Camper vans are big business these days, with a growing number of companies offering custom adventure rigs in all styles. But even in this quick-moving market, it can be hard to offer a truly innovative product. Love campers and vans? Come join our community group.
Because of their compact style, camper vans tend to follow a similar layout with a bed system in the rear—often over a gear garage—and a kitchen and seating area towards the front. Bathrooms and showers have seen the most innovation recently, with many companies trying new, flexible wet baths (like this and this) to switch things up.
But the coolest innovation we’ve seen lately is from Salt Lake-based Off Highway Van. As a custom builder for Mercedes Sprinters and Ram Promasters, Off Highway Van is used to delivering functional, turn-key camper vans to clients. Now, the company is offering a giant skylight as an option for its customers.
Measuring about 56 inches by 36 inches, the skylight is made by Caleche USA of tempered glass and a steel frame tubing that is welded to the ribbing of the van before being riveted to the roof. The result is a window above the sleeping area, perfect for stargazing. It also adds additional light and an airiness to a part of the van that can feel cramped. When you don’t want to use the skylight, an insulated cover attaches with magnets to block out light and keep out heat.
The skylights are usually included as part of a larger build, but Off Highway Van says they are open to installing them for the DIY crowd in the future (price to be determined)—as long as they are installed prior to other upfitting. Vans converted by Off Highway Vans run from about $67,000 for a Ram Promaster up to $160,000 for a four-wheel-drive Sprinter. Amenities vary but include aluminum-framed lightweight cabinets, air conditioning, and a bench seat that converts into the third panel of the rear bed.
Like moon roofs and sun roofs in cars, it’s likely that some people will love the van skylights and others won’t. It does provide less space on the roof of vans for solar panels, fans, and custom racks, but not everyone has need of those things. Regardless, it’s a fun, innovative take on van design—and a top-notch way to contemplate the stars.