Ray had dreamed about what it would be like to live in a van ever since he was a child. When vanlife became popular, Ray convinced his wife, Nancy, to try it out. Shortly after deciding they were going to give it a go, Nancy was able to fully retire, allowing them to have the freedom to travel more frequently. Altogether, this beautiful van has cost about $220k total, and after watching this tour, it’s not hard to see why! The craftsmanship is unreal–this van has everything you could ever need, from abundant seating for guests, a fixed queen bed, tons of cabinetry storage, a deep sink, and a two-burner stove. Not to mention their outdoor awning that can withstand 50-mile-per-hour winds.
Retirees’ Luxury DIY 4×4 Mercedes Sprinter
At some point in our lives, most of us will reach retirement. Whether you accumulate wealth faster and retire sooner or wait until old age, it is a certainty that looms over our heads. But it doesn’t have to be dull or secluded, as this couple who built a luxury DIY Mercedes Sprinter 4×4 camper van proves.
Instead of settling for cushy reclining armchairs and sipping tea or coffee on the front porch, they took advantage of the free time that comes with age. As such, they decided to take on a long and daunting project of building a Sprinter van and turning it into a hotel room to enjoy travel every so often.
And the job they did with this van conversion is absolutely immaculate. Not only is everything new, but every detail looks flawless, with carefully curated spaces for every tool and feature, well-placed windows, plenty of amenities, and a light and airy aesthetic that will make camping feel less cramped.
So, let’s get up close with this camper van and see what’s been done to it, starting with the exterior, which has been spotlessly designed. The most prominent feature here is the enormous retractable awning that will let you turn any camping spot into a porch with amazing views. Put down some chairs, maybe a table, and a small barbecue, and you can have a pleasant and relaxing afternoon just about anywhere.
And I do mean that, thanks to this van’s 4×4 system and excellent ground clearance, you can easily go off-grid in remote locations and enjoy the peace and quiet of untouched nature. On top of that, if you feel like you still have the energy and muscles for it, you can go hiking, kayaking, or enjoy other outdoor activities.
Another feature that would make this van a tremendous off-grid rig is the fact that it boasts just about every feature you’d need to not feel anxious. The power system is fantastic, with 430Ah of batteries mounted inside a great management unit that can output either 12 or 24V and is powered by 400W of solar.
Speaking of solar, thanks to a great choice of panels, they only cover half of the top of the van leaving enough space for a roof deck, a storage container, and even a mount for the Starlink system. So, not only is this van off-grid ready, but you’ll also be able to watch your favorite TV shows once you’re done taking in nature’s beauty for the day.
Water is also a non-issue, with a 30-gallon (113.5-liter) freshwater tank mounted in the van’s garage on the wall opposite the battery pack. Beneath the tank, there’s also an electric water heater. The drawback is that it’s not tankless, but it has a timer, meaning you can turn it on in advance and have plenty of hot water for the outdoor shower.
Rounding up the exterior features is a toolbox mounted on the rear doors, where plenty of gear is stored, like the cables for shore power and water fill-up. There’s also a bike rack on top, tools, firewood, fishing gear, and everything one needs inside this conversion.
That leads us to the interior, which has been masterfully executed. That’s no surprise, as this van is clearly a labor of love, built over three years with about eight months of work. There’s wood everywhere, new appliances including two fridges, air conditioning, custom cabinetry, and some wall decorations. There are also a few nerdy touches, like the Chewbacca name on the side, the Wookiex number plate, and the Star Wars font on the Starlink mount holder.
But let’s start at the beginning, with the entryway and driver’s compartment, which features swivel chairs with tool bags hanging on the back for extra storage. Right behind the chairs, there’s a generous lounge area with two couches on both walls able to seat plenty of gusts while hiding the composting toilet and some storage. This is a great choice, as it makes the van feel much more spacious than it has any right to be.
This space flows directly into the kitchen, which is split on both walls, featuring countertop-covered cabinets and utilities. The utilities are also divided on either side, with the sink and fridge on the driver’s side and the two-burner propane cooktop on the opposite wall.
There are also wall-mounted cabinets that offer a generous amount of additional storage and house the buttons for a few electronic features. Those include a switch for the water pump, power management, and heating for both the van and the gray water tank mounted underneath to prevent it from freezing. There’s also a switch for an actuator that can dump the gray water at the flick of a button, increasing the comfort inside this camper van.
The last area inside is the bedroom, which has been built with comfort and functionality in the foreground. It is mounted sideways, taking advantage of the increased width offered by the flared pop-outs for the windows, and boasts a thick, high-quality mattress. There’s also a TV mounted on the wall for some evening entertainment.
Overall, this camper van is an amazing showcase of how you can travel in style and comfort once you have the time for it. The drawback is that you’ll also need a lot of money, as a build like this is not cheap. The Wookiex van project amounted to an eye-watering $220,000, including the cost of the van, but not the labor, as it was a DIY build.