Vanimal Build Series, Part 1
Yes indeed, we are jumping on the #vanlife bandwagon. Without a doubt, this is the way to hit the road to find new trails, explore, and all without worry of who is going to watch the dogs, how to budget for hotel rooms or pack in, pack out the camping equipment (don't get us wrong, we love camping. But, let's get real about priorities: biking, good beer and sleeping). So, we found Mountain State Sprinter - an awesome company, owned by awesome guys in Bozeman, Montana - that was perfect for the job of building out our super spontaneous purchase of a Mercedes Sprinter. (Take note: there is NO wait list to work with this company... at this time.)
Welcome to our progression log....
She is a 2013 Mercedes Sprinter; 2-wheel drive (rear); 144" wheelbase; 6-cylander; High roof (obviously). We picked her up with only 33,000 miles on her, out of Fort Collins, CO, for about $24,000. Our first task was to get her some new shoes: K02 All-Terrain Tires (Five Tens aren't available in her size). *Tires not shown below... clearly.
First up for the Mountain State Printer guys was to install racks on the top of Vanimal. This allowed them to easily attach our solar panel to the rear of the roof. We went with the popular Zamp Solar option; one panel at 160 Watts. We left it up to the guys to make some executive decisions. One of those involved upgrading our controller to one that is capable of managing two charge banks.
We were stoked to hear about the foam insulation! Tested with insulation alone (no flooring or any other internal additions), Vanimal's internal temp started at 58 degrees and dropped to only 52 in 2.25 hours.
After installing insulation, the guys used Stringer Expert Roadkill, Noise Eliminating Mat. This was posted up in strategic spots around the van, but covered the entire floor.
TPO Coin Flooring deemed to be the best option for us. We took into consideration the kind of travels we will be doing, the pooches on board, our bike load, messy friends and ease of cleaning. Went with the grey, because... well... you will see; solely aesthetics.
FANFinally, the guys took the plunge and cut a square in Vanimal's roof. We opted for the MaxxFan Deluxe Roof Vent. It's low profile, rain guards and rumored ease of cleaning won us over.
Walls are currently in the process of being erected! Part 2 will cover that and a few more details. We are excited to be able to walk you through the finished product in the near future! If you are building out a van or are thinking about it, and have any questions or have something to add, leave it in the comments below! Happy riding friends!