Outdoors

Modular camper kit turns the Sprinter into a DIY adventure van for nomadic thrill-seekers

Modular camper kit turns the S...
Since Mercedes offers a 4x4 option on the Sprinter,  Adventure Wagon kits can serve as the basis of an all-terrain camper van 
Since Mercedes offers a 4x4 option on the Sprinter,  Adventure Wagon kits can serve as the basis of an all-terrain camper van 
View 28 Images
Adventure Wagon recently held a van building workshop at its Oregon  headquarters
1/28
Adventure Wagon recently held a van building workshop at its Oregon  headquarters
The telescoping hardware of Adventure Wagon's bed panels allows the bed to expand and contract to meet the contours of the van walls
2/28
The telescoping hardware of Adventure Wagon's bed panels allows the bed to expand and contract to meet the contours of the van walls
Adventure Wagon's MOAB bed and Mule storage lockers
3/28
Adventure Wagon's MOAB bed and Mule storage lockers
The MOAB bed can be raised to make room for cargo on the ride, then lowered for sleeping at camp
4/28
The MOAB bed can be raised to make room for cargo on the ride, then lowered for sleeping at camp
Adventure Wagon's L-track makes it easy to mount and adjust camper van furniture and accessories
5/28
Adventure Wagon's L-track makes it easy to mount and adjust camper van furniture and accessories
Adventure Wagon's MOAB bed can be purchased on its own or as part of the RUV kit
6/28
Adventure Wagon's MOAB bed can be purchased on its own or as part of the RUV kit
Overhead of an Adventure Wagon Sprinter
7/28
Overhead of an Adventure Wagon Sprinter
Adventure Wagon's Mule storage locker holds 150 liters of gear
8/28
Adventure Wagon's Mule storage locker holds 150 liters of gear
Adventure Wagon offers a floor kit with built-in L-track good for strapping down bikes and the like
9/28
Adventure Wagon offers a floor kit with built-in L-track good for strapping down bikes and the like
Adventure Wagon RUV all loaded up and ready to play
10/28
Adventure Wagon RUV all loaded up and ready to play
Adventure Wagon's MULE lockers use a nylon construction with wood support panels
11/28
Adventure Wagon's MULE lockers use a nylon construction with wood support panels
Adventure Wagon Sprinter RUV at camp
12/28
Adventure Wagon Sprinter RUV at camp
Out in the field with an Adventure Wagon Sprinter RUV
13/28
Out in the field with an Adventure Wagon Sprinter RUV
Since Mercedes offers a 4x4 option on the Sprinter,  Adventure Wagon kits can serve as the basis of an all-terrain camper van 
14/28
Since Mercedes offers a 4x4 option on the Sprinter,  Adventure Wagon kits can serve as the basis of an all-terrain camper van 
On the road in an Adventure Wagon Mercedes Sprinter RUV
15/28
On the road in an Adventure Wagon Mercedes Sprinter RUV
While the Adventure Wagon sleeps two on its MOAB bed, it can seat more with front and rear seating
16/28
While the Adventure Wagon sleeps two on its MOAB bed, it can seat more with front and rear seating
The Adventure Wagon bed sets up behind the second row of seats
17/28
The Adventure Wagon bed sets up behind the second row of seats
The MOAB Elevator Bed adjusts in height
18/28
The MOAB Elevator Bed adjusts in height
Adventure Wagon is based in Portland, Oregon and is developing a network of installers across the US
19/28
Adventure Wagon is based in Portland, Oregon and is developing a network of installers across the US
The RUV kit includes ceiling fans, LED lights and power outlets
20/28
The RUV kit includes ceiling fans, LED lights and power outlets
The RUV kit includes ceiling fans, LED lights and power outlets
21/28
The RUV kit includes ceiling fans, LED lights and power outlets
The L-track used within Adventure Wagon's packages adds versatility, allowing you to quickly mount and remove accessories
22/28
The L-track used within Adventure Wagon's packages adds versatility, allowing you to quickly mount and remove accessories
The RUV kit includes insulation and wall upholstery 
23/28
The RUV kit includes insulation and wall upholstery 
Looks like a cozy place to spend the day and night
24/28
Looks like a cozy place to spend the day and night
Another interesting piece of Adventure Wagon kit: the Munk Bunk
25/28
Another interesting piece of Adventure Wagon kit: the Munk Bunk
Adventure Wagon hasn't added the Munk Bunk option to its online materials just yet, but it's a drop-down single bed supported by a combination of the wall track and straps
26/28
Adventure Wagon hasn't added the Munk Bunk option to its online materials just yet, but it's a drop-down single bed supported by a combination of the wall track and straps
Adventure Wagon Munk Bunk folded out of the way
27/28
Adventure Wagon Munk Bunk folded out of the way
Adventure Wagon imagines its modular kits being used not only for simple auto touring and van camping but for trips that involve rock climbing, surfing, hiking, mountain biking, motorcycling ... 
28/28
Adventure Wagon imagines its modular kits being used not only for simple auto touring and van camping but for trips that involve rock climbing, surfing, hiking, mountain biking, motorcycling ... 

