I have spent a needless amount of time thinking about my van, just as a general statement. My previous two vans were tin-tops, i.e. no pop-top. So the idea of a high top conversion was always on my radar. Well, I now have an ASI Riviera, which has the vertical type pop-top, as opposed to the angled Westfalia version. The upside is that it has a low profile when not in use, and then simply push it up when parked and you can stand, and sleep, up top. The downsides are that with the top popped any interior heat is quickly lost, and everyone knows you’re inside – should you be trying to stealth camp.
A few months ago I received word that a guy in Canada was making a handful of Get Away van reproductions. While my favorite top is the Adventurewagon top, no one seems to making them currently. The Get Away top is pretty cool though, and probably my second favorite design wise. Time passes quickly, and before my indecision knew it, the tops were sold off. I would then go on to find out that a few of them had been purchased by someone in the Portland area – my city! Last week I found out whom, and this week I ran over and checked them out. They are sooooo cool, but also very tall. Generally speaking, I think vans with high-tops look cool, cooler than their pop-top counterparts.
So, now I am left in a bit of a crossroads. These tops are $2,500, which is a bargain compared to the others on the market, but 2.5k none the less. Once I pay for epoxy, insulation, custom rack for solar panels, and finishing out the inside, I’ll easily be in over 3k. Which is not unreasonable given the functionality of this modification…. but…. if I am willing to part with $3,000 on van modifications, what could/would I do?
Turns out, you can do a fair amount with $3k. All the below still leaves me with about $380 to play with.
- Swing away arm from RMW $459.95
- Aluminess box for swing away arm (storage space that the hightop would have resolved) $430
- Re-upholstered front seats and rear bed bench via Sewfine $580
- Ladder with fuel can holder from Gary Lee $455
- Anti-roll bar by T3 $230
- Additional Renogy solar panel $107
- Truck mirrors from GoWesty $360
But… while it may seem like the decision is simple, I really like the idea of being able to just stand inside the van and to be able to have an insulated standing area, rather than having to keep the top down in cold weather. Ugh, this shouldn’t be so hard.
Someone, and with good reason, asked how the rest of the van was doing since this decision is fairly non-mechanical. This van has had a lot of work the past year or so. New transmission, new brakes and master cylinder, Schwenk springs and new shocks, 15″ wheels with meaty BFG KO tires, new radiator and waterpump, and the list goes on. So all in all, great condition.
What would you do?