Caravan Outfitter Pivots With 5-Seat Alpaca Sprinter 144 Van

Photo By: Caravan Outfitter

If you’re looking for a Sprinter van that can double as the daily family hauler and provide a spacious backcountry rig, you should take a look at the Alpaca from Washington-based overlanding van customizer Caravan Outfitter. Until recently, Caravan Outfitters specialized in tricking out small vans for overlanding, including the work-a-day Ford Transit Connect (and others), which is more likely to deliver your Amazon packages than take you on an adventure. But suddenly left without a platform, the company has instead taken its small-space outfitter expertise into a much larger space: the high-roof standard-length “144” Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 van.

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Photo by Caravan Outfitter

It was a gamble since everyone and their van outfitting friends seem to offer a Sprinter, but not many offer a turn-key setup like Caravan’s Alpaca, which seats five and will sleep four – in actual comfort. Plus, it can also be used as a work-ready van as needed.

That seemingly impossible combination of capabilities is due to some innovative use of space and some smart component choices. One key element is a rear bench seat that seats three fully belted people instead of two (although they will be cozy) and then folds flat to form a sort of lower bunk that will sleep two people.

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Photo by Caravan Outfitter

The next key bit is a lofted rear bed that also folds up. The lifted position of the larger 60 x 80-inch rear bed both gives more room in the garage area and dovetails with the folded seat/bed for space for four to snooze. Folding the bed up also reveals a side-mounted sink and a long counter space for food prep, workspace and so forth. The upper folding bed also easily removes completely, allowing for large cargo and work space areas when the van is in work mode, expanding its utility value.

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Photo by Caravan Outfitter

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Photo by Caravan Outfitter

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Photo bt Caravan Outfitters

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Photo by Caravan Outfitter

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Photo by Caravan Outfitter

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Photo by Caravan Outfitter

A sliding-drawer-style fridge holds almost 50 liters of supplies, and a lower drawer holds a portable induction burner for cooking. Come dinner time, a large fold-out table and the swiveling front seats mean five people can sit and enjoy a meal together.

READ MORE: Editors’ Choice: Campsite Gear & Accessories

Standard features include a 300Ah battery and 2,000-Watt AC inverter, AC outlets, a cassette toilet and outdoor shower. A diesel heater, roof fan and interior insulation comes in the deal; A/C, an electric awning and solar panels are optional. A roof rack is standard as well, and buyers can add a light bar, ladder, and outdoor shower curtain system that attaches to the rear doors.

Launched with little fanfare last year, Caravan is tooting the Alpaca’s horn a bit now, including this video tour of the innovative layout and features.

Pricing starts at $130,000 for the front-wheel drive version, while the AWD option comes in a tick over $137,000, which seems pretty reasonable for the flexibility the van provides and in contrast to prices for other Sprinter conversions based on the same chassis.

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