Sask. campers 'pursue their dreams' of custom conversions
SASKATOON -- There’s been an uptick of inquiries at Saskatchewan’s only custom campervan shop.
“We`ve had a lot of people calling in just trying to contact us trying to pursue their dreams of getting a custom conversion done,” said Mitch Rosko, co-owner of Paved to Pines.
The founders of Paved to Pines said the COVID-19 pandemic has more people looking at their bucket list. Some customers want to make their dreams a reality while others want to be self-sufficient when traveling.
“We've been fortunate. We've actually seen an influx of builds in the last two weeks. And we think that's just because people have more time to sit down and actually think about some of these goals they've been thinking about for the last few years,” said Steven Glass, the other co-owner.
The business is in its third year of operation. Glass said most of their customers are interested in building camping vehicles with the ability to go off-grid and still have the use of electrical appliances, heat and water.
“Most clients that we see coming into our shop are looking for full off-grid capabilities. So that's solar panels on the roof to power all of their accessories as well as a full water and heat system so that they can last in Canada all year round,” said Glass.
A floor plan is created for each build with a plan for the wiring in electricity and plumbing. Most of the tables, beds and cupboards used in the vehicles are custom built in at the Paved to Pines shop. For some a weekend getaway van is enough, while others look to make a bus their permanent home. Customers select the colour schemes and fixtures used in the build.
“This one is going to be a fulltime residence,” Glass said of one of their projects. “It's a 45-foot charter bus. It will be fully insulated. And starting at the back we're going to have full bedroom, en-suite and shower. Laundry included.”
“This is not your mom`s soccer van,” Rosko said of another build. “Here you will have a propane cook top, a sink as well all of the cutlery you will get pretty much everything you need for an awesome trip away with your friends and family.”
The finished vans and buses have many unique features such as a roof-top tent that can be installed on top of a Dodge Caravan. The popularity of tiny houses has also made more products available on the market for those people looking to create a custom camping unit.
The province is set to open public and private campgrounds to overnight camping for Saskatchewan residents on June 1. However, Paved to Pines recommends people research any camping restrictions before buying or renting any back-country camping equipment.