Why is it so expensive?
We strive to make our campervans as financially-accessible as possible without cutting into quality. Our camper kits are designed specifically for the 2015+ RAM Promaster City and built to last as long as the van’s on the road, if not longer. With this in mind, we use all stainless steel fasteners, high quality Russian Birch wood, and so on. If you take care of a Cascade Camper it will take care of you and yours for generations of road trips to come.
Why is it so cheap?
The Cascade Camper is affordable because that was the idea from day one. But don’t let that fool you into thinking we cut corners. It took a lot of trial and error to come up with a conversion that offers maximum value for minimum scratch. The Cascade Camper team personally tested every component of the kit out on the road. What didn’t work was scrapped and replaced with something that did. We also build all our campervan kits in-house. We quite literally do everything ourselves. Low overhead = high value.
Is the camper kit removable?
No. Even the best removable camper kit inherently sacrifices a modicum of space and functionality to removability. Our kit is designed specifically for the 2015+ RAM Promaster City and optimized to provide as much useable space as possible. As any Olympic curler will tell you, inches add up.
Why no seat belts in the back?
There are no seat belts in the back and we can not add them due to liability concerns. The seat in the back is only to be used when parked. Think of your camper like a two-seat sports car with mutant powers!
Why no pop-top?
Everyone wants a pop-top, and that’s understandable. There’s something romantic about a pop top camper. We don't currently offer pop-tops as they go against two of our design philosophies. One: Pop-tops are obvious about their camping intentions. Cascade Campers are built for stealth, enabling owners to camp in places not necessarily designated for camping. Two: Pop-tops are expensive, this goes against our goal to keep costs as low as possible so more people can afford our campers. We’ve been camping in classic German campervans both with and without pop-tops for nearly 25 years, and while the pop-top can be handy, we rarely utilize them. It’s nice to stand up in the van, but the couch in our vans is very comfortable, and you’re able to do pretty much everything you need seated. Yeah, putting on pants in the morning is a bit awkward, but you’ll manage.
Can I store bikes inside the campervan?
There’s definitely room inside for a bicycle, but one bike takes up essentially all of the open space in the camper, rendering it useless until you pull the bike out. At that point, you’ll have to find a secure place to stash your bike while camping. This is no fun. Hitch-mounted bike racks work great on these vans, and roof-mounted bike racks are also an option.
Air-conditioning while camping?
There’s no feasible way to install A/C into our campers due to the very high power requirements of even the smallest A/C units. If you need to cool down the van you can always run the engine and use the vehicle’s A/C system.
Heat while camping?
Heat is a complex topic for any small campervan, here are some options:
Electric heat (not great) - Heating air with electricity uses a huge amount of power and would run the 75ah battery down quickly. There’s space under the fridge to add a second house battery, but that would only give you a little more time running an electric heater. The standard electric heaters you’re used to run around 1500 watts. We’ve had some luck with small 200-watt electric heaters that can be run for an hour or more, but heat output is almost negligible. An electric blanket is a great option for electrified warmth, they’re far more efficient than a small electric heater.
Propane heat - A lot of people consider using compact propane heaters. We don't recommend this as it requires leaving the windows open while the heater runs for safety reasons. Moreover, with the bed out there isn't much space to place one of these in without concern of heating things you don’t want heated. You’re better off just running the engine for a few minutes.
Our advice - We find that we want heat the most when we’re waking up in the morning. We often start the campervan’s engine in the morning and run the vehicle’s heat for a few minutes. RAM offers a remote start system for the ProMaster City that will make things extra cushy, just hit the button on the key fob button instead of crawling out of bed to turn the key.
How about a microwave?
Many of you have asked about the addition of a microwave to the kit. So far we haven't come up with any good options. A larger power inverter could be installed, but we haven't found a 110V microwave that’s small enough to work well. Stay tuned.
Why no TV?
