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"It’s mission: Take his 4-year-old daughter camping."
April 10, 2014 9:17 AM   Subscribe

Inventor, adventurer and filmmaker Bran Ferren has built The BEST RV EVER!(even better than his previous MAXIMOG).
posted by the man of twists and turns (48 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's not camping.
posted by Floydd at 9:23 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


Ha, beaten to it - that is a really fucking sweet RV. But staying in an RV is not camping.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:25 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


That would be a good setting for a sci-fi horror movie.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:36 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Add to that the KiraVan’s massive trailer, which is 31 feet long and more than 10 feet high and houses an ecofriendly bathroom, a custom-designed upscale kitchen, and Kira’s own “penthouse” loft (which she herself helped design).

He'd better be careful about height in some urban areas.
posted by zarq at 9:40 AM on April 10


Think of all the time and effort he could have, oh I dunno --- maybe actually spent with his daughter --- instead of making this thing...... and after all that, is it even street legal?!? Can he actually take his daughter anywhere in it?
posted by easily confused at 9:45 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


Yeah, for all the cool-tech factor, this sort of makes me sad. "I thought, how do I make sure she can watch Sesame Street?" That's not what camping is all about.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:47 AM on April 10


Look, everyone's entitled to their opinion and mine is that they spent all of this time gushing about the tech and can't be bothered to get the got-danged it's/its usage right in the headline but are we going to basically rehash the entire comment discussion of the original article?

Yes, it's not camping.
Yes, he could have spent that time with his daughter.
Yes, there's nothing eco-anything about it.
Yes, he's doing what he likes because he can, and that's pretty cool.
Yes, it's giving people jobs and coming up with interesting ideas that could be used in other contexts. I like to think of this as the Tang/Velcro effect -- NASA research came up with Tang and Velcro while doing much more high tech research, and it trickled down to the rest of us FOR GREAT JUSTICE.

So could we please actually add something more to this discussion?
posted by Madamina at 9:58 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


That would be a great home-base for the most awesome game of spotlight tag ever

Needs more buttons and switches inside though
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:00 AM on April 10


At least he likely won't sink somebody else's fortune when he finishes this vehicle like Homer Simpson did.
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:07 AM on April 10


I don't think anyone can see Tang as a win.
posted by rikschell at 10:11 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


That would be a good setting for a sci-fi horror movie.

Thinking of Damnation Alley maybe? The film was a disappointment, but that RV actually is pretty cool.
posted by ovvl at 10:14 AM on April 10


Funny thing, my immediate thought was, "that would be an awesome way to transport my cats cross-country if I had to."

Because sometimes, it's just fun to dream!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:18 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Yes, he's doing what he likes because he can, and that's pretty cool.

I believe you may have confused cool with wealthy. Sometimes they intersect; sometimes they don't.


I like to think of this as the Tang/Velcro effect -- NASA research came up with Tang and Velcro ...

No, they did not invent either Tang or Velcro. Both were commercially available before the Mercury program.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:28 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


This is "camping with his daughter" for someone who (a) is frightened silly by the outdoors (b) doesn't actually want to go outdoors and (c) finds the dream of spending time with their child more compelling than actually spending time with their child.

My first thought was actually "wow, libertarian RV." Not sure why.
posted by maxwelton at 10:33 AM on April 10


I kind of wish he had asked his daughter to design this and then built it with her.
posted by xingcat at 10:37 AM on April 10


Madamina: " So could we please actually add something more to this discussion?"

I think he's doing something that's fun for him, and is also involving his daughter in the admittedly limited way a four-year-old could possibly be involved in such a project. Which is nice.

But overall, I agree with those who say it's a little sad. He's creating a massive high-tech toy with every bell and whistle imaginable, that puts space between his daughter and the environment she might otherwise explore when camping. Kids don't usually gain a sense of wonder and exploration from being outdoors unless they're untethered from shiny, distracting technology.

Yes, it's not camping.
Yes, there's nothing eco-anything about it.


