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Camper van with skylights lives large in 100 square feet

Don’t let your van feel like a cave

All photos courtesy of Outside Van

Anyone who loves camper vans is likely not looking for a ton of space; even the largest of vans won’t have the square footage of a giant Class A RV. But what you sacrifice in living space you make up for in maneuverability and ease, to say nothing of how easy it is to stealth camp wherever your adventures take you. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.

Compact vans are like tiny homes, some feel warm and cozy, while others have an almost industrial feel. Whatever their styling, however, most vans rely on good lighting to keep the space from looking like a dark cave. That’s important, because no matter how functional or creative your van is, no one wants to live or play in a depressing, darkly lit home-on-the-road.

Oregon-based Outside Van has another option on how to add light to a compact Class B: a skylight. Like Sportsmobile and other outfitters, Outside Van creates campers from base vehicles like the Dodge ProMaster, Nissan NV, or Mercedes Sprinter. We’ve featured Outside Van before, but unlike the jet-set luxuries of the Valhalla build, the skylight-filled Silver Swan is a simple, airy take on an adventure rig.

While not a new concept for RVs, we haven’t seen a ton of skylights in custom adventure vans, which makes the Outside Van-designed Silver Swan unique. Custom built on a 4x4 Mercedes Benz 144 Sprinter, the van boasts two skylights, one in the bed area and one in the kitchen area. The long rectangular openings allow for plenty of natural light to brighten up the interior.

Beyond the skylights, the Silver Swan can accommodate two people and their gear in its relatively short length. The interior features all of Outside Van’s standard amenities (a marine grade floor, custom wheel tub boxes, full insulation, wall and ceiling paneling, and LED lighting), and two people can sleep on the three-panel bed.

The van also boasts an exterior hot-and-cold shower, a Mac Trac mounting system, and a small galley kitchen with storage and a simple sink. While you won’t find any bathrooms, kitchens, or showers in this mini-beast, there’s plenty of room for bikes, snowboards, or climbing gear underneath the bed. A roof vent will keep you cool in the heat while an exterior awning provides shade, and the whole design looks perfect for a couple or a single adventurer who likes cooking outdoors and packing light.

Outside Van’s custom work doesn’t come cheap, no matter the design. Each build-out is custom, so pricing varies, with many running well over $100,000—cost of the van included. Two Mercedes Sprtiner vans currently for sale on their site cost $123,100 and $147,965. That will no doubt seem expensive to most people, but for those with means who lack the time or skill set for a DIY build, it’s an option.

For everyone else, the Silver Swan’s sleek skylights provide inspiration on how to make a tiny van seem larger.