What The Best Sprinter Van Conversion Looks Like

What The Best Sprinter Van Conversion Looks Like

The Ultimate Camper Van Conversion 

Campervans have always been popular, but the pandemic in 2020 took this trend to new heights. Initially favored by climbers, surfers, and travelers, the appeal of campervans has now reached families, digital nomads, weekend campers, and all types of outdoor enthusiasts. More people are looking for customizable solutions for mobile living and working.

A van conversion can transform a simple vehicle into a multifunctional space that feels like home, whether it’s for weekend adventures or a mobile office.

So, what makes a Mercedes Sprinter van conversion genuinely exceptional? Let’s explore the key elements that set the best apart from the rest.

the inside of a campervan with a guy and his dirt bike in there

What Defines The Best Van Conversion?  

The best van conversion depends on how you and your family will use the van. A campervan’s layout, design, and features are only as good as their suitability for your needs.

For example, a campervan with bunk beds, ample gear storage, a large fridge, and off-road suspension might sound impressive. However, if you plan to camp in national parks with minimal gear and dine out frequently, something other than this setup will suit your lifestyle. Instead, you might prefer a Sprinter 144 AWD with a platform bed layout, a small galley kitchen, a sink, a small fridge, and a microwave.

The best conversion is the one that’s customized for you. This means creating a layout designed to seat and sleep the correct number of people, including the appliances you’ll use 90% of the time (not just occasionally), and incorporating features you plan to use regularly.

While each van conversion is unique, here are five key elements that the best van conversions will always have:

The 5 Van Conversion Areas 

#1 Safety

Safety is paramount in any vehicle modification, especially for those designed to be lived in. The best Sprinter van conversions ensure that all additions and modifications comply with safety standards and do not void the vehicle’s warranty. This includes using pull-tested seating and building around ‘Halo Zones’—safety zones designed to protect all occupants in case of an accident.

Another critical factor in building campervans is weight distribution. Van builders must create strong yet efficient conversions that stay within the vehicle’s payload capacity to ensure safety and handling are not compromised.

Many smaller checklists and features contribute to the safety of the vehicle and its occupants. For instance, choosing the correct fasteners and materials to prevent rattles and noises is essential for maintaining the structural integrity of the van. Additionally, we make sure to add critical safety features such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and a secure locking system.

Safety should be a top priority for any van builder. This not only protects the occupants but also enhances the overall durability and reliability of the van conversion.

#2 Durability

When building a campervan conversion, it’s crucial to remember that you’re essentially constructing something that needs to withstand daily shaking, twisting, flexing, and constant movement—almost like enduring an earthquake every day! With that in mind, it becomes clear just how important it is to choose a builder who understands these challenges and selects the suitable materials and hardware to handle them.

Whether it’s deciding between rivet nuts or plus nuts for mounting hardware or choosing when to use an aluminum substructure versus wood, each decision significantly impacts the longevity and resilience of the conversion. The materials used should be robust yet flexible enough to handle the dynamic stresses of the road.

#3 Comfort

Comfort in a campervan goes beyond a cozy bed, choosing the right seats, or having hot water on demand. It also means making strategic choices about insulation and materials to reduce noise and create a tranquil interior environment. This noise reduction is essential not just for sounds from the outside but also for minimizing internal reflections.

the inside of a campervan

Many builders overlook this aspect, a lesson we learned after completing thousands of conversions and refining them through our quality control process. A well-thought-out van conversion should always consider how textures and materials can dampen sound, creating a space that is not only comfortable but also quiet. Here are a few key areas to focus on when making the best Sprinter van conversion possible:

Insulation and Ventilation –

Proper insulation is crucial for maintaining a comfortable interior, whether during freezing winters or scorching summers. This means insulating the walls, floor, and ceiling with quality materials. Additionally, sufficient ventilation, such as roof vents or open windows, is necessary to manage airflow and prevent condensation.

Heating and Cooling – 

When it comes to climate control, having both air conditioning and heating is essential for ensuring comfort for you and your fellow travelers. While insulation helps regulate temperatures, if you’re particular about maintaining a specific temperature when hanging out or sleeping in the van, investing in a good heating system and air conditioning unit is crucial.

