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Road Warriors

From Custom Vans to Rentals and More, Boho Camper Vans Makes it Easy to Hit the Road

Although David Sodemann and Brett Ellenson first met in high school in Waukesha, Wisconsin, it wasn’t until they both later ended up in Phoenix that they became friends—and later co-owners of their company Boho Camper Vans.

Sodemann had been living in Phoenix after attending Arizona State University and Ellenson had transferred for a job.

The two reconnected and spent a few years as roommates, but it wasn’t until they’d both moved out to live with their significant others that they came up with the idea for the company.

The Spark for the Idea

It was 2018, and Sodemann and his girlfriend were in Maui. Wanting to explore the island, the couple rented a camper van. He loved the flexibility, low-cost, and freedom it provided as he was visiting a new area.

Upon his return to Phoenix, he spoke to Ellenson about the opportunity to build camper vans for rent in Phoenix. If all else failed, they reasoned, they could use it for personal travel while using the rental vehicle income to support their investment.

The two thought their backgrounds would be a fit for the company—Sodemann specialized in marketing and Ellenson in manufacturing.

Their First Van

The pair searched the market, eventually finding a 2005 Ford E-Series van that they thought would be good for a camper van build.

During the several months it took to transform the van to fit their vision, the pair began taking rental bookings—and the requests were quickly filling up.

“We realized we might be able to make a business out of this idea,” says Sodemann.

Growing the Company

The pair would appear on the television show Shark Tank, but it was unfortunate timing—it was March 2020, and the country—and world—soon shut down.

At first, there was no business to be had. But then, camper vans were perfect for those wanting to get out and take a vacation or experience the world safely.

Business was back, and today, the company’s popularity is exponential.

“Over the last six years, Boho Camper Vans has evolved into a company that now focuses on cutting edge off-grid technology, quality, and aesthetics, which is a bit of a contrast from how we first began with their low-budget van conversions,” says Ellenson.

Rent, Buy, And More

Today, Boho Camper Vans offers custom van conversions for sale, camper vans for rent—including locations outside of Phoenix such as San Diego; Portland, Ore.; and Anchorage, Alaska—used camper vans for sale, and a program that helps past camper van clients sell their camper vans to customers looking for increased used van options.

They’ve built nearly 400 camper vans and completed more than 1,500 rental trips, with most of their business now being purchases rather than rentals.

“Boho Camper Vans are known for their quality materials, functional layouts, attentive customer service, as well as their off-grid power, allowing people to travel the country in a sustainable and affordable way,” says Sodemann. “It’s a cheaper option for road trips vs. renting a car and booking hotels—and ultimately saves travelers time from commuting to their destination, as they can usually find a spot to spend the night right in the heart of where they want to be!”

Boho can also design conversions on all the major cargo van chassis’ including Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ford Transit and Ram Promaster.

And, in addition to builds and rentals, the pair also launched an online supply store, offering their conversion recommendations for those looking to go the DIY route on a van build, as well as a program called Boho Locals that helps prospective clients connect with a current Boho Van owner in their area of the country so they can get a firsthand experience of what it’s like to purchase and/or own a Boho Camper Van.

Enjoying Their Company and the Future

Although Boho Camper Vans now offers its range of services, both Sodemann and Ellenson still personally enjoy the freedom of a road trip in one of their camper vans.

A personal favorite trip is “a trip from Phoenix to Portland for a conference in 2023,” Sodemann shares. “Along the way, we stopped at hot springs in Nevada, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, and even stealth-camped on the strip in Las Vegas. There are countless destinations to explore!”

They have big ideas for the company, and this summer, are launching their “next-generation model” of camper vans, which includes even stronger off-grid camper systems such as a 48v Air Conditioning unit that can run off-grid for days at a time.