- Voyager Campervans is a Minneapolis-based startup that is currently producing some of the most groundbreaking campervans on the market.
- Voyager campers have gotten lots of attention for their innovative storage solutions and hidden pull-out furniture. Providing the movement for those pull-outs are Accuride 9308E Heavy-Duty Lock-In & Lock-Out slides.
- A longtime industry standard, these recently enhanced slides support loads up to 600 lbs. and 42 in. wide. Each slide includes a locking feature that keeps drawers and trays securely closed or opened; users simply press on a gloved tab to disengage the locking system.
Nestled in the bustling city of Minneapolis lies a fast-growing startup. But it isn’t the Silicon Valley kind. Instead, this startup is advancing the booming market for camper rentals.
A Voyager of a Different Sort
That company is called Voyager Campervans, and it’s the brainchild of Grady Linder and Ryan Lloyd. As Grady explains on his company page:
In the summer of 2017, I was working with a new startup and needed to get the word out about our new product line. With a limited budget, we converted an old van into a customized campervan/mobile office and hit the road for three months to spread the word… Afterward, I had a lot of people tell me that they’d love to have a similar experience, but in smaller doses like for a week or an extended weekend.
Grady took that unexpected feedback and turned it into a new enterprise: Voyager Campervans. While Grady saw an interest in camper rental, he faced the challenge of building the right camper to meet that interest.
The Numbers Tell It All
Camping has long been a facet of American life, and interest continues to grow even in the Digital Age. According to a report by Kampgrounds of America, there were 75 million active camper households in 2016–a 34% jump from 2015. That 75 million comes to 61% of total US households.
Moreover, millions of younger Americans are increasingly making up that percentage. Gen Xers account for 34%, while Millennials account for a whopping 38%. Top reasons for camping include spending more time with family and friends, followed by physical and mental health.
Frugality plays a key factor in camping as well, with 65% of campers in one survey saying they spend no more than $200 on camping materials. More shocking: More than one-fifth say they spend nothing.
Moving Forward, Facing New Challenges
Luckily, affordability plays an instrumental role with Voyager Campervans.
Traditionally, camper vans have been big and thirsty vehicles. That’s because they tend to be based on large cargo vans, which offer a lot of interior space, but not much in the way of fuel efficiency.
After much research, Grady settled on an alternative: The Ram ProMaster City, a compact, yet space-efficient, cargo van. Where a large van like the popular Ford E-150 averages 14 MPG, the ProMaster helps drivers with a much better 24 MPG–not to mention better handling.
But adopting a compact cargo van brings new challenges. It may be more convenient and less expensive to operate, but it also means less interior room: around 130 ft.³ versus the more than 200 ft.³ in large vans.
That decrease in cargo space can present a major obstacle when that space is needed for storage, cooking, and sleeping.
The Solution: Innovate with Movement
Fortunately, Grady had a clear vision of how to make that work.
First thing, of course, would be a sleeping bunk mounted in the rear cargo hold. Atop that bunk would be a memory foam mattress for a good night’s rest.
The innovation, however, would be beneath the bunk—a pull-out kitchen and storage out back.
The kitchen, located in the left pull-out, includes a stove, utensil compartment, a cooler, and a fan.
On the right, renters can find a large pull-out storage compartment for clothes and other belongings.
Providing movement for those pull-outs are Accuride 9308E Heavy-Duty Lock-In & Lock-Out Slides. A longtime industry standard, these recently enhanced slides support loads up to 600 lbs. and 42 in. wide. Each slide includes a locking feature that keeps drawers and trays securely closed or opened; users simply press on a gloved tab to disengage the locking system.
As Grady explains: “It’s extremely important to me and our company that our customers have the most amazing experience when they take out one of our vans…and the durability and reliability of Accuride’s products are certainly a major factor in ensuring that customer experience.”
Widening Its Frontier
Voyager Campervans isn’t content to stay in the Upper Midwest: The company has expanded across the United States, with branches in Austin, TX, and Phoenix, Ariz.
“[For] the future of Voyager Campervans,” says Grady, “we want to continue to build more vans, and want to expand to more markets because we see this product as meeting a need for people all over the country…and we need Accuride slides in our vans to do that.”
Thinking about renting a camper van for your own personal voyage? Visit Voyager Campervans’ website where you’ll find information on how to rent, what to expect, as well as a contact form.
Are you working on your own camper van or vehicle storage project? Find the right Accuride movement solution on our Utility Vehicles Page. There you’ll find design ideas, a list of solutions, case studies, and a link to our Online Store.
For more recent stories of “Accuride in Action,” read how our movement solutions help emergency services in the Greater New York Area or provide movement in advanced archival systems. For all the latest news in movement innovation, stay connected with Accuride!