Sprinter Van Camping Conversion: 3 Recommend Purchases

We are on our third Sprinter and our second camping conversion. I have a taste for high end Sprinter conversions but a budget more in line wiht a working mom. Here are 5 items that we used in our first van and will definately be using again!

1. Maxx Air Fan and vent adapter

We live in the Pacific Northwest where fans are for more than comfort. With that being said, there is nothing better than the feel fresh air while sleeping.

Don’t be intimidated by self-installation. We have done it successfully -twice and don’t have any regrets.

Here are a few tips:

1. DIYvan in Hood River sells an adapter. We have used it each time and wouldn’t want to install a fan without it! Check it out!

2. Safety glasses are needed.

3. Check the weather report – your van will have a hole in it all night while the sealant dries

4. The anticipation and fear is the hardest part. This improves after the first cut.

5. New blades are worth the money.

6. The roof may get scratch but no one can see up there anyway.

2. Cupboard Hinges / Cabinet Door Lift Pneumatic Support

It doesn’t take long to realize that cupboard hinges are a key to happy van life. There is nothing worse than plates falling off shelves, food spilling, or listening to squeaking hinges. I couldn’t be more happy with our hinges. We picked them up on Amazon and have never looked back!

Here are the two products we love!

  • 80 Degree Folding Sofa Bed Cabinet Hinge Spring Hinge (2 Pieces)
  • DerBlue 4 Pcs 200N/45lb Gas Strut Lift Support Cabinet Door Lift Pneumatic Support

3. 80/20 Aluminum

80/20 is easy to install, strong, versitle, and we love it. We have used it for everything from a roof rack to secure interior features, including cabinets.

Stay Tuned …

Finally, stay tuned for more “must-haves” and even some “don’t need” items. We are waist deep in DIY electric and hope to have many useful tips to share.
Wish us luck!

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Check out some great van additions!

What exactly is stored under the kids seats?

We removed the second row in our Sprinter but left the third. The kids sit there.

So, what did we keep under their seats when we traveled last summer?

These are just the right size for under the back seat.

Under Grace’s seat we kept two collapsible canvas bins. The first one pushed back so that the second one would fit as well.

The first one had six swimsuits and two pair of goggles.

This may seem like an odd choice but we have been to splash pads in nearly every State and Province that we have driven through. I even had an idea to make a splash pad locator app for parents traveling with kids. I didn’t follow through when I realized that other parents may not be as excited about having wet kids in the car on and off day after day. In any case, it didn’t take long for us to see the benefits of accessible kids swimwear.

The Sprinter acts as a mobile changing room. When they are motivated by a splash pad, the kids can get their suits on in under two minutes flat. After the fun, they can just slip their clothes back on and hang the wet suits on our make shift Sprinter clothes line.

One of the earlier ones. A good example of why we pack readily accessible swimwear. This was more of a fountain that a splash pad and not too many people in Aspen were into playing there. We liked it! Sprinter DIY
Passing through Salt Lake City on a super hot day. Sprinter DIY

The second bin contained sunscreen and towels.

The middle row held the trash can. CD made it out of re-purposed heavy duty cardboard. It was just the right size and height.

There were also two bins under HB’s seat. The bin farthest back contained playing cards, dice, and travel board games. I added Racko to the mix last year but the kids lost interest once they found out that it was my favorite.

The second bin had a mix of drawing pads, notebooks, pencils, and pens. These got a fair amount of use both on the road and when we were stopped. HB made a fairly elaborate picture journal on our way out of Yellowstone last year.

In true CD style, all of the bins and the garbage can were held in place by a bungee cord and 3 mm accessory cord. They never slid forward when we braked so I guess this technique worked.

We will definitely continue to use the bins and garbage can but I imagine that the contents will evolve over time. I hope we stick with swimsuits and towels. Prioritizing such non-practical items just seems like a sign of a family that is out for a spontaneous and carefree good time!

Since my splash pad app never took off, here is non-comprehensive list of great splash pads we have found.

  • North Carolina (Ashville)
  • Florida (Marco Island)
  • Minnesota (Sauk Centre)
  • Ontario (Wiarton, Grand Bend, Bayfield, Port Elgin)
  • Michigan (Millennium Park; Sparta)
  • Colorado (Aspen)
  • Oregon (Corvallis)
  • British Columbia (Kelowna)
  • Alberta
  • Utah (Salt Lake City)

Sprinter under seat storage.

What is under the kids’ seats?

We removed the second row in our Sprinter but left the third. The kids sit there and we keep our day use items in the under seat storage.

So, what do we keep there?

These are just the right size for under the back seat.

Under Grace’s seat we kept two collapsible canvas bins. The first one pushed back so that the second one would fit as well.

First Bin:

The first one had six swimsuits and two pair of goggles.

This may seem like an odd choice but we have been to splash pads in nearly every State and Province that we have driven through. I even had an idea to make a splash pad locator app for parents traveling with kids. I didn’t follow through when I realized that other parents may not be as excited about having wet kids in the car on and off day after day. In any case, it didn’t take long for us to see the benefits of accessible kids swimwear.

The Sprinter acts as a mobile changing room. When they are motivated by a splash pad, the kids can get their suits on in under two minutes flat. After the fun, they can just slip their clothes back on and hang the wet suits on our make shift Sprinter clothes line.

One of the earlier ones. A good example of why we pack readily accessible swimwear. This was more of a fountain that a splash pad and not too many people in Aspen were into playing there. We liked it! Sprinter DIY
Passing through Salt Lake City on a super hot day. Sprinter DIY. Sprinter under seat storage.

Second Bin:

The second bin contained sunscreen and towels.

Middle Bin:

The middle row held the trash can. CD made it out of re-purposed heavy duty cardboard. It was just the right size and height.

2 Extra Bins of Sprinter Under Seat Storage:

There were also two bins under HB’s seat. The bin farthest back contained playing cards, dice, and travel board games. I added Racko to the mix last year but the kids lost interest once they found out that it was my favorite.

The second bin had a mix of drawing pads, notebooks, pencils, and pens. These got a fair amount of use both on the road and when we were stopped. HB made a fairly elaborate picture journal on our way out of Yellowstone last year.

In true CD style, all of the bins and the garbage can were held in place by a bungee cord and 3 mm accessory cord. They never slid forward when we braked so I guess this technique worked.

We will definitely continue to use the bins and garbage can but I imagine that the contents will evolve over time. I hope we stick with swimsuits and towels. Prioritizing such non-practical items just seems like a sign of a family that is out for a spontaneous and carefree good time!

Since my splash pad app never took off, here is non-comprehensive list of great splash pads we have found.

  • North Carolina (Ashville)
  • Florida (Marco Island)
  • Minnesota (Sauk Centre)
  • Ontario (Wiarton, Grand Bend, Bayfield, Port Elgin)
  • Michigan (Millennium Park; Sparta)
  • Colorado (Aspen)
  • Oregon (Corvallis)
  • British Columbia (Kelowna)
  • Alberta
  • Utah (Salt Lake City)

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