First Run, Done!

About a week ago we took our first mini adventure in the new sprinter van to La Bufadora, just south of Ensenda and we came back with the creative juices flowing.  Travel is always an inspiring thing, but this trip in particular was about learning what did and did not work for us in our new four-wheeled digs.

Van Dad & Van Dog in La Bufadora, Baja California

We have some pretty grandiose plans to travel in this van, so we need to make sure we can all live in it together and happily for more than a couple of days at a time.  So we are working out some plans to improve what is there.  Fortunately, we are both pretty handy in our own ways and are ready to get a little dirty making a few changes. Here is a little breakdown of what we have in store & why!

1. Cubbies:

Ron and I are both pretty particular about neatness and get easily distraught when things are disorganized and over-cluttered. This trait is magnified by like a million when we get packed into a tiny space for several days. Factor in a baby that wants to touch and move everything that she sees plus a dog that is always in the way of whatever you are looking for and you end up with some very on-edge parents.

Currently the majority of the storage within the living area of the van is devoted to food.  There are a couple of drawers, and a fridge.  So any personal items are packed in bags and stored under the bed which is only accessible from the back of the van. What inevitably happens though, is that those bags don’t find their way back under the bed and float in the middle of the floor or on the bed and are constantly in the way.

Our solution to this problem will be to build cubbies along the upper walls on either side of the bed to hold clothes, toiletries, etc.  No more items on the floor, and a place for everyone to shove their stuff.

PJ seems to like the bed just fine as-is.

2. Bed:

The plan is to lower the bed about six inches so that we have more room above to install the cubbies.  This will shorten the storage that is available underneath the bed, but will also make the sleeping situation feel a little less claustrophobic.  As of right now, you definitely can’t sit straight up in bed without knocking your noggin.  Which brings us to the next planned alteration, the ceiling.

3.  Ceiling:

The Ceiling of the van is currently covered in unfinished pine boards.  This seems to be a trend in a lot of conversion vans at the moment, but we are not exactly digging it in ours.  One goal of changing the ceiling will be to gain an extra inch or so in height to allow Ron to actually stand up straight.  At 6’2” the top of his head touches the wooden roof. The plan is to replace the pine boards, with a sheet material of some kind for a smooth surface that is much easier to remove if necessary.

Sprinter Van Selfie

4. Lighting:

The current above the bed lighting is a series of AAA battery-powered led lights mounted to the wood-paneled roof. They give off very little light, and while it was nice to be able to remove them for mosquito hunting purposes on this last trip, they are not ideal.  The excessive battery use (3 AAA’s
per tiny light) seems wasteful, so the plan is to wire in some lighting that will make use of the same battery systems that runs the fridge.

5.  Fridge & Kitchen:

As it turns out we totally love the fridge that was put in the van by the previous owner.  It ran without a hitch and our beer was always ice-cold.  However, we aren’t in love with its location.  When it opens it basically takes up the entire floor and we don’t really need to access it while driving.  So the plan is to re-locate it to the back of the van, freeing up space in living area for additional drawer storage and a doggie bed.

The current kitchen set up is of the outdoor variety.  This works just fine for us and we aren’t planning to change the fact that we will be doing our cooking outside.  We didn’t do any cooking on this trip, so any specific changes to the kitchen are TBD.

Miscellaneous Add-Ons:

  • Mounted Bottle Opener, a camping essential
  • Trash Can, possibly pull out by the commode
  • Hooks, lots of ‘em
  • New Speakers, blown out speakers are seriously the worst
  • Truck Hat Holders, just because


We are so looking forward to traveling in this van… but first we have some work to do!  Stay tuned for updates as we build this baby out!




  1. So excited for you guys. And we found test runs to be the best way to figure out where to put everything. We were fortunate to be working with a clean slate but sounds like you guys are figuring out your needs…and love the bottle opener comment! Might have ideas for you on mosquito netting, premade seemed a waist of money to us. Magnets and netting work great…the van is metal after all 🙂 looking forward to hearing more. Have fun!


  2. Very interesting! I am going to buy a Sprinter next year for travelling and I am looking for some resources online. Do you know any good websites dedicated to Sprinters or van travels in general?


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