Storyteller goes Stealth with its multitool-like 4x4 camper van
A Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 adventure van isn't usually the first choice – or a choice – when going stealth camping, especially when it includes a ladder hanging off one side, an awning on the other, and an air conditioner sticking out of its full-length roof rack. But Alabama's Storyteller Overland is doing its best to make its Mode 4x4 a little stealthier ... or at least darker and toned down. The new Stealth Mode joins an updated 2021 Storyteller lineup that gains a series of improvements, including more space, more charging and improved climate control.
Storyteller got its start last year when it debuted the Mode 4x4 camper van at RVX, immediately impressing with versatile features like an ice chest/shower tub and bed/garage workbench. It's since gone all-in on the Mercedes Sprinter 4x4, doubling down on off-roadability and aggression with the Beast Mode it previewed earlier this year. Now it adds the Stealth Mode to create a three-model 2021 lineup that sees the original renamed "Classic Mode."
Unlike the journey to full-blown Beast Mode, the step up to Stealth Mode doesn't involve any major systems overhauls or additions, but is strictly a cosmetic package that starts with a Selenite Grey Metallic paint job from the Mercedes factory. It's a much subtler look than the bright white with red/yellow stripes for which Storyteller is known but does come with some accompanying graphics and badges of its own. Finishing things off are 18-in matte black wheels, a custom rear step and a hydrocoated grille.
Despite the Stealth's promise of moving "effortlessly between the worlds of sophisticated urban adventuring and endless off-grid exploring," the van should probably leave actual stealth camping and low-profile missions to smaller, subtler rigs like the Wilderness West Coast Mini or Cascade Family (opting out of any bright-red graphics or roof tents, of course). Everything about Storyteller's latest screams, "Ski/bike/surf bums fast asleep behind this tinted glass!!"
The 2021 Stealth Mode wears an MSRP of US$214,327, which drops quickly to $154,454 courtesy of Storyteller's "See-Thru No Haggle Pricing."
The Beast Mode looks even beastlier than it did as a show model back in February, having evolved a little before now launching into production. The first change to catch the eye is the switchover from a thin Hella LED light bar up top to a bigger, bolder set of KC HiLites auxiliaries. Hella hasn't disappeared from the entirely, as it supplies the horn upgrade kit. Predictably enough, the Aluminess paddleboard carrier on the side of the van is gone – it makes much more sense as a standalone option.
The Beast Mode still brings its big performance-oriented upgrade, the Agile Offroad RIP suspension kit with Fox coilovers and leaf springs. The van wears an Owl Vans Sherpa accessory mount and full-size spare on the rear doors and brings in an ARB air compressor and "Boost Mode" off-grid power enhancement. Storyteller's most extensive and expensive conversion package, the 2021 Beast Mode stickers in at a $263,453 MSRP and $189,743 See-Thru price.
Beyond the two new van packages, Storyteller brings lineup-wide upgrades that extend to the new models and the original Classic Mode. The competition over at Winnebago launched a full suite of 2021 Revel updates, and Storyteller keeps pace, even though the Mode 4x4 is newer to market.
The fast-flexing Mode 4x4 floor plan remains the same, but usable space is up owing to a portable induction cooktop that frees up more countertop, an upsized sink and a larger DreamWeaver foldaway rear bed. That bed's 56 x 79-in (142 x 201-cm) dimensions move closer to queen size while keeping the under-mattress platform that doubles as a workbench during the day.
Storyteller adds area to the roof rack for more van-top storage and increases interior cargo and drawer space. It also adds more 110-V, 12-V and USB outlets throughout the cabin for added charging and plug-in convenience. The company says new buyers can also expect a quieter, more efficient 13.5K-BTU A/C, upgraded vent fan, more head space in the rear side flares around the bed, standard bug screens, a hot water recirculation system, and gravity-fill water capability.
Beyond the new upgrades, all Mode 4x4 models stay true to the capable, flexible spirit of the original design. Standard features include the convertible two-child dinette bed, the FlexSpace shower pan with Halo shower stuffed away in the overhead cabinet, a 12-kWh Volta lithium-ion battery bank, a 3,600-W inverter, upgradeable solar charging, and a galley with microwave and fridge/freezer. All Mode 4x4s are based on the Sprinter 144 4x4 with 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6.