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Meet “Mambo” Our 2013 Nissan NV Camper

Say Hi to “Mambo” our Nissan NV Camper!

Mambo is the latest addition to our family, he is a 2013 Nissan NV HD 3500 Cargo Van.  He has been tweaked and modified by several well known companies in the 4×4 van scene.  The pop-top conversion was completed by Colorado Campervan, where he was also fitted with an array of windows along the side and door panels.  Next he was fitted with a custom 4 wheel drive system by Advance 4×4 in Utah, giving true low-high range 4 wheel drive capability.  After being outfitted with the new drive train, he was lifted 2 inches, and given a new set tires for added traction when things got rough.

Our New Campervan
Our New Campervan

In addition to the new drive train, he was outfitted with Aluminess front and rear bumpers, equipped with rear galley box, full size spare tire, and a 16k lb Warn winch.                            

Inside, a large majority of the work was designed and completed by the previous owners, the Nelsons, who did an outstanding job to say the least.  I am still to this day impressed by the attention to detail, and foresight Jon put into this vehicle.  Inside he is equipped with the following:

-30 Gallon Fresh Water With External Fill

-20 Gallon Grey water with custom underbody holding tank

-Dometic Air Conditioning

-Propex Heater

Eccotemp Tankless Water Heater
Eccotemp Water Heater

-EcoTemp On-Demand Hot Water Heater               

-Wet bath with Composting Toilet

-2 Marine Grade Batteries w/ 250 Ah of capacity

-300 Watts of on-board solar

-An array of on-board electronics including Ham / CB Radios, Cell Booster, GPS Nav / Tracker

-ARB Fridge / Freezer

I personally was always interested in the build out of others rig’s and how or why they chose their equipment which is why I chose to include this information.  

With Mambo being the high top van, both of use can stand comfortably inside with the top down, which makes daily activities very easy.  We especially loved the included bathroom services, which were very important for the rigs were were currently shopping around for.  With an indoor shower with hot water, and composting toilet, we will have very little draw to hotels to “clean-up” which hopefully will save on the travel budget.

Of course, in order to make Mambo our own, we opted for a few changes.  The floor was originally composed of a custom aluminum plate, that was powder coated black.  We chose to install flooring to not only insulate our feet from a cold metal surface, but also add a bit of home feeling.  Originally, we were going to opt for sticky vinyl strips, but found the options of styling to be lacking.  Due to impatience, we purchased this vinyl tile which proved to be hard to work with in such a small space.  It looks good, but would not recommend it to other van lifers.

Van Vinyl Flooring Install
Vinyl Flooring Install

Malissa wanted to continue adding to the home-style, especially if we were going to be living in the van for long periods of time, so she opted to make some curtains.  After long discussions on how to properly hang curtains in a van, we decided high strength magnets would do the trick.

Magnetic Curtains
Magnetic Curtains

Next on the list was to build a bench seat with additional storage underneath.  One thing we are learning quickly, is that you will use and need every inch of storage available.  So with the help of my brother in-law Tommy, we designed and built a lift top bench seat.  (Cushions are on order, and will update pics after install.) 

In Progress Sofa Storage Build
In Progress Sofa Storage Build

We have a few small projects that still need to be completed before the maiden voyage in January 2018, and will update the page as we go.  Thanks for following!  

5 thoughts on “Meet “Mambo” Our 2013 Nissan NV Camper

  1. Looks great you guys! What do you have planned for the January maiden voyage? Look forward to following your adventures together, xoxo

    1. We are heading out to California to run the famous Mojave Road. This will give us 3 to 4 days of off the grid living and travel to test out what works and what needs to be improved. We will be posting more info regarding planning and the trip itself. Thanks for following!

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