Somewhere between a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van and a tent-topped overland Jeep lies a vehicle conversion company that’s a little different. Meet SUBOVERLAND.
“Our builds bring together the aesthetics of a camper van, the body of an overland vehicle, and the capabilities of four-wheel drive,” said Grady Bowman, founder of SUBOVERLAND. “It’s an affordable, practical tool that gives people the opportunity to get out and have fun.”
Not Your Average Camper
Based in Twin Falls, Idaho, the name SUBOVERLAND comes, in part, from the base vehicle for most of their builds: the Suburban. Through his dealership in Twin Falls, Grady collects Suburbans to be modified with adventure-driven updates, eventually retailing between $4,900 – $15,900.
“It’s not as custom as something like a home build, but we have a lot of choices for customers to make during the build out,” said Grady. “Depending on which of our four models they select, the final vehicle could be equipped with everything from storage cubbies to upgraded power sources to a solar shower and a Goal Zero Yeti.”
Unlike typical overland builds that rely on a rooftop or standard tent for overnight adventures, a SUBOVERLAND Suburban is fitted with a platform bed and drawer system that provide a warm place to sleep.
“I’ve built out my own vans on the side and we traveled in an RV for a while, too, but after a while you realize that a smaller vehicle equipped with four-wheel drive is really the key to unlocking unique adventures, and if you don’t have to sleep on the ground that’s a definite bonus.”
Adventurers Come in All Shapes and Sizes
Although the SUBOVERLAND headquarters is a mere day trip away from the epic sights found at City of Rocks, Craters of the Moon and Yellowstone, Grady said that surprisingly, most of his clients are from outside the Magic Valley.
“We get a lot of folks from Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and the east coast, and they’re the coolest group of people you’ll ever meet,” he said.
Grady shared that his clients range from 20-somethings in college who use a SUBOVERLAND vehicle as their first home, to 85-year-olds with terminal illnesses who are simply looking to fulfill a bucket list adventure. While they represent a wide range of ages, races, religions and backgrounds, all of Grady’s customers share a thirst for adventure.
“We really provide a product that any income can afford at any point in life,” he said. “People are tired of not getting out there to see the world. For them, SUBOVERLAND is the way to do it.”
There’s No Place Like Home
With the majority of his clients filtering in from outside the state, it may be unclear why Grady chose Twin Falls to build his adventure vehicle empire, but to him, the reasons are clear.
“Land and property are affordable here, business owners don’t have to navigate a bunch of red tape, and the contacts I’ve built up in Twin would make it hard to leave.”
Grady said that for the most part, he and his family keep to themselves and they’ve found that’s easy to do because of Twin Falls’ approach to business.
“A plus of doing business here is that they let you run your business without much interference,” he said. “Sure, we had a lot of inspections to get our building up to par, but once we were up and running, we had the freedom to run with our ideas and continue to grow without being bothered. For an entrepreneur, that’s huge.”
Since opening in 2018, Grady and his family have completed just under 75 conversions and are now working through a waiting list that extends well into 2022, proving that when given the right tools in the right environment, the adventure of owning a business will thrive.