2021 In Review

2021 In Review

 

It has been a great year for Conversion Van Enthusiasts!  Below are some of the highlights from 2021, and directions we are headed toward in 2022.

 

Our Installation Shop
(Portland, OR)

The early months of 2021 did get off to a rocky start with significant delays in Transit and Sprinter van deliveries from dealerships.  Due to COVID and supply chain issues, there was a period that our customers (both DIY and shop installs) were simply not getting their vans.  However, by mid-summer most of these issues had improved, and we have been struggling to keep up with van builds and orders ever since!

We have continued to streamline the build process utilizing our growing product line.  As an increasingly robust set of versatile solutions are added, we are able to accelerate the build process considerably.  Builds that used to take 3 or 4 months (or sometimes more), are typically turned around in 6-8 weeks.  This is largely due to the versatility and adaptability of our mounting system and product line.  Once the Core Build is complete, much of the remaining build involves off the shelf products that simply require assembly and installation.

Online Orders
(DIY & Builders)

The Roost product development team has been hard at work to bring more of our product line available for DIY van builders.  As more of our products in development reach the Beta or Full Release stage, we are streamlining the release process.  We hope this continues to accelerate and we are able to bring more and more of our standard products to the DIY van builder who wants a boost to their conversion van build experience.  Please visit our Product Line page to see a list of our growing line of products that are currently or soon to be available for online purchase.

 

Rental Van(s)

We are in the process of building our first “Try Before You Buy” rental van.  When complete it will be available for rent for those who might like to try our products and/or van life itself before making the leap.  Our rental van will be build using our standard product line.  Depending on interest level in this option, we may consider adding more rental vans in the future, and building a rental fleet.  This may allow for more options in terms of build, size, platform, etc…

 

Affiliate Program

In 2021 we have had a few more professional van builders join the team and start using Roost products in their builds.  At present we do offer volume discounts to professional van builders, but beyond that it is a fairly informal program.  Long term we plan to build a very robust affiliate and certified dealer program.  Our Portland location is only able to service a small fraction of the inquiries we receive for professional van builds, and we hope soon to build a network of qualified and verified van builders who share our values and commitment to excellence.  As with product development, we are very careful and methodical about growth and development.  We will take the time to make sure that we can confidently recommend/refer customers to reliable and trustworthy builders.  Building a vast and reliable will be several years in the making, but we have decided to put a very serious emphasis on beginning this process in the earlier portion of 2022.  We look forward to a day that we can serve more customers who are outside of our area, who want professional van builds using our products. More to follow!

Roost Flagship Van

Roost Flagship Van

 

       

 

The build begins…

We have finally done it!  We purchased a 2021 Ford Transit 148” EXT and have begun the buildout process.

This marks a new chapter for Roost.  We will be offering this vehicle as a “Try Before You Buy” rental option, as well as a display van for tradeshows and customer visits.

With customer van builds booked up for months, customer builds are obviously going to receive priority.  However, we will be steadily completing this project over the coming months as time permits, and hope to have the van available for rent and show by spring of 2022.

New *Beta* Product – Kitchen Cabinets

Product Release Announcement!

Standard Kitchen Cabinets

The long requested and awaited day has arrived!  We are pleased to begin offering two versions of our kitchen cabinet product line through our Early Access Program.

This is one of our most complex products, with a lot of moving parts, and a ton of engineering to maximize space, compatibility, versatility, and ease of use.  The kitchen is one of the most central elements of your van design, and we recommend thorough research, review, and consideration prior to selecting your cabinet, components, and position.

Driver Side Kitchen Cabinet – Standard

Passenger Side Kitchen Cabinet – Standard

Each kitchen cabinet is designed to be a stand-alone kitchen cabinet, and/or in conjunction with one another to add more counter space and versatility in terms of the location of your kitchen components.  There are too many features, details, and options to list in this release.  Please click the links above for full product descriptions (See Product Specifications tab for full spec sheets).

We hope to be releasing a couple more variations of these cabinets (including a compact version, and a sink only version) in the 2nd quarter of 2022.  For now the focus is on getting these two version through the Beta testing process and fully released as a DIY product.

A Note About Beta Testing:

Please remember that as a Beta Product anyone who chooses to participate in our Early Access Program should be prepared to encounter and overcome small issues with assembly and installation.  In reality 90% of the Beta products we ship go off with a hitch, but we do want to make sure that in the event you do experience any issues, you are prepared to do so with a little understanding and patience that this is not yet a fully released product.  Please keep the following in mind:

  • The instruction manual will be a preliminary version of instructions and may not meet the same standards of quality and ease of use as our standard products.
  • Though we have been installing these in our Portland, OR shop for years, the process of a product evolving from Shop Only > Beta > Full Release is all about making minor adjustments and improvements. It is possible a little extra drilling, shaving, or a trip to the hardware store may be required to complete the process.  Your candid and detailed feedback is critical to the process. 
  • In exchange for a little patience and understanding with the above, we will be available to assist by phone and/or screen share to help you work through any difficulties you might experience.

