Summer has arrived in full force, and the outdoors are beckoning; whether that means a grand trip across the globe, a week in a tropical paradise, or just an exploration of your own city. Here at Inboard, we wanted to show some love for our National Parks this summer and to see if the M1 would thrive out there in the wild. We know our parks can get a little crowded at this time of year, so we thought “Hang on, we might just have a solution!”.
Our first testing ground was Zion National Park in southwestern Utah, a personal favorite of ours. We brought in the nomadic surfer and snowboarder, Scott Adamson, to trial the M1 on his trip to the park, and we met up with him afterwards to get his thoughts!
Q: Hey Scott! So for our readers that don’t know you, give us a little introduction.
A: Hey! I’m Scott Adamson and I live in my Sprinter Van full time with Ellie (a Siberian Husky and Collie mix). Originally, Ellie and I are from Winnipeg, but we now spend pretty much all of our time travelling around North America. Since I enjoy snowboarding and surfing so much, we tend to spend the majority of our time on or around the West Coast. Over the last couple of years, San Diego has turned into a bit of a home base for us, and our exploring always seems to lead us back to Southern California.
Q: Living in a van full time… how were you able to make that work?
A: Our van is a 2016 MB 170 Sprinter, which we purchased as a stock cargo van. Over the course of almost 6 months, and with the help of family and friends, we were able to convert the van into an off-grid, full-time, living space. Everything in the van is solar-powered, except for our heater, which draws diesel from the fuel tank. When I designed the van I wanted to do my best to keep to a single, renewable fuel source because it allows me to be off-grid for longer periods and be less reliant on other resources.
Q: Onto the M1, what were your original thoughts? For a van-lifer, space must always be a concern.
A: When it comes to transporting the M1 e-board and living in my van, it’s much easier to get around and is much more practical than a bike would be. Lots of van-lifers, when planning out their build, set aside space for a bicycle. I’m not much of a cyclist, so a bike was never something I planned on needing to transport inside of the van. Even though I had never set aside a dedicated space for the M1, it was easy to find space in the van that could keep the board both accessible when I needed it, and out of the way when I didn’t. I know you can’t really compare an e-board directly to a bicycle in forms of transportation, but for my needs I love the M1 due to its compact size, speed, convenience, and maneuverability…. It’s also waaaaay more fun than riding a bike.
Q: We know there a few challenges that come with summertime park visits, and one that we always notice is the shortage of parking. How did you get around that?
A: When you’re in pretty much any of the National Parks, parking can be a huge issue, although a lot of that is dependent on the season. When I went through Zion for this trip, it was right at the start of summer vacation, so the park was jammed with families. That makes parking tough and being in a van doesn’t make it any easier, as the already limited parking becomes even more limited for larger vehicles.
Once you find a spot, you really don’t want to move around that much because it’s not guaranteed that you’ll find another one. If you plan to explore the parks and have the flexibility to do so at your convenience, an alternate form of transportation is crucial.
Q: Alternate forms of transportation… for most people that usually means shuttles, right?
A: I found that when I was in Zion, there were plenty of shuttles running, but it was hard to determine which of those were free shuttle busses and which were private tours. I generally try to avoid using these shuttle because I always travel with Ellie, and shuttles usually don’t let her on. She’s not a service animal, so we can respect those rules, but it does mean that we have to find other ways of getting around.
One thing I do have to say about the shuttle system is that the shuttle areas become quite congested, because they’re dropping everyone off in specific areas. If you only travel with the shuttle, so much of every park (but particularly Zion) becomes unavailable to you. If you want to avoid crowds and do some more “off the beaten trail” exploring, I suggest skipping the shuttle and getting yourself around.
Q: So you definitely like to have an alternative, personal, mode of transportation for your National Park trips, but what makes the M1 stand out?
A: I love using this type of transportation to get around anywhere, but it especially shows in the parks. I just like the added control that it allows you to have over your experience. You can go where you want, when you want, without having to stick to a schedule.
When you’re on the M1, it makes not only being in the park and seeing the sights fun, but it also makes getting to where you’re going fun. The overall experience is just completely unique because it’s no longer about just going from place to place, but realizing that the journey is part of the fun. And I think that’s what our parks are all about- they’re more than just a collection of cool individual spots, but a whole region that’s worth exploring!
Q: What would you say were the best or most important features of the M1, that you noticed during your trip?
A: For me, the best part of using the M1 was how easy it was to switch out batteries and keep on going. The batteries are light and easy to carry in a backpack, and take maybe 20 seconds to swap out and keep riding.
I also really love how you can use the throttle to control speed while traveling downhill. In these parks, you find a lot of downhill sections that would be really challenging on a regular skateboard. You need to either ruin a pair of shoes to slow down or risk a high speed wipeout, but with the M1 you can easily and almost effortlessly remain in control.
When it comes to the overall performance of the M1, I think it’s awesome and I love pretty much everything about it.
To properly celebrate our National Parks, and to make sure future generations can enjoy them as well, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Parks Project. These awesome people craft park-inspired apparel and accessories, and every sale funds and supports ongoing volunteer projects in the parks themselves. In Zion, Parks Project has provided 13,500 Junior Ranger badges, to help inspire the next generation of park stewards, scientists, and lovers of nature from all walks of life.
To find out more about Parks Project and their work across all of our parks, check out their site below.