Brian Dixon is an outdoorsman. He loves snowboarding, mountain biking, paragliding, and just spending time out in nature. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that he was intrigued by the idea of off-grid camping. In fact, this fascination is what planted the seeds of Dixon’s rental business!
“Things started in 2019 when I saw the Winnebago Revel 4×4 for the first time and was blown away with the possibilities of going off-grid and being able to lay my head down after my daily adventure,” Brian explains. “So I started dreaming about what I could do with it—but the problem with that, of course, is that the price is $150K.”
Brian knew there had to be a way to camp off-grid comfortably without spending that kind of money. “I became obsessed with trying to do a ‘poor man’s version of a Winnebago Revel’,” he recalls. “I got fascinated about the idea of the Mitsubishi Fuso chassis and watched a bunch of YouTube. This is a truck that is only 20 feet long and has four-by capabilities, and some people on YouTube had either built boxes on the back or actually put trailers on the back.”
A real go-getter, Brian decided to give this option a try. “I went and bought a used Fuso,” he tells us. “I also bought a Lance trailer and I was gonna have a mechanic put it all into one off-grid capable rig.” Unfortunately, this didn’t work out so well, as he continues to explain, “It turned out the chassis was completely rusted and unusable. So I had already bought a Lance trailer, and I ended up selling that and the Mitsubishi Fuso at a loss.”
The good news? Brian is not a quitter. “It was at that time I came across my Canadian rig on YouTube and absolutely fell in love with the idea of modifying an alpine adventurer to be off-grid worthy because I knew people that were doing modifications as long as the RVs were built on a Ford chassis. So I went to Canada and I bought one.”
Of course, there is always money to consider, and having just lost money on his first attempt at a build, Brian knew he’d have to find a way to pay for this new-to-him rig. “I knew the cost of the RV plus the modifications would be a bit more than I wanted to spend,” says Brian. “I decided to rent out the RV before I did the mods and then use the money from Outdoorsy to greenlight the lift kit, the tires, the wheels, the batteries, etc.”
And rent the RV he did, which has been working out wonderfully for him. “I put it on Outdoorsy in March and I immediately booked up for the entire summer,” Brian shares. “This is probably an effect of the hot RV market, the allure of Colorado, and the drivability of this 20-foot RV…it fits in a parking space, which is exactly what I wanted.”
Clearly, with so many rentals, Brian’s business isn’t doing too bad. “We made around $15K our first ‘year,’ which realistically was May through October,” he tells us. “All that money went back into the RV in terms of chassis modification, lift kit, tires and wheels, a rear differential lock, an off-grid battery system, a propane generator, and a storage box on the back.”
Essentially, by renting on Outdoorsy, Brian has been able to build his perfect rig, which he uses for himself of course, but also enjoys sharing with others. “So many people have this idea of Colorado and they want to see the mountains, and yet many people don’t know where to go or how to go about getting there. I like to help folks plan their trips and give tips, especially to the outdoor-oriented people. I’m a snowboard instructor and I also camp a bunch in winter since this RV is four-season insulated. I hope to get more people realizing that fact so they’ll rent in the cold weather as well.
“Monster Max can go where other RVs can’t go. I realize that many people just want to go to a regular campground, and that is great, but that is not why I built this rig. Boondocking in search of my outdoor adventures is what it’s all about. I’m not even a good ‘camper’ per se, but I do love the idea of a mobile ski lodge after a day of backcountry snowboarding, or cooking dinner and having a beer after paragliding all day…that’s the magic for me.
“As this RV business develops (I plan to buy more), I’m hoping to attract that specialized outdoor crowd who think similarly.”
Watch a recap of a year with Monster Max, Brian’s custom-built rig.
All About Brian
Favorite morning beverage: “Extra hot latte.”
Favorite campsite meal: “Chicken.”
Music you like to play on the radio: “Country.”
Best game to play on the road or at your campsite: “Playing with my ‘one wheel’ machine.”
Favorite season: “Love the changes but probably fall.”
Last photo you took: “Paragliding.”
If you could travel anywhere in an RV, where would you go? “I’m looking at doing some beach stuff and I think Baja California is calling my name. I also would love to do a Pacific Northwest fly and bike trip.”