 Your specific needs will depend on the climates you plan to travel through, but robust heating and cooling systems will ensure your van remains comfortable year-round. A diesel heater is a reliable choice for heating, and a quality air conditioning unit will keep your van comfortable during hot weather.

Water System –

Water needs will vary based on the number of people traveling, the length of your trips, and access to drinkable water. For off-grid adventures, plan for around 20 to 50 gallons of fresh water. If you’re staying at campsites with amenities, you can manage with a quarter of that amount. Your water tanks will support the kitchen, bathroom, and drinking needs.

Kitchen Amenities –

Cooking in a campervan blends the adventure of the road with the comforts of home. Some people enjoy preparing simple dishes, while others prefer cooking gourmet meals with fresh ingredients from local markets. The best Sprinter van conversion will have the appliances that suit your cooking habits. 

Essential amenities include a stove, refrigerator, and sink for those who cook frequently or just a microwave and a small fridge for those who prefer eating out.

Bathroom Facilities –

Bathroom facilities in a van can range from a simple portable toilet to a fully equipped wet bath with a toilet and shower. Some might prefer the simplicity of a portable toilet, while others may enjoy the convenience of a built-in shower, especially for extended trips.

For more detailed information, check out our article on the four different bathroom designs.

#4 Functionality

A functional van is a custom conversion! The best conversions are tailored to how the owners will use the van, understanding their lifestyle and needs. Do you plan to go off-grid? How much storage is necessary, and how should it be accessed?

It’s crucial to avoid unnecessary materials and features that don’t serve the majority of your needs. Every inch of the van should serve a purpose. With limited space, everything must reflect the owner’s daily life, making the space efficient and enjoyable. Let’s look at the different categories and how they function in the conversion:

Interior Layout – 

The interior design and layout need to be tailored to the owner’s needs. For example, there are various bed layouts to choose from. Is a platform bed with ample storage underneath ideal, or would a dinette bed be more conducive since you’ll be having more people in the van and need a place to entertain? Thoughtful layout planning ensures that every inch of your van is used efficiently, creating a harmonious and functional environment.

For more insights, check out this great blog on the different Sprinter van layouts for a campervan.

Storage Solutions – 

Bringing stuff is inevitable—clothes, outdoor gear, cooking utensils, toiletries, and sleeping gear all need to fit in the van. Proper storage planning is essential to ensure the van doesn’t feel cluttered or overwhelmed. Efficient storage solutions are vital, like cabinets, under-bed storage, and possibly external storage for more oversized items like bikes or surfboards. Maximizing storage space while maintaining accessibility is key.

Exterior Upgrades – 

While the interior is crucial, exterior features can significantly enhance your conversion:

  • Awnings: Provide shade and additional living space outside the van.
  • Roof Racks: Offer extra storage for adventure gear like kayaks or camping equipment.
  • Storage Boxes: Many people opt for rear storage boxes for extra gear and bringing along bicycles.
  • Bumpers: Front-end protection is important for some, and others might want recovery gear mounted there, like a winch.
  • Solar Panels: Often mounted to the roof rack or front hood for off-grid power.
  • Lighting: Light bars or scene lighting improve visibility at night and add safety, especially once you’ve set up camp.

#5 Efficiency

Efficiency in a sprinter van conversion isn’t just about fuel economy; it’s about the design and integration of every component to maximize space and functionality without unnecessary weight. Decisions like whether to install a heavy-duty fridge or opt for lighter, more compact alternatives can affect both the van’s performance and usability. 

the inside of a campervan

Electrical System – 

Having a robust electrical system is essential for powering all onboard appliances and devices. This includes solar panels, batteries (like AGM or lithium), an inverter, and possibly a secondary alternator. While lithium batteries are becoming the standard due to their efficiency and longevity, ensuring you have enough power for off-grid living is crucial. A minimum setup for camping is a solar panel system and a couple of lithium batteries. 

The best sprinter van conversion addresses all these aspects, turning a simple cargo van into a robust, safe, and cozy mobile home or office that stands the test of time. 