These things matter. If they're not true, he shouldn't be claiming them. The positive gain of an eco-friendly toilet is still being dwarfed by the massive diesel-guzzling vehicle it's installed in. Diesel is better for the environment than gasoline, sure. But how much more does the gigantic truck use compared to a standard SUV or RV?
posted by zarq at 10:43 AM on April 10


He built a space ship that can't leave the ground.
posted by furtive at 10:56 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Must update my zombie apocalypse preparation checklist to include befriending this family now.
posted by Naberius at 11:02 AM on April 10


I kind of wish he had asked his daughter to design this and then built it with her.

That's a good way to wind up with the Homermobile. Not that this is far off...
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:12 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


I believe the necessary and sufficient criteria for camping is that toast must be burnt on a coleman stove by a father for his children.
posted by srboisvert at 11:16 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


man I can't wait to have kids so I can tell everybody else how they're doing it wrong
posted by mightygodking at 11:23 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


He's adding some interesting bespoke touches with the Maximog, but it's not exactly unique - global expedition vehicles are A Thing.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:39 AM on April 10


I will show this to my wife, who thinks my daydream desire to own a crew cab Toyota Tacoma to take my two (twice as many!) daughters camping is wildly extravagant. Previously I convinced her that buying Simms Gore-Tex waders was economical as I therefore did not need a boat. Maybe this will work too.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:47 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Well, he definitely built a super-RV. That's cool I guess if you like RVs. The notion that it's for his daughter seems like a lot of self-justification though.

The whole story comes across as massively overprotective and even sexist in a "my little girl needs me to watch out for her!" sort of way. I'm a father of a young daughter and I feel like it'd be a lot more exciting for her to see the world via a bicycle or sailboat or train. Yeah, you know, what, she's not going to cycle to South America at four-years-old, but then nobody's going to drive this truck to South America with a four-year-old in it either, and if when she's ten she can sail a Hobie Cat across a lake with her dad, that will be 100x more exciting than driving around the lake in a glorified bus.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:57 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


The RV is for adventure and exploring and I think it'll do the trick just fine. Kudos to the guy, the dad who wants to be prepared for everything (but with a multi-million dollar budget) and wants to take his daughter out for fun and memories before he kicks the bucket. So what if it isn't some bedraggled tent or lean to made out of collected twigs and ferns?
posted by Atreides at 12:30 PM on April 10


This is a blatant rip off of The Homer.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:37 PM on April 10


100x more exciting than driving around the lake in a glorified bus

Did you see the size of the dual monitors in the computer lab?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:00 PM on April 10


Years and years ago, I worked for Bran and this sort of stuff is par for the course. He really lives in his own world of custom built gadgets and gidgets.

The rumors were fantastic, like his speakers were custom designed to the tune of $50k+ a piece. Custom built refrigerator drawers in the kitchen (before those became a thing).

He really grabbed ahold of that futurist/mad inventor concept and has done a lot of really great things. Even if you want to roll your eyes at this particular project (Bran having a child surprised me), I learned a lot about selling a concept and believing that exploring the idea was the real value. I also learned the value of putting an obvious flaw that was easy to fix before showing something to your boss - otherwise he'll make you change something hard. :)
posted by drewbage1847 at 1:14 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Hope he doesn't lose his keys.
posted by echocollate at 1:15 PM on April 10


You could cook a hell of a lot of meth in that thing.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:17 PM on April 10


The hand written notes mention dual 60 gallon tanks in front, presumably for fuel, and one 75 gallon tank in back, heated, presumably for the 20 kilowatt generator.

The article mentions 170 gallons of fuel for the engine, so that would be 11+ mpg, which is pretty good for a 25 ton vehicle.

"Camping" appears to be an afterthought, though.

3 weeks stay is delusional for 3 people with only 100 gallons of fresh water storage. That's 1.5 gallons of water per person per day. Two weeks is a very hopeful 2.3 gallons per person per day. The only way I can see that working is if there is literally no built-in shower, or if the shower embodies draconian metering.

A pop-up penthouse tent would not appear to allow for much storage of Kira's personal kit and gear, which she would have to haul up and haul down from some other storage.

I'm not sure how to label his expectation that he'll use his diesel motorcycle to transport a sick child to medical aid. Sadly optimistic. Unconsidered, more likely.

Finally, "Sewage is burned to an inert ash in an incineration system. The resulting nontoxic, biologically sterile powder can be left outdoors ..."
No, it can not!
posted by the Real Dan at 1:33 PM on April 10


the Real Dan: "No, it can not!"

