Our first Sprinter camper conversion was a 2012 low roof passenger van with limited amenities. It didn’t work out.
We are a family of four and stand by our decision to camp and travel in a passenger van but our decision to start with a low roof van was ill informed and flawed.
5 reasons why we chose a low roof Sprinter:
- It would be a more practical daily driver.
- We could drive under bridges, park in parking garages, or go through a drive thru.
- Additional vertical space wouldn’t offer additional benefits.
- The kids can stand up and I can nearly stand up.
- It cost less.
5 reasons why this reasoning was flawed:
- A low roof and a high roof are essentially the same when using as a daily driver.
- Parking in a parking garage, going through a drive thru, or driving under some bridges may not be possible in either Sprinter.
- Vertical space adds many more storage options!
- I really want to stand up. Oh, my aching back!
- The low roof initially cost less but we lost any initial savings when we sold it four months later.
All about us.
- We are a family of four, including two kids under 10.
- More days are spent driving than camping.
- We love windows!
- CD is 6′ tall and I am 5’8″. We are both over 40 and maybe not as flexible as we once were.
- Sometimes we stop along the road just to hang out in the van.
- Money is a consideration but we would rather spend a bit more to have a van that suits us than have an aching back and a cluttered van.
Passenger Van: Pros and Cons
- The kids can see.
- Improved visual field when driving.
- We can see if the kids are in the van from outside.
- People can see in from outside. It doesn’t bother me really but it is worth being aware.
- We spent a few hours and a little money making curtains. Each day we spend a little time putting up and taking down curtains.
- Safe seats for the kids.
- Seats for family members and friends.
- Spare seats take up garage space.
- The spare seats are not easily removed and re-installed.
Other Sprinter Amenities: Blind Spot Monitor, Electric Running Board, and Cross Wind Assist
These are things that our first van did not have. Do we enjoy these features?
Blind spot monitor: changes my experience every day!
Electric running board: a bench, a welcome mat, a table, and a reminder to close the door fully.
Cross wind assist: We think it actually helps.
Thoughts on rear AC.
Rear AC: It cools the van to arctic temperatures, even on the hottest days. Luckily, it cools all the way to the front as the main AC isn’t very effective. I sometimes walk to the back and realize that the kids need blankets while I am just right. We debate its importance each time we look at solar panels for our roof but then re-affirm our need for it each summer. Our solar panels will work around it and our Maxxair fan fit just fine.
Please follow our blog and our Sprinter adventures!https://ramblingfootsteps.travel.blog/2020/05/23/sprinter-roof-rails-self-installation-12-easy-steps/ https://ramblingfootsteps.travel.blog/2020/04/16/how-do-i-know-when-family-van-life-has-gone-off-the-rails/
For other insight on choosing a van, check out this article!