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Old 10-23-2018, 08:33 AM   #1
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Beach Van

Hi everyone, I need a van for hanging out at the beach with my family. We won't be camping so I think the optimal build will be a little different than most. It will only be used to drive about 5 minutes back and forth to the beach along a private (HOA) paved road, and then on the beach itself. Trying to figure out where to start. Some of the questions I'm trying to answer:

Ford or Sprinter? Can a Sprinter be made to keep from getting stuck at the beach? The Ford looks more offroad capable but the Sprinter looks more comfortable for hanging out in.

Any suggestions for the layout and design? As much as possible I'd like it to feel spacious and like you're outside when you're inside with lots of windows and the ability to open the doors as wide as possible. I'd like to get a big awning so we can sit in the van facing out with the awning up and be protected from the sun. I'd also like it to be fun to hang out in at the beach when it's too cold or rainy to be outside for very long.

I don't think I'll need much in the way of cabinets or appliances. Some kind of a toilet would be nice and maybe a small sink and an area to eat.

It should be a 4x4 and I should get an air compressor so I can air down for the sand.

Any ideas?
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:24 PM   #2
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If funds were unlimited, I would get a Sprinter 4x4 high top. Get some swivel seats up front and a rear bench/bed. One small cabinet along the drivers side to house a sink and fridge and call it good. Maybe add an outside shower head to wash off sand.

You can add lift kits to Sprinters now and run pretty decent sized tires. Check out Van Compass.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:58 PM   #3
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Ok so I'm thinking a 2500 170" 4x4 Sprinter with big tires for clearance.

The big sliding door is along the passenger's side I think? If so I should reserve the space along the driver's side for a big couch sort of thing so everyone can sit there and look out the open doorway. An awning for the doorway would be great too. Is there some kind of a pop-up or removable table that can go in front of that couch for eating on?

Maybe a small fridge, sink, and toilet in the back? Maybe a small bed or fold-down bed for naps.

How much glass window can you squeeze into a Sprinter?

Has anyone seen something like this on the internet? I'd love to get inspired by someone who has done something like this.

Any experienced folks see anything I'm missing?

One problem I'm running into is lead time. I think Sportsmobile and Outside Van need something like a year to do the job. Any quality outfits without the long lead time?
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Old 10-23-2018, 01:44 PM   #4
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Heres a link to SMB's standard layouts. Add or take away anything you want to make it custom to your needs.

https://sportsmobile.com/standardpla...-and-long-body
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Old 10-23-2018, 09:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportsmobilerocks View Post
Ok so I'm thinking a 2500 170" 4x4 Sprinter with big tires for clearance.

The big sliding door is along the passenger's side I think? If so I should reserve the space along the driver's side for a big couch sort of thing so everyone can sit there and look out the open doorway. An awning for the doorway would be great too. Is there some kind of a pop-up or removable table that can go in front of that couch for eating on?

Maybe a small fridge, sink, and toilet in the back? Maybe a small bed or fold-down bed for naps.

How much glass window can you squeeze into a Sprinter?

Has anyone seen something like this on the internet? I'd love to get inspired by someone who has done something like this.

Any experienced folks see anything I'm missing?

One problem I'm running into is lead time. I think Sportsmobile and Outside Van need something like a year to do the job. Any quality outfits without the long lead time?
You'll be right there at the top of the #vanlife food chain with a 4x4 Sprinter. The most distinguished of mall vanners have all bought one. They are like ants at a picnic in every progressive city (Seattle, Portland, SoCal, Denver). There is a reason for this. They're pretty excellent, and expensive, and trendy.

They are all over the internet and especially popular on Instagram and everywhere else people want to fantasize about the misguided idea of giving it all up and living in a van.

There are more converters now than ever. I think you should read a LOT here, Expedition Portal, Ford Transit Forum, Sprinter Source, etc.

Vandoit
Vancompass
Sportsmobile
Outside Van
Benchmark Vehicles
Colorado Camper Van
Expovans
Freedom Vans
Ujoint Offroad
Agile Offroad
Campovans
Van Specialties
NomadVanz
OptOverland
Vanhaus Vans

That's all that comes to mind at the moment.

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Old 10-24-2018, 10:05 AM   #6
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Regarding driving, or maybe more accurately getting stuck, on the beach, that can happen in any vehicle, 4x2 or 4x4. 4x4 helps reduce that possibility, but vehicle weight comes into play, tire footprint, tread pattern, density of the sand, speed are all factors as well. There's no single formula that will in all cases, prevent you from getting stuck. The most critical factor is knowing what to do if you do get stuck. That's where knowing how far to air down your tires is important (preferably before even driving on the sand), and having some extractions tools at your disposal and knowing how to use them.


Some recommended accessories to have for driving on sand: air compressor, tow strap, winch, winch anchor, strips of carpet as a traction aid, plastic tractions aids, shovel, jack, pieces of driftwood, a friend (lifelong friend or the guy you just offered a six pack to) with a large enough vehicle to pull you out, and lastly a tide chart.



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Old 10-24-2018, 01:39 PM   #7
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Thanks 86Scotty, I just visited each of those websites to get a feel for them. I've read here that Outside Van possibly produces the best product but that they're expensive. Are they the high-end option?

BroncoHauler, that's a great checklist. I was planning on 4x4, air compressor, and MaxTrax. Will something like a MaxTrax ever fail to get you out if you know how to use it?
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Old 10-24-2018, 01:51 PM   #8
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Biding my time, waiting for Expovans 4x4 Transit conversion..........and hunting for a good transit base.


I am adding another van to the arsenal. Most likely will be a Transit LWB High Roof with the 3.5l ecoboost. Wife wants a bathroom and possibly a shower. So I need a higher roof model. We will go with a portable cassette toilet. That way we can keep it in the wet room and pull it out to shower.


How about a Quigley Conversion?? Get away from the Sprinter's underpowered engines? Go with a transit base instead.


But again, Sprinters are the trendy thing and conversions are all over.
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Old 10-24-2018, 04:26 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by sportsmobilerocks View Post
Thanks 86Scotty, I just visited each of those websites to get a feel for them. I've read here that Outside Van possibly produces the best product but that they're expensive. Are they the high-end option?

BroncoHauler, that's a great checklist. I was planning on 4x4, air compressor, and MaxTrax. Will something like a MaxTrax ever fail to get you out if you know how to use it?
Anything can fail to get you out if you aren't smart. People get buried in the wet sand on the beach that settles in like concrete and not even a tractor can get them out. If you stay on dry sand and have on board air, max trax, 4x4 and a winch with something to winch to, you should be fine 99% of the time. The last 1% will be user error.

Check out deadman offroad. They make a sand anchor that gives you something to winch to if you get stuck. It's portable and soft, so its not a pain to pack.
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Old 10-24-2018, 05:13 PM   #10
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So the advantage of a Quigley Transit vs a Sprinter is a stronger engine?

Thanks Grampswrx. Sounds like I should add a winch and sand anchor to my plan.
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