But you'll look sweet, upon the seat of a camper van built for two.
TreeHugger Kim literally wrote the book on van and bus conversions, but I want to walk into a showroom and buy a really well-resolved, well-built little van in which two people and a dog can tour the country in style and comfort. The new Airstream Nineteen might be it, if I could afford it.
Many of the other van conversions we have shown try to squeeze everything in for a family, with pop-up roofs and high beds requiring serious gymnastics. This one is designed for the other end of the market; given that it starts at close to US$ 150K, C.C Weiss of New Atlas describes it as a "touring coach" suited best to well-to-do professionals and retirees. It actually sounds a bit much when you read the Airstream copy: “Its tasteful décor palettes and high-end finishes exude sophisticated style. But every inch was also designed for your total comfort. Because true luxury means you never have to compromise.”
Things really change when you design for just two people; it is short enough at 19.4-ft (5.9-m) to fit in a conventional parking space and is probably a lot easier to handle than bigger vans. There is a lot more flexibility in the design when you do not have to put the dining table at the front (and use the front seats).
Inside, it looks very much like a boat interior with lots of wood. Behind the kitchen (complete with 3.2 Cubic foot fridge) and the comfy looking bathroom (which also has a shower), there is a sitting area with an adjustable Corian-topped table, that converts into a very large bed.
Owners can enjoy ample storage along with Dupont Corian countertops and customizable cabinetry crafted from Italian wood. The coach boasts an advanced entertainment system, which includes in-dash multimedia with satellite & HD radio, smart phone connectivity and charging ports for devices, HD LED widescreen TV and an in-motion local TV antenna, pre-wired for satellite systems. Along with an accessible kitchen area, the Interstate Nineteen also contains a Truma furnace and water heater offering continuous hot water, marine plank style flooring for easy cleaning and adjustable LED lighting.
There is also a propane powered generator and a 250 watt solar panel on top that won’t do much with all this stuff running; this is no minimalist surfer-dude sprinter conversion.
If you think of it as a small, refined land yacht then perhaps the price isn’t so outlandish. It is certainly cheaper than an apartment, and is clearly designed for the retired boomer market that has the money and doesn’t mind burning a gallon of diesel fuel every 18 miles while they travel the country.
But for me, the big eye-opener is what happens when you forget being a family hauler and you just design for two; it is a very comfortable interior design fitting into a relatively short Sprinter body, without all the popups and pullouts, that can park anywhere. Even if I can’t afford the Airstream Nineteen, I can learn from it.