Why Are Sprinter Camper Vans So Expensive?

When it comes to living the #vanlife, there are some popular platforms that road-warrior campers gravitate to. Some people like converting the Honda Element or the Ford Transit Connect, while other well-heeled campers like to buy Sprinters. But why is converting a Sprinter into a camper van so expensive?

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van offers an array of customizations

Greta Thomas and Hannes Wehrmann are cutting wood in front of their Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, which the couple is converting into a campervan.
Greta Thomas and Hannes Wehrmann are cutting wood in front of their Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, which the couple is converting into a campervan. | (Hauke-Christian Dittrich/picture alliance via Getty Images)

You have probably seen at least a few Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans sharing the road with you. It’s hard to mistake the van’s tall, narrow stature and large windows. Plus, a majority of them on road stand out since they’re typically used by companies for fleet services and have the accompanying graphics tacked onto them. But in the hands of a creative camper, there are many different ways to configure a Sprinter.

Pop onto YouTube and you can find a multitude of videos of people converting Sprinter vans by installing beds, desks, and even full-on kitchens in them. Considering that the van is 102 inches tall and 233 inches long, there’s plenty of room to work with. However, the main drawback is the cost to take on such a feat.

Converting a Sprinter into a camper can cost as much as an exotic car

According to The Wayward Home, part of the reason converting a Sprinter van costs so much is due to its base price. A base cargo Sprinter retails for $36,355 while opting for a high-roof version will increase that bottom line to around $51,000, and that’s before adding any customizations. When it comes to the actual conversion costs, the sky is the limit – or more like, your wallet is the limit.

Van Camping Life says that the actual conversion costs can range from anywhere from $500 to $10,000 or more. Basic conversion kits can be found online for around $13,000, while more involved kits can cost even more. If you would rather go all-out, then you can even have a third-party company like Vanlife Customs convert the van for you. However, that can set you back around $60,000 to $80,000.

If you would rather just buy a modified Sprinter camper instead, so that you don’t have to deal with buying a van or even lifting a hammer, then you can expect to pay well over $100,000 for a fully converted one. But if that’s too much of a commitment or too large of a price tag, then there are other ways to get camp out in a Sprinter.

Buying a used Sprinter or renting can save you a ton of money

An extended exposure of a van lifer outside of a converted Sprinter camper van in the Kaibab National Forest on January 08, 2021, in Williams, Arizona.
WILLIAMS, ARIZONA – JANUARY 08: An extended exposure of a van lifer outside of a converted Sprinter camper van in the Kaibab National Forest on January 08, 2021, in Williams, Arizona. | (Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

If you really need to get out on the road and want to get behind the wheel of a Sprinter camper van, then one of the cheapest options is to rent one. There are many companies online that rent out converted Sprinters, typically for a week at a time. In many cases, it should cost around $1,500 to $2,000 for the week, depending on the van size and configuration you choose.

Otherwise, if you really want to own a Sprinter and convert it, then another more affordable option would be to buy a used one and convert it. Many older Sprinter vans can be found selling for less than $10,000 nowadays, which is a far cry from the pricey new-model alternative.

Either way, a Sprinter van is easily one of the best ways to live that #vanlife, but just note, it could cost you an arm, a leg, and a lot of money.  

RELATED: Best Model Years for a Used Mercedes Sprinter