Designing the Sprinter Van
So here’s where the fun starts, at least it did for me. I loved envisioning what I was going to build. Bed here, cabinet there, fridge, etc etc. While it was fun it was very frustrating. Like I mentioned you can’t start designing until you know what you NEED in the van. Well, I guess you could but you would most likely be wasting your time.
First you need to figure out the WHAT, WHERE & HOW you are going to use the Sprinter. Ours was as follows
WHAT – Kayaking, Mtn Biking, Hiking…Exploring! This is designed for our adventures. We love White Water Kayaking, Mtn Biking, backpacking, snowboarding & skiing. We needed a rig that could carry us and our gear.
WHERE – Where ever we want to drive it to but most likely NOT super cold climates for extended periods. Maybe Alaska in the summer, southern states in the winter or …South America? I figured we wouldn’t be driving this on icy mountain roads at 9,000′ feet in February. The “WHAT” above would be hard to do other than the boarding and skiing.
HOW – Are you going to use this just on weekends, live in it full time or go on extended trips? We’re looking at extended trips where we need to be able to “live out of the Sprinter” as well as weekends.
Where Do We Put All Our Toys
Gear was our MAJOR consideration. We decided on a garage in the rear where we could store our mtn bikes, kayaking gear and backpacks. We figured this would probably smell so keeping it separate was important. The kayaks themselves would go in an external rack they could be locked. The kayaks are not as flashy as bikes for theft and can handle the weather much better. So when designing the interior I had to put in the garage, a bed, fridge and cabinets. The garage obviously had to go in the rear, so that left the bed going up front somewhere and then just building around it. My design also had to incorporate a wet gear storage area for our kayak skirts, PFD’s, dry top and dry suits. There would need to be a drain, a vent fan and a a full length hanging area for the suits.
BEFORE you can actually start the sketches though you ALSO need to know what appliances/systems you NEED/WANT in the Sprinter.
1. Propane / Electric (shore power) / Diesel / Generators / Batteries
2. fridge / hot water heater / shower / toilet / sink / stove
We decided on as few systems as possible to reduce plumbing, gas lines, and tanks. We 86’d the Propane and Diesel systems and decided on Batteries as our main power source. Obviously batteries need to be charged and they can’t fun the high output devices like the A/C and hot water heater we chose so we had to put in generators as well. In the end we opted the add in a shore power outlet for campgrounds that we ended up in even though boon-docking is our primary design intention.
What We Put Inside Our Rig
12 volt house battery power
Hot Water Heater
Power Outlets (laptops, etc)
We also have a sink and an outside shower mounted in one of the rear doors powered by the water pump. We have a porta potti that is self contained and stored in a internal cabinet.
Sketching it out like I did in these drawings is very helpful. Still unless you are a sprinter designer you always forget stuff. AND, everyone wants to do it differently. I went to my brothers shop with a plan and he thought things would better his “different ways”