Shunning emails, ignoring your smartphone and planning a trip with a destination well outside of any cell service — that’s the modern vacation. It’s the only way to truly decompress. You could easily spend a couple of thousand dollars on flights, hotels and ground transportation each time you go off-grid; alternatively, you can just pick up this 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro Westfalia for around $5,000 over on Bring a Trailer and have a mobile cabin whenever you want.
The four-wheel-drive pop-up camper comes with the stock 2.1-liter flat-four and four-speed manual transaxle with a factory granny gear and locking rear differential, but includes a few upgrades like larger door mirrors, aluminum fuel injection rails, and small interior revisions. However, it’s the Vanagon’s interior amenities that transform the experience from merely “sleeping in a van” to a campsite on four wheels.
The fiberglass pop-up roof is the most recognizable feature of the camper, but the extra space it affords is necessary to make full use of the kitchenette, complete with a sink, two-burner stove and mini-fridge. The back seats fold flat to create a sleeping area and the front passenger and driver’s seat swivel to make use of a stow-and-go dining table. In other words, you have your travel and accommodations all in the same square footage, so cancel that Airbnb, pick a direction, drive and live comfortably for a weekend off the grid.