Why not? (Serious question)
posted by zarq at 1:49 PM on April 10


These things matter. If they're not true, he shouldn't be claiming them. The positive gain of an eco-friendly toilet is still being dwarfed by the massive diesel-guzzling vehicle it's installed in. Diesel is better for the environment than gasoline, sure. But how much more does the gigantic truck use compared to a standard SUV or RV?

Yeah, for a behemoth, this thing actually gets decent mileage. (2000 mile range/170 gal fuel capacity - ~11.75mpg)

For comparison, since homeboy is of the insanely independently wealthy class, there are a number of luxury and super cars that get similar or worse mileage - the Bugatti Veyron gets 10mpg.
posted by stenseng at 2:18 PM on April 10


Ash lechates, presumably. Concentrated wastes are toxic, funnily enough.
posted by bonehead at 2:37 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Sorry, that's a pretty abstruse document for a generalist. Here's a better summary of the problem.
posted by bonehead at 2:40 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Maybe if by camping he means "taking my daughter on a top-secret black ops commando recon mission behind enemy lines". Seriously, "gyro-stabilized flir"?? Are they camping on LV-426 by any chance?
posted by Astragalus at 3:46 PM on April 10


Perhaps a guest appearance for Bran and his vehicle on the Walking Dead? The show could use another RV and wise, bearded tinkerer.
posted by JDC8 at 3:48 PM on April 10


Thanks, bonehead!
posted by zarq at 3:52 PM on April 10


Making Rube Goldberg proud! Re: the spaceship that can't take off comment - modern-style wilderness camping is basically space travel - You wear your special welded-seam plastic suit, eat food out of foil pouches, and put your shit in plastic bags.
posted by Makwa at 4:50 PM on April 10


bonehead's links are about municipal waste, not sewage. Poo has been used as fertilizer for a very long time.
posted by nixt at 6:29 PM on April 10


Because it's littering, Zarq. You can't leave anything in your campsite after you leave.

At the very least, it has to be treated like trash, bagged and disposed of, and not "left outdoors." This is the only place that I've ever seen the assertion that the ash from the toilet can be left in your campsite.
posted by the Real Dan at 7:19 PM on April 10


Are there really that many places in the US that you can legally go offroad? I mean, sure, there are plenty of ATV/snowmobile trails but no one's going to take kindly to this behemoth hogging them. I'd be surprised if park rangers or other public land managers would let a 51,000 lb vehicle roam around. So... private lands?

Having lived in an RV, I cringed when I saw the huge desk and electronics panels. So much wasted storage space!!
posted by desjardins at 8:46 PM on April 10


Not sewage, sewage ashes. Combustion concentrates the problems of heavy metals.
posted by bonehead at 8:49 PM on April 10


So I'm a minimalist who is deep into planning my retirement as a rubber tramp five short (long) years from now.

This rig is a thousand times more complicated than anything I would require or be comfortable with, but I can appreciate it as a sort-of multi-media art piece. And having watched a few RV shows in the last few years, this is far from being the most absurd RV on the road. Also, I get the feeling that the absurdity of this rig is at least a little bit intentional.
posted by 1066 at 12:55 AM on April 11


My 8-year-old daughter and my 13-year-old son can watch an iPad through any road condition inside my 1973 Superior 20' motorhome, thank you very much.
posted by pashdown at 4:40 AM on April 11


Doing it correctly: bumfuzzle
posted by HyperBlue at 5:49 AM on April 11


Not sewage, sewage ashes. Combustion concentrates the problems of heavy metals.

The heavy metals are the same, you've just removed the water and combustables.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:17 AM on April 11


What's regulated is ash and lechate concentration, not amount. The usual reasoning for doing things that way is that if a product is unregulated, you can anticipate large quantities being disposed of because there is no downside. You have to consider not just one disposal event, but a routine, continuous level of disposal.

So, the precautionary exposure to the receiving environment is whatever the lechate concentrations are. This is then plugged into a risk exposure model to see what the minimum safe concentrations could be. In the absence of knowing the steady-state or temporal environmental burden, which can usually only be done well after the fact, that's the way it has to be done.
posted by bonehead at 7:40 AM on April 11


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