At this point, it feels like the camper van craze is more than a momentary trend. Thor Motor Coach is putting its money on this feeling as well. The new Thor 4×4 Sanctuary camper van is coming in hot and seems to be ready to step to Airstream, Winnebago, and other such mondo camper van builders. If this RV craze has any signs of slowing down, we sure aren’t seeing it.
What is the Thor Sanctuary camper van?
According to New Atlas, when sibling company Airstream came out with its massive Mercedes Sprinter camper van, Thor was nearly ready to spring its version on the overlanding crowd. This new 4×4 Sanctuary could not have come at a better time.
While many camper van builders are going toward the smaller, more affordable camper vans, many of the big dogs, like Thor, are sticking to what they do best: giant, luxurious campers with every amenity known to the explored universe.
Americans are finally getting onboard with van life
In America, bigger is typically seen as better. The massive Class A RVs have been popular here for a long time. However, the smaller, more adventure-ready 4×4 camper vans are starting to creep up on the hefty motorhomes.
According to New Atlas, camper vans still lag far behind other RV styles in terms of total sales, but these “Class B” RVs represented the hottest, fastest-growing North American RV segment of 2020, according to RVIA sales data, having experienced a 70 percent year-over-year sales increase while Class A and C motorhome segments were down on the year.
This unrelenting boom has made RV manufacturers hungry to get a camper van model out to take advantage of this sales frenzy. Now, the all-new Sanctuary debuts as part of a six-model 2022 Thor camper van lineup that includes both Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Ram ProMaster-based vans. These vans have base prices ranging between $76,000 and $151,060.
Let’s take a closer look at the Thor Sanctuary 4×4 camper van
Thor starts off with a camper van favorite, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 144 4×4. This van sports a 188-hp turbodiesel V6. Thor clads the Sprinter exterior up with a standard suite of Thule components, starting with a power awning with integrated lighting and extending to a rear-door bike rack and a roof rack with a ladder. The Sanctuary also rolls on some serious off-road tires and rocks an LED light bar.
Thor offers two-floor plans for customers to choose from. The one shown here is the 19p version which features a convertible rear lounge with a three-seat front-facing bench complete with three seat belts. A pair of left- and right-side seats combines with that bench to create a wraparound lounge area with a removable center table.
When it comes time to settle down for the night, the electric folding benches unfold to create an oversized 70×72-in bed. Although the Thor Sanctuary 4×4 camper van is meant only to sleep two, this bed is nearly a king bed, meaning there is plenty of room for an additional child or two if need be.
The whole front/ middle of the camper van is dedicated to the kitchenette and wet bath. The kitchen is equipped with a two-burner stove, sink, and a drop-down worktop. It also has a stacked fridge/microwave combo, which sits next to the bathroom with a cassette toilette, fold-out sink, and shower.
Lastly, the Thor Sanctuary 4×4 camper van comes with a standard dual-AGM battery, 1,000-W inverter, 190-W solar charging system, and an Onan 2500 LP generator hooked up to an automatic shore-to-generator switch. Those who might need more power capacity can opt for the 400-Ah lithium battery package with a 3,000-W inverter and 170-A alternator.
What’s next for the camper industry?
There seems to be a massive bubble surrounding the camper van boom. But people keep buying them, and as a result, the manufacturers keep making new ones. The RV boom seems to have been born from the necessity of socially distanced vacations. Hopefully, more people learn the benefits of camper van trips, and the demand can sustain real growth and more options for every style and price.