As much as we love bikes, we also geek out hard on the vehicles that take us to and from the next ride. While the 2015 Winnebago Travato touring RV may come prepackaged and ready for any road trip, there’s something special about dreaming up our own personalized adventure van. And for that, there’s simply no better platform than the new 2015 Mercedes Sprinter 4×4.

For years, aftermarket outfitters have been converting sprinters into four wheel drive beasts, but Mercedes is finally offering it in stock form with a 3.0 liter V6 diesel with 188hp and 325 lb-ft torque. You’ll be able to pick from either the 144″ or 170″ wheelbase with low and high rooflines. The all wheel drive system (which tacks $6,500 onto the base van price) is activated at the push of a button and distributes power 35:65 front to rear and the traction control system takes over to keep the wheels with traction doing the work. There’s even a low-range upgrade ($300) that drops gearing by 42% for even better traction. To make the most of all that, it was lifted 4.3″ (110mm) front and 3.1″ (80mm) rear. While 4×4 models have been offered in other markets, this is the first time for the U.S., and it’s an all-new, lightweight system that adds just 265lbs to the vehicle. Lastly, there’s a new drift control available on all 2015 models that automatically counteracts crosswinds to improve stability.

Almost as exciting for North American customers, Mercedes is building a massive manufacturing plant in South Carolina to build new Sprinter vans under both theirs and the Freightliner brands, alongside their new Metris vans.

Stock configurations are passenger, crew and cargo iterations, which make a good starting point for your own adventure wagon…but it really is just the start. Oregon’s Outside Van has some ideas about how to finish it, and we picked their brains and image galleries to see what it costs to make these your dream vehicle…

Outside Van Basecamp custom sprinter van for outdoor adventures

Outside Van, based in Troutdale, Oregon, has been customizing vans for 20 years, and their portfolio is impressive. I’ve spent far too long on their website spinning through the models and planning my own dream Sprinter (someday, baby, someday). But really, their online gallery is, like the Sprinter itself, just a launch pad since everything they do is custom, and they can help take your concept and make sure you’re really getting what you want out of it. In fact, they even start some customers off with the Basecamp so you can spend a little time in the vehicle to be sure you really want what you think you really want.


The Basecamp 170 comes with five passenger seating, modular bed shelf, full insulation (sound and heat) with interweave wrapped panels, cargo net storage on the rear doors, overhead cabinets and 25 feet of tracks on the floor that’ll fit bicycle fork mounts. Dual multi-speed roof vent fans, powdercoated alloy wheels and stealth Mercedes logo are also included.


The Basecamp vans get reinforced and prewired to accommodate any future upgrades, and they help you get into the van sooner since they’re prebuilt and sold as shown here. A 144″ runs about $83,000 and the 170″ adds a the rear bench seat (shown) and probably about $10,000 to $12,000.

The reason the Basecamp exists is because there’s a healthy lead time for full custom options and they know we’re all the same – when we want something, we want it now! Never mind that all 2015 4×4 Sprinter’s headed for the U.S. are currently sold out through January ’16 (seriously, order now if you want to pick it up by then), but as of this story going live, Outside Van is booked through October 2015. OSV was smart enough to buy quite a few of the 4×4 models, though, so check with them, too.

Once you get your project booked (with a 50% deposit), they say the typical build takes anywhere from two to six months depending on complexity. And they can get pretty complex! Here’s a few examples:

Outside Van Karma custom camper gear hauler mercedes sprinter 4x4 van

The Karma conversion runs between $100,000 and $130,000 (that’s just the conversion cost, above the base vehicle price).

Outside Van Karma custom camper gear hauler mercedes sprinter 4x4 van

The gets you a high powered solar panel on the roof, four leather covered captains chairs and custom cabinetry.

Outside Van Karma custom camper gear hauler mercedes sprinter 4x4 van

Further back is a full stainless steel shower and sink with a hot and cold water system, a three panel bed over top the bike storage and plenty of room for boards, skis and other fun stuff.

