Marine & RVs

The Mercedes Alphavan is King of the Custom Camper Vans

Until recently, camper vans and RVs have often occupied either grandma or weird-cousin Eddie spot in both the motoring and the camping world. They are neither fun enough to drive nor rugged enough for either (pun intended) camp to be fully satisfied. Although the past few years have given rise to various boutique campers and RVs, it has also re-popularized the art of van customizing.

I’m not talking about the wizards and dragon’s airbrushed on the side of your older brother’s ‘76 Dodge Tradesman (don’t get me wrong, those rule!). I’m talking serious, live-in van conversions and 4×4 monster vans that can house a family of five. The Mercedes Sprinter has been the basis of many popular versions, but the Alphavan might take the cake. 

What goes into making a true #vanlife competitor? First of all, size is everything. Even though a full-blown Class A RV will always be the most room, fanciest, and usually cost more, the smaller camper vans are rising in popularity due to the stability on the road and easier access to more remote places. As a result, more companies are investing in high-end, luxury vans.

What is the Alphavan?

Commercial vehicles of the Sprinter type are built at the Mercedes-Benz AG Ludwigsfelde plant
Mercedes Sprinter | Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Much like many bands’ debut albums, it would seem the Alphavan is both the name of the company and the model; the Alphavan Alphavan. The AV is built on the largest Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van currently in production. The AV is a smart, tech-packed, full-sized, luxury camper van that can accommodate up to four people depending on the layout you choose. Oh yeah, it’s got options. 

The Alphavan cabin   

RELATED: This Luxury Camper Van Costs More Than Most RVs

Since it used the largest Sprinter, Alphavan says this model has a mighty luxurious amount of headroom at six feet and nine inches. The master bedroom, as it were, is a lofted queen-size bed that sits atop the main living area. The company goes on to say that the upholstery and furnishings come in a wide range of customizable options. There is a list of tech and gadgets longer than my arm.

The infotainment can give the captain of this land yacht real-time traffic and weather updates and more exciting navigational options (read off-road). The Alphavan can also act as a hotspot for internet in the more remote places of the world. 

The living area features a love seat, a pair of swiveling captain chairs, and of course, a kitchen. The kitchen comes fitted with a two-eye electric stovetop, a 90-liter fridge, a sink, and generous cabinets for storage. It’s basically an NYC apartment, minus the roaches, and you can choose between a view of the Grand Canyon or the Dominican Deli.

There is also a small card/dining table and counter space, all of which have soft, rounded edges to account for the inevitable jostling of a road-going living room. Of course, everything has storage built into and around it. 

No need to Tivo while you’re gone

Apart from the continued list of cleaver storage areas, the Alphavan starts to pull away from the competition in the entertainment and amenities department. Above the fridge is an included 22-inch smart TV that can stream from phones or tablets and is mounted on a swivel mount and everything. This mount allows you to see the TV from any seating area or the bed. 

When nature calls, when you’re in nature

The bathroom is one of the most well thought out sections of the camper. Access to a bathroom is one of the most significant distinguishing differences between “roughing it” and luxury when camping. The Alphavan’s bathroom is a light and airy design that seems to make excellent use of the small space. It features a toilet, pull-out sink, ceiling ventilation, completely watertight sealing, and an extractable showerhead. 

The best and most unique Alphavan feature

The rear section of the Alphavan is where the rest of the vans are all left speechless. There is a small door connecting the living area and bedroom to the back section. This back section has two possibilities. It can either be a second, smaller bedroom for guests or kids, but the cooler of the two options is that it can be used as a small garage! 

That’s right; I said garage. It can fit loads of tools and gear, and even, as Alphavan depicts, bicycles. Now, if it can fit a regular bike, maybe it could fit a dirtbike? It measures 7×5.5×4 feet (that sounds awfully dirtbike-shaped to me).

It also comes equipped with solar panels, a retractable awning, and an outdoor shower with its own water tank. 

A second home on wheels

Lately, many of us feel cooped up and antsy, but also want to be responsible and stay socially distant; the camper van has become the top of the automotive food chain, and the Alphavan is aptly named therein. As reported by New Atlas, We still aren’t sure it’s coming to the states or not yet, but if it does, it is projected to start somewhere around the $148,000 mark. Not bad when considering the Alphavan against a house in the suburbs.