Name: Spencer Lacy
Age: 25
Hometown: Boulder, Colorado

A buck doesn’t normally get you far these days. But try telling that to Colorado river charger Spencer Lacy, who bought his ’91 Toyota Previa last winter for less than the price of a king-sized Snickers.

Lacy spotted the van during a ski trip in Washington and left a note on the windshield with an offer. The owners happened to have a spare van, and appreciating his ambition, sold it to him for a grand total of $1.08.

Lacy called it destiny (literally, he named it Destiny) and after making a few simple mods, hit the road for river season and hasn’t slowed down since. Living in a van down by the river never sounded so good.

1) 1991 Toyota Previa. I had a previous Previa that died on me and I didn’t have much money for a new vehicle. I bought this one from a from a guy I’m now calling “Previa Pete.” It had 230k miles on it when I bought it and I put 20k on it in a year. It’s given me zero issues.

spencer lacy vanlife

A look inside Spencer Lacy’s ride. Photo: Misselwitz

2) Thule Rocket Box. Anyone who’s familiar with adventure sports knows there’s a lot of gear involved. I can’t fit everything in the minivan, and the Thule Rocket Box is super handy for odd-shaped items like paddles and skis.

3) Coleman stove. This thing puts out a lot of power and works great for one or two people. Just screw on a little propane canister and fire it up.

4) OneWheel. The OneWheel is like the skateboard equivalent to a Segway. I use it for scouting rapids and running shuttle, and it’s great to have something to rip around rest stops on.

5) Astral Filipe sandals. These have a removable strap that goes around the back of your foot so they can be used as either flip-flops or sandals. I call them “flandals.”

6) Yeti cooler (20L). A small cooler is the best option for simple van life. It fits a ten-pound bag of ice and food for two people for a week. It keeps the ice for that long and slides easily in and out of my kitchen.

7) Watershed drybag. This goes with me everywhere. It doesn’t wear down and the sealing mechanism never leaks. It held up great in class-V rapids during my SUP expedition in the Grand Canyon.

spencer lacy vanlife

Spencer Lacy. Photo: Mike Misselwitz

8) 6’11” Badfish River Surfer. This is perfect for river surfing because it has enough volume to surf smaller waves but also performs great in big, fast waves. I surfed this both times I went to Skookumchuck.

9) Werner Legend Paddle. This is Werner’s carbon whitewater paddle. It’s way lighter than a typical fiberglass whitewater paddle and it’s the only carbon paddle that holds up for me on the river. I use it everywhere.

10) Badfish SUPs. The board in the bag is the Holeshot, a fast, advanced model that I paddle at river races like GoPro Mountain Games. The board underneath is the 9’0″ MVP, the best board for whitewater in my opinion. 2017 was the last year Badfish made this model, but I’m going to keep riding it for as long as I can!

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