For those who’re in search of a go-anywhere van to rework right into a cell cabin, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 is a good alternative. It is one of the crucial well-liked #vanlife decisions round, with manufacturing unit four-wheel drive and quite a lot of physique and wheelbase configurations. It is principally a clean slate—one thing we now have highlighted time and again. Some upfitters construct relatively affordable Sprinter-based overland rigs and RVs, others pull out all of the stops. The general number of Sprinter options is overwhelming. Add Storyteller to your checklist of Sprinter upfitters, close to the highest, ideally—as a result of their MODE 4×4 collection appears the enterprise.
The corporate has been within the upfitting enterprise for a very long time, its founder Jeffrey Hunter tells us, however solely just lately have they gotten into the overlanding/vanlife area of interest with the Storyteller Overland brand. And moderately than purchase a Sprinter and ship it to an upfitter for a completely customized conversion, all of the Storyteller MODE vans are constructed extra like a collection manufacturing automobile. There’s just one inside format, and there are three “trim ranges”—the common MODE, Stealth MODE, and Beast MODE. Every provides options and facilities, however the underlying similarity streamlines manufacturing, distribution, and retains costs decrease.
That additionally means the Storytellers can be found by means of conventional shops: RV sellers. You possibly can finance them and insure them extra simply than you can a totally customized job. Decreasing the wait time, and the hassles concerned, is smart enterprise. Hunter is detest to speak numbers, however he admits the corporate is on monitor to ship 400 vans this yr, outstripping demand from stocking sellers. That is spectacular for a newcomer to the overlanding enterprise.
What’s extra spectacular is inside every of those vans, as a result of that is an present firm that studied this transfer into overlanding very fastidiously earlier than hopping in. The format is considerate, with a versatile inside area that is not too cluttered. A mattress platform folds down over 103 cubic toes of versatile cargo space with tie-downs—room for bikes, baggage, containers, you title it. That area is not impeded on by the mattress platform. Two cozy wanting soar seats additional ahead—subsequent to the induction vary, sink, and fridge—may also fold down right into a mattress. The entrance captain’s seats swivel 180 levels to kind a lounge environment. It appears inviting, clear, however not opulent—simply the correct tone for a van constructed for journey.
Stealth MODE is especially an look improve over the fundamental van, with a darkish look constructed round Mercedes’ Selenite Gray Metallic exterior shade. It is stylish however understated. However the rather more extroverted Beast MODE provides even bolder dress-up choices, just like the retro-fantastic graphics and KC Highlights lighting package deal, with some useful enhancements.
The upgraded suspension, which permits for 275/70R17 tires, improves floor clearance barely and gives a smoother journey. There’s onboard air from ARB for airing down the tires if issues get furry. And there is a 12-kWh battery system with 90 watts of solar energy for boondocking.
Hunter additionally hopes that Storyteller will differentiate itself from different upfitters with questionable information on buyer satisfaction when one thing goes improper. An app with sources on the gear on board—which, bear in mind, is usually the identical in the entire firm’s vans—and a service appointment scheduling instrument goal to assist on these fronts. It isn’t the rationale anybody would purchase one, however taking a few of the headache out of the possession expertise is admirable.
Storyteller’s MODE to return in at $149,748, and the Beast MODE to return in at $189,743. In comparison with choices from the large firms, like Winnebago and Airstream, the Storyteller’s pricing looks as if a win—plus, these are constructed from the bottom as much as match the overlanding way of life.