Dozens of Colorado companies that customize cargo vans into homes on wheels reporting brisk business as housing prices and rents climb alongside pandemic-fueled push for backcountry adventure.
GYPSUM — Darla Letourneau is ready for an adventure of a lifetime.
“This is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this by myself,” the 72-year-old Floridian said as she circled and studied her brand new Promaster van, custom converted by Dave & Matt Vans.
Letourneau is planning to spend the next half a year traveling across the West. She spent months searching for the perfect campervan to carry her far and wide.
“This is my dream,” she said. “After this past year, I want this trip to restore my faith in humanity. I want to connect with people and have an adventure.”
Adventure-seeking roadtrippers like Letourneau are spiking Colorado’s booming van conversion industry. A few years ago, there were a handful of Colorado companies converting cargo vans — like Mercedes Sprinters and Dodge Ram Promasters — into adventure rigs. Today, there are dozens, most of them formed in the past two years. It’s a roaring industry, built largely around the go-anywhere, work-anywhere vanlife ethos that swept social media in recent years. And the vanlife phenomenon exploded last year as the pandemic sen more urbanites fleeing to the lonely hills.