Outside Van Brown Pow custom camper gear hauler mercedes sprinter 4x4 van

The Brown Pow was made with mountain biking (and motocrossing) in mind thanks to front and rear hitches and interior storage under the bed.

Outside Van Brown Pow custom camper gear hauler mercedes sprinter 4x4 van

The interior is higher up on the luxury scale with solid bamboo cabinets and LED lighting, extreme soundproofing, stainless shower with toilet, integrated Blendtec blender on the counter, mini-fridge and so, so much more.


Outside Van Brown Pow custom camper gear hauler mercedes sprinter 4x4 van

Up top are three 80W panels, an AC unit and cargo box. The whole package runs between $180,000 and $220,000 depending the bells and whistles you choose. And you can definitely go bigger, with the most audacious custom projects running just north of $300,000.

Outside Van Syncline custom camper gear hauler mercedes sprinter 4x4 van

The Syncline brings things back down to earth a bit with an upgrade cost of $60,000 to $80,000, but it’s still ready for you and a friend to get out there.

Outside Van Syncline custom camper gear hauler mercedes sprinter 4x4 van

The galley has a sink and dual gas burner stove, mini-fridge and drawers, and there’s a solar panel on top here, too. There’s just two seats up front, though, so pick your partner carefully.

We’d heard varying opinions on what constitutes an RV when it comes time to financing these things, and Sonja at Outside Van says it depends on the lender whether the vehicle needs a toilet to quality, or if you can get away without any water features, so shop around. Just be aware that you’ll likely start paying off the vehicle the time you take ownership, not the time you drive it away, so you could be paying on it for quite a while before it’s truly ready for adventure.

Check out more at Mercedes.com and OutsideVan.com


  1. Benjo on

    These are really nice but who whould pay $300k for it when one can purchase an Earthroamer for $275k…on that level the Sprinter can’t even compete…I’ll stick to my extended Chevy express for $25k

  2. James S on

    More proof of class warfare. Who the heck can afford this crap, except the rentier class of greedy parasites? Nobody that works at that Mercedes factory in South Carolina will be able to afford one of these. What’s next on this website – your dream custom 747? Why don’t you just take pictures of big piles of cash and say “as much as we love bikes, we sure love piles of cash”? Yuck.

    • Marcus on

      James, people are people. Some people have figured out how to earn enough money to afford to buy one. If you haven’t, then just do a little research.

  3. RED on

    I would love to hear that Blendtec blender operating in that small space LOL… they need ear defenders at the best of times!

  4. Will on

    Give me a S2 Mitsubishi Delica any day, can go where these can’t, easier to park, cheaper to service/insure/run and can be purchased for under 20k for one in great condition and you don’t look like company rep….

  5. Marc Lindarets on


    The Delica is in an entirely different size class from the Sprinter. We’ve got an ’08 170 (also under $20k) and even with a queen-sized bed in the rear it still has room for a refrigerator, dishwasher, and range. At the same time. Ours isn’t built out yet- but despite a considerably smaller budget will be taking inspiration from OV and others as we pull together a trip/event vehicle that should be comfortable for two people for a week or so. Parking can be challenging, but having spent plenty of time sleeping in smaller vehicles, it’ll be nice to have the bikes inside and some room to stretch out on longer trips or during crap weather.

  6. Yetiman on

    @ James S

    So much hatred from your comment. Just get a better job and maybe you can afford a better lifestyle. Mountain Bikers are cool and if you can afford it, good for you!

  7. Tyler on

    Banjo – the Earthroamers are bad ass, indeed, and I’ve spent plenty of time drilling over their gallery, too. Might do a feature on them in the future. But, they START around $282K and go up to $600K or more. And from what I can tell, they don’t have room to put the bikes inside the vehicle without them just stuck in the living quarters. Personally, one of my goals is to be able to fit a family’s worth of bikes inside the van so I don’t need to worry about pulling them into a hotel room or friend’s garage each night when we travel. And as Marc and others pointed out, there are definitely cheaper and alternate ways to make a dream vehicle, and all of us have different criteria.

