The desert cruiser, F450, OVERLANDING, OVERLAND, OFF-ROAD,

“The Overland Adventurer Series,” TAP’s monthly feature on individuals who genuinely embody the Overland Life. Today we’re talking with Cody and Christina, also known as The Desert Cruisers 

Let’s dive right in. 

Thanks for sitting down with us Guys. Tell us a about yourself and what was the inspiration behind starting the trail down “The Desert Life”?

Thanks for having us! Christina and I met in college 8 years ago and have been inseparable since. About 5 months into our relationship, we started traveling, and the idea of living full-time on the road crept into our minds. Sprinter Vans became a fascination during our travels, and meeting someone living full time in a van 7 years ago solidified our interest! The desert holds a special place in our hearts as we both grew up near Joshua Tree, California, and there’s nothing quite like the peaceful desert mornings with expansive views and stunning sunrises and sunsets! 

“Overlanding” is the catch all description these days, so that said, do you consider yourself Vanlifers, Overlanders or is there simply a better description that makes more sense to you? Maybe just Adventurers?

I would say we are simply adventurers; the mode of transportation does not matter and as long as we are out in the wild doing our thing, we are happy! 

The desert cruiser, F450, OVERLANDING, OVERLAND, OFF-ROAD,

You started your journey in a Sprinter Van? We all know that IG is rainbows and unicorns, so give us the real skinny of life on the road in a van.

Actually, we didn’t start our van life journey in a Sprinter van. I (Cody) had a Chevy City Express van long before ‘van life’ was a trend! Equipped with a cot and surrounded by bikes, I traveled the West Coast for races. When Christina and I met in 2016, we began traveling in that van, covering 30,000+ miles across California, Arizona, Utah, and more. 

The Sprinter van joined our adventures two years later, and luckily, we faced no major issues. Over 4 years, we built and lived in the Sprinter, loving every second. Spending 24/7 together is easy for us, but the only downside was not having an indoor shower for post-mountain biking or hiking adventures. Life on the road in our van was incredible! 

Following on from this, you’ve made a significant platform change. Tell us about the new project and why you chose this direction?

Yes, Mr. Roamer, the platform change boiled down to three major reasons: a more capable vehicle that can be serviced anywhere, space for future children, and the luxury of an indoor heated shower. With popular spots overrun, we opted for a rig that could navigate any trail, granting us the solitude of the backcountry! And our dream of traveling with kids meant we needed more living space, multiple seats to sit in while driving and a dedicated sleeping location for them! The addition of a shower with 94 gallons of water onboard transformed our active lifestyle, offering unlimited hot water. And, of course, the truck just looks way cooler than a van! 

The desert cruiser, F450, OVERLANDING, OVERLAND, OFF-ROAD,

What stage are you in the build and what’s been the craziest thing you’ve encountered in the process?

We’ve actually wrapped up the build—well, as ‘done’ as one can be on a project of this scale. We are expecting ongoing tweaks and additions over the years though LOL. Throughout the process we definitely acquired new skills, leveraging our van build knowledge, but the most frustrating aspect was the unreliability of people nowadays— not the craziest, but certainly a challenge! Speaking of crazy, the persistently wet Southern California weather during construction was a constant hurdle we had to navigate! 

The desert cruiser, F450, OVERLANDING, OVERLAND, OFF-ROAD,

The build you chose has obviously been a lot of work, so if you had to do it all over again, would you and if so, is there anything you’d do differently?

It’s been a massive undertaking, and we wouldn’t change a thing—we’re proud of the planning, effort, and dedication poured into it! However, with total financial freedom, we might have opted for a higher quality box. While our current box is great, achieving the desired quality required extra effort. In an ideal scenario, we’d choose a cab-over design with a king-size bed over the cab and a raised u-shaped seating area in the back— transforming into another king-size bed. In my opinion, it’s the absolute best layout for a rig of this size! 

The desert cruiser, F450, OVERLANDING, OVERLAND, OFF-ROAD,

So, what does 2024 look like? Any major trips planned? 

2024 is off to a start much like 2023, with our hands full working on the truck! However, our focus has shifted from building to showcasing all the content documented throughout the process. Our website,, will have all the details about the build, informational blogs, and a roughly 12-part video series on The Desert Cruisers YouTube documenting every aspect of the build. While we’re thrilled to see the content come to life, the real excitement is taking the truck on the road and using it to the fullest potential! Upcoming plans include Baja, followed by Spring adventures in Arizona and Utah, with the ultimate goal of reaching Canada for peak summer mountain biking! 

The desert cruiser, F450, OVERLANDING, OVERLAND, OFF-ROAD,

There’s so many rig platforms and gear to choose from, so any sage advice for folks who are looking at taking up the lifestyle?

That is a tough one with so many variables, BUT I would say to get a rig you can afford, that will take you all the places you want to go, with enough storage to haul all of your gear and to simply take the leap! There is no better time to take the leap of faith than now… 

Finally, any fun trail stories to share? 

There isn’t ONE memory that stands out… there are honestly too many good ones to share! We actually hand write a journal of all of our travels, the good stuff is hidden in there! 

Thanks for your time today, Cody and Christina. Stay healthy and safe and see you in the backcountry! 

Instagram: @thedesertcruiser

YouTube: The Desert Cruisers


Editors Note: Check out for upcoming full interior reveal.

For more in the Adventurer Series CLICK HERE

Previous articleA Journey And Evolution Into Our Winnebago EKKO
Next articleThe Adventure Portal – Show Reel
Raised in beautiful but rainy England, Andy moved to the sunny climes of Southern California in 1995 and hasn’t looked back since. Two and half decades working in the outdoor, bike and surf industries has given him a thirst for adventure and living life without a ceiling. When not working on the website, he can be found surfing Californian beaches, or in remote mountain or desert areas, either primitive camping, mountain biking or embarking upon vehicle assisted adventure in the backcountry with one of The Adventure Portal rigs.