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Carabiner Coffee

Oh hey there! This is Erik from @carabinercoffee. Our story is what you get when you take one dirtbag climber, one hefty dose of wanderlust, one 71 VW bus named Ol Blue plus one great cup of coffee and mix them all together. Over the past  3 years we have been traveling to some of the most beautiful places in the country making coffee for anyone who happens to be around. Our Yakima Skybox loaded down with everything we could possible need to live simply and adventure often.

Photo: Daniel Noll

This story all started on an especially cold day in the middle of a cross country solo bike tour. Pedaling down the Oregon coast and in need of something to warm me up, I pulled into a road side farm stand and found the only thing  warm inside was a cup of coffee. That was the first real cup of coffee I had ever had and since then life has never been the same. Fast forward two years and I found myself living in the heart of the Rocky Mountains with a lot more knowledge about the coffee industry. I had always had dreams of traveling / living in a VW and coffee just seemed to be the no brainer way to make that happen. I bought Ol Blue in October and persisted on building her out over the next 6 months of freezing temps and bursting pipes. Finally in early spring Ol Blue was complete and ready to rock! I ended up selling the first cup of coffee out of the van in April and from that day on I’ve made it a point to live the best adventure possible while spreading love through a simple cup of joe.

Erik Gordon, A caffeine pusher cruising the universe in a sweet old school VW van offering three personally developed and selected roasts, SLC, UT

Erik Gordon, A caffeine pusher cruising the universe in a sweet old school VW van offering three personally developed and selected roasts, SLC, UT. Photo: Miah Witt

The past few years have taken Ol Blue and I across the country to some of the most beautiful places it has to offer. I remember the first time I drove Ol Blue through the Yosemite valley, I almost crashed about a hundred times because I couldn’t stop looking out the window at all the amazing walls of granite I’d been dreaming of  as a climber for countless years. There’s just something about seeing the world through the windows of that bus that make if feel like a dream. We’ve weaved up and down the west coast and back through the rockies multiple times now and each one seemingly becomes more epic than the last.

Blog 9 - Photo Cred (Daniel Noll)Photo: Daniel Noll

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A funny thing is how many times Ol Blue has been remodeled, five times in three years to be exact. The van set up now is way different than what she was after the first time I built her out. As time has gone on, the focus has been more on simplifying the inside of the van to make for room for gear and coffee. I see so many different extravagant van set ups and they are rad to look at but for me personally, I like to keep it as simple as a good cup of coffee. Living this way has given a new perspective to just how little you really need to achieve happiness in life. Only being able to carry a few sets of clothes, and pretty much only one of everything else makes every little thing that much more meaningful. Combine that with an amazing partner and there’s nothing more you’ll ever need.

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Being a part of the Vanlife community is like a dream come true with all the people you get to meet along the way. Being able to give people coffee as a part of that has brought so many other amazing folks to the door of the van as well. Over time having sipped coffee with anywhere from Olympic gold medalists to permanent vagabonds and each unique person has given me another great way to look at life and smile about it. This community of adventurers is what fuels the Carabiner Coffee mission to spread love, chase happiness and inspire others to do the same. There are a thousand roads to happiness, all you have to do is pick the one you want to drive.


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