Once upon a time …. Le Baroudeur
Once upon a time, a young man from Normandy came to Quebec for new adventures. Let’s call him Gabriel!
In 2017, he set off on a 3-month road trip in his gleaming Dodge Grand Caravan, freshly outfitted with his own hands and bits and pieces found here and there. Gabriel returned from his trip with a brilliant idea: to launch his own van rental business in Quebec.
Although his initial layout suited him well as a young Baroudeur, Gabriel still wanted to fine-tune it a little to offer more comfort to his future customers. So he called on his engineer brother and carpenter father, who would cross the ocean to help him develop the first official Baroudeur conversion kit in record time! Spoiler alert: it has nothing to do with the current layout of our vans!
And so Vanpackers was born
As for many companies, 2020 was a pivotal year that brought its share of challenges.
Fun fact #1: Le Baroudeur team always says to itself “If we made it through 2020, we’ll make it through this one too” when a major obstacle presents itself. And it works 100%.😛
In fact, that year gave a big boost to the democratization of van travel, especially in Quebec! Gabriel had been toying with the idea of selling conversion kits for several months, so it was the right time to make the project a reality, leading to the creation of the Vanpackers division online store.
Fun fact #2: when asked why we chose 2 different names, we jokingly say it’s because English speakers can’t pronounce Le Baroudeur correctly, and it causes too many misunderstandings😉 In fact, it was born of the desire to distinguish the 2 aspects of the business: van rental with Le Baroudeur, and sales with Vanpackers!
We invite you to watch this video to hear Gabriel explain how he came up with this brilliant idea!
The Baroudeur crew grows from 1 to 4 people in 2020, to 8 full-time employees in 2024, all with different and, let’s face it, rather atypical backgrounds! In fact, that’s the great strength of the team, with everyone bringing their own color and off-the-beaten-track experience, while sharing a common passion for travel… in a van.
A lot has changed at Le Baroudeur since 2017, and new projects are always on the way. One thing’s for sure: each of them is developed on the basis of values we hold dear:
- Providing A1 customer service and always doing our utmost to offer everyone an out-of-the-ordinary experience;
- Enabling access to a form of travel that is often overwhelmed by expensive offers beyond the reach of small budgets;
- Offer quality products, working as much as possible with local partners and materials;
- Raising our customers’ awareness of the principles of sustainable tourism, Leave No Trace and good van travel practices.
Le Baroudeur in a few key numbers :
- 8 different versions of the minivan conversion kit were developed before arriving at the final version;
- Nearly 1,000 customers have gone on road trips with our vans since 2017;
- Over 5,000 trees planted thanks to its involvement with carbon offset organizations since its creation in 2017.
So much for the 2017-2024 part of Le Baroudeur story! No one on the team can predict the future, but if things continue to evolve at the same pace, the next few years will be increasingly exciting for the big Baroudeur-Vanpackers family.