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Westy World

Photo by Tiffany Renshaw

Ben Hein and Tiffany Renshaw’s 1988 Vanagon Westfalia is a road tested touring veteran with plenty of room for adventure.

BIOS: Tiffany is a freelance photographer, fly-fisher and aspiring triathlete. Ben is design engineering manager at Hydro Flask.

RIDES: Their go-to is a 1988 VW Vanagon Westfalia Camper. Their project is a 1967, twenty-one-window Samba Microbus.

UPGRADES: Tires, racks, camping equipment, lift kit and electronics on the Vanagon. The Samba is a ground-up restoration.

FOLLOW: @westy_basecamp

Why did you decide to buy a van?

BEN: I’ve been into Volkswagen vans in particular for twenty-plus years. Four months into our dating we took this huge 3,500-mile road trip in an old ’66 Volkswagen down to the Grand Canyon. TIFFANY: My family still hadn’t met him. So they were like, ‘You’re going where? With who? In what?’

BH: We kept that going for a few years, traveled all over the west coast in it—weekends and road trips. Tiffany’s dad was into Westfalias. So she was behind the one we have now, saying it’s time to upgrade to a little bit more a modern thing. It’s still the ’80s engine. A little bit more room, the pop-top and all that.

TR: We kind of bonded over it because my dad had owned probably, in his lifetime, fourteen of these Westfalias. When I met [Ben] and realized he was driving this van around, we totally bonded over it right away.

What’s the restoration process like?

BH: Westfalia isn’t so much of a restoration thing as it is a labor of love and always trying to make it better. These things are thirty years old now and built off of older technology. It’s always more, what can we do to make it better? What can we do to make it a little more bomber? Right now we’re doing the famed Subaru engine conversion in it, which will give it a little more power.

TR: We’re outfitting it so that we can take our bikes, take our kayaks, take our photography equipment and be able to recharge everything with solar-powered stuff. We’re outfitting it so that we can do the things we want to do in this van and enjoy it. Ben Hein and Tiffany Renshaw’s 1988 Vanagon Westfalia is a road tested touring veteran with plenty of room for adventure.

What kind of community have you found?

BH: We were in Oak Creek Canyon in the old bus, twelve, fourteen years ago and sure enough there’s another Westy down there and the next thing you know we’re talking to each other, and sharing dinners with each other and sitting around campfire with each other. Talking about our road trip and where we’ve been and what we’re doing and the vans.

TR: We were able to share with these people we never met before, they were a family and had two little kids in their van, and we immediately bonded. We shared our road trip tips, how we spent 3,500 miles in this little van. It was pretty cool to just automatically bond.

What was Descend on Bend like?

BH: It was a little challenging for us this year because the van was broken down. We went up there both days and just hung out at the scene, but it just crushed us to not be there with our van. We came super close [to having it finished]. It really is our number one hobby because every other aspect of our lifestyle revolves around our van. We do a lot biking, skiing, road tripping, camping, fly-fishing, and triathlons. We just travel in the van and camp out. It’s like our little basecamp.

TR: There were probably three or four hundred vans there. It was really amazing. We met people from all over. Everyone names their Westy it seems. On the back of everyone’s Westy, there was sticker with their Instagram name and handle. We were on Instagram, meeting people we had been following for a year and never met. It was cool that way.

For more information, visit: www.poseidonsbeard.com/descendonbend

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