Rocktober Rigs: Ditching Cheap RV Materials For Marine Carpentry

Sure, you could go with factory-style RV interior for your camper van. Or—you can opt for old-school quality. "Everything built and designed for RVs and vans is poor quality and pretty lame relative to marine hardware and designs, which have been perfected over centuries," says climber Blake Herrington, who's made a business of building out minivans and camper vans, and doing electrical or solar work for folks who don't feel confident doing it for themselves. You can see more of his work on his website, but here's a quick tour of his own 2014 Ram Promaster. Much of it he built out himself, with high-end woodwork done by a climber friend who has a background in marine carpentry. Take a look. Try not to drool. 

What is the make and model: Ram (actually a Fiat) Promaster 2014 - The shortest model (1500) with a high roof

Miles: 50,000

How long have you had it? - I've had it for 1.5 years. I bought it totally empty from a dealer in Colorado, because my wife and I had been sharing one car and I also needed a way to transport a couple thousand guidebooks from Colorado to Washington. (I wrote a climbing guidebook and had the printers send them to a warehouse in Colorado for storage.)

Best feature: Being able to stand up, cook, and get a good night sleep basically anywhere, even in rain or cold weather

Worst feature: 20 MPG isn't the best, minimal seating for pasengers

What’s one thing you’d do differently? I'd make the bench seat ("hangout couch") with a reclined base and slanted back panel, for more comfort

What’s your favorite place to take it? Anywhere with long cold or rainy nights and a bad camping scene (Canmore, Alberta, for example)

What would be the vehicle’s theme song?  Freakonomics Podcasts