As we’ve entered into our early thirties, we have begun noticing how many things in life take time to mature or fully bloom. It’s the classic notion that tiny events can lead to surprising results down the road, even years later. To fully understand something you have to take a step back and look at the full frame. That’s why we can’t dive into our van build just yet. Not without setting the stage. We are BLK ELK, a Northwest Arkansas based production team that specializes in capturing outdoor lifestyle and adventure content for brands across the country. We are gear heads and outdoorsmen.
We do a lot of driving for our business. That means we spend 100s of hours on the road and even more time base camping out of our company cars for projects. They need to confidently and safely carry all of our team, equipment, and camp gear - function. We also appreciate a tastefully modified vehicle - form. Method had options for our company vehicles that offered both. Our first company car was a 2017 Outback running MR502s. Our second was a 2010 4Runner TE that had a set of MR701s mounted. The key component to their look and feel was the wheel and tire setup. They allowed us to navigate to those hard to reach places and they looked amazing while doing so.
Ok. Now it’s time to talk about the most recent iteration of our company vehicle, the BLK ELK van. We knew we needed something that could serve multiple purposes. We needed to transport and house our growing team, work remotely, and offer a hub at various events that we are a part of throughout the year. After researching van builders we confidently settled on VanDoIt. We ordered a 2020 AWD 350HD on the Extra Long High Roof chassis with the 3.5L V6 Ecoboost. The modularity of their design paired with their power system was exactly what we wanted. They work with the Ford Transit passenger van platform, so there were added benefits of insulation, sound deadening, and ventilation that are carried over from the original van.
The internal T-Track skeleton allows you to mount and easily adjust storage, equipment, bed frames, etc. This makes the interior extremely versatile. We have the ability to seat between 2 and 7 passengers by adding or removing seats. For bedding we opted for two of their folding platform beds. Depending on the layout they can sleep between 1 or 2 people. They can also be configured into a couch, bench, or desk. To help with climate control we have an Espar heater, Dometic A/C unit, and 10 Speed MaxxFan for added ventilation. A Roofnest Sparrow was mounted to the roof rack to give us an option for additional sleeping space. It sits over 10’ off the ground, so it offers an amazing view during camping.
We have two roof mounted 100 Watt solar panels that feed energy into an AGM 300 AMP Hour Power System. The power system also charges off the alternator during driving. This allows us to charge all of our gear and run electrical components completely off the grid for days at a time. All of our lighting is energized by the power system and controlled by 1 of 3 rocker panel switches located throughout the van. The interior LED lighting makes it easy to maneuver around the van, or we can utilize the accent lighting to set a chill mood in the evenings. We have exterior cargo LED lighting mounted above the side and rear doors that help light camp at night. A 52” LED bar is mounted to the front of the roof rack that allows us to see down the road when arriving at remote locations in less than ideal lighting.
Remember the big picture I referred to earlier? It’s time to talk about the full frame. When we began the process of building our van we knew that we wanted to continue the tradition of running Methods. I coincidentally contacted their team in the months leading up to the launch of the Dually Series MR901 for the Transit platform. These wheels took our van build to the next level. It was perfect timing because our team was about to head out on a three week trip to capture content for clients in California, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado. We had the wheels mounted to 215/85 Toyo Open Country All Terrains two days prior to leaving and quickly accumulated nearly 7,000 miles on them on all different types of terrain.
The photos and video that follow, chronicle that journey.
We have a thick schedule of content to capture all over the US this year and we now have a capable and aesthetic rig to do it with. It puts a huge smile on my face knowing that our Method journey began years ago on the side of the road as a rally car flew by and threw gravel at our cameras. Thanks for reading and if you see us on the road somewhere give us a honk and wave. We are always looking for a reason to take a beer break during our travels.