Table Of Content
1- Life Before Vanlife
The Normal Life
We were products of the system: we had well paid permanent jobs with benefits (we were both engineers), a nice house, cars, friends, we had access to local mountain biking trails, whitewater rivers, ski hills, craft beer scene, etc. We were not attracted by luxury (except for mountain bikes!) and didn’t buy a lot of stuff, so we considered ourselves “rich” in a way that we could afford all the fun we wanted (keeping in mind that we’re reasonable people! wait… are we?).
We lived a comfortable life, but when reaching our mid-thirties the years seem to repeat themselves. The idea of working full time and taking short (and expensive) vacations each year until our old days was not really fulfilling… Mountain biking and backcountry snowboarding is what we love the most in this life, can we create a lifestyle where we can enjoy these activities to the fullest when we’re still young and healthy?
Creating A Sustainable Lifestyle
Play more, work less… Less expenses, less income. It’s all about balance. Can we turn that daydream into reality?
Easier said than done. How much converting and travelling in a van cost, actually? There was a lot of guesswork involved in our planning… But if you’re reading this now you can take the guesswork out of the equation, because we tracked everything down:
There are so many different van options, so we leave this part up to you. Check out classifieds or inquire to your local dealer to get a quote. On a side note, here is how we decided on the Ford Transit:
We tracked down the total cost and labor it took us to convert the van. It’s breakdown by category/task, so it doesn’t get any more comprehensive than that! Hope that helps!
We publish our monthly travel expenses. There are over 2 years of data in there, breakdown by categories. You can use this as a baseline to plan your own trip (don’t forget to adjust the numbers to your own lifestyle).
Pro tip: Quit your day job = less income!
We’ll be fully transparent here, we initially didn’t plan on becoming “true” full time vanlifers; who does that? Instagram stars do somehow, and we certainly didn’t fit into that category. So our initial plan was to travel about a year (from our savings) and settle somewhere on the west coast.
So here’s the crazy part of the story. We decided to build this website; far out something. The idea was to keep us busy during the rainy days in the van (to share our travel pictures, stories, etc), that’s all. We’re not exactly sure how and why, but it finally turned into this massive how-we-built-our-van reference website. This might be one of our best idea ever, because while our day jobs kickstarted our vanlife, FarOutRide.com turned it into a full time gig. We can’t say it enough: -THANK YOU- for using our affiliate links (Amazon mostly) from our Build Journal and our Build Guides. Thank you for downloading our diagrams (Wiring, Water & Propane). Without YOU, we couldn’t keep going. It’s as simple as that! 🙂
Thinking about starting your website too? Here’s everything to get you started:
From House to Van
The months before moving into our van were absolute madness! There was so much to be done in so little time…
2- Two Years In Numbers
(includes oil change)
(Trailforks stats, might include shuttles)
(Maintenance, Gear, Clothing, etc.)
(Maintenance, Gear, Clothing, Shoes, etc.
-->excludes new bikes)
3- Tales From The Road
No. More. House.
August 15th finally came. We had to hand out the keys of the house to the new owners. There was no turning back now... Goodbye little blue house!
April / May 2018
June / July 2018
Squamish / Pemberton / Vancouver Island
August / September 2018
December 2018 / January 2019
Squamish / Whistler / Pemberton
Rossland / Nelson / Revelstoke
4- Top 3
Top 3 Mountain Biking Destinations
1- Squamish / Whistler / Pemberton / Vancouver
In a Nutshell
The Sea to Sky Corridor is a world-class mountain biking destination; it is BY FAR our favorite place to ride!
What to expect
While the Whistler Bike Park offers exceptional beginners trails (perfectly safe, fun, with unlimited potential for progression), it’s the advanced trails that really shine in the Sea to Sky area. The technical level is way above anywhere else we’ve seen, therefore solid-intermediate to expert riders will enjoy it more here. The riding is full-Enduro here; it’s all about the descents! Steep, rocks, roots, granite slabs, flow, loam, jumps, steep (we meant to repeat it) is the name of the game… be humble and work your way up as a black (or double-black) from your local network would probably rated as a blue trail here. On the other side, expect long and strenuous climbs on logging roads most of the times; the XC rider might be disappointed.
We spent over 6 months here during the last two years (yep, it’s THAT good!), so we have a thing or two to say about the Sea to Sky corridor:
2- Rossland / Fernie / Revelstoke
In a Nutshell
While we haven’t spent extended time here, we really liked what we sampled. In fact, we plan on spending most of summer 2020 here to dig deeper. The south of Trans-Canadian Highway has this off-the-beaten-track feel (that excludes Revelstoke); it’s probably because all the tourists are either biking or shopping at Whistler 😉 In short: good ride, good vibe.
What to expect
The technical level is slightly easier than the Sea-to-Sky corridor, but still generally more difficult than other destinations. Most of the climbs here are singletracks, which is nice.
We did a counterclockwise loop when we visited in 2019: Kelowna (it has an international airport) –> Rossland –> Castlegar –> Fernie –> Revelstoke. We would recommend it, since Revelstoke has the most impressive mountains, has more riding options and it’s a sweeeeeet town; it was nice to finish with the best! Some of our “must-ride”:
Epic descent at Morning Mountain: Powerslave (tech natural) –> Bear’s Den (tech natural) –> Mister Slave (flow) –> Turnstyle (flow, berms, jump, machine built) –> Lefty (flow, berms, jump, machine built). You can arrange a shuttle with the bike shops in town.
Frisby Ridge is a must-ride for epic alpine riding/views; it’s VERY pretty up there and the riding is not technical at all. Finish with UFC and Ultimate Frisby if you can (850m elevation loss), it’s SO worth it (it’s steep and technical if you’re into that).
For around 200$ CDN, you can get an Heli-Drop on Mount Cartier (we used Arrow Helicopters). Worth it! Do it for the adventures (helicopter ride, AMAZING views, unique experience), as the trail itself is not super awesome to ride. Keep some energy for Sunny Side Up (you’re gonna have to climb to reach it) as it’s one of the best flow trail we rode (berms, tabletops)!
We absolutely loved Upper Boondocker / Boondocker in Boulder Mountain; we could lap this all day! It’s steep and technical, but there’s a nice flow to it (it’s fast!). There are a few optional gaps/drops to spice things up.
In a Nutshell
Desert-style riding, surrounded by unreal desert landscapes, with wild camping in the desert. We love Utah. It really feels like you’re on another planet here. It definitely should be on your bucket list!