Blue Sky 4x4 camper van brings the family fun, outside and in
Many camper vans end up pigeonholed into certain categories — full-time two-person living, family camping, weekend gear-shuttling — but the new Blue Sky camper van from Outside Van defies such categorization. It's part family van, part gear shuttle and part mobile arcade. The van accommodates a family of four comfortably on the road and at camp, carries and repairs bikes and other outdoor gear, and houses a modular interior that makes nights and rainy days more fun with a complete gaming system and van-wide audio.
The family that commissioned the Blue Sky — technically "Mr. Blue Sky" — is serious about both indoor and outdoor living. They wanted an adventure-mobile for exploring and mountain biking off the beaten path, but they didn't want to have to go cold turkey on video games during their trips. Thanks to lithium battery technology and the wealth of van customization solutions offered up by Outside Van, they can have it all.
Outside started its build around the gaming system and worked outward from there. A purpose-built overhead cabinet holds multiple game consoles and controllers. More than just a basic cabinet, this one includes 110V, USB and HDMI hookups, dual vents and a 12V mini-fan to keep everything running and running cool. The 32-in TV next to the cabinet is mounted on a swivel so it can be faced toward the rear benches/beds or toward the swiveling rear passenger seats.
Outside finishes the gaming system off with a JL audio system with dual amps, speakers from the rear doors to the dashboard, and subwoofers below the rear passenger seat. A master control screen mounted to the outside of the console cabinet makes it easy to switch between sources and adjust audio settings.
Outside keeps that gaming system, along with other electrical amenities like the microwave and air conditioner, running with a 600-Ah lithium battery system with 2,000-W inverter. A secondary alternator and 90-W roof-mounted solar panel work to keep those batteries charged.
Assuming they don't find themselves gaming through the night, the four Blue Sky family members sleep on the dual-bunk stack at the rear of the van. The fully modular bed system has an upper bed that sets up on sidewall rails and a lower bed with center panels that pop out to serve as the Lagun swivel tables of the dual-bench rear dining lounge. The beds look a little cramped, without much room to sit up, but the overall layout is a pretty slick, versatile way of sleeping four people without adding a pop-up roof or giving up daytime livability.
With a larger Sprinter, Outside might have been able to slide in a wet bathroom and full kitchen, but the Blue Sky maintains nimble footing on a 144-in (366-cm)-wheelbase 2019 Sprinter 4x4, the smallest available Sprinter. As such, the bathroom is but an outdoor rear shower and the kitchen but a compact block with centered flush-top sink and under-counter Isotherm fridge, no stove. Campers can do their cooking on their own camping stove or rely on the microwave built into the overhead cabinets across the aisle on the driver's side.
The kids stay comfortable during the ride to and from camp on individual rear captain's chairs that look way comfier than the cramped dual-seat dining benches on which many European camper vans rely.
The open aisle through the rear load doors offers plenty of space for gear, bikes in particular, and L-track and D-rings are mounted all around for tying everything down. The electrical hardware, 76-L fresh water tank and Espar diesel air/water heater are concealed below the rear benches. A rear-door bike clamp makes for easier tune-ups, and an integrated air compressor with under-bumper hookup fills up low bike and van tires.
The Blue Sky exterior wears custom crossbars and a cargo box on the roof, steps on the sides, a ladder on the back, and LED auxiliary lighting up front. The van also gains an Agile Offroad suspension, 17-in Black Rhino wheels shod in BFGoodrich KO2 tires, and a Fiamma awning.
We don't have a price for this custom build, but Outside does have a list of available and sold camper and adventure vans that range between $84,000 and $289,500. The most expensive van on the list is the experimental Next Gen, which will be available in July.
For a full six-minute tour of the Blue Sky camper van, click the play button below.
Source: Outside Van