Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-03-2016, 04:11 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 242
Van colors and practicality

We've got our deposit in for a Sprinter 4x4 highroof and need to choose a color. We prefer the darker grays just from an aesthetic point of view, but wanted to get some feedback from folks as to how easy their vans are to keep clean, looking good, and how well they stand up to heat on the interior.

We looked at a few at the dealer, and white was just warm to the touch on the hand. Darker grays could almost burn you. The interiors were likewise hotter with the darker colors. We're not so much concerned about the exterior heat, but the interior. The van will be parked outside in Denver, but used mostly in the mountains. We'll have a winter-grade level of insulation everywhere, so wasn't sure if people with darker colors and insulation notice a big heat difference from the hot exterior panels. We're likely going with a roof-mounted AC unit to help combat the initial heat soak, and for the random times we'll be in the campgrounds.

MB has 3 paint grades with the highest containing metal flake. Seems the flake should help hide paint swirls, but didn't know if others with flat colors had issues in this regard? We'll use it offroad, so it'll have the usual pin striping from branches. Our daily driver is silver, and it looks new after a crappy drive-through car wash. Blue or blacks never look that good, but when they're detailed and clean, they look awesome.

Thoughts on colors, and if you're happy or not with the color you have?

Wrinkledpants is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2016, 05:07 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 131
Our SMB Sprinter is the standard Arctic White (147) which I would recommend if camping off-grid (or without generator) in the summer for temperature reasons. Alternately a very light silver such as Brilliant Silver Metallic (744) would probably be OK.

There are much nicer darker colors available from an aesthetic perspective but they get hotter inside during the summer. Probably fine if you're camped where electrical hookup or generator is available. Otherwise a lighter color van is easier for the overhead vent fan to keep cooled.

The standard arctic white is also easier to patch the little scrapes and rubs that occur in the backcountry. I would summarize it as simple and boring to start - and easy to keep looking that way...

Edit: If you've upgraded beyond the standard SMB insulation perhaps the color won't matter as much? Not sure how much...

PeteM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2016, 05:18 PM   #3
Senior Member
BVerhulst's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Estes Park, CO
Posts: 194
Dark colors show a lot of dirt and are nearly impossible to maintain even the appearance of clean. However, I do agree that the dark grey looks nice.

I grew up in Phoenix, AZ. As a former desert dweller, I avoid dark colors on vehicles. The temperature difference between a light vs. dark vehicle is remarkable and does not require a scientific method to notice!
2009 E-350 Lopes 55
BVerhulst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2016, 05:55 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Indy
Posts: 554
Ours is dark gray. Looks nice but sure is hot in the summer. 120 degrees inside or more when you leave it closed up.
2008 Ford E-350 Quigley 4x4 V10 - 164,000 miles
RB50, PH Top, Dual AGM Group 27 Deka, 2000 Tripplite Inv., No Propane or Water Systems
Van Weight 8,100 pounds, added one rear leaf spring, BFG AT KO LT265/70R17 E Tire press 50psi.
Steve_382 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2016, 06:09 PM   #5
Senior Member
86Scotty's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: TN
Posts: 9,712
My favorite colors for balancing heat resistance, staying clean (looking) and hiding defects are the silver/gold/champagne/tan family, squarely in the middle between white and black. Red and blue also show a lot of defects/dirt/swirls IMO. The best way to keep cool in an SMB in my opinion is to tint windows dark, at least all the rear ones, and to shade all when camping, preferably with Reflectix or the like.
Another awesome way to keep an SMB cool is to put a roof rack with some solar on top, giving you a huge barrier and air space to block sun. Solar panels, being big and flat, do an amazing job of this, and the more solar you have up there the better everything else about your SMB life will be. Lots of free power on command to run fridges, fans and lights always improves everything for me.

86Scotty is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2016, 06:25 PM   #6
Ned5555's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Memphis, TN
Posts: 62
I've been happy with the standard arctic white. The other matte colors aren't as attractive, and the metallic colors cost an extra $1,000. White is also cheaper for penthouse and A/C options since no extra painting is required to make it match.

I don't do much cold weather camping, so can't speak to the heat difference. But white is also the best for "stealth" locations since you blend in with the work trucks.
Ned5555 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2016, 10:51 PM   #7
Senior Member
rltilley's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 524
I went with white so I wouldn't have to pay extra to match the penthouse top. I would prefer charcoal gray but am happy with the white because it stays cooler as well as hides dirt petty well.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
2013 E-350 6.8L V10 4x4 RB50, penthouse top, Aluminess bumpers
rltilley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2016, 10:20 AM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 458
My 08 Ford e350 V8 diesel is Yellow with highest insulation available from Sportsmobile West and is great inside. I wanted Red, Orange or Yellow. Yellow, really stands out, great safety colour, people move out the way, thinking it's a government vehicle. At shopping malls, when you park, very easy to spot, upon exiting with groceries. Yellow is good for not seeing dirt.
Anyhow, it, s a personal thing. I like to stand out in a crowd. You do that with a Sportsmobile anyway. I don't like dull colours, grey, black, dark blue, etc.. Cheers
2008 Yellow Ford E350 6.0 diesel eb50 4x4, Front E Locker, Asheville Eng Rebuil 20th @ 261miles, ARP Studds, 200amp Alternator, Performance Aluminium Radiator, OnBoardAir, RoadmasterActiveSuspension, Front & Rear Aluminess with Spare Tire Carrier, Aluminess Roof Rack, Titan Aft 30gallon Fuel Tank.
Sheriffdoug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2016, 10:58 AM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Cali desert
Posts: 302
Arctic White window van (privacy glass) here and we're very happy with it, especially after moving to a desert location. Our DDs are both black, and the van stays WAY cooler than the cars. I wouldn't be surprised if the difference is 20 - 30 degrees.

I was hoping to avoid white while we were looking, but when the right van came up, it was white and we grabbed it. Now we're really glad it's white.
The Petroleum Falcon, aka LOLA. 2011 RB E350 5.4L w/PH. Now I just need solar, an interior and... Hey, why is the money always gone?
Dia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2016, 11:29 AM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 173
Does SMB still do Baja Tan. That's what mine is. Doesn't show dirt and is somewhat unique.

2005 SMB RB 50 4X4 w/ a 6.0 PSD
flyfisher is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:53 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.