Camper vans are typically designed to be part-time or full-time tiny homes on wheels. However, there’s no limit regarding what other purposes they can fulfill. For instance, the rig I’m checking out today is a bit of a wild card – besides serving as a mobile off-grid base, it’s designed to carry professionally trained K9 units.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 144 Off-Road Meets Luxury
What we have here is a 4×4 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with a 144″ wheelbase. It was converted by Mango Vans, a specialized conversion company based in Miami, Florida. The company’s mission is to offer unique products with minimalist designs that blend natural materials with superior off-grid power systems.
Mango Vans specializes in custom builds. The company has done full conversions based on a variety of vehicles. Still, it currently focuses on the Ram ProMaster, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and the Ford Transit, which are by far the most popular cargo vans for camper conversions.
Building a camper van that is meant to accommodate professionally trained K9 units is quite a peculiar request. Still, Mango Vans took it upon itself to devise the perfect rig to fulfill this need. I’ll start by talking about its exterior.
This Sprinter van is finished in black paint all around, which blends beautifully with the Owl Vans Talon bronze rims, which are wrapped in BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrain tires. At the front, you’ll discover an Owl Vans Pismo bumper, complete with a Warn winch. In the presentation video (which you can check out at the end of this article), you get to see it in action, pulling a VW van with no issues whatsoever.
At the rear, you’ll find an Owl Vans ladder/spare tire carrier and a Sherpa carrier, also from Owl Vans. Furthermore, Mango Vans replaced the original door hinges, allowing the doors to support extra weight. Instead of opening 270 degrees like the original hinges, the new ones only open 180 degrees, preventing anything you store in the back from hitting the sides.
On top, there’s a BajaRack holding a Fiamma F45S awning, a StarLikk antenna, and some front lights. What’s more, Mango Vans also added a Houghton A/C. By the way, it’s impossible to feel too hot inside this van – not only does it have a Houghton A/C, but that base vehicle also came with a factory rear A/C.
Just like I mentioned earlier, Mango Vans typically builds minimalistic interiors. In this case, the builders also focused on making it as practical as possible while also keeping in mind the client’s request of being able to bring doggos onboard.
The dark exterior aesthetic continues inside, as the interior is finished entirely in black, with the exception of some accents. What’s more, Mango Vans kept an open layout, so the driver’s cabin isn’t separated from the living space.
Dead ahead as you enter, you’ll discover the galley. With a short van like this 144″ wheelbase Sprinter, there’s not much space to devise a proper kitchen. It’s got the bare essentials, featuring a beautiful Acacia live-edge butcher block countertop and a black ceramic sink. I guess the customer can bring a portable stove if they want to cook.
For storage, you can use three huge overhead cabinets that run along the ceiling, from above the kitchen to the rear of the van. Two smaller ones are above the kitchen, while an enormous one sits above the bed – the latter houses the StarLink router and power supply.
In between these cabinets, you’ll notice the rig’s control center, which is comprised of a heater controller, two outlets, an inverter controller, various switches for the lights, and more.
There are also two cabinets under the countertop – one of them holds a decently sized fridge/freezer. Other notable features integrated into the counter are two outlets, a USB plug, and two switches for the lights.
The rest of the living space is occupied by the bedroom. It comes with an Adventure Wagon MOAB bed mounted on L-Traks, allowing you to lower and raise it to fit your needs. Underneath the bed, you’ll discover the garage, accessible from both the inside and outside the van. This is where you’ll find two kennels.
Mango Vans prides itself on giving its vans proper off-grid capabilities. This unit’s electrical system is located on the left side of the garage, featuring a Victron MultiPlus inverter/charger and BattleBorn batteries, although Mango Vans didn’t specify their capacity. The company claims it’s enough to run the A/C for several hours.
I don’t usually see off-grid electrical systems that aren’t connected to solar panels, but given the few power consumers inside the van, I guess there was no need to fit solar panels.
All in all, this is a nice conversion. Although it doesn’t have the typical creature comforts we find in camper vans, it can fulfill its purpose of carrying K9s over longer distances, keeping them cozy and cool inside.
You can find more info about Mango Vans’ rigs and services on the company’s website. Regarding pricing, the average build starts at around $65,000 (€60,148).