- Oregon has a new camper van conversion company: Dirtbag Conversions, which was officially registered in May.
- The company was founded by Kevin Marquardt, who has been converting vans for several years under the “Dirtbag Conversions” name.
- Despite the company’s infancy, Marquardt has already seen a large number of inquiries, which he attributes to the coronavirus pandemic.
- One of his builds, created on a 159-inch ProMaster with a high roof, was completed for under $20,000 for a client who wanted a van to take on long weekend trips.
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There are a multitude of van conversion companies in the market right now. One of the latest to enter the scene, Dirtbag Conversions, turned a 159-inch Ram ProMaster high roof van into a custom camper RV for under $20,000 for a client who wanted a van to take on long weekend trips.
Dirtbag Conversions specializes in custom builds that include insulation, built-out furniture, and power sources. While this particular build was created in a Ram ProMaster, Dirtbag Conversions can build out any van type that a client is looking for, Dirtbag Conversion’s founder and sole employee, Kevin Marquardt, told Business Insider.
Marquardt found his start in van conversions several years ago while living in Germany, where he was working full-time at a kindergarten while spending his free time doing his first passion: rock climbing. It was there in Germany that Marquardt decided to create his first van build, which took him one and a half weeks to complete with limited tools and money, all while teaching himself through online guides.
Afterward, he started building out more conversions to help support his climbing passion. And as time went on, Marquardt realized that he could turn this van conversion hobby into a full-time company at his home in Oregon under the name he had already been using: Dirtbag Conversions.
The company may have an unusual business name, but according to Marquardt, there's actually a positive association with "dirtbag" in the climbing community.
"I always had this dreamer goal to get to the point someday where I could fully donate a complete conversion to a dirtbag, which in the climbing world is someone who is just pursuing their passion for climbing over anything else: over comfort, over money, over work," Marquardt said. "And it's not just climbers really, it's anyone who has a passion in life."
Marquardt's company, Dirtbag Conversions, was officially registered last month.
Despite this recency, Marquardt has already received an influx in inquiries, which he predicts is an outcome of the coronavirus pandemic, a trend other camper conversion companies have seen.
Source: Business Insider
The client for this particular build was heavily involved in the design process of the build, from selecting the wood used in the build to curating the color of the outlets.
Marquardt spent two months on the build, which was completed last winter when he was still using the "Dirtbag Conversions" name but the company wasn't officially registered yet.
The van has a bed, kitchen, toilet, and various storage spaces to help maximize its space.
Its kitchen has a dual burner cooktop that sits next to a sink. The sink is connected to a 15-gallon freshwater system.
The bed can sleep up to two people and is elevated to accommodate an under bed storage garage that has two drawers and enough space to store a bike.
Other storage includes overhead cabinets and a dresser that sits across from the kitchen.
Meals can be eaten at the desk and bench seat, which also doubles as the storage unit for the portable toilet.
Like many upgraded camper vans, the passenger seat can swivel to face the interior, creating another seating option when lounging in the van.
To keep the interior cool during summer travels, Dirtbag Conversions also included a ventilation fan.
All of this is powered by a 200-watt solar and a 200-amp-hour battery system.
The conversion cost around $18,035 to build, and its current owner added another $6,000 worth of conversions on top of the final price, including a roof rack and awning.