Shannon Thomas’s Surf & Paddle Van Storage
– Written by Shannon Thomas
When I planned to build out my newly purchased 2014 Dodge Ram Promaster, I had 2 things in mind. For Bailey and I to live comfortably and to fit as much of my paddling gear as possible plus my surf and SUP boards. After living and traveling in the van for almost 2 years I’ve learned and changed a lot. But those core principles remain intact. Here are some of the storage ideas that I’m applying to my everyday van life.
Making the bed higher increases storage underneath but does eliminate some living space. Below, I have 2 plastic totes with lids for storage. These contain my wetsuits, booties, gloves, leashes, PFD and other things I use regularly. On top of the totes I’m able to store both of my hard Badfish SK8’s, a 5.0 and a 5.0 high volume. Im able to then fit a few inflatables rolled up; such as my Badfish inflatable holeshot, rivershred, and Isk8. All of it fits directly under my bed. To the right, I have a smaller space for random gear. Such as a small tote of all my fins, my one wheel, sector9 longboard, a pump for inflatables, and other misc gear.
In the living space, I was able to fit an ocean surfboard on the side of the wall due to its low volume. My 6’4 river surfer in its bag is lashed to the ceiling and stays out of the way. I use this board often for river SUP surfing so wanted easy accessibility to it. In the colder months of the year, I keep an empty post surf tote to temporarily store my wet gear. I can also hang up inside the van with the tote catching all the dripping water.
The roof rack is an obvious must have when living on the road. My Dodge Ram
Promaster comes with easy bracket mounts with several rack systems to choose from. I was able to mount a Yakima Cargo Box to one side to store all my paddles, extra gear, dry bags, and longer bulky items I don’t use as often. On the other side, I can strap down any boards of any length. I make sure any board I strap to the roof is in a good board bag to protect from the elements. When setting up for “camp”, shade is important in the summer months so I use an ARB awning that extends over the side doors. It makes for a nice outdoor patio area. And lastly, of course, is a ladder to get to the roof. It also works great for hanging wet gear but just make sure you grab everything before driving off. Done that a few different times and now I always make sure to hang 1 piece of gear on drivers side mirror as a reminder!