April 10, 2024 3 min read

Adventure comes in all shapes and sizes, just ask Habibi, Shara Zaia's camp-ready 2014 Ford Transit Connect. Complete with a hand built sleeping and storage system, this Denver-based rig spends lots of its days outside city limits, exploring crags around the Mountain West and arguing that it isn't just Sprinter vans that should have all the fun. To learn more about this unique build, check out Habibi's growing love story below.

Your Name: Shara Zaia

Location: Denver, CO and on the road!

Rig Nickname: Habibi 

Make & Model:  2014 Ford Transit Connect 

Critical dimensions for your bed platform: 66" long by 26" wide (at narrowest spot) by 16" high

HEST products: Dually Long and fitted sheet

Is this your daily driver or getaway car?

Both! I am based in Denver, but spend a lot of the time on the road for work and personal climbing trips. It was important to me to find a vehicle that I could use in either setting.

What do you like most about your rig? 

In a world of white Pro Masters, I love Habibi’s character. Not everyone can afford a Sprinter or a brand new full sized van, not to mention a buildout. Today’s “dirtbag” dream doesn’t always highlight the privilege that comes with it. I love how much I am able to do with a smaller space. 

On your average weekend adventure, what is the gear set up you bring with you? How did you navigate gear storage needs into your rig set up?

If you’ve traveled with a dog, you probably know how often you need to clean the interior of your rig. When planning, I intentionally keep things very simple. Everything except the bed is removable so I can get in and clean thoroughly. I have two tubs that slide perfectly under the bed. Depending on the trip, I use those for clothing storage, gear, and kitchen supplies. I’m only 5’3, so I made sure to leave a little room at the end of my bed for my water jug. The HEST Dually fits right on top of it and gives me a few extra inches so Beau can sleep on my feet on cold nights. A roof box is a game changer for clearing out room to move around inside. 

Any custom details? 

A friend helped me with the bed which took a few weeks. We used wood from an old climbing wall someone was trying to get rid of to save on cost. As a solo female traveler, it was important to me to be able to maneuver from the driver’s seat to my bed and vice versa. The wheels on the pull-out bed make it easy to adjust from day to night. Finding the HEST Dually was the final piece to the puzzle. Now, I can just pull the bed out and flip my Dually open. Boom. Dream land. 

Coolest place you’ve taken your rig to?

It’s really difficult to pick a favorite but Habibi has taken me to so many great climbing areas! Joe’s Valley, Unaweep, Buttermilks, Red Rocks, Wild Iris, Shelf Road, Moe’s Valley… and many more. I work full time as a Programs Manager at American Alpine Club so she recently took me to several of the Craggin’ Classics. 

Any projects in the pipeline to get your rig even more adventure ready? 

My roof box recently broke so I’m in the market for a new one. It’s a game changer when it comes to creating space to move around. I could definitely use some new curtains as well. 

Biggest challenge in your build out?

Unrelated to the build out but in our first summer out, both of Habibi’s sliding doors fell off when I was parked up canyon without service. I had to have a friend park up against her sides so that no one would steal my things. Luckily, someone at the crag had the tools I needed and we figured it out together. It wasn’t ideal but hey, it makes for a good story. 

Tips for others looking to do the same to their vehicle?

I just want to remind folks that you don’t need a fancy, expensive buildout to enjoy the outdoors. You can usually get creative with whatever you’re working with. Have fun with it and remember why you’re doing it in the first place.

Want to submit your rig for our blog? Email us at info@hest.com to get started!