By the time my dedicated, selfless husband, Brent, had tied everything you need to eat, sleep and play on the top of our aging Toyota Highlander, we hit the road for a camping trip in Western Washington that was lovely, and exhausting. Because we always have all our kids plus one (someone always brings a friend), we were packed tighter than sardines in a tin. And Brent was exhausted and cranky, to put it mildly. 

We need a camper. Obviously. Yet, we still don’t have a camper and have made other camping trips to the Redwoods and the Olympics in either a combination of cars with a trailer or our Suburban. The gas hog of a comfort ride was necessary given the fact that over the past four years, the legs on those kids in this photograph have grown like Jack’s beanstalk.

The tallest girl there, our daughter Grace, just turned 18. And she, frankly, is our inspiration. Our annual trips — crazy, cramped, exhausting and exhilarating — to the National Parks of our beautiful country, inspired her to see more. The state of our region’s ongoing housing crisis and a desire to minimize her own footprint on this planet, combined with the travel bug, kickstarted a passion for Van Life. Whether it’s a lifestyle or a lifelong effort toward minimalism, I think it’s an excellent direction. 

But Brent is an engineer by training and a perfectionist by personality. What has been done can be done better. What problems or challenges exist can be met with solutions. We both revel in the design of space and in bringing energy into new ideas. So Grace’s Van Life passion was met with our own passion to create. And we weren’t too keen on any of the van conversion options we saw on the market. Outfitting your van in Ikea cabinets has its place. But you are adding a lot of weight to your vehicle. Sending your van to a conversion company and getting a $130K bill just wasn't in the cards for us. Besides, we didn't think it was necessary.

So we started designing and engineering. But we can’t bring to market an entire van conversion kit just yet. So we’re starting smaller with the Camp Kitchen. 

For the folks like us who want to camp or hit the road for van life but can’t quite make that full van conversion or camper happen just yet, there is no reason that at least the kitchen set up can’t be a breeze. The Roly Poly Camp Kitchen we have designed is the first step toward our full van conversion kits and is going to make camping for us and van life for you so much easier!

These little kitchenettes include a stove and sink, spice holders, knife magnets, a solar charging station, USB device chargers, and a cooler that’s cooler than the Coolest Cooler. That last part is up to you to decide.  Admittedly, it won’t have a blender. But it will include a power bank to act as either refrigerator or campground cooler. The whole set-up can be placed in your van and secured permanently, or taken out of your vehicle or camper rig to be used in the campground. 

So that’s our introduction, personally and to Roly Poly Homes.

Oh! Why Roly Poly for the name? Our inspirational daughter named our business, as well. What adorable little creature curls up for security and comfort under its own shell? We all want to go places safely, just like every child’s favorite little Roly Poly bug. 

Roly Poly Homes is our effort to help us all explore this beautiful world safely. Big Adventures. Tiny Living.