The Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia is already a great adventure vehicle. The full camper version comes equipped with a kitchenette, clothing storage and ability to sleep 4. Some would say it is already a dream adventure vehicle.
I looked at it more as the perfect base to build my ultimate adventure van. Some tweaks and improvements needed to be made to haul the gear I wanted and to get to where I was going to go. Here are the mods we did and recommend doing.
All-Terrain Kit: Let’s face it, the best adventures don’t happen off the paved roads of suburbia. You need to get off the beaten path and deep into the woods. That means forest access roads, narrow trails and rough terrain. Clearance and good tires are key. That’s what the main appeal to the GoWesty All-Terrain Kit was to me. With more clearance and aggressive tires, the stress of going off-road is lowered. We opted with a 2WD drive Westfalia, but if you really want to push the limits of adventure we recommend taking a look at the 4WD Syncro model, but be prepared to drop some serious cash to get one of these limited vans.
Racks: It is tough to adventure without your toys, and we didn’t want to compromise on what toys we wanted to bring with us. Bikes, paddle boards, surfboards, skis, camper gear, skateboards, kites and more. You name it, we brought it. Bringing all the gear starts with a very solid roof rack system. We opted for the longest Thule bar we could get at 78″! This would allow us to mount our gearbox and paddle boards to the roof bars with enough room left over for our solar shower.For our cargo box, we chose the largest Thule Sonic XXL at 22cu ft. This gave us room for our powder skis, skateboards, bike clothing, camping gear and more. We pretty much travel with the box for most of the time. And its best feature, it keeps smelly biking jerseys and shoes out of the van! Over the driver’s side of the rack, we mounted a Thule SUP Taxi so we had the ability to lock our paddle boards. We maxed the SUP Taxi out with 2 paddle boards and 3 surfboards. The rack holds the boards snug and adds the security of locks.
The last rack addition was for our bikes. We opted for mounting them on the back gate, using the GoWesty Away System and Thule bike rack. The bikes sit high enough that they stay out of the way of road grime. We added a 2nd wheel latch to each rack for added security.
Pop-top Struts: With all the extra weight on the roof, pop-top struts are necessary to pop the
top. We opted for 4x GoWesty HD struts. We started with just 2, but after testing decided to double it up.
Bumpers and Skid Plate: If you are going to be driving down trails, vehicle protection is key. The GoWesty bumpers play double duty offering great protection and allowing for the add on accessories mentioned above as well as mounts for a hi-jack, a tool any overland driver knows to carry.
The skid plate is also key. Trust me, we have used it. Not only does it help protect the front-end under body, but it gives you a great sled to slide on so that you don’t catch and hang up on the front I-beam to which the steering rack attaches.
Solar Shower: After a great adventure, nothing feels better than a warm shower right beside you van. We opted for a home-made PVC shower, although you can purchase one too. Check out this one from GoWesty, or if you prefer to build your own, check out this article from our friends at Where’s My Office Now.
LED Light Bar: An LED light bar is the perfect way to extend the hours you can adventure, and it turns out a 50 inch curved LED bar fits the front of a Westy perfectly. We simply removed the fibreglass storage stow and bolted it on. The wiring runs into the roof and down the pillar behind the passenger seat to the main battery. From there the wire runs to the switch the we installed in a spare spot on the main cluster.
Solar Generator: If you want to add to your adventure, you will want to invest in a good solar generator. We opted for the The Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium. It offers enough storage power to run our fridge, charge phones, tablets, camera batteries and laptops. We charge it via two 90 watt panels mounted to the roof.
The Westfalia is already a great adventure vehicle, but with a few mods, it can be the ultimate adventure and overland van. What mods are on the top of your list to do?