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New Choice for AWD Sprinters: Outside Van Expands Offerings

After a decade and a half of custom van conversions, Outside Van will soon offer two production AWD camper vans, the Approach and the Syncline.

outside van approach on the beachFor your consideration: Outside Van's Approach camper van; (photo/Outside Van)
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A company that calls itself the country’s “largest custom van” upfitter is getting even bigger — thanks to an expansion into a fresh vertical.

This month, Outside Van announced that it’s opening a new manufacturing facility tasked with cranking out its first two production van builds. The 130,000-square-foot manufacturing facility will build the Outside Van Approach and Syncline production van models. Both are based on the AWD Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, 170 and 144 platforms, respectively.

The company plans to start mass production on both models this year, it said in a press release. And though the assembly lines haven’t started humming yet, Outside Van said on its website that you can get your hands on an Approach at select dealers.

Speaking from decades of combined upfitting experience, Outside Van’s leaders said these adventure vans will offer a flexible design that pleases both van life veterans and rookies. While the Approach and Syncline don’t come cheap, the company said it will offer financing options as well.

“Our beginnings were in tackling each custom build with its unique quirks and one-of-a-kind features,” Susan Clemo, Outside Van’s chief executive officer, said in the release. “Our experience in the deep end of adventure van conversions has prepared us for the more traditional route of model production.”

Outside Van Production Models: Approach & Syncline

Interior view of the Approach; (photo/Outside Van)

Built on the longer (170-inch) Sprinter chassis, the Approach can seat and sleep up to four people. The exterior has typical fixtures like an aluminum roof access ladder, a safari-style rack with an aluminum tray platform and crossbars, and a rear mini step. There’s plenty of exterior lighting for those dark campsites, like the 50-inch light bar, fog lights, rear roof floodlights, and “event” lights under the awning.

“Premium” van life features include upgraded 17-inch wheels with all-terrain tires. There’s also a 13’2″ passenger side awning, a 140W rooftop solar panel (with controller), and insulated window curtains — seasoned van lifers will know how helpful those can be.

The Approach has an interior shower, as well as an option for an exterior one; (photo/Outside Van)

As for the interior, it seems to have all the basics. The kitchen’s got a sink and fridge. There’s a removable dinette table and two shower options. There’s also a heater, air conditioner, safety systems for smoke and carbon monoxide, and a wall-mounted TV with DVD player. (Remember DVDs?)

The smaller, 144-inch wheelbase Syncline model sleeps two. Slated for a fall 2023 release, Outside Van hasn’t yet released details about the build and how it will differ from the Approach.

“Each model, Approach and Syncline, have unique features and are built with different customers in mind,” Tim Wimmer, the company’s engineering director, said in the press release.

View of the interior from the rear; (photo/Outside Van)

Outside Van Production Camper Vans: Pricing & Availability

Ready to hit the road with Outside Van’s Approach model? If so, you’d better be in the black with your finances because the listed price is $276,000.

That’s a bit steeper than other options on the market, though many of those don’t seem to offer the full round of features found in the Approach. Winnebago’s Adventure Wagon 70SE, for example, is built on the same chassis, but will likely sell for less than $200,000.

The 2022 Pleasure Way REKON, though a bit smaller than the Approach, costs around $171,000 — which is just a few thousand dollars cheaper than the similar Winnebago Revel.

So, the good news is that there are more options than ever for those looking for ready-to-drive adventure-ready camper vans — that is, as long as you can pay for one of them.

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