7 Tips for Designing Your Sprinter Van Floor Plan
Designing your Sprinter Van floor plan shouldn’t be a rushed process. Yes, you’re excited. Yes, you want to get started. Yes, you want to hit the road. But remember, the layout you decide on for your Sprinter Van is basically permanent, and you want to make sure you get it as right as possible the first time.
When I was designing my van’s floor plan, I knew I wanted a couple of things. My major priorities were:
- To sleep vertically down the van
- To maintain the walkway to the back of the van
- A place to set up my laptop
- A bathroom
At the time, I couldn’t find too many 144” Sprinter vans that accommodated all of these things, so I had to think a little outside of the box. For the most part, I’m pretty happy with how my floor plan turned out, but I’ve also learned a lot since I had my van converted. Now I want to share some tips and advice to think about as you go through the process designing your own Sprinter Van floor plan.
Thinking about converting a Sprinter Van? Here’s 7 things to do before you decide on a final floor plan.
1) Travel in your van empty before you decide on a floor plan
At first, all you really need in your van is an air mattress, sleeping bag, camp stove, and cooler. Hit the road with your essentials and see how you are using the van. I was sure I needed a shower in my van, but now that my van is fully built out, I’m not using it as much as I thought. Had I taken a few road trips in my van before building it out, I may have realized it wasn’t as necessary as I thought. You’ll also see how much off-roading you are doing. If you find yourself mostly on dirt roads, you’ll want to consider that as you are deciding on materials and weight inside your van.
2) Go to Overland Expo
I so wish I had gone to the Overland Expo before I built out my Sprinter Van. The Overland Expo is a twice a year gathering in Flagstaff and Asheville where hundreds of adventure-mobiles and vendors gather for a weekend of sharing ideas and the latest products. People at the Overland Expo are extremely knowledgeable and all about opening up their doors to show off what they’ve done. I took my van to the Overland Expo for the first time in May, and one of the most functional Sprinter floor plans I saw at the Expo belonged to @advanturing . They had a Sportsmobile converted pop top, an open aisle that allowed you to walk all the way to the back, and a galley where the side door opens up. I came home with about a zillion new ideas that I’ll definitely consider if I decide to build out another Sprinter van one day.
3) Join the Sprinter forums
I admittedly don’t spend enough time in the van life forums. The Expedition Portal, Overland Bound, and the Sprinter Source are three great ones where you can ask questions, check out van builds, and get all kinds of ideas for your design.
4) Talk to different Sprinter builders about floor plan options
Even if you plan to DIY, talk to custom van builders or at least thoroughly dig through their websites to give you new ideas you hadn’t thought of. Companies like Sportsmobile have been building out vans for more than 50 years and have a wealth of information. They know what works and what doesn’t, and they use the tried and tested products in their own conversions. Browse websites like these and figure out what solar and plumbing systems they use to help narrow down your choices. Also, don’t miss my post 10 questions to ask your potential van builder before you sign any dotted line.
5) Think about the long-term
How you use your van now might be different than a year from now. For instance, when I bought my van and started building it, I was single. Now I’m in a relationship with my boyfriend Ryan, and we have a dog named Charlie. My floor plan still works for our family of three, but my storage needs changed after the fact. My advice is to think about the future and make sure your floor plan is appropriate for whatever direction your life might go.
6) Put a functional Sprinter Van floor plan before aesthetics
Of course, you want a beautiful van that fits your style. No matter what you decide for your Sprinter Van floor plan, you can always put some nice finishing design touches on your van that speak to your personality. But making room in the right place for your water tanks, electrical system, and functional elements is the first step, and you shouldn’t even start thinking about aesthetics until you have the inner workings figured out.
7) Follow my @sprintercampervans Instagram account
I started an Instagram account called @sprintercampervans where I share other people’s awesome Sprinter Van photos. It’s a great place to get innovative ideas for your build, connect with other Sprinter Van enthusiasts, and ask questions.