Automotive

Advanced off-grid camper van gives nomads a stealthy "Last Resort"

Advanced off-grid camper van g...
The Last Resort is based on a Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 144
The Last Resort is based on a Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 144
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This sort of false-floor garage below the bed houses the batteries and key electrical and computer components
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This sort of false-floor garage below the bed houses the batteries and key electrical and computer components
The wet bath has a toilet and a teak grate shower
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The wet bath has a toilet and a teak grate shower
The Advanced RV Last Resort in the build
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The Advanced RV Last Resort in the build
The Last Resort is based on a Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 144
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The Last Resort is based on a Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 144
Eight batteries supply serious off-grid power
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Eight batteries supply serious off-grid power
The ultra-widescreen display swivels around for viewing
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The ultra-widescreen display swivels around for viewing
L-shaped kitchen with the backsplash up
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L-shaped kitchen with the backsplash up
A look inside at the large Isotherm fridge and Cuisinart steam oven
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A look inside at the large Isotherm fridge and Cuisinart steam oven
The Last Resort prepares to greet its new owners with open arms
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The Last Resort prepares to greet its new owners with open arms
Instead of adding the usual RV windows, Advanced keeps the side walls solid to lower the profile of the Last Resort
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Instead of adding the usual RV windows, Advanced keeps the side walls solid to lower the profile of the Last Resort
To solve the issue of the steam wand hitting the back of the face panel, Advanced built a swivel for full access to all espresso maker components
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To solve the issue of the steam wand hitting the back of the face panel, Advanced built a swivel for full access to all espresso maker components
Advanced built a camera system around the roof rack, allowing owners to monitor from inside or outside the van
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Advanced built a camera system around the roof rack, allowing owners to monitor from inside or outside the van
The custom roof rack doubles as a deck for relaxing at camp
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The custom roof rack doubles as a deck for relaxing at camp
Replacing a conspicuous outer ladder is hatch access to the roof rack
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Replacing a conspicuous outer ladder is hatch access to the roof rack
Side skirt compartments replace side wall access panels for things like water and sewer hookups
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Side skirt compartments replace side wall access panels for things like water and sewer hookups
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Advanced RV's latest custom camper van creation, the "Last Resort" was developed for a pair of empty nesters making the leap from happy homestead to full-time mobile living. As such, it's packaged and detailed a little more thoughtfully than average, combining a stealthy exterior, electrical and connectivity "tech-gate," sturdy roof deck, tailor-fit living area, and smart details right down to the rock-solid latches. This 4x4 camper van ventures deep off-grid, camps in covert mode when deep in civilization, and functions seamlessly from steering wheel to load doors.

The Last Resort started life as a third-generation Sprinter 144 panel van with all-wheel drive. Instead of cutting out windows, Advanced RV keeps the solid walls intact to provide a more unassuming work van look. Further enhancing that stealthiness, Advanced skips the usual side hookup panels, putting the water, dump valve, outdoor shower and air compressor hookups in long, narrow LED-lit side-skirt compartments. These clean, functional solutions keep the van about as sleek and low-profile as a roof air-conditioned camper van can be.

L-shaped kitchen with the backsplash up
L-shaped kitchen with the backsplash up

The interior strays from more popular camper van floor plans, putting an L-shaped kitchen directly in front of the raised rear bed. To prevent the exact issue we worried about with the recent Rocket Camper — i.e. kitchen splash and spatter dirtying or soaking the bed — a hinged panel serves as a tall backsplash during the day and folds down to add about a foot of bed space at night. The kitchen L block includes a sink with high-arched faucet and plenty of counter space but no built-in stove, leaving occupants free to use a portable stove. The kitchen block also includes a fold-down outdoor counter on its backside.

A look inside at the large Isotherm fridge and Cuisinart steam oven
A look inside at the large Isotherm fridge and Cuisinart steam oven

Across from the main kitchen, a marine-style Isotherm fridge/freezer stands below a Cuisinart convection steam oven. To prevent any issues with leaked steam prematurely wearing the cabinetry, Advanced lines the stove compartment with aluminum and seals the edges with caulk. Magnetic-reinforced latches keep the slide-out oven completely stable during the roughest, bumpiest stretches of travel.

Another interesting detail is the slide-out espresso machine. During development, Advanced found that the back of the slide face panel blocked access to the steam wand, so it adds a special swivel plate atop the slide to allow for full, unimpeded use. No need to sip a doppio when a cappuccino is what you really crave.

To solve the issue of the steam wand hitting the back of the face panel, Advanced built a swivel for full access to all espresso maker components
To solve the issue of the steam wand hitting the back of the face panel, Advanced built a swivel for full access to all espresso maker components

One aspect of the Last Resort interior that leaps out on even the quickest visual inspection is the TV mounted in portrait mode against the wall. It's not particularly useful that way, but an articulated arm spins and swivels the ultra-wide display for easy viewing from the bed. The TV is hooked up to an Apple TV, small portable computer and security cameras mounted around the perimeter of the custom-designed roof rack, an aluminum-framed, perforated mesh-topped unit that doubles as a sitting deck, accessible via the marine-grade hatch over the bed that eliminates the need for an external ladder.

The custom roof rack doubles as a deck for relaxing at camp
The custom roof rack doubles as a deck for relaxing at camp

The Last Resort powers onboard amenities with a potent 828Ah electrical system with eight lithium batteries stored on the rear floor. Advanced encloses the battery pack, 3000W inverter, Wi-Fi router and other key hardware in the diamond plate-trimmed garage area. It says that solar panels aren't necessary for the electrical system it's engineered, but we're surprised they don't throw a couple on anyway — it's not like they're sparing much expense with this build.

Eight batteries supply serious off-grid power
Eight batteries supply serious off-grid power

The wet bath compartment features a double-door design so that you can close the entire door or just the lower section when using the deployable shower curtain for extra maneuverability when scrubbing down. The upsized 151L water tank supplies the fixtures.

No price tag accompanies this custom-built one-off, but Advanced RV does say that its custom vans start around $300,000, so we can only imagine the deluge of pretty pennies this one involved. In fact, we wonder if the buyers were planning to sell their home when they got started or just found it necessary as the build (and pricing meter) progressed.

The video below runs close to half an hour, but it provides a very thorough look at the complete design process and every little nook and detail of the Last Resort build, worth a watch if you like the looks of this custom van or Advanced's craftsmanship in general.

The Last Resort | ARV Builds a Custom 144" Sprinter for Full-Time, Off-Grid Living

Source: Advanced RV via Motor1

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3 comments
Riaanh
Very nice built. Very solid and good quality. But I can't help smiling over the marketing language, it sounds like a feature not having a stove:....."but no built-in stove, leaving occupants free to use a portable stove." I don't think the viewing deck is going to see much use. No space for a chair, and empty-nesters will probably struggle a bit with lifting themselves out of the hatch onto the roof.
bwana4swahili
Nice design BUT there are units with similar, maybe even better, amenities for considerably less money!
guzmanchinky
I just picked up my new 4x4 Spinter today! I think I will use that boat hatch idea. Mostly the inside of mine will be simple, I want to keep it light and the weight as low as possible. That said, I love sitting on the roof.