Before you start touring the world and posting the details of your exciting #vanlife on Instagram, you need a live-in van. And that's not necessarily cheap or easy to acquire. Just look at the prices of camper vans we've covered recently – Knaus Boxdrive: US$94,500, Winnebago Revel: $134,800, Mercedes Marco Polo Horizon Edition: $65,600. Sure, you can always build out your own dream van, but not everyone has the right combination of time, skills and patience for that. Just as tent camping out the back of an '03 Pontiac Aztek starts to look pretty good, Portland's Adventure Wagon arrives on the scene to offer another solution: a simple, more affordable off-the-shelf van conversion that turns the Mercedes Sprinter into a versatile, modular adventure van. It's van life made cheap(ish) and easy.

Modular camper vans and conversion kits have been having their moment in the US, as we've seen with the TouRig Terracamper and the ModVans CV1. And why not, they make sense. If you're going to spend that much money on a vehicle, you might as well get to use it for everyday trips and chores, as well as vacations and adventures.

Adventure Wagon attempts to make the modular camper van more accessible, splitting the difference between those full modular conversions and something like the Wayfarer ProMaster kit. Its RUV kits are a bit more involved and permanent than a modular camper-in-a-box system like the Wayfarer but simpler and more DIY-friendly than a full interior conversion with kitchen, pop-up roof, etc.

Adventure Wagon's MOAB bed and Mule storage lockers
Adventure Wagon's MOAB bed and Mule storage lockers

Adventure Wagon's kits include the foundational pieces to turn the interior of a 144- or 170-in (3,658- or 4,318-mm) wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter into a cozy overnighter and gear hauler, leaving plenty of opportunity for further upfitting (or not). The centerpiece is the MOAB Elevator Bed (yep, Mother Of All Beds), a three-panel folding bed for two that secures to lateral supports mounted along the interior van walls. Those lateral supports are secured with two bolts to vertical L-track strips on the walls, meaning they can be quickly moved up and down to reposition the bed.

To solve the problem of the contoured van walls, which decrease overall width as you approach the roof, Adventure Wagon's bed panels use telescoping cut-outs to adjust overall bed width between 59 and 69 in (150 and 175 cm), allowing the bed to be set anywhere between 26 and 60 inches (66 and 152 cm) above the floor of the Sprinter 144 High Roof. A built-in gas strut keeps the bed panels pushed firmly against the walls to ensure they remain in place with no additional mounts or hardware necessary.

The telescoping hardware of Adventure Wagon's bed panels allows the bed to expand and contract to meet the contours of the van walls
The telescoping hardware of Adventure Wagon's bed panels allows the bed to expand and contract to meet the contours of the van walls

Long story short, Adventure Wagon has done some intricate design work to make your life easy. Once the interior mounting hardware is installed inside the base van, you can quickly and easily adjust the bed height to better accommodate various cargo loads. The bed can also be completely removed in seconds, freeing up the entire cargo area.

Made from light bamboo plywood and aluminum, the MOAB bed is available on its own for $3,500 plus either $500 (Sprinter 144) or $700 (Sprinter 170) for the mounting hardware. Adventure Wagon's installation partners will do the work for you for around $420, giving you a versatile bedding solution for under $5,000.

Of course, that bed is going to run pretty cold when nighttime temperatures drop below comfy. Those who want a more comfortable, weather-resistant interior build-out can step up to Adventure Wagon's full RUV (recreational utility vehicle) kit, which drops in thermal insulation, fabric wall paneling over plywood panels, buyer's choice of 12 V or USB plugs, six marine-grade ceiling LED lights, two remote-control MaxxFan ceiling fans, cabin stereo prewiring, and an electrical harness with fuse box and wiring kit. Adventure Wagon wires the electrical hardware to the Sprinter's battery as standard but can also use an auxiliary battery (either its own or a customer supplied unit) for those who want a dedicated power source.

Looks like a cozy place to spend the day and night
Looks like a cozy place to spend the day and night

The MOAB bed is included in the RUV kit, along with more tie-down track around the interior for securing additional furniture, accessories and gear, including the two overhead storage lockers that come with the package. Those "Mule" storage lockers are designed to balance the advantages of a soft-sided storage bag and a sturdier, hard-framed cabinet. Each unit can secure and detach in minutes, holding up to 150 liters of gear. Plywood inserts add structural integrity when the lockers are in use, and the water-resistant nylon ripstop packs flat to save space. These lockers seem like an ideal cabinetry solution for a quick-convert modular adventure van.

The RUV kit costs $13,800 (144) or $14,800 (170) for the DIY version or $19,800/$20,800 fully installed. Adventure Wagon currently has installation partners in Portland and Seattle and is working to grow out its installation network nationwide.

The MOAB Elevator Bed adjusts in height
The MOAB Elevator Bed adjusts in height

Adventure Wagon also offers a floor kit, a multilayer combination of insulation and bamboo that can be topped with natural bamboo or vinyl. That kit also adds L-track to the floor, good for tying down bikes and other gear.

The MOAB bed and RUV kit are how Adventure Wagon caught our eye, but the start-up is hoping to become a one-stop supply shop, helping camper van DIYers and conversion businesses fill in the voids of their builds, selling pieces like insulation, mounting hardware and interior accessories. Its plans also include expanding beyond the Sprinter, offering solutions for the Ford Transit and other vans.

Source: Adventure Wagon

2 comments
EcoLogical
When will the all-electric Sprinter be available?
yawood
Why would you want one? The idea of having a van is to get away, not just go a couple of hours down the road before you run out of battery. Anyway, when will people realise that current batteries are very bad for the environment, use precious resources, get charged from power that has been created using polluting sources and are highly toxic when discarded.