Outside Van: A New Approach to Custom Adventure Camper Vans

Outside Van: A New Approach to Custom Adventure Camper Vans

Both new custom camper vans are built on 2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinters.

Outside Van, a company that’s built custom camper vans for two decades, has morphed all that one-off experience into constructing two mass-produced adventure vans that check all the boxes. Called the Approach and the Syncline, these two Outside Van models will be built at a second, dedicated 130,000-square-foot facility that’s south of Outside Van’s current manufacturing facility. The Approach is based on an all-wheel drive 2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 170, while the upcoming Syncline will be on the smaller 144-inch wheelbase chassis. Outside Van has decided to tackle the larger van first, with the smaller targeting the fourth quarter of 2023.

The Outside Van Approach is a mighty fine looking adventure van, inside and outside. It comes with a $276,000 price tag, but we’re not necessarily mad about it, considering that price includes what you see in the pictures. It’s not like there’s a low base price, but the outfitted van that’s advertised and that you actually want doubles the price. And it’s financeable (if that makes it okay?) and available through select dealerships.

The Approach comes in Selenite Grey Metallic or Stone Grey, complete with an Outside Van trademark wrap for extra snazziness. It has an aluminum ladder to access the Safari-style roof rack, a rear step for maximum stepping prowess, and retractable running boards for less off-grid mishaps. The obligatory Rigid Industries 50-inch light bar is present, as are fog lights, under-awning lighting, and rear roof floodlights. The 17-inch Black Rhino wheels are covered in 265/70R17 BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrain tires, a fine setup for hitting some dirt. We dig the on-board air system with three air chuck locations for quickly airing-up tires.

The Outside Van Approach sits and sleeps four, mandatory for family adventuring. Two reupholstered, totally comfy looking DOT-approved reclining captain’s chairs are directly behind the reupholstered swiveling driver and passenger seats. When dinner calls, a two-post dinette table fits between the four chairs; the table also fits in the rear of the van between opposing benches. When it’s time to sleep, those benches convert into a lower bed. The upper bed is a stackable three-panel bed system with an accordion folding mattress. Hence, the whole rear from the vertical storage cabinet back turns into big bunk beds to sleep four. There’s even a TV back there.

Outside Vans is proud of what it calls a “hidden water box.” This box, covered by a section of cushioned bench seating, houses a porta-potty that can be used in the box (since two sections of the box fold down for easier access. To shower, remove the potty from the box, set up the removable shower curtain, and enjoy. Just make sure that curtain is inside the box so you don’t flood your van. This is a great way to have bathroom capabilities without actually having a defined bathroom, which takes up space. There’s also a rear exterior shower hookup with a hose holder and magnetic shower curtain.

Opposite the hidden water box is the galley (kitchen) with a sink and faucet, stainless refrigerator underneath, and microwave overhead. A portable induction cooktop can be placed on the countertop when in use, and stowed in the overhead cabinetry otherwise. The dinette table stores nicely alongside the side kitchen wall. There are 20 gallons of fresh water and 22 gallons of grey water.

The lithium-ion-based Volta battery system provides 13.2 kWh of capacity. There’s a 3,200-watt inverter and a 140-watt rooftop solar panel. A Rixen hydronic diesel system handles cabin heat and hot water, and there’s a 48V rooftop air condition. There are two Maxxair Maxxfan Deluxe roof vents. Flush-mounted, dimming LED lighting pods brighten the cabin, and there’s additional LED lighting for the slider door, lower garage gear area, and overhead rear doors.

The new Approach from Outside Van is a well-rounded camper van that has the niche, custom adventure van look, function, and feel not found in other mass-produced camper vans. Sometimes it’s good to let someone else do all the hard thinking.

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