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A First Timer’s Van Life Experience In Utah’s West Desert

Recently, we got the opportunity to experience some of Utah's west deserts history, its scenery, and van life with the Warner Van Center and Mountain West van teams. Over two days, we delved into rugged dirt trails, navigated challenging off-road terrain, and immersed ourselves in the art of van maintenance and stewardship. 

Adding to the excitement, a first time van lifer, Chelan, took the helm of our all new 2024 Doc Holliday for the first time, ready to capture every moment and share his fresh perspective on the adventure ahead. Join us as we recount this unforgettable escapade into the heart of Utah's west desert wilderness. 

West Desert Camper Van Adventure

The Journey Begins

When we catch up with Chelan, he’s already completed the first, paved leg of his journey to the deserts of Wendover, NV where they “air down and gas up” for the adventure ahead. After a quick debrief and safety meeting, it’s off to the first trailhead, but not before some help from a van-lifer to get the tires bled. 

Tips on Airing Down + Gassing Up

We suggest running about half of the standard highway PSI (50 PSI Front | 75 PSI Rear) to take your tire pressures down to 25 PSI in the front and 35 PSI in the rear. 

Camper Vans in the West Desert

Getting Off Highway

After a brief stop to air down and gas up, the group continues out to their first taste of dirt road. There’s something about seeing a line of vans against the Utah desert backdrop that makes you want to sell everything and take up van life full time. 

Some dusty miles later, the owners regroup at Hastings Point as they head toward a slower, mountainous segment of their journey. 

Making it to Basecamp

After a long day of washboard, rocky traverses, and dust the van pulls into its resting place for the evening. With spirits high and everyone’s vehicle in one piece, we get to take a second to admire the surroundings. 

The 2024 Doc Holliday Camper Van

Initial Thoughts On The 2024 Doc Holliday

The first thing that Chelan notices is the offroad handling and capability of the Doc Holliday. When you think of a van, you may think of a top-heavy, low-to-the-ground, sluggish vehicle, but with an Off Highway van, we are setting the record straight. 

Not even a washboard road at speed throws the Doc Holliday off its course. With minimal cab roll (even on stock suspension with a lift), confidence inspiring puts it lightly. After some packing lessons learned, and a few pounds of dust eaten later, it’s time to rinse off in the outdoor shower standard in every Off Highway Van. 

Sprinter Van Limited Slip Differential

LSD Upgrades Matter

Along the first leg of the journey, there were some optional obstacles, hills, crawls and more to test a vans mettle. Though we abstained from most of these obstacles, Chelan got to see first hand as other vans without an LSD (Limited Slip Differential) struggled. We would have felt much more comfortable and confident succeeding with our Limited Slip Differential upgrade. Life without an LSD is a recipe for unnecessary wheel spin and getting stuck. 

If you’re truly going to take your van offroad into remote areas, we highly recommend this upgrade on all of our OHV camper van builds.

Doc Holliday Van Tour

The Grand Tour

The Doc Holliday Pro is truly in a league of its own in the van market. With seating and sleeping for up to 5 individuals, it’s a game changer for the families that need extra seating without sacrificing functionality or space in their van. 

Camper Van Battery Life

Thoughts on Battery Life

For those that have questions about battery systems, how long they operate etc. After an entire evening running the OHV climate system to keep the van a toasty 70 degrees as temps dipped under 45, Chelan hadn’t even used up 25% of his battery capacity. Luckily, once the van begins to drive again, this will quickly recharge to the 100% mark. 

Camper Van Quality of Life

Tent vs. Van: Quality of Life

As many van owners already know, its the quality of your camping experience that really matters. It’s difficult to get up and have a good day of hiking, biking, or riding when you get a terrible night of sleep after wrestling with the rocky ground all night.  

This is where van camping truly shines. Not only do you have your very own personal hotel room, you have a place to rest well and recharge for the next day rather than waking up in some awkward position with a kink in your neck. 

Van Life: What it’s All About

After a long day on the dirt roads of Utah’s western desert, the group settles into camp and reminds us all why we either own a van or want one to begin with. The grills are firing up, the campfire is raging, and the camp chairs are out. 

Ready to Take Part?

An Off Highway Van can improve your access and experience every time you step out your front door on ad adventure. Whether it's a ski vacation, or a trip through rocky, desert roads, there's no doubt a van can level up your outdoor adventures. Talk to an OHV expert today to learn more about van life, our our van builds today!


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