Why a Fully Custom Sprinter Van Conversion Might Not be the Best Option for You
The #vanlife is appealing for so many reasons. Owning a camper van makes traveling to your favorite places simple and easy. A well-designed camper van allows you to be comfortable wherever you go.
Nowadays, people looking for camper vans have many options. There are companies across the country that specialize in converting Sprinter vans. Part of this growing trend is the custom van niche.
Fully custom Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van conversions might seem appealing at first—you get to work with a professional builder to design the exact camper van layout that you want. What’s not to like?
In reality, there are several commonly overlooked reasons why a fully custom Sprinter camper van conversion might not be a great choice for you. In this article, we will go over some of the downfalls of fully custom conversions, and tell you how to get the van of your dreams while avoiding these headaches.
Time & Effort
So, you’ve decided that you want a Sprinter camper van. Chances are if you’re reading this article, you’ve already decided on having the work done professionally. Good choice! Many DIY-ers get in over their heads on van builds, and professional conversion companies are a great option for those who just don’t have the time or expertise to tackle this project.
As you shop around for a van conversion company, you’ll find that many van builders offer fully custom conversions—they will work with you to design a layout and choose accessories and equipment that you like. This might sound tempting at first, but the truth is that hiring a company to do a fully custom conversion defeats much of the purpose of outsourcing the work.
Fully custom van builds require you to be super involved in the process, from start to finish. You’ll need to work with designers to make decisions on minute details, such as what type of flooring you want, exactly how much battery power you need, and more.
As anyone who has been through this process can tell you, the decisions that must be made when designing a custom van are virtually endless. Many of them also require in-depth research. What seemed like a fun process can turn into a huge, time-consuming headache.
Finally, wait times for fully custom builds tend to be much higher than those for replicated models. Demand for Sprinter conversions is at a record high, and you could be waiting a year or longer to hit the road in your custom van.
If you’re doing so much of the decision-making for the camper van design yourself, you might think that effort would translate into a lower cost for your conversion. Unfortunately, the opposite is true—custom camper vans tend to cost a lot more than other options.
From a camper van conversion company’s perspective, a custom van conversion is more time-consuming and difficult. Not only do they have to consult with their client on every aspect of the build, but they also have to design and build a completely unique floor plan.
Many camper van conversion companies have streamlined ways of building many parts of their replicated layouts. They use the same vans with the same wheelbase, and have many of the parts, such as the kitchen cabinetry, already fabricated. With a custom build, every aspect must be uniquely fabricated, making production times and costs substantially higher.
If you are set on a fully custom build, you should be prepared to pay your chosen van upfitter top dollar for it.
A great benefit of some of the best Sprinter van conversion companies is their design expertise. When you purchase a professionally-built Sprinter camper van from one of the top builders, every detail has been thought through and you can feel the builder’s expertise as you use the van.
Hiring a company to do a fully custom conversion could have the unintended effect of preventing that builder’s design prowess to shine through. While you may have some great ideas for the upgrades and options you want to include in your van, it can be difficult for builders to actualize their full potential when they have to consult with their clients to make design decisions.
In addition to design decisions, there are endless gear and material-related decisions to make when building a van. Camper van conversion companies have often already done the research and tried several products before choosing components for their vans. You could end up with inferior products if you are deciding on every component, from which awning to include to what wi-fi extender you want on the roof.
Unless you’re willing to commit to a very lengthy and expensive process, it may be a better idea to purchase a pre-designed model from a camper van conversion company whose designs you feel drawn to.
What’s the Alternative?
If we’ve talked you out of a fully custom camper van conversion, you may be wondering how you can still get a van that feels like your own while avoiding the drawbacks explained above.
Some companies, such as Muse & Co. Outdoors, offer pre-designed layouts that leave room for options and customizations. This is truly the best of both worlds – you reap the benefits of Muse & Co.’s decades of combined design and build experience, and you still get the chance to make your Sprinter camper van your own.
Muse Outdoors is a Bay Area custom camper van builder. We offer two models: the Endeavor 5, with seating for the whole family, and the Venture 2, the perfect getaway vehicle for couples or solo travelers. Once you’ve chosen a model, you can select from options and accessories packages to fit your lifestyle on the road. Finally, you get to make your van feel like home by picking one of Muse Outdoors’ professionally curated color and material palettes.