Vanimal Build Series, Part 2

van, Vanimal -

Vanimal Build Series, Part 2

If you have been staying tuned in to our sprinter van build, you are well aware that it is coming along nicely.  If you need to get caught up, start by reading: Vanimal Build Series: Part 1

Once the Mountain State Sprinter crew got rolling, momentum began to pick up.  Now, things are getting real with fancy van "guts" and custom wood.  Without further adieu, let's kick off Part Deux...


The walls have been erected!  It was glorious to see this.  Justin heads the electrical component to their van conversions.  Think of these as the neurons to the brain!  He made sure to get us wired and up to par with the 21st century.  You will see some more of his work below and in future blogs.  Dave heads the carpentry for MSS.  Ever heard of Gibson Guitars?  Yep, let's just say we trust not only his skills, but his advice. 

So, once spray foam settled and the floor installed, the guys got to work on getting up the standard plywood.  This not only offers more insulation, but more importantly it gives the walls a base to be built upon.

sprinter van blog vanimal build series ride atire

Cedar was the name of the game for our humbling abode (with a natural finish).  Why? Well...

"Cedar grows prolifically in damp climates, conditions that enhance the wood with weather-resistance... Cedar wood doesn't shrink, swell or warp to the extent of comparable lumber, even under severe changes in humidity or temperature. Cedar has high thermal insulating properties... Cedar is also sound-resistant." (Thanks for the education

sprinter van blog vanimal build series ride atire

"Hi Dave!"

sprinter van blog vanimal build out ride atire 


While there is a ways to go in getting Vanimal fully lit (pun intended), the gang used their freedom to choose our ceiling/overhead equipment.  While recessed lighting looks super refined, we were more interested overall in functionality and durability.  So, Justin and Dustin installed the Kapper II LED Celing Light (they have secret connections).  So, if you are doing your own conversion, something comparable would be Diamond Group 65430 Slim Line Double LED Dome LightsWhy:

  • Low profile (11" x 4.5" x 1.0")
  • Less than 1lb each
  • Easy on/off button
  • 350 lumen output
  • 12 volt, 3500 K Warm White (more light less battery usage)

Ride Atire vanimal build out sprinter van blog LED lights

The "Guts"

We needed MSS to make this thing tick, just like your typical studio apartment.  And as with most conversions (and the human body), the fewer exposed guts, the better.  So, nice little accessible cubbies are being installed to house those guts, as well as one on the opposite side for additional storage.  These cubbies are being placed over the wheels wells, so as not to be an eyesore and to utilize all space - not letting those wheel wells be a nuisance.  Dustin has been getting down and dirty with the install. 

Vanimal build out sprinter van blog ride atire the guts

(Right side wheel well storage)

Vanimal build out ride atire sprinter van blog

(Dustin, gettin' in there...)

Now for the guts...

Vanimal build out sprinter van blog ride atire


Staying cohesive with with our Zamp Solar Kit, we opted for the Zamp 2000 Watt InverterYou might be new at this (I know we are): an inverter changes direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).  Why is this necessary?  Because DC provides low-voltage power, while AC is constantly redirecting it's current - and quickly, offering more voltage power.  This will be great for items like our laptops, cell phones and even our Vitamix


Who hates cold showers?  We do.  Who loves riding bikes and getting dirty?  We do.  So, who therefore loves warm showers?  WE DO.  Through vigorous research we came to find the Rixen Espar Hydronic System; on-demand hot water and air heater.  The Rixen runs off the van's diesel fuel tank, using minimal gas to run (making it extremely efficient).  This eliminates the need for propane at this source, which also saves interior space.  While there are alternate options for heated water and internal heated air, it was a personal choice to take on the luxury, save the space and eliminate the worry of having a large propane tank inside the van.  This decision came at a cost: $5,200.  Aside from the build out and the van itself, this was the most costly addition - but well worth it. 


While driving, our inverter charges the batteries.  While stopped to ride or drink some beer, the solar panel charges the batteries (during the day, duh).  Those batteries are the Full River DC250-6Each battery is 6-volts and the guys over at MSS installed two of them for us.  These will keep us powered for-eeevvv-eeerr!!  Not really... but it's always fun to say (Yes, The Sandlot).

Mountain Sate sprinter ride atire van build out

Next time, we are hoping to showcase our overhead storage, perhaps the bed and even the kitchen bits....

Have questions, comments, something you would like to see and read more of?  Tell us what you think!

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  • Franco Cefalo

    Hi kind folks at Ride Atire,

    I dig your site. Van Life has become quite a cultural movement. For those scaling down, it means finding better storage.

    High end van conversions deserve a Packasport. These are the most attractive and rugged rooftop box on the market. Each hand crafted fiberglass box is lined with marine-grade carpeting for unparalleled usability, durability and low road-noise.

    We partner with custom outfitters like Outside Van because their clients demand the best. We would love to be recommended to your audience as the highest quality rooftop storage for their Van Life.

    You can find us online at for more details or simply give us a call at 800.359.9870.

    We look forward to connecting with you.
    Franco Cefalo
    Business Development

  • Ride Atire

    Hi Holly. We used a polymer sealant, it gives us the natural wood color while still protecting it. And the budget is still in the works, but we are trying to keep it in the 40s.

  • Holly

    Wow! Nice build. Are you sealing the cedar in any way? What is your overall budget?

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