Valkyrie the Van

We get a lot of questions about our van. Here are some answers!

The KOA in Monument Valley. Very close quarters to other campers, but a great view!

What kind of van is it?

The van itself is a 2017 4×4 Mercedes Benz Sprinter. We had the conversion done through Sportsmobile. After bringing it home, we had the driver & passenger windows tinted, the hood wrapped, the rocker panels Line-X’d, and replaced the stock wheels & tires with Black Rhino Barstow wheels and Falken Wildpeak All Terrain 3W tires.

How long have you owned the van?

We became very excited, proud owners of it on August 24, 2018.

Why did you name it Valkyrie?

We’re big fans of the show Vikings (one of our cats, Floki, is named after a main character) and Viking history, in general. I also have Nordic blood in my veins. We wanted a name that started with V and Valkyrie just felt right.

Parked to take a quick photo by Lake Winnebago after getting the new tires & wheels on. The wind chill was 25 below that day, but in true Viking fashion, Valkyrie handled the cold like a beast!

How long did it take to have the conversion done?

We ordered the van through Sportsmobile and it had to be made to order in Germany first. After it was shipped to Sportsmobile, it was about five months before it was ready for pick up. From the time we ordered it to the day we picked it up took a little over a year. It was well worth the wait, though!

Do you live in it?

No, we don’t, and we do not have any plans to ever live in it. We purchased it to use for the next several decades (as long as all goes well, of course) for our road trips. We’re lucky enough to work at the same place and can usually get by with one car, but also use the van for a second vehicle when needed.

Along the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota.

Why did you purchase it and not some other camper van or RV?

We’ve been taking long road trips together since 2001 and in that time, we’ve stayed at many different accomodations. We also owned an Airstream Bambi for a few years and went tent camping a bit. After all of that, a camper van seemed like the best fit for us because we found we wanted something small & simple that we didn’t have to tow. We didn’t like anything that was on the RV lots because they were either too large or had much more than we wanted in them. Having something custom made ended up fitting what we were looking for, which was important to us since we wanted something that would last a very long time. We love that it’s capable of going off road and able to fit in a regular parking space. We’re also quite thrilled that we no longer have to stay in questionable lodgings with uncomfortable mattresses that may or may not have bed bugs in them (amongst other nasty stuff).

What did it cost?

We get this question more than most and it never fails to surprise us (we were both raised to not discuss such things). If you’re seriously considering getting one, what the cost of it will be can vary greatly depending on what you want. There are quite a few different options for both the van and conversion. Sportsmobile has also raised their prices since we purchased ours, so even if you wanted the same exact one we have, it won’t cost the same as what we paid.

Can I see inside it?

If you’re a friend or family, absolutely! For everyone else, we’re more than willing to show you some photos of the inside.

View from the head of the bed with the top popped.
Both seats swivel and the van came with a table that folds up (not pictured).
We added two mattress toppers to the bed, which made it extremely comfortable. There are bug screens on the back and side sliding door, which we’re quite thankful we chose to get.
The galley consists of a small fridge, sink, and microwave. The only other thing we bring for cooking at this time is a Jet Boil.

You don’t have a bathroom? How does that work??

Well, we don’t have a toilet (although we might get a portable one in the future if we feel the need), but we do have an outdoor shower and a sink. When we had the Airstream, we rarely used the bathroom and have never had problems finding a bathroom when on any road trip. We both grew up in nature and have no qualms about going outdoors (responsibly, of course) if there’s no other choice.

The outdoor shower is below the bed on the right (the silver panel).

Can you sit on top of the van?

Absolutely! Getting a ladder and roof rack we could comfortably sit/lay on were one of the options we chose. It’s great for taking photos, stargazing, and being able to see more of our surroundings. We love it!

A great view of Valley of the Gods in Utah from the top of the van.

How does it handle the mountains?

It handles mountains like a dream! We even took it to Pike’s Peak and had no problems at all with it.

Coming back down from a cold day on Pike’s Peak. Visibility was only a few feet and it started snowing at the top.

Do you feel cramped in it?

We really, truly do not. When we pack for a week-long trip, we have storage space left over. When we get ready in the morning or at night, we’re both able to do things without bumping elbows. Even with the top down, Mike can stand up in it (he’s six feet tall). We have absolutely no complaints about the storage or room in it.

You don’t have a TV? How do you deal with that?

The time we spend watching TV on the one television we have in our house is pretty limited and we have no desire to travel with a TV. When we’re on our road trips, we stay unplugged with the exception of using our phones for navigating or looking something up if we absolutely need to. We would much rather spend the time enjoying the outdoors, each other, and things like playing a game or reading.

We played a game of Scrabble outside at Cheyenne State Park in Colorado one night. Quite relaxing!

Does it have heat or air conditioning?

The van has both, but it needs to be running for either to work (just like any vehicle). We decided against getting a separate heat or air conditioner unit and so far, things have worked out well. If it gets too hot, we move on to somewhere else or tough it out. For the cold, we have two blankets, two sleeping bags, and a small heater (which we can only use when plugged in). We camped in Colorado when it got into the low 30’s at night and didn’t use the heater at all, but we stayed toasty warm inside.

You can see more photos of Valkyrie and our adVANtures here and on Instagram.