When it comes to van renovations, is it true that the third times a charm? Let's check out Amanda and Zach's 2006 Mercedes Sprinter and find out.
About Amanda and Zach
Amanda and Zach first bought their van back in 2018 and have been travelling across the globe in it ever since. The van in question is a 2006 Mercedes T1N Sprinter, painted a camouflaged orange colour to match the desert sand.
Amanda and Zach describe themselves as huge thrill seekers, regularly partaking in snowboarding, skating, surfing, biking and the like. They were initially drawn to van life due to the flexibility it offers. They wanted the ability to go snowboarding for winters at a time, to come home and see crazy spots in Nevada, to see the Grand Canyon, to visit family they wouldn’t ordinarily get to see. The van gives them this freedom and much, much more.
Interestingly, their 2006 Mercedes Sprinter has been through 2 comprehensive remodels to arrive at its current state. Through living in the van full time, Amanda and Zach realised what was missing, what needed tweaking, and what needed fine-tuning.
- 2006 T1N Mercedes Sprinter– Initially, the van was a stark white colour but they’ve since painted it with Toyota Quicksand, an orange paint that enables it to blend in with the desert sand.
- Hand cooked Dynapro 82 tyres– To start off, Amanda and Zach had really small tyres on the van, but they recently upgraded to 245s, which are the biggest tyre you can fit on the T1N without making modifications.
Kitchen and Appliances
- Camp chef oven– Amanda and Zach paid $200 for this. It has 2 burners and a small gas oven.
- Butcher block countertop– This is made from epay.
- Recessed sink– The pair opted for the deepest sink they could find because they agreed that there’s nothing worse than trying to wash dishes in a tiny sink. They also created a sink cover using leftover countertop wood.
- Isothern Fridge– It is 49 litres and contains a small freezer compartment.
- Pull out faucet.
- Soap dispenser
- Ikea magnetic knife rack
- Hanging spice rack
- Fruit basket
- White tiles– Amanda and Zach get a lot of compliments on their kitchen tiles, but they’re actually just vinyl stickers!
- White overhead cabinets with hydraulic cabinet lifts.
- LED task lighting.
- Queen size bed– Last year they had the cheapest mattress you could buy from Amazon and it was really awful. This year they’ve upgraded to the tufted needle nod, which cost around $350.
- Shower– Amanda and Zach knew they would be spending the winter months in really cold locations, which outlaws outdoor showering. Therefore, they decided to incorporate a permanent shower so they never have to worry about finding a gym or communal bathroom etc.
- Natures Head toilet– The reason they opted for a composting toilet is so they don’t have to deal with a black water tank. The Natures Head is really easy to maintain; you just empty the waste into a regular trash bag.
- Sliding door
- Cedar shower pan
- 10 gallon Tupperware container of peat moss– They store this in the garage area of the van and use it to maintain their composting toilet.
- Dinette– Throughout the lifecycle of their Mercedes Sprinter van, Amanda and Zach have had three different dining space setups. They started with one huge bench that incorporated their Isothern refrigerator, before moving to a tiny bench that was too small to sit on. Now they’re back to their initial design, a dinette.
- Swivel table– This can be used as a dining table, desk, or extra counterspace for cooking.
Power and Electrical
- 2 x 100-watt Renergy solar panels– On a good day they pull in 8 to 9 amps of electricity. When it’s overcast, they pull in 2 to 5 amps.
- 2000 watt Renogy pure sine wave inverter
- Shore hookup
- Control panel– Above the fridge is a panel with controls for the hot water heater, inverter, and water pump.
- 12v USB sockets
- Honda 2200-watt generator– This runs their AC system.
- 5-gallon gas canister
- Backup propane setup with single burner hob– This ensures that they can still cook if they run out of propane in their main system.
- 2 x 200-amp hour AGM lead-acid batteries.
- Renogy adventure solar charge controller
- Circuit breakers– For both the AC system and GFCI outlet.
- 90-amp battery isolator– This allows them to charge the alternator when they’re driving.
Heating and Cooling
- Espar heater– It does such a good job that they usually have to turn it off in the middle of the night.
- Dometic Penguin 2– This AC unit is situated above the dinette.
- Maxx Air fan– This is located above their bed.
- 1-inch-thick XPS pink panther foam board insulation.
- 40 gallon water tank
- Gerard water heater
- 2 x water hoses– One to fill up the water tank and one to use as an outdoor shower.
Cabinetry and Finishes
- Cabin divider– One of the most recent upgrades in Amanda and Zach’s van is the addition of a divider between the front cabin and the back living quarters Last year they used a curtain, but it drove Amanda crazy because it let a lot of light through. So she made her own blackout divider using material that she purchased from a craft store. It has a zipper down the front to allow easy access between the front and back of the van.
- Ikea coat hooks– These are located above the sliding door, making them perfect for hanging coats and wet swimsuits.
- Cabinet locking system– The cabinet handles are buttons, they have to be pushed in to unlock and open the cabinets.
- White overhead cupboards
- DIY moto hauler– Constructed from bits of welded metal, Zach bought this frame for $70 from a guy back in their hometown. It allows him to bring his 2006 Yamaha XT 225 dual sport motorbike on the road with him, which is ideal for travelling on difficult terrains that the van cannot necessarily handle.
- L-bracket surfboard holder
- Van tech ladder– This enables easy access to the roof of the van.
- Thule summit luggage carrier– Here they store three of their surfboards.
- Rhino Rack Sunseeker awning– This is one of the cheapest awnings you can get, but it does the job.