More and more full-time vandwellers, people living the weekend warrior life and outdoorsy people are choosing the sprinter camper van as their adventure bus. And we can see why, we’ve already shown you some amazing Mercedes sprinter conversions such as the Mercedes Benz Sawtooth conversion, the sprinter conversion moving house and the Sith-style conversion that lets you live the Darkstar van life. So why are so many van life influencers and adventurers choosing the sprinter van over a more traditional RV or something like an airstream camper to be their tiny homes? Read on, and we’ll tell you why.
Why Choose a Sprinter Camper Van?
When you think of sprinter van, it’s likely that a white, dirty and slightly battered builders van is going to come to mind. A workhorse, something practical, durable and reliable, but not something that you’d want to sleep in. However, it is these qualities that make the idea of a sprinter camper van so attractive. The Mercedes makes a practical camper van as it’s so easy to drive. No more struggling up hill or getting stuck on a tight, twisty country lane. No more dreading the drive and just wanting to get to your camping spot as quickly as possible because driving a sprinter camper van is like driving a car, only without the rear view mirror!
Sprinter vans are durable, they’re known for driving hundreds of thousands of miles without a problem. Having a reliable van is so important, and this is another point in favour of the sprinter camper van. Sprinter vans are a globally recognised vehicle, Mercedes produce their cars and vans all over the world, and there is a reason for this, they’re good. Years of experience means they create the best and most popular van there is to offer, so it makes sense to turn it into a camper. This also means that if you have any problems while travelling in your sprinter camper van the chances that you’re going to be near a Mercedes garage are pretty high, and if not, most garages will stock any parts you might need anyway.
Sprinter Camper Van Interiors
There is another reason why the sprinter camper van is seeing a recent surge in popularity, and it has nothing to do with the mechanical excellence of Mercedes sprinter camper conversions, or anything to do with how safe and easy sprinter vans are to drive. It is because the sprinter camper van is just, well… cool. More and more young people want to get outside, to step away from their computers and TVs and to breathe in the fresh air, discover new places and take in amazing views. Adventuring, exploring and, along with it, ‘motor-homing’ is so desirable right now but motor-homing sounds too old fashioned, too much like something your grandparents would do. So in comes ‘van life’ and, at the heart of it, the sprinter camper van. Van life is so effortlessly cool right now but young adults wanted something different for their off grid adventure than the large, beige, ugly old-fashioned motorhome and they chose the sprinter camper van.
From the outside, the sprinter camper van is understated and sleek, usually keeping its original working van’s colour of black, white, silver or navy blue. You may come across a unique camper conversion where the outside of the van is a bright, bold colour such as red or yellow, either resprayed or from the vans previous life. And occasionally you’ll see a flawlessly decorated sprinter camper depicting scenes of previous adventures- a mountainscape for example, on the van’s exterior. What you won’t find on a sprinter camper van are tacky, peeling decals that haven’t stood the test of time and look out-dated and uninviting. The sprinter camper van is too cool for that. Windows and skylights can also be added to any sprinter camper van, either standard ones that come with the vehicle in the side and back doors or something different and personal to your tiny home. Windows bring so much light into the van and make the interior feel so much bigger, but they can also look cool from the outside. Portholes are a popular choice that makes the sprinter camper van look unique from the outside and give the interior a nautical feel.
Step inside the sprinter camper van and every single conversion are different. This is one of the reasons that people love them- you can start with a blank shell and then choose a company which is right for your needs and design wishes, or even do the conversion yourself. It is surprising how much usable living space there is inside a sprinter camper van if it’s utilised well.
