Van camping, a new way to explore nature

Robby and Lindsey Eskridge are bringing a new mode of leisure travel to the Tennessee Valley. A mixture of camping and van-life, they are part of the newest phenomenon: 'Vamping'. These rental opportunities are just a few short months away.

"Chattanooga is the city that Lindsey and I, kinda came together in," proclaimed Robby. "It's become our city and we love the city, we love the people that we've met in it. And we're excited to promote it and help keep Chattanooga going."

It's an idea that was born during the 2020 pandemic.

"Lindsey and I, through some of the trials and tribulations of last year, researched getting a van for ourselves. And it grew into something where we thought we could offer a unique way to explore Chattanooga. And for Chattanoogans to explore other places."

The vans are built on a Ford chassis. These Vandoit adventure camper vans are easier to navigate through both wilderness and urban environments than most traditional recreational vehicles.

"With a full-on RV, it can be a little larger and we didn't necessarily want to be driving something that size. The compactness of a van really worked for us. For taller people, there are ways to accommodate that and build into it."

From a weekend along the Ocoee, or the waterfalls of the Cumberland plateau, to driving to places like Savannah or the Great Smoky Mountain National park, this iteration to RV is designed to be more convenient and more adaptable

"We've got customizable vans that you can customize how many people are sitting in it, with legal factory seats, how many people can sleep in it. It can go all the way up to an 11 passenger van. We have no limitations to where people can drive it to as long as they agree to the terms and the deals, that's all that matters."

One of the things Robby and Lindsey are doing through partnerships is providing Chattanooga-made products in a sort of swag bag for customers who rent these vans from them. Custom wraps can also be applied to spread the word about what the scenic city can offer. They view it as an opportunity to showcase the city they love along the open road.

"We think it's great for Chattanoogans because they can take it to any of the cities that we've mentioned, the 2 to 6-hour ones. But also if someone is coming into town and doesn't want a hotel, doesn't want an AirBnB, or just wants an experience, we can offer that." 

The vans should be available to rent through the Nomad Be Happy website by early June. More information can be found on their Facebook page.