Automotive

Mercedes Anacapa camper van carves out a cozy human refuge in the wild

Mercedes Anacapa camper van ca...
ADF transforms the Mercedes-Benz Metris passenger van into the Anacapa camper van
ADF transforms the Mercedes-Benz Metris passenger van into the Anacapa camper van
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Drop a dish rack on the drop-down outside shelf and wash dishes outdoors
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Drop a dish rack on the drop-down outside shelf and wash dishes outdoors
The ADF Anacapa includes a fold-down lower bed and pop-up roof bed
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The ADF Anacapa includes a fold-down lower bed and pop-up roof bed
The ADF Anacapa Metris camper van starts at $82,000
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The ADF Anacapa Metris camper van starts at $82,000
The Anacapa is a versatile van for city, suburbs, forests and more
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The Anacapa is a versatile van for city, suburbs, forests and more
With its pop-up roof, the Metris Anacapa rides low but camps tall
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With its pop-up roof, the Metris Anacapa rides low but camps tall
ADF offers an available Zamp solar panel to help charge the battery when at camp
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ADF offers an available Zamp solar panel to help charge the battery when at camp
The ADF Anacapa is powered by a 208-hp engine
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The ADF Anacapa is powered by a 208-hp engine
The rear quick-access storage cabinet keeps provisions close at hand when parked
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The rear quick-access storage cabinet keeps provisions close at hand when parked
The kitchen block comes standard, but the Lagun table is optional
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The kitchen block comes standard, but the Lagun table is optional
It's not the most bicycle-friendly camper van out there, but the Anacapa uses its movable bench to make room in back
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It's not the most bicycle-friendly camper van out there, but the Anacapa uses its movable bench to make room in back
The kitchen packs a sink with pull-out faucet, dual-burner stove and fridge standard
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The kitchen packs a sink with pull-out faucet, dual-burner stove and fridge standard
ADF includes a swivel passenger seat for sitting at camp
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ADF includes a swivel passenger seat for sitting at camp
Slide the rear bench up and open up more cargo space
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Slide the rear bench up and open up more cargo space
The Anacopa doubles as a mobile workstation
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The Anacopa doubles as a mobile workstation
ADF offers camper vans for both sale and rental
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ADF offers camper vans for both sale and rental
Drop-down outside countertop
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Drop-down outside countertop
An office with a view
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An office with a view
The ADF Anacapa sink becomes a shower
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The ADF Anacapa sink becomes a shower
The ADF Anacapa sleeps two in the pop-top and two down below
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The ADF Anacapa sleeps two in the pop-top and two down below
Mercedes does not offer AWD on the Metris, but ADF can upgrade it with a suspension lift and all-terrain tires
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Mercedes does not offer AWD on the Metris, but ADF can upgrade it with a suspension lift and all-terrain tires
Preparing dinner at the ADF Anacapa kitchen
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Preparing dinner at the ADF Anacapa kitchen
ADF transforms the Mercedes-Benz Metris passenger van into the Anacapa camper van
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ADF transforms the Mercedes-Benz Metris passenger van into the Anacapa camper van
View gallery - 22 images

After years of watching its Sprinter big brother dominate the ranks of American camper van design, the smaller Mercedes Metris is coming into its own. Mercedes itself introduced the Metris Weekender earlier this year, and since then there's been an invigorated interest in small, efficient Metris campers, such as the Caravan Outfitters Backroad. Southern California's ADF – that's Automotive Designs & Fabrication, if you want to be proper – takes road-tripping a step further than the Weekender with its Anacapa Metris van, packing in a full indoor/outdoor kitchen block, four sleeping berths and a neatly organized, flexible interior.

There's no two ways about it: The ADF Anacapa is more impressive than the Mercedes Weekender, especially for campers and travelers who want an integrated design with everything available to use inside the van (as opposed to the tailgate kitchen available on the Weekender and other Metris campers). Like the Weekender, the Anacapa sleeps four on a combination of folding rear bench and pop-up sleeper roof. The lower mattress is narrower, but that's only because ADF adds in a standard kitchen and floor-to-ceiling rear cabinet on the driver's side. The latter includes a quick-access cabinet just inside the rear doors, designed to keep gear like flashlights, leveling blocks, bug spray and other small, loose items ready to grab and go.

ADF offers camper vans for both sale and rental
ADF offers camper vans for both sale and rental

The indoor kitchen block is what really separates the Anacapa from the other Metris camper vans we've covered this year. It's a basic kitchen with dual-burner stove, sink and 12V fridge, but instead of being mounted against a door-less side wall, the way many a European midsize van floor plan would have it, ADF's kitchen takes advantage of the driver-side sliding door to become an indoor/outdoor cooking and cleaning space.

It's not a perfectly seamless indoor/outdoor design, as the fridge is only accessible from inside and certain hardware is configured around indoor use, including the faucet mounted behind the sink and the stove controls at the front. ADF does say that the counter height is positioned for convenient indoor/outdoor use. While the faucet is at the rear of the sink, it's offset toward one side, allowing for access from outside. The faucet pulls out to work as a sprayer and outdoor shower supplied by the 68-L fresh water tank. A drop-down outdoor countertop adds prep/dish-drying space outside the sliding door.

Drop a dish rack on the drop-down outside shelf and wash dishes outdoors
Drop a dish rack on the drop-down outside shelf and wash dishes outdoors

ADF's conversion comes with a standard electrical system that includes an AGM battery charged by the vehicle alternator, 12V outlets, USB ports and a hookup for the optional Zamp solar panel. Available optionally are an external shore power hookup, inverter and lithium battery in place of the AGM.

The Anacapa includes a swivel front passenger seat as standard, but the swivel driver's seat and Lagun table are optional. The rear bench has two seats.

The kitchen block comes standard, but the Lagun table is optional
The kitchen block comes standard, but the Lagun table is optional

The Anacapa is sold as a full van, based on a 2020 Metris Passenger Van with a 208-hp 2.0-liter turbo four and seven-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels. It includes crosswind assistance, load-adaptive electronic stability program and rear-view camera standard, offering additional options like lane keep assist. Pricing for the turnkey Anacapa starts at US$82,000, which breaks down to $43,000 for the brand-new Metris and $39,000 for the conversion. Additional options include a Webasto air heater, awning, lift kit, all-terrain tires, and roof rails and crossbars. ADF opened up reservations last week on several new 2020 Anacapa builds.

In addition to sales, ADF offers the Anacapa and other camper vans for rent. You can find out more information on its Rentals page.

Source: Automotive Design & Fabrication

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