Camping is all about hitting the open road, getting into nature and living off the grid, and this is exactly the ethos behind Canadian company Pleasure-Way’s latest camper van creation: the Tofino. This camper is both a throwback to and a modern revival of their classic Ford-based camper the Traverse, but featuring a minimalist design and absolutely stuffed full of the latest technology, making it perfect for extended periods of off-grid camping.
The base van is a popular conversion choice, the Ram ProMaster 1500, America’s answer to Europe’s Fiat Ducato, featuring a 3.6L V6 Pentastar engine packing a mighty 280bhp and a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The extensive list of tech features packed into this camper begins with the van itself, which offers remote keyless entry, speed control, electronic stability control, a rear view camera system, AC, power folding heated mirrors, tire pressure monitoring and a U-Connect 3 NAV with a 5” display just to name a few. The Promaster has a hitch with seven pole wiring for towing, and Pleasure-Way has added Sunbrella roof tenting and tubular running boards to give the van a meatier appearance.
But we’re only just getting started. Inside, the Tofino’s high-tech system is powered by two 100Ah lithium coach batteries and a 2000W inverter. It has USB charging ports, a touchscreen control panel with dimmable remote-controlled LED lighting, a real-time amperage meter to keep an eye on it all, and everything is connected using high quality multiplex wiring. The use of lithium batteries is an interesting one; although they are lighter, more resilient and have a longer lifespan than your typical lead acid batteries, they are rarely seen in camper van conversions due to their lack of availability and significantly higher cost. But this is predicted to change in the coming years as they become more widely available, and so right now Lithium batteries are at the cutting edge of portable power technology.
Pleasure-Way’s Tofino interior is wonderfully minimal, made up of cream colored hardwood maple cabinet doors, grey soft touch vinyl headliner and vinyl flooring. It comes with MCD roller shades and safety features such as carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher. As you enter, the cabin kitchen is immediately visible, containing a single lever faucet and stainless steel sink with drop-in countertop insert, and interestingly Pleasure-Way has ditched the gas cooker in favor of an induction hob, reiterating its move away from old tech and into modern electrical power. Under the counter sits a Dometic AC/DC fridge.
The living area is made up of two front swivel seats, a rear folding sofa bed with seatbelts and wall-mounted storage pouches, a pop top roof bunk to sleep two extra people and 70 cubic feet of rear cargo storage for outdoor equipment such as bikes, kayaks and paddleboards. The only thing it’s missing is cupboard storage space for clothes, and possibly a table.
The plumbing system is powered by a Shurflo water pump, fed from a 15 gallon fresh water tank which collects in an 8 gallon grey water tank, heated by a 16,000 BTU furnace and monitored by a panel which tells you how full your water tanks are, how much propane you’ve got, and how much battery power you have left. Outside the propane tank is plumbed to a quick connection for hooking up a BBQ or grill. There’s a 110V external socket for power and an LED porch light making it perfect for late night cookouts.
As if Pleasure-Way hasn’t crammed enough into the Tofino, there’s even the optional extras of side and rear door roll-up screens, painted exterior holdings and a roof rack for carrying gear. They offer both a 100W (5amp) and a 200W (10amp) solar package which you’re going to want to take to charge up those beefy Lithium batteries on long off-grid stints. So how much is a van of this caliber going to cost?
With all the tech that’s crammed in and those cutting edge Lithium batteries you can expect the Tofino to cost a little more than your average camper van, but at $69,550 starting price we’ve certainly seen vans with a lot less for a lot more. If modern technology and innovation is your thing, or you just want a more comfortable camping experience with ease of monitoring your battery and water levels, Pleasure-Way’s Tofino could be paving the way for modern camper vans across the U.S.