  8. Veganpotter on

    I won’t say this is class warfare…just a ripoff. I don’t see why this should cost more than $50k from an Asian/American automaker and maybe $85K from a German company. I’d think differently if it got 90mpg, and/or had close to double the horsepower and maybe 50% more torque. Of course, those things would seem extravagant but that’s what you should expect for $300k

    ***And really? Now extra seats coming out of the walls, or the option of a row of seats behind the front seats?

  9. Tyler on

    The base price of the vehicle with as many rows of seats as you want is much closer to $50K, where it gets up to $300K is when you choose all the options. And yes, they do quite a few with fold down beds and more seating, check the galleries on their website to see it all. They also recommended checking their Facebook page for some more recent builds.

  10. steveo on

    Sportsmobile will definitely offer better value but things like those bamboo cabinets and the stainless shower are very nice looking. Probably less than a hundred k for a pretty complete build, but it wont look anywhere near as nice as the brown pow here. I will keep my chinook econoline until it croaks, not a bad vehicle to own out of warranty unlike the merc.

  11. Will on

    @marc Lindarets
    I traveled around Australia in a Delica with the bikes (including a fridge, that was mainly for beer), if you need something bigger your doing it wrong haha…

  12. Kevin on

    I’ll stick with my 82 VW Westfalia Camper van. Even a reworked Vanagon with a Subaru flat 4 engine would be way better and cheaper.

  13. scentofreason on

    Let’s see, new 4×4 VW golf R: 292 hp/280 lb-ft of torque; 0-60 in 4.9 seconds; 23 city /30 highway; base price $37,000; Thule roof rack and 4 bike mounts $1,000. Subtotal $38,000. Basecamp starts at $83,000. So that leaves $45,000. $45k /$200 a night fancy hotel room = 225 nights of fancy hotel. Let’s be generous and say we take two weeks of vacation for bike trips a year, that’s (225/14) 16 years worth of road trips. I’ll take the VW…

  14. cerebis on


    Well put. I don’t understand the pricing on customized campers. I checked them out a few years ago and could not get over the cost increase over the basic vehicle.

    I’ve a friend that simply got a late-model second hand VW Transporter, built a simple lightweight false floor out of wood (carpenter), threw in a mattress and some camping associated equipment, secured pretty well. With a Thule rack on it, the cost was easily under $5k. He’s a young guy, takes it out with the bikes and other road trips. Removes the floor if he really needs the space for work.

  15. George Stewart on

    I have a 2013 Sprinter. Great van ,trouble free ,150,000 miles.Comfortable , fast ,maintenance is well thought out, and accessible. 20 mpg with bikes on top . 4×4 would be sweet But at 11ft 6 in clearance with bikes on top and 8ft 6 in without I have to watch clearances constantly So around here ( east coast USA ) I would only use 4x in the snow or on the beach Most fire trails out of the question Plus I’ve got a 4x pick up I like being able to sleep any where frm down town NYC to Walmart to meadows without drawing much attention I’d buy another

  16. MikeC on

    Liking that MB is making a 4×4 Sprinter and will be selling them in the USA. Gives me something to think about buying… used, in 10-12 years. In a cargo version and which I will build out my own damn self.

  17. cole on

    Cars are the #1 cause of death for people under the age of 40.
    (and that’s ignoring the secondary affects: pollution, sedentary lifestyle, etc.)

  18. dreamer on

    For now I’ll kit out and get a used cargo sprinter for 25k. When I become astronomically wealthy I’ll get one of these. I won’t be a cynical little b**** just because something is way out of my tax bracket.

