooftop tent measuring 48 inches wide by 60 inches long or 83 inches long when open, equal to a queen size bed. Hardy, camp-tested kids might be fine with it, and you can also upgrade to a larger version. Here’s a video that shows you how the Condor works.

Enough nitpicking, though. The conversion includes a 36-liter (61 cubic-inch) stainless-steel fridge, a two-burner camping stove that slides out from the rear and provides storage underneath, and a HydroBlu 4-gallon pressurized water-filtering jerry can for storing potable water. There’s also a 50 amp-hour lithium battery with a 400-watt inverter, USB charging ports and a two-person bed platform that fits over the rear foldable seats. That rooftop tent, which has a skylight, is neatly contained when not in use in an enclosed, weather-resistant shell.

Other options include an awning that integrates with the tent, dimmable interior LED lighting, a 50-watt flexible solar panel, charge controller and Bluetooth system monitor, and higher-capacity batteries and inverter.

It no doubt looks like fun, but lest you think this is your coronavirus getaway vehicle, think again. As Outside magazine recently pointed out, vanlife during the COVID-19 outbreak ain’t no picnic, with public restrooms suddenly closed or fraught with risk, and a lack of places to park, shower or get running water. “Every day I hear about more vanlifers being asked to leave RV parks, campgrounds, or the public lands they were staying on that are closing,” author and converted school bus owner Christina Hadly wrote. 

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