At ADF Sprinters, we pride ourselves on providing conversions that not only meet but exceed these criteria. We ensure that every van we touch is built with precision and care, ready for whatever adventures lie ahead.

Sprinter Van Conversions

Now that you’re familiar with the different aspects of van conversions, let’s look at some of our past builds and what our customers have chosen to best suit their lifestyles. We’ve categorized them into two groups: Sprinter Van conversions for larger families and conversions for solo travelers or couples.

We’ve also broken each category into conversions on the Mercedes Sprinter 170 and 144 chassis, offering both simple, straightforward builds and more robust, feature-heavy options. Enjoy exploring these examples!

Sprinter Van Conversions for a Family

Family campervans are becoming increasingly popular. We’ve built conversions for families with one child up to those with eight kids. A family conversion typically includes at least two beds, plenty of seating, and a place for the family to hang out.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 170 for a Family

  • Feature-Heavy – Raven: This van conversion is built on a Sprinter 3500 170 Ext. This 4×4 van is designed to comfortably accommodate four people, featuring four dedicated captain chairs, a large dinette bed, and a drop-down Murphy-style bunk bed. It also boasts a spacious shower and a top-of-the-line toilet.
  • Basic Layout – Nick: This conversion is perfect for a family of four. It’s a dual-wheel 4 wheel drive Sprinter with fixed bunk beds, a small galley with a fridge and sink, and plenty of overhead storage. It has all the basics needed for a family to have a home base while camping or traveling on a road trip.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 144 for a Family

  • Feature-Heavy – Nestor: This top-of-the-line Sprinter 144 campervan is compact yet feature-packed. It can comfortably seat up to 10 people and provides sleeping accommodations for four with two beds. It includes a full bathroom and shower, a well-equipped galley kitchen, a refrigerator, and ample storage space.
  • Basic Layout – Amy: This conversion is ideal for those who plan to spend more time outside the van but want a comfortable home base for sleeping. The double platform bed accommodates four people, and the two swivel seats up front turn to create a dining table for everyone.

The Best Sprinter Van Conversion for a Couple

For those traveling solo or as a couple, you have more flexibility in design, which can be used for additional features and appliances or to keep the van spacious and light. Here are the options for the two chassis and different types of builds.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 170 for a Couple

  • Feature-Heavy – Motherload: This custom van conversion is perfect for two people to travel anywhere and do anything. It features a huge queen-sized Trimax bed and a convenient shower-bathroom combo. For extra countertop space, it has a resin-poured countertop and a matching three-piece table set. There’s even a special kitty corner for bringing along your cat, ensuring they have a safe and comfy spot during your adventures.
  • Basic Layout – Sierra Bound: This layout is perfect for a couple of outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities. They wanted a layout that could haul all their equipment and provide a comfortable space to relax after a day of adventures.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 144 for a Couple

  • Feature-Heavy – Serenity: If you want a smaller chassis with ultra-comfortable and feature-heavy options, this is the van for you. This Sprinter 144 AWD conversion offers a luxurious apartment-on-wheels experience. It includes our largest expandable telescoping shower, a memory foam platform bed, heat/AC, and a supercharged battery system, allowing you to explore year-round, on and off-road, in both hot and cold seasons.

Each of these conversions reflects thoughtful planning and customization to meet our customers’ specific needs and preferences. Whether you’re traveling with family or as a couple, there’s a perfect van conversion for your adventures.

When it comes to choosing the best van for your adventures, there are many excellent options to consider. Van life enthusiasts can opt for the king of campervans, the Mercedes Sprinter vans, the Ram ProMaster with its spacious interior, or a Ford Transit with its powerful engine and versatile design. For those looking to tackle rough terrain, outfitting your van with terrain tires and considering models with pop tops can significantly enhance your off-road experience. 

An Adventure Van (aka Adventure Wagon) setup provides a robust framework for customization, making it a great option for those who want a versatile and adaptable living space. Whether you prioritize space, power, or customization, the right van model can transform your adventures into unforgettable experiences.

About Us

As a Mercedes-Benz Certified Expert Upfitter, ADF Sprinters has been perfecting the craft of van conversions since 2009.