New Lower Bench Cabinet

Product Release Announcement!

Lower Bench Cabinet

 

After several months of beta testing, we are ready to fully release this product to the DIY community!

The Lower Bench Cabinet is a versatile storage and seating solution.  It can be used individually or in series.  It’s hinged top provides access to internal compartments that can be utilized for a variety of purposes:

  • General storage
  • Housing electronics or plumbing
  • Seating for humans
  • A small bed for pets
  • Step to access a high bed
  • Low extended counterspace
  • Or anything else you can think of

This product comes in 18”, 24” or 36” lengths, which can be used to span almost any open floor space along our Lower Mounting System.

 

Note:  Additional variations of this product are coming soon, including a Loo Box and Over Wheel Well tank storage solutions. 

 

Spring 2020 Update

The Last 9 Months

 

I will be the first to admit it:  We have been horrible about blogging and sending newsletters to our subscribers. 

By last summer we were inundated with van builds, and since that time we have been hard at work building vans and developing our product line.  With up to 4 active builds in our shop at a time, we had little time for much else throughout 2019 and early 2020.    

It is funny how a crisis can sometimes help us focus.  We love building vans in our shop, but our vision involves much more than that!  Our goal is to develop a comprehensive, versatile, and affordable line of products, that are shippable to DIY customers and local installers throughout North America.

When the shutdowns began in early March, we decided to take the opportunity to reassess.  At the time we had 4 active builds in the shop.  We immediately stopped taking on new builds, and first focused on completing them.  We were lucky that the conditions of our shop, and the orders of our Governor allowed our installers to continue to work.  

 

 

The Last Few Weeks

 

As we have completed each active build, we were increasingly able to shift our focus toward development.  We have released several new products on the shopping cart, with many more coming soon.  We have made major improvements to the web site including more content, better images, CAD illustrations, and much more detailed information about our products.  Recently we have been taking a lot of video footage, many of which can be seen on our Instagram page and will soon be added to our Youtube channel (please subscribe for updates as content is added).  We have a lot more work to do, but there has been a vast recent improvement in each area.

 

 

What’s Next

 

Portland Shop Accepting New Builds:  Effective immediately we are ready to take on 1 or 2 new van builds.  For the coming months we are going to limit ourselves to two active bays, which means that soon our lead times are probably going to be a little longer for shop builds.  However, as of right now we are ready to start our next new project within the next couple weeks.  If you are interested in a new or updated quote, I encourage you to check out our new Shop Installation section of the web site, and fill out a shop build quote request.

Balance & Focus:  Though we will keep 2 active builds in the shop, we are going to continue to put more energy into bringing more products to the shopping cart, standardizing shop build elements, and communication.

New Normal:  For the foreseeable future we will be maintaining the same workplace standards we have followed for the last several weeks.  For van pick up and drop off, we will be conducting a thorough disinfecting wipe down of all surfaces, and additionally we will be adding a 72 hours quarantine for each new van in and out.

 

With a new focus, and a much stronger line of products, we look forward to the coming months.  We invite you to check out the recent changes and videos, for much, much more!

Rails Vs Tracks

Rails Vs. Tracks

 

Smooth Rail Mounting System

 

 

L Track Mounting System

L Track is commonly used by DIY van builders and some professionals, as an interior mounting system.  Customers regularly ask about the differences and advantages of our smooth rail system over these ”X Track” systems.

First, to be clear:  A properly mounted L track or E track system with the correct support bracketing, sufficient metal to metal contact and ample attachment points, can be a functional, strong, and safe mounting solution.  If you are a DIY van builder this is a perfectly acceptable solution.

However, when Dennis (our founder and CEO) built his first van as a family project, his frustrations with the limitations of these track systems led him to develop a better approach.  His close attention to detail, and eye for aesthetics inspired him to develop our Smooth Rail Mounting System and ultimately the origins of Roost Vans itself.  Below are some of the key reasons for this decision.

 

Precise Positioning

L Track and E Track systems are basically cargo tie down systems that have been adapted for mounting interior van components.  One of the biggest draw backs is that they are only incrementally adjustable, typically in 1” intervals.  This is fine for a tie down system, but when trying to position interior components in a van build, we find more precise positioning necessary.  Our mounting system is infinitely adjustable, allowing each component to be dynamically placed in a precise position.  This is particularly important when trying to flush mount multiple cabinets, or trying to maintain a specific gap between components.

