Some background on how I came into possession of the Mantis Overland: For years, I’ve looked askance at #vanlifers and friends who have forwent traditional camping for tow-along trailers or RVs. I’m a longtime minimalist who wouldn’t even bring a pillow on a car-camping trip (camping is for roughing it!), but the pandemic forced me to rethink my asceticism. My sons are too young to be vaccinated, and we wanted to avoid any unnecessary exposure to strangers. With the Mantis, we could cook all our own meals, set up camp quickly and easily, and have a home base once we got to Vermont. We’d camp at the lake property my mother-in-law, Cassandra, owns, a small orchard with an outdoor kitchen and dilapidated barn but, currently, no house. If we wanted to make the approximately 2,000-mile trip from Colorado to Vermont — and we did — camping was no longer an end in itself, but the only feasible way for us to travel this summer.