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Our Mercedes Sprinter van is a long wheel base 516 4×4 – its a 5 tonner, meaning its gross vehicle weight (GVW = the max a vehicle can weigh whilst staying legal and safe) is 5 tonnes…… this includes EVERYTHING, even the driver, all passengers, full water and fuel tanks, plus all our gear, hence being a family of 4 full time in this van, we can not get away with the 3.5 tonne version.
During 2019 we fully built this van out ourselves, in the middle of a field where we are parked up, whilst living in it!
We are now back on the move – our van is an ongoing project, probably always with something we’ll be working on….
Its a 4 berth with fixed beds, full off grid adventure wagon – we have 500w of Panasonic solar up top, 280ah of leisure batteries and diesel powered cooker and heating by Wallas – plus the small and mighty Caframo 12v fans and an amazing MaxxAir roof fan.
Decked out with as much insulation as possible from the guys at The Sound Deadening Shop – to keep this rig cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter… this was essential for us and has 100% been worth it.
Winter Yokohama Geolander GO15 tyres on the wheels – these are known to be hard wearing all terrains and with the miles we do that’s just what we need – taking us through snow and minus temperatures to 40°c of sun and sand!
Our Old Rig
Our motorhome was a Roller Team Autoroller 600 – its a 6 berth with 6 travel seats. The over cab bed is a huge super king size, with the dinette/travel seats turning into a small double bed and the rear lounge converting into another double bed.
We love the rear lounge – this gives us so much extra space as a family and its a great place to just chill out, especially with all the windows – there is often a beautiful view out back when we are parked up!
We have full facilities onboard…..
3 hob gas cooker and oven/grill,
(very) hot and cold water kitchen sink,
3 way fridge freezer (so runs off of gas, electric hook-up or whilst driving uses the battery),
heaps of cupboard space for food, pots and pans etc
Thetford cassette toilet with plumbed in water,
sink with (very) hot and cold water
separate shower cubicle – again (very) hot and cold water – this has been great as we can take the shower hose out of the window and shower outside in summer months. Its also where we store dirty laundry out of the way.
General around the van:
fan blown central heating (run off of gas)
stacks more storage cupboards and shelves
large garage space right under rear lounge/rear bed – accessible via two large outside lockable hatches or inside under the rear lounge seating.
locked external gas bottle storage – for two 13kg bottles.
locked outside fresh water point – to full the fresh water tank.
family size 100 litre fresh water tank.
tv/dvd with aerial – this is a great quality tv, we are not big tv watchers at all hence this hasn’t been used.
We have added extras to this motorhome, including decking it out to be fully off-grid, sufficient to support our family of 4 all year round – we can proudly say we haven’t needed electric hook-up since the beginning of May 2018! Take a look at our solar power set up here.
This motorhome has also gone from a gross vehicle weight of 3800kg up to 4,300kg – giving it an epic payload, which is so important to us…… being our only home we needed this van to be safe and legal. We explain the GVW of a vehicle here. Even to drive this at its original 3,800kg weight, we were required to take the additional C1 training and test (theory and practical) in order to have it added to our licences – we both got our car licence post 1997, hence do not have the ‘grandfather’ rights to drive over 3.5 tonne and up to 7.5 tonne – we purchased our motorhome before we had done this and got it delivered – we had looked at a few vans already and everything about this one felt right. We will do a write up on our C1 adventure soon!
We have lived in this motorhome through weeks of minus temperatures and snow, months of heat up to 45 degrees, travelling sensational mountain roads and stunning coastal drives….. maintenance is right up there for us and it pays off, one of the reasons we opted for a Ford was that parts are easy to source throughout Europe and cheap…… yet this van has been constantly spot on for us!
more on our gear
with real life experience, full time on the road, our family gives stuff a run for its money.....
...take a look as we give you the rundown on the gear we use!