The outdoors world is chock-full of DIY conversion vans, (it’s a big reason why we started a brand-new van-focused community group) and many of them are marvels of ingenuity and sweat equity. But sometimes you need to turn to the professionals for a van with all the luxuries of home—and then some.
We’re always excited to see what Oregon-based Outside Van cooks up with their custom-built adventure vans, whether it’s a no-frills mountain biking oasis for two, or a sleek and modern 4x4 ready to off road. Now, Outside Van is selling a 2016 4x4 Mercedes-Benz 170 3500 Sprinter, aptly named the Power Station, and let’s just start here: This top-notch roving home is downright gorgeous.
Built to take bike and camping trips, the Power Station is a bike-centric power hub ready to tackle the outdoors. A gear garage holds bikes easily below the bed, and three long-life, extreme capacity, high-output AGM batteries and a 2800 watt inverter can charge an electric bike to full battery. That’s also enough power to run the rooftop air conditioner for up to eight hours off-the-grid, and van dwellers can even use a hair dryer while making a smoothie in the recessed Vitamix blender. Because why not?
Most campers won’t use that much power on the road, but the Power Station doesn’t skimp on other van amenities. A foam queen size bed sleeps two while a laser cut Outside Van logo on the bed’s three-panel base allows for better breathability. In a similar vein, the ceiling is lined with Majilite Nytek vinyl, a porous material that breathes by transmitting moisture vapor through billions of tiny micropores. As any DIY-er who has done their own insulation can tell you, this breathability is important; especially in humid climates, vans can accumulate a ton of unwanted moisture inside.
A galley kitchen features Avonite counter tops, bamboo cabinetry, a microwave, an induction stove, sink, a stainless steel refrigerator, and a bamboo cafe table for eating. Other overhead bamboo cabinets provide clothes and gear storage, while LED lighting embedded throughout the van will keep you going strong even in the darkest of winters. All of the factory seats have been reupholstered with high-end, two-toned leather, and the other fabric used in the van is made of hemp.
While many vans forego an indoor shower due to space constraints, the Power Station uses a full-size stainless steel shower enclosure with a bamboo exterior. Or you can shower in the rear of the van with an exterior shower head and hose system. A 40-gallon freshwater tank gives you plenty of water, and outside, extra light bars, an awning system, and solar panels round out the amenities.
Because of all the custom features, the Power Station doesn’t come cheap. With just over 5,000 miles, this 2016 rig is asking $240,000. That’s out of reach for most #VanLifers, to be sure, but not nearly as much as some of the over-the-top RVs we’ve reported on. For other custom builds, Outside Van’s prices start at $89,000, including a 4x4 Mercedes Benz 144 Sprinter.
Sticker shock aside, what we love about Outside Van is their ability to come up with creative solutions that help shape the future of the camper van industry. We didn’t know we wanted a way to charge an electric bike from a van, but now the Power Station has us dreaming. Watch the video and see more pictures below.
—All photos provided courtesy of Outside Van