Big, burly and often beautiful: Camper vans and adventure Sprinters of Overland Expo West 2019
As #vanlife has grown from cult phenomenon to almost-mainstream lifestyle alternative for the young and young-at-heart, it feels like van dwellers are constantly on the lookout for more distant roads, tracks and spaces to explore. And with that, the market for ruggedized adventure vans and custom overland campers is absolutely booming. The lifted, armored 4x4 camper vans that just a few years ago seemed the exclusive tools of hardy "most interesting man in the world"-type explorers can now be seen parked at local trailheads, ski resorts and Starbucks all over the map, and they're making the annual Overland Expo West show less truck, more van.
We spent the better part of last weekend pushing through ever-wavering weather that regularly pivoted from potent Arizona sun, to gusting wind, to fast-dropping snow and back again, looking over the best Overland Expo West 2019 had to offer. More than ever before, this year's show made it virtually impossible to walk more than three booths without stumbling on another van towering high atop oversized knobby tires, usually a Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 accessorized with various aftermarket components and recovery or sports equipment. Camper vans served not only as advertising tools for the van conversion companies and accessory makers themselves but also for virtually every type of company at the show, proving once again that #vanlife and overlanding are helping to mold the current ideation of what travel and outdoor recreation are all about.
Long story short, there were a lot of different vans. So without further ado, we present to you the vans of Overland Expo West 2019, from the ubiquitous Mercedes Sprinter 4x4s, to the much rarer Mitsubishi Delicas outfitted for cross-continental exploration.