  19. hoobie on

    i have a big ol’ Sprinter for my big ol’ family. nothing fancy though. just a bunch of seats and good bit of cargo room in the back. linoleum floors are ideal. if the kids throw up or otherwise spill food on a road trip just park it nose up on a decent sized hill, open up the back doors and hose down the floors.

    it is also great for bike trips as is. with a 4 bike rack on the hitch and three in the cargo we’ve got plenty of room to port 7 stinky dudes back and forth for a day of cycling in the blue ridge mountains. its been a sag wagon for a century ride for 10 people. with tinted windows its a great changing station, (towels are a must – I don’t want your sweaty crack where my kids are going to be crawling all over the place).

    sure, it would be great to have it all tricked out as a bike specific vehicle but it also is has to move people as well as lumber, 1200 lbs of salt bags a few times a year, furniture and other harry homeowner odds and ends. just get a sprinter. if you can’t swing all the hot custom interior upgrades you can always settle for a cool airbrush job of a wizard or something rad like that

  20. Samantha on

    Mine didn’t cost anything like the prices quoted here, so it’s unfair to base all opinions on one or two of their crazy decked out models. My family of 4, plus 80lb dog, 6 bikes, windsurf equipment, paddleboard, etc. lived in it for 5 months. Everything safely inside, out of the elements and living off the grid with solar power in the back of beyond (no 4WD necessary). Cooking with a jetboil and homeschooling the kids. Yeah, it was way more expensive than my clapped out Eurovan, but I’ll take the lifetime of memories it gave us as a family over the stress of putting a tent up in a new place every night, clambouring outside to pee and chaining my bikes/dog to the nearest tree. It also gets way better mileage than my Eurovan too. If I was 20 something and kidless, a Vanagon would be great, but I’m not, so our OSV made our road trip possible.

  21. David on

    Cool van, but the price is laughable. You can get a loaded Nissan NV for about $40K, have Quigley make it a REAL 4×4 for about $12K, and then build yourself a simple interior.

  22. MBR on

    Awesome dream machines… However, in the next couple years will buy another [will be our 3rd] used, extended, 1-ton, Ford van for $7-$10K [with about 80-100K miles], customize for <$2K and drive it until the odometer rolls up to 300K miles or so.

  23. MBR on

    Some math… Used extended Ford van for $10K vs. used Sprinter for $20K. Sprinter gets about 3-4 better MPG [than 5.7 Triton Ford gasoline motor] but higher price of diesel erodes over half that advantage… IMHO, stay away from Ford diesel vans. IMHO, I currently own a 7.3, which is actually a good generation motor, better than 6.0 and 6.4 vintages, but I’ll never own a Ford diesel van again… Back to that math problem – Sprinter getting 20 MPG and Ford 16.5… graciously assuming price of both gas and diesel at $4/gal… Ford burns 4-cents more per mile … into $10K = 250, 000 miles until that diesel saved you any money. We can have another math problem later about the maintenance cost delta of gas and diesel motors…

  24. raistlon on

    Saw one of these blow through an auto auction in Miami for $58K. Sadly, some idiot bit off more than they could chew and decided not to make the payments on their dream vehicle. Tons of custom work, which obviously didn’t bring much at auction. I have a feeling the person who bought this at auction probably kept this for himself 🙂

  25. eric on

    I bought a new Nissan highroof V8 with tech package for $30K and converted the inside for $16K at Roadrunner Vans in Dallas, TX. It doesn’t have a shower, toilet or galley but all of that takes up too much space inside anyway in my opinion. Other than that, is is very comfortable, insulated with A/C and shore power. You can do this for much less if you put some planning and research into it. Not to mention doing the conversion yourself if you are handy. However, OV makes a great product.

    • Todd on

      Eric, I’ve been looking for someone to do some interior work to my soon-to-be camper/4×4 Quigley Econoline. I’m in Dallas…how did you like Roadrunner Vans? I can not find any info on them online. Any help would be appreciated.

  26. Ken on

    I got the shot version 4×4 2015 sprinter nice ride but very poor traction even with the 4×4 big disappointment best case scenario one front wheel and one back wheel working for you. My 2007 gmc Savannah would go anywhere this thing is pretty useless they need limited slip rear ends and diff lock which are not available from Mercedes.


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