This is the Bee Rocket, a 2024 Mercedes Sprinter 170 extended, diesel, all wheel drive. It has 1000 amp hours of smart lithium batteries, two 30 amp dc-dc chargers, 600 watts of solar, and a 30 amp shore power plug. The goal was to make sure the van never ran out of power. This van was built for a little girl named Juniper. Juniper was injured at birth and her medical issues, due to that injury, make it nearly impossible for her to fly anywhere.
The Bee Rocket: Custom Built 170 Ext. Mercedes Sprinter Van Tour by Viking Van Customs
The rig I’m checking out is not only a beast of a camper van, but it also has an inspiring purpose. Meet the “Bee Rocket,” a Sprinter van converted into a tiny home on wheels that enables a young girl with several medical problems to explore the outdoors.
Before we discuss the mobile home, let me tell you more about Juniper. Juniper was injured at birth – she was stillborn with no heartbeat and no oxygen circulating through her body. Fortunately, the doctors managed to save her, but this unfortunate event left her with many conditions, including a rare form of blindness, cerebral palsy, chronic respiratory failure, and other problems.
Juniper, who’s almost five years old, must be monitored 24/7 to ensure her lungs and airways are clear. Moreover, her last best hope of partly regaining function is going to Arizona to undergo stem cell treatments, as well as visiting powerhouse rehabilitation facilities like John Hopkins in Baltimore. However, due to her respiratory issues, she cannot travel by plane because the high altitude would prevent her from breathing.
Due to unexpected donations, her family decided to build a special camper van that could serve as a mobile home, specially equipped to accommodate all the devices that keep her safe. Of course, the parents couldn’t build the van alone, so they reached out to Viking Van Customs. This specialized conversion company is based in Littleton, Colorado – I’ve written about one of their rigs here on autoevolution.
And so, this is how the camper van I’m checking out today came to life. What we have here is a 2024 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 170″ extended with a diesel engine and an all-wheel drive. It’s the largest Sprinter van Mercedes produces, and Viking Van Customs has heavily modified it into an excellent mobile home.
On the outside, the rig is finished in light grey paint. It’s also fitted with various accessories, such as a side ladder, front and rear pod lights, and a Backwoods Adventure Mods Driftr roof rack holding three 200 W solar panels.
The interior is what makes this Sprinter van stand out. Starting with the front, you’ll discover both the driver’s and passenger’s seats can be swiveled. Above, there’s a massive headliner shelf, perfect for storing bulkier items.
The builders fitted an Espar heater underneath the passenger seat, powered by the vehicle’s diesel tank. Another notable touch is a projector screen mounted directly underneath the headliner shelf. You can use a provided Nebula 3 laser projector, which comes with Android TV and can also serve as a Bluetooth speaker.
Behind the driver’s seat, you’ll find the “medical shelf,” a custom-built feature that houses all the equipment needed to keep Juniper safe and comfortable. Viking Van Customs measured each piece of equipment to make sure everything fit perfectly. Furthermore, it features outlets and cubbies, each integrated with bungee cords, so things don’t fall out while driving.
As you can imagine, this medical equipment takes up a lot of power. That’s why the medical shelf has its own 15-amp breaker. Moreover, the rig is equipped with an extremely potent power system – more on that in a bit. Look above, and you’ll notice four overhead cabinets custom-made by Viking Van Customs out of baltic birch. They come with gas struts and a soft-close mechanism.
You’ll discover a captain’s chair near the medical shelf, complete with a Lagun table, perfect for enjoying a meal. This is where Juniper will sit so she can use the table to do kids’ stuff, such as playing with toys or drawing. Moreover, another identical captain’s chair is on the opposite side of the van, by the entrance.
Seating options don’t stop there – there’s a Freedman fold-down seat with two seatbelts. Whenever it’s not in use, it can be flipped up to make some extra room.
Next, we have the kitchen, which is located on the passenger side of the interior. It features a tiyn stainless steel sink, a spacious oak butcher block countertop, an Isotherm fridge, and an overhead microwave mounted next to two overhead cabinets.
The final part of the living space is the bedroom, located at the rear of the interior. It has a MOAB (Mother of All Beds) Elevator Bed – it’s not electronically controlled, but what makes it an “elevator bed” is that it can be raised and lowered because it’s mounted on L-Traks. All you need to adjust it is a 14-mm socket.
Other notable features in the bedroom are an adjustable 12 V fan, a couple of outlets, USB plugs, and a Maxxair fan integrated into the ceiling.
Even when the bed is in its lowest possible position, it leaves a ton of room underneath in the garage. Just like in most camper vans, the garage boasts a lot of space in the middle, while the sides are occupied by cabinets, which offer extra storage and house the utility systems. There are also L-Traks mounted to the floor, enabling Juniper’s family to safely store her “activity chair.”
Before I tell you more about them, there’s one corner here explicitly designed for Juniper’s needs: an oxygen tank holder. If you’re remotely familiar with oxygen tanks, you know that they’re extremely flammable. So, naturally, Viking Van Customs had to come up with a safe solution to integrate them. It can fit a total of four oxygen tanks. For extra security, they’re also held by straps to ensure they don’t move one bit.
The electrical box sits on the left side of the garage. This van’s electrical system is truly powerful – it comprises a 3,000 W inverter/charger, a whopping 1,000 Ah of Victron smart lithium batteries, two 30 amp DC-DC chargers, a 30 amp shore power connection, and a solar charge controllers connected to the 600 W solar panels on the roof.
There are also some battery protectors, fuses, breakers, and other components. One distinctive feature is a MiHeat heating pad lined on the inner side of the electrical box’s top panel, ensuring the batteries will remain at an adequate temperature even when traveling in colder environments.
It’s more than enough to use day-to-day amenities and support the energy draw of Juniper’s medical equipment. Furthermore, all the critical info regarding the power system, including the solar output and consumption, is shown on a Victron Cerbo GX display inside the van.
When it comes to plumbing, this can is minimally equipped. You’ll find a 6-gallon (23-liter) freshwater tank in the cabinet underneath the sink, alongside a 6-gallon greywater tank and a 30-gallon-per-minute (151-liter-per-minute) water pump. There’s also no toilet or shower, but Juniper’s probably didn’t need them, nor did they need an extensive plumbing system.
All in all, this is an excellent tiny home on wheels. It’s very well-equipped, especially regarding power, and it’s got an efficient and comfortable layout. However, the most important part is that it frees Juniper of her physical constraints and offers her a chance to get better and go wherever her interests take her.
Props to the team at Viking Van Customs for bringing Juniper’s family’s dream to life. If you’d like to show some support to Juniper, you can check out her blog, where you’ll also find information on how to donate if you wish to do so.