 

 

Overall Aesthetics

Our mounting system is a continuous powder coated rail, and largely recessed into the paneling in our typical shop builds.  For a finished interior build, our customers find it far more visually appealing.  Further, the insides of the tracks systems have relatively abrupt corners and can have jagged surfaces that are less than ideal when traveling with small children.

 

 

Flexibility & Versatility

Our entire ecosystem of products is designed with the DIY customer in mind.  Though some may want plug and play solutions, others want a simple platform upon which they can build and create their own solutions, specific to their individual needs and circumstances.  This is where our mounting system really shines.  Not only do we offer plug & play solutions, but any bracket or material that sits flush on the rail surface can be attached to the mounting system with a simple 5/16-18 insert nut and bolt.  When building custom brackets and accessories, the savings really start to add up when shopping at the local hardware stores, rather than having to purchase specialty supplies specific to the chosen track system.

 

Overall L Track and E Track are excellent tie down systems, and can be an acceptable interior mounting solution.  However, for a robust and versatile interior mounting system for a Sprinter van conversion project, we prefer the Smooth Rail Mounting System for our builds.

Welcome to Roost Vans!

Welcome to Roost Vans!

We are proud to announce our new name, logo and web site.  With all the exciting changes underway, we thought it would be good idea to take a quick look back, before looking forward. 

A Bit Of History:

It all started when our founder and CEO, Dennis Veatch, was looking for a vehicle for a month-long road trip to Colorado.  Seeking to maintain the outdoor enthusiast lifestyle, Dennis and his wife Mary Jane wanted to introduce their 15-month-old son to travel and simple outdoor living.    

After navigating a sea of options, Dennis quickly set his sights on the Sprinter Conversion Van.  This was soon followed by a decision to purchase a used Sprinter Van (Obsidian) and build it himself.  With 20 years of experience in industrial design, he was equal to the task.  Little did he know that in addition to a planned road trip, he was also embarking on a much longer journey of an entirely different nature.

Dennis very quickly became frustrated with the limited options for van conversions and particularly for a DIY builder.  It seemed there were two extremes in the industry.  On one end of the spectrum was extravagance and exorbitant prices.  At the other extreme were solutions that were cheap, displeasing to the eye, and in some cases downright unsafe.  Almost reflexively he began inventing solutions, as much as building a van for a family vacation. 

Since that time, we have been operating a small conversion shop in Portland, OR, originally under Dennis’ design company (CreatID), doing business as Modular Van.  In mid 2019, we officially launched Roost Vans.  We have gone from a backyard project to a fast-growing company providing products and services to our clients.  All the while we are steadily developing an easy-to-install product line to ship to DIY customers around the world. 

Where We Are Now:

Newly formed as Roost Vans, we have taken on an investor and business manager to help manage our growth and development.  Our design and installation teams are rapidly growing, as we develop an infrastructure to maintain our commitment to quality, customer service, and affordable pricing. 

Having just signed a new lease on a 3-bay shop, we offer full-service van conversions.  We professionally install camper van essentials such as kitchens, bed systems, insulation, paneling, electrical systems, cabinetry, mounting brackets, and much more.  We are developing a growing library of designs for standard components, and also offer a full custom design service as well. 

To date we have released a small line of DIY products with many more in the development pipeline.  Some products are at very early stages of development, others are in final stages of beta testing with a hope to release them for shipping in a matter of weeks. 

Where We Are Going:

Our long-term vision is to develop a full line of easy to install products for the DIY van builder.  Our emphasis is on simplicity, versatility, and ease of installation.  Our development process is methodical, and we aren’t about to rush a product to market.  Before we ship a product to a DIY customer, we want to make sure the design has been streamlined, thoroughly tested, and instructions are easy to follow, with proper quality control systems in place.

DIY Products Coming Very Soon:

  • 170” Upper and Lower Mounting Systems (currently in Beta)
  • More accessories, brackets, and options for upper mounting systems.
  • Bed System (removable panels, vertically adjustable between 12-36”, with flip up kit option)
  • Hourly Design and Consulting Service for DIY customers (web-based screen share platform)

We move forward with an absolute commitment to our values and apply them to every decision we make.  When considering a product or design element, Dennis’ most common questions are:  

“Is this something I want in my van?”

“Would I trust my child’s safety to this product?”

“Is this something I would buy and feel good about 10 or 20 years later?”

These are the questions that drive our decision-making process, and that approach is what produces a product that we are proud to put the Roost name behind!