We’re Catherine and Eric and we live in our camper van six months of the year. 

Immediately after graduating from Clemson University (I’m an accountant and Eric is an engineer), we went straight to work in the corporate world. While we made good money, we hated our lifestyle. We worked long hours leaving no time to travel.  Something needed to change. 

In 2015, we were invited to go on a 16-day river trip through the Grand Canyon. I quit my job, we went on the trip, and the idea of van life started to linger in the background of our busy lives. Being outdoors with no cell service, completely disconnected, was just what we needed to counter the fast-paced life that we had been living.  A few years later, we were invited on another trip to the Canyon. Eric knew corporate life was not right for him and quit his job. The plan was to take a year off – something we had missed the chance to do right out of college. Our van life was beginning.

We bought our van in 2019 and the first thing we needed was a roof rack to carry our kayaks and to install our solar panels on.  In order to do this we needed roof rack brackets to attach the rack to the roof of the van. Because Eric is cheap and we couldn’t find a better option to purchase, he designed and fabricated them himself. We finished the rest of the van, left our jobs behind, and the gap year soon became our lifestyle. 

We traveled in the van for a year, finding work that we could do from the road. We knew that we’d never be able to come home and go back to the life that we have been living. In May 2020, along with Dan (Eric’s friend from middle school and our Clemson classmate), we started Unaka Gear Co.

The outdoors is our place. We love being in nature and really just wanted a van to carry all of our toys. Now, we spend half of the year living in our van. You can usually find us skiing out west in the winter. 

While the life we’re living seemed unthinkable 10 years ago, now we could not imagine it any other way.  Van life allows us to see the country from the comfort of our own “home” and we’re grateful that we’re able to help others make van living a possibility as well.

We’d love to help you get started on (or finish) your van build. Visit our site to search for gear that fits your specific van model.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.