To us, camping is about unplugging. Do you really want another screen to stare at when you’re on vacation? For those of you that must have TV, the best option we’ve found is to use a larger tablet mounted on an arm above the fridge. You can download and store things on these tablets when you have wifi access, or you can stream or download to your heart’s content if you purchase a data plan on your tablet. Many tablets even accept external TV tuners for access to live TV. Let us know if you’re interested.
Is the camper insulated?
Yes! We install 10mm closed cell foam insulation under the paneling on the ceiling and the walls, we find this works well. If you want more insulation you could fill the open cavities in the van’s body with low expansion spray foam, and/or have an upholstery shop cover all of the exposed metal with trunk liner or any other type of upholstery fabric.
Is the camper kit removable?
Our camper kit was not designed to be removed, it was designed to maximize interior space. This necessitates an intensive piece-by-piece construction that’s not easily removed. If a removable camper interior is important to you consider looking at Wayfarevans or Caravan Outfitters.
What about a full-width bed?
We designed our campervans to excel at more than just providing a good night’s rest. We could’ve installed a full-width bed, but this would mean intense compromise to all other features. Our bed is 43" wide, and while that may seem small, we find it very comfortable for two adults. This width is the same as the foldout beds found in the classic German campervans that inspire us. If a full width bed is critical for you, consider looking at Wayfarevans or Caravan Outfitters.
How much storage space is there?
Cascade campers come with five storage bins under the bed and storage cubbies in the sink cabinet. We find this is an adequate amount of storage space for most adventures. The crates we use are 15.8L each, so you’re looking at about the space of an 80L backpack stored under the bed. If you require more storage space, a rack or hitch mounted cargo box would work well.
Why such a small roof vent?
A large roof-mounted vent easily gives a vehicle away as a camper. In keeping with our stealth ethos, we went with a 6" round Ventline fan after lots of research. It works well to keep the van cool without screaming “look at me, I’m a camper!”. If you’re less concerned about stealth and more concerned about heavy ventilation, we can work with you to source and install a larger fan for an additional fee.
Why are there decals on the side of the campervan if they’re designed for stealth?
We put a textless version of our logo on every conversion we do. We find having something on the side of the van actually increases stealth as it makes the camper look like a commercial van. It seems counter-intuitive but trust us on this. We can leave the decals off if you want.
Do you do any custom work?
We aren’t currently taking on custom work as demand for our RAM ProMaster City campers is too high to take on anything else. We may consider doing custom work in the future.
How Much weight does your conversion add to the van?
The kit adds about 450lb with the water tank filled. Thanks to John in Florida for weighing his van before and after we built it out for him.
What about my CPAP machine?
Sleep apnea doesn’t go away on the road, unfortunately. A full-size, at-home CPAP machine is obviously not ideal in a Cascade Camper. Fortunately there are many travel-specific, 12-volt-powered CPAP machines on the market that are compact and won’t drain too much juice from the power inverter.
How do you handle graywater?
When you pull up the drain plug in the sink the water drains out directly to the ground, just like it did in the classic German campervans that inspire us. Could this be an environmental impact issue? Depends on what’s in your sink. We encourage you to use biodegradable/environmentally-friendly soap if you’re going to use the sink as a wash basin. We decided against a dedicated greywater tank as it takes up precious space, and they aren’t that great in the first place. Most people don’t empty them until they absolutely must, which means you’ve got a tank full of multifarious yuck that’s had X number of days to mix, react, and otherwise biologically intensify. Nasty. Whatever reasonable, presumably fresh detritus you drain out the Cascade Camper’s small sink onto the group will be comparatively clean. That said, the National Park Service requires all campers collect greywater to drain in designated greywater sinks or wastewater utility drains. The solution is simple: place a container of your choosing beneath the Cascade Camper’s drain behind the passenger-side rear wheel and dispose of the greywater on a daily basis. Many outdoor gear companies make nice, machine-washable basins and bowls that fold down to nearly nothing. If you’re into the camp-life, you’ve probably already got one. Whether you choose to do this in more gonzo camping conditions is up to you.