Here at Battle Born Batteries, we enjoy seeing the creative ways that people can get out there and stay out there. We’re excited to highlight the Health Heroes project by Kensie West of Superstition Customs where our batteries power vans for healthcare workers in need.
As part of Superstition Customs, Makensie West strives to make the lives of eco-conscious adventurers easier in intentionally built, off-grid capable camper vans. Kensie grew up in a home where her parents constantly had projects big and small going on in their garage which allowed her to get her hands dirty alongside them. This early start helped shape her strong belief that there’s room for everyone in all aspects of van life. As a woman in the van building business, Kensie knows that stepping into a role that is typically in a male-dominated industry is never easy. While she has faced skepticism from outsiders, she wants other women interested in van builds to know that there’s a place for them.
“I hope that I can set an example for even just one other woman out there that knows she has what it takes,” Kensie said. “Changing the narrative around what a “man’s job” and a “woman’s job” looks like starts with all of us fearlessly carving our own paths, unapologetically.”
Currently based out of San Diego for the time being, Kensie first forayed into van life when she was 19 years old. She created her own van and really fell in love with all aspects of a nomadic lifestyle, from traveling to building during this time.
Kensie also enjoyed the strong sense of community that surrounds the van lifestyle and how everyone is so passionate about getting out in nature. She wants it to translate into the projects she creates and hopes to inspire others to follow in her footsteps!
“About a year [into van life], my partner at the time and I started discussing how eager we were to build another van,” she said. “I personally love projects that are hands-on, there’s nothing quite like starting with an idea on paper and seeing that idea come to fruition in the form of a functional, aesthetic, tiny home.”
About Superstition Customs:
Specializing in Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, the vans Kensie builds are geared towards full-time van-lifers looking for a space that feels like home. She works closely with clients during the design process to get an idea of the overall aesthetics they have in mind. Because her clients supply their own vans, the overall conversion process averages about 12 to 16 weeks.
Superstition Customs is run entirely by Kensie, although she recruited the help of her mom for the latest build! A major goal that Superstition Customs strives for is a green build initiative, so clients can feel at ease knowing that high quality and environmentally conscious products are incorporated.
“There’s no doubt that it’s tedious and hard work but it’s worth it every time when it all comes together at the end,” she said. “Going forward, I’m also excited to branch out a bit more and create some builds that are better suited for off-road adventures, with simple, lighter, and even more functional designs and components.”
About Health Heroes:
Kensie completed her first build for the Health Heroes Project in September 2020 for a travel nurse. The project’s overall goal is to give back to essential healthcare workers amidst the pandemic during a time when they’re needed more than ever, with a lower cost to a more affordable threshold. It also helps provide them with a comfortable space to isolate themselves from family or friends after working on the front lines and makes traveling between assignments easier.
The building process for custom vans is laborious in the early stages but seeing the finished product is worth it overall because it’s a “small-scale dream home” for someone to live in full-time. The team was more than happy to help assist with tackling this tough but rewarding project when Kensie reached out to us!
As contributors to this project, we are excited by how great the van turned out! The tiny but mighty space has its own stovetop, pop-up countertop, fridge, slide–out pantry, bathroom/wet room, and more. Kensie built the closet space, storage, and dressers by hand, and was thrilled to incorporate a skylight into the van too! Check out Kensie’s tour video where she walks viewers through everything in the van.
The Health Heroes van is powered by the following important components:
-300W of Renogy solar panels on the roof
–Battery Isolation Manager for charging from the alternator or shore power
With Battle Born Batteries in their electrical systems, they can stay off-grid indefinitely as well.
Since Kensie’s custom-built vans are powered by our LiFePO4 technology, she’s grateful for the essential upgrade to the electrical system. Many of her clients living full-time in vans want the essential luxuries of home without worrying about having enough power to support it.
“It’s one less thing to worry about and it gives me and my clients peace of mind knowing that they have reliable, high-quality batteries powering their adventures,” she said. “The vans I build for Health Heroes are meant to take people on adventures and that doesn’t usually include sitting in an RV park, plugged into power.”
What’s Next for Health Heroes?
For future opportunities, Kensie plans to keep the website updated with new developments and opportunities for healthcare workers. She is currently booked with new van builds through this spring, and will soon be relocating to Bend, Oregon.
“We just really want to continue to express our gratitude to all of the healthcare workers that are working day and night to care for patients in these crazy times,” she said.
If you’d like to sponsor this project or find other ways to get involved, check out some of the Health Heroes builds that Kensie created for healthcare workers on her website, YouTube channel, and Instagram page.