The sprinter van comes in several different sizes: short, medium, long and extra long wheelbase and then the standard roof, high roof or super high roof. Initially, you may be thinking that the biggest van would make the best tiny house but, with more room to live in you also comes a higher fuel consumption, making fuel one of the more substantial van life costs. On top of this, once you get as big as the extra long wheelbase, you may have more difficulty parking in some busier areas. If you choose a long wheel base, or smaller, easy parking is one of the best benefits of having a sprinter camper van compared to a larger RV- you can fit inside a regular parking space. This opens up so many opportunities for you, especially if you want to do some city camping or use your sprinter camper van as your everyday vehicle, instead of having a car as well. For me being able to stand up in your camper is one of the most critical van life essentials; being able to cook stood up and stretch out makes life so much more comfortable. Just remember that the height of your van will be less than its original dimensions once you install the insulation and interior walls.
Customizing Your Sprinter Camper Van
The interior dimensions of each sprinter camper van are often where the similarities stop at the design options inside are so versatile. Of course, you can buy a sprinter camper van from large, commercial camper van companies in which case you will get a well designed, practical layout- similar to something you would find in a classic motorhome but some of the best sprinter camper van interiors are self-built or built by a smaller sprinter conversion companies. If you choose to self convert or work with a company on your conversion, then your imagination is the only limit (oh, and weight restrictions of course…) and this is one of the main reasons that people are choosing the sprinter camper van. They can be built to accommodate a single traveller up to a full family. Extra chairs can be added in the back of the sprinter camper van to seat more passengers and can be cleverly worked into your design to become additional sleeping areas or chairs around a table.
You can choose your layout to be simple or complex to suit your needs, and there are so many fantastic van life ideas and vanlife tips out there to help you gain inspiration from and create the best design possible. By designing and building your sprinter camper van you can also choose the colour scheme of your interior- say goodbye to different shades of beige and hello to, well, whatever you want. Be it a sleek, all-white interior, a log cabin rustic wooden feel or a bright, playful colour scheme whatever it is; you can make it work. The customisability is perhaps the biggest reason that vandwellers are choosing the sprinter camper van, you can turn it into an extension of you and make it feel like a second (or first?) home.
The self-built nature of a sprinter camper van also means sprinter vans can make very affordable tiny homes. A brand new sprinter van is on the pricier side for a panel van, but the second-hand market is so huge that they can be a very affordable option, coupled with a self-conversion. But even if you do buy brand new and add the conversion you are probably going to end up spending less than you would on a brand new RV, and getting something more unique to you. This makes the sprinter camper van a more attractive option as you can save more money for road tripping and adventuring.
Making Your Sprinter Camper Van An Off-Grid Home
A sprinter camper van is also a great option if you want to make an off grid home. As, in most cases, the starting point is an empty van you can choose an electrical system that works for you. This means that if you want to go off-grid, you can add solar panels to your build, along with a split charge relay for cloudy days so you can have a constant supply of energy to power your sprinter camper van and charge your gadgets. Having a solar system doesn’t mean that you can’t also add a mains plug-in socket to your electrical system so that if you need to give your batteries a boost, you can do. Other elements that make your sprinter camper van off the grid are a water supply and a toilet, meaning you are self-sufficient when in the van and can go into the wilderness for periods of time.
If you think you may want to go to off-road areas, the sprinter van is such a popular vehicle that there are many products out there that allow you to turn your sprinter camper van into a 4×4 machine. For example, it is easy to find 4×4 off-roading tyres to add to your sprinter, to have your suspension raised and an air inlet pipe installed so you can drive through water. There are also loads of great roof rack options for sprinter camper vans so you can carry gear on your roof such as surfboards, bikes or an outdoor shower. Having the option to turn your camper into a 4×4 vehicle can enhance your adventuring and is a great reason to choose the sprinter camper van.
It is easy to see why so many people are choosing the sprinter camper van. They are so versatile and can be customised to be unique. But more importantly, they are such a reliable vehicle and are easy to drive meaning you can spend more time in the great outdoors. Sprinter vans can be driven by anyone and taken anywhere, especially if you add some 4×4 elements to your sprinter camper van, and can make the best home away from home imaginable. If you’re still not convinced on the sprinter camper van, then check out our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for some amazing conversions.