February 13, 2024 3 min read

Check out this ultimate family adventure setup; a newly built out Mercedes Benz Van with 7 seats!  Enough room for a family to camp year round! This Mercedes Benz Van is a great addition to the HEST Rigs We Dig series. Read on to learn more! 

Your Name: Jonathan Lui

Location: Los Angeles, CA 

Rig Nickname: 395WAGN

Make & Model:  2023 Mercedes Benz Sprinter

Critical dimensions for your bed platform: It has the FVC 3 PANEL BED- with an adjustable option of 72" or 75" long by 65.5" wide

HEST products: Dually Custom S75 and Standard Pillows

Is this your daily driver or getaway car?


What do you like most about your rig? 

Versatility - with 3 active kids and a doberman, our sprinter has many layout options depending on the adventure.  Sprinter can seat 7 people when needed or have it completely empty for dad’s solo snow missions.  Most of the time the 3 panel bed is not fully extended, instead we stack 1 of the panels on top of the existing 2 and lay the folded hest mattress which still allows 1-2 people to lay up there when needed.  When it is time to camp, we just reinstall the 3rd bed panel and unfold the hest mattress and boom…insanely comfortable mattress is ready!!  4 season camp rig that allows you to have your own private space anywhere you go!

On your average weekend adventure, what is the gear set up you bring with you? How did you navigate gear storage needs into your rig set up?

On an average weekend adventure the bed is set up full time with Hest goodies, 3 person bench seat installed with 2nd bench seat removed allowing for a large living room area.  The gear we normally bring are Snowpeak Jikaro Firering setup & chairs, Dometic fridge, Dometic toilet, firewood, charcoal, and of course a soccer ball.  Current storage needs are a combo of large storage bins and The North Face Basecamp Duffel bags.

Any custom details? 

Originally the Sprinter only came with 1 bench seat (5 seater setup) and on the 4th day of ownership I ripped out the flooring to install longer seat rails to allow another bench seat to be installed allowing up to 7 people. Also the Espar diesel heater is probably the biggest upgrade to our camping experience.   Having heat on demand is crucial in the snow which I installed myself along with almost all of the modifications especially since I had limited to no experience in tinkering with rigs beforehand. 

Coolest place you’ve taken your rig to?

Our favorite place:  Mammoth Lakes, CA

Any projects in the pipeline to get your rig even more adventure ready? 

Upgrading from factory suspension…Sprinters are cargo vans at the end of the day and need better suspension and leaf springs to improve ride quality and safety of precious cargo.   


Biggest challenge in your build out?

Time & budget – with 3 kids in sports and activities it is very hard to have even a full day to work on the Sprinter. Typically a good day is 3 hrs uninterrupted, but that is even rare.  Often times I find myself working at night with a headlamp and work lights on to try to progress the build, but working at night is a challenge with low visibility.  On the contrary it would have been nice to just drop it off to an outfitter for a month to get the Sprinter dialed but it would have costed $20-50K on top of purchasing a brand new Sprinter!

Tips for others looking to do the same to their vehicle?

 Building out a Sprinter is like building out a tiny home, there are so many things to consider.  Lots of eye candy accessories are tempting to buy but priority should be in the foundation of the van to make the experience more comfortable: insulation, sound deadening, a comfortable mattress, a fridge, etc.     Another tip would be to get plugged into the sprinter community.  I was extremely fortunate to get to know someone through a mutual friend who basically became my consultant who would give me pros/cons and provided an abundance of information that allowed me to avoid certain things or proceed with other things with confidence.  Without my friend’s help I would have had to learn many things the hard way, wasting time, money, and potentially screwing up my rig.  Shout out to my friend Tommy!!

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