4WD Mercedes Sprinter transformed into adventure-ready motor home
Canadian campervan and adventure enthusiasts Alex Welsh and Patrick Burns from Yama Nomad have recently converted a 2018 four-wheel-drive Mercedes Benz Sprinter into a stunning mobile home. Dubbed Christopher Wallace, the bespoke campervan boasts an interior design that is jam-packed with luxury and space-saving features. The husband and wife duo started the special project together, inspired by their love for camping and adventure.
"My wife and I are fortunate enough to have the Canadian Rockies as our backyard, and they hold a special place with us because we grew up camping and hiking them with our families," Patrick Burns tells New Atlas. "In the recent years we have tried the campervan lifestyle during our travels and we've become hooked! It's truly the best way to travel and is now our preferred way to visit our beautiful Rocky Mountain backyard."
The couple chose to convert the Sprinter for its four-wheel-drive capabilities, giving them the ability to tackle diverse conditions and terrain within the Canadian Rockies. In addition, the van's tried and tested diesel engine allowed the duo to incorporate a diesel cooktop and diesel air/water heater within the interior design, with fuel to the appliances directly fed via the vehicle's fuel tank.
"The Sprinter is the only van (until 2020 when Ford releases the new 4WD Transit) that is available in North America as a 4X4 model," explains Burns. "For us, we wanted to build a product that is fitted for the demands of the Canadian Rockies. Three foot of snow and -30° C (-22 °F) to +30° C (86 °F) and high altitudes. The mountains are unpredictable and we wanted to ensure our rig was ready for anything. On top of that, we trust the Mercedes brand and know that we're providing a premium product, so it lends well with Yama."
The Christopher Wallace living space measures 4.52 m (14.82 ft) long, 2.71 m (8.89 ft) high and 1.7 m (5.57 ft) wide, giving a wall-to-wall interior space of 7.68 sq m (82.66 sq ft). The couple adopted boat-building techniques to complete the conversion, transforming the van's interior to include all that one needs to adventure in style. The end result is a stunning custom-built design that feels more like a tiny home than a campervan.
"The skills and knowledge needed to build an adventure van are most similar to building a boat. These rigs are essentially land yachts," says Burns.
The van boasts two custom Scheel-Mann leather seats that swivel around to provide extra seating and space; dining bench table; additional swivel table for working or eating; bespoke cabinetry throughout to provide plenty of storage for books, clothes, activities and kitchen supplies; custom handcrafted kitchen complete with two-burner diesel-powered cooktop, walnut butcher block countertop, farmhouse style sink and 75L (19.8 gal) fridge/freezer located below the dining bench; bathroom with full shower and Nature's Head composting toilet; and an elevated bedroom with custom-made mattress, reading lights and storage shelving.
The standout feature of the campervan is by far the kitchen. It is not only pleasing to the eye but boasts a thought out design for everyday use and practicality. Clever design features include the use of lightweight Smart Tiles for the backsplash, which are up to 90 percent lighter than normal tiles and are crack resistant. Shallow overhead kitchen cabinets were built to avoid hitting your head when prepping food or washing dishes, and a three-inch (7.6-cm) toe-kick runs along the bottom of the lower cabinetry, providing enough space to accommodate your toes while working in the kitchen.
"We love our front seats from Scheel-Mann, and our kitchen the most," says Burns. "The seats are eye-catching and comfortable, and the kitchen really makes it feel like a tiny-home and not an RV. We've also hand-made all of the cabinetry ourselves which we are very proud of."
Flarespace flares were incorporated into the back of the van, providing additional space to build the double bed width-wise. The duo decided to incorporate an elevated platform-style bed to allow for maximum boot space and room for a comfy bathroom. As a result, the rear storage space is large enough to fit a couple of mountain bikes, inflatable kayaks, stand up paddle boards, skis, or snowboards.
"The Flarespace flares allow for sideways sleeping and save us valuable interior space," says Burns. "If we had aligned the bed lengthwise we would not have sufficient room for the bathroom. We are huge fans of the sideways bed!"
Additional features in the van include fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide/smoke detector; two venting windows for natural light and cross-breeze; three skylights for natural light; two household 120V outlets for personal devices; 91-L (24-gal) tank for fresh water and 91-L tank for grey water; two 160-Ah lithium Ion batteries and a 2,000-W inverter charger; 200-W of lightweight, flexible solar panels; battery combiner to charge the house batteries while you drive; backup 120V shore power plug just in case; CR Laurence t-vent windows; Maxxair roof fan; custom platform roof rack and side ladder; custom side steps and rear tire carrier; and all-terrain tires.
Christopher Wallace is Yama Nomad's showcase build and takes approximately 12 weeks to build from start to finish. The studio is now building custom adventure vans for clients across North America, with bespoke builds starting from CAD35,000 (US$26,547) and average builds between CAD70,000 (US$53,940) to CAD100,000 (US$75,850).
The Christopher Wallace van is also available for rental hire, with prices starting from CA$220 (US$167) per night. According to the team, the van is currently in hot demand and booked out until mid-October. Those interested in hiring it for the next winter ski season are advised to book well in advance.
"We are now working with clients to help them build their dream adventure vans, as well as adding new vans of our own to our rental fleet," says Burns. "We like to stick with our unique style of functionality and beauty and work with clients who want the same in their own adventure van. On the rental side, we love to hand the keys over to our guests, so they can experience our beautiful country in the best van possible. Most of our clients are from the US or overseas in Australia and the UK."
Source: Yama Nomad