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Wandervans—The Sweet Spot Between the Tent and the RV

Wandervans offers families or groups of up to five, the opportunity to comfortably travel and sleep inside a vehicle that gets up 20 miles to the gallon.


A desire to wander and witness first-hand the splendors of the natural world has long been relegated to his retirement years. Before traveling extensively, we must wait for a long distant future, after kids have moved out and a steady stream of retirement income can maintain expenses. It was the responsible thing to do.

This is no longer the case.

The word ‘wanderlust’ ignores the adage that ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss.’ After all, who wants moss? The trend is part of the Millennial Generation’s greater desire to do rather than to have.
This mindset has proven contagious. “The van life” is no longer just the guy in a little coat living down by the river.

Van life is a broad experiment with minimalism that can be witnessed via YouTube Channels and Instagram stars. Living on the cheap, on the move, witnessing those brave souls who are living in the moment, traveling to the National Parks, and having experiences by throwing caution to the wind. But how could a family with kids and responsibilities possibly experience van life?

Chris Cook was traveling home from another spectacular mountain biking trip with his family. Chris was faced with the challenge of spending yet another day, week, month, year … or a lifetime of working at his electrical engineering job— when he had an epiphany: to buy a van and build it to custom specs for wandering. Living in Boise, Idaho, he believed he could pay for the van when he wasn’t using it by renting it to the growing number of visitors to Yellowstone. A business was born. Chris called it Wandervans.

Chris spent weeks fabricating steel, creating bunks, and the built-in luxury of standing room (That’s correct. One can stand up in the vans!) by using the Ford Transit Van base. The experiment was ready to go. After just a few months of renting, and a steady increase in bookings, he realized he had found a niche that Brady, his new manager of Salt Lake City operations calls, “The sweet spot between the tent and the RV.”

Realizing he had a winning idea, Chris found a partner named August, who is a steel fabricating specialist and designer. Wandervans offers families or groups up to five, the opportunity to comfortably travel and sleep inside a vehicle that gets up to 20 miles to the gallon—requiring no tent set up to be comfortable. Chris now has a fleet of vans in Boise that is booked out 70% of the time, and a few months ago, they expanded operations into Salt Lake City.

Wandervans offers three different sizes of vans with setups that allow comfortable travel for 2-5 people depending on how many bikes, paddleboards, or kayaks the group brings. They expect that the majority of Salt Lake customers will want to visit “The Mighty Five” which includes Zions, Canyonlands, Arches, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks.

The vans offer an alternative to buying your own van or RV and being burdened with storage, maintenance costs, and monthly payments, which the wife and kids might not be ready for. The Wandervans allow travelers to save on hotel costs and rental cars at peak seasons, and experience the parks in campgrounds, not hotels, sitting by open fires and roasting marshmallows under the stars, without the hassle of tent camping.

Van rentals start at around $105 per night.

Visit their website, or call 1-888-861-6776.

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