Photos: Courtesy Off Grid Adventure Vans
As far as campervan builds go, there are a handful of layouts that you tend to see over and over, mostly because they have proven their utility. For instance, the galley is located on the passenger side, in the middle of the vehicle, partly extending in front of the sliding door. This design works well at utilizing a space that would otherwise be difficult to build into, given the lack of a stationary wall. Another extremely well-represented design in the world of campervans is the elevated bed in the rear of the vehicle with a “gearage” underneath. Again, this design has proven its utility, in this case providing ample storage for folks who travel with a lot of equipment. It also provides a great location for electrical infrastructure and water storage.
But one design that I have only seen a handful of times in person (surprisingly) is the Murphy bed. And while I can’t quite put my finger on why more people haven’t adopted this simple but brilliant way to maintain a nice open floor plan in their campervans, I can assure you that it’s a viable and functional design. For this reason, I’ve chosen to feature one of the standard builds offered by campervan upfitter Off-Grid Adventure Vehicles that they have named the Rambler.
It is one of the only campervan builds that I’ve toured with a Murphy bed, but I appreciate this campervan for much more than the bed. The Rambler has a well-designed floor plan that is comfortable, functional, cozy, and open feeling. Perhaps I like the Rambler layout because I value sitting space for computer work during the day, a feature that won’t necessarily be a priority for all owners. But regardless of this insight, I believe this is a van worth considering if you are shopping around for a recreational vehicle. Let’s dig in a little deeper to the features and layout.
Off-Grid Adventure Vehicles Rambler Campervan Build
Let’s start with the price for the folks who are shopping on a budget. While I would not call the Rambler an inexpensive build, it wouldn’t be fair to call it outlandish, especially when you factor in the field of full upfitting services. The basic Rambler layout fully installed, without any custom additions, comes in at $42,500. Combine the build with the cost of a new ProMaster high roof 159-inch wheelbase, and you are looking at a total of $79,500 (approximately). That’s not bad for a complete home on wheels.
The Rambler is finished in a mix of natural wood paneling with a solid wood floor. The preponderance of unfinished wood gives the interior space a warm feeling that is reminiscent of a cabin. Having been in one of these vans myself, I can confidently say that the quality and precision of the finish carpentry is excellent.
Galley and Storage
The galley and a significant amount of the storage is right behind the cockpit. Without any kind of technical evaluation for this particular vehicle to draw on, it seems to be an advantageous weight distribution for both driving comfort and safety. Additionally, the driver’s side storage and appliance cabinets provide more than average storage space in the vicinity of the kitchen (compared to vehicles that prioritize storage under/behind a rear-located bed). If you like to cook, you may appreciate this approach.
The basic build comes with a butcher block countertop, a dual-burner cooktop, and a 26-gallon freshwater tank. And while you tend to see many campervan builds with smaller freshwater reservoirs (5-7 gallons is much more common), this larger 26-gallon tank enables much longer stretches of off-grid time in between refills. It offers a margin of freedom to explore that most people will appreciate. An 80-liter Dometic refrigerator rounds out the kitchen, providing plenty of storage for fresh foods.
The electrical setup in the basic Rambler build is adequate. It includes one 115-watt roof-mounted solar panel and a 100 amp-hour lithium house battery. For AC power, a 2,000-watt inverter can power most appliances that you would expect to use on the road. There are 120-volt, 12-volt, and USB outlets located in both the front and rear of the Rambler. Dimmable LED lighting exists throughout the vehicle, and there is a Maxxair vent fan to exhaust the vehicle while cooking or on warm days. Finally, an isolator allows house battery charging via the alternator when the engine is running.
While this electrical system will probably keep most individuals happy, adding a second roof-mounted solar panel and an additional 100 amp-hours of battery storage would likely be a worthwhile investment. This is especially true for owners who plan to take to the road full time and will possibly be working while traveling.
The Murphy Bed and Dinette
The Murphy bed allows for quick stowing. Instead of having to remove support panels and switch them into different positions to function as backrests, the bed simply pivots into its stored position and is held in place with quick-release straps. Best of all, this design does not sacrifice too much storage (there is quite a bit underneath the bench seating).
With the bed completely folded up into its stored position, a larger than average dinette can be set up, offering seating for 4+ people. And while compact swivel-type tables are an excellent option for van builds with limited interior space, having a bigger table can make extended work sessions and family-style meals much more pleasant. My only complaint here is that there is no angled back support for the seating area. But seeing as this is a campervan and not a conventional home, this may not be a deal-breaker for would-be owners.
You can find more information about the Rambler as well as the other Off Grid Adventure Vehicles layouts here.
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