Roger is normally out hunting 3 or 4 days a week. He takes his seven hunting dogs to help with the hunt at various large estates in the south of Sweden, so having the right vehicle is important. Roger had decided that he wanted a van with an automatic gearbox, four-wheel drive, sliding doors on both sides and a tailgate instead of rear doors. So when he discovered the countless customization possibilities of the Mercedes-Benz Vito, he didn’t hesitate. “The van works extremely well. It’s mainly the level of comfort – it’s easy to manoeuvre, like a car, but I can fit my entire gear inside”. After all, Mercedes-Benz did not offer some of the more inconvenient configurations Roger needed. So he decided to take matters in hand and installed many new items, including a coffee machine.
The van works extremely well. It’s mainly the level of comfort – it’s easy to manoeuvre, like a car, but I can fit my entire gear inside.
Roger’s van has been designed to be the perfect vehicle for a dog handler. It has taken him about 200 hours to convert, and Roger thinks he has probably spent 7,000 – 8,000 Euro on the work. The first step was to order four made-to-measure dog cages. As the van has sliding doors on both sides, there is easy access to two dogs at each side. Roger also ordered a partition wall between the cab and the load compartment. “It feels good to have the partition. It’s glass, so I can see the dogs”, says Roger. “I can also hear what they’re up to, it’s very reassuring.”
Once the cages were in place, he made a divider to separate the dogs from other items in the van. Behind the divider Roger has installed a false floor with drawers, clothes hangers, sockets, 220-volt power points and additional lighting. With these in place, the van is always ready to go, and he doesn’t have to repack it for every journey. “I just need to pick up my gun and my clothes and I’m ready to leave.” This is especially important when he is contacted by the police to help search for game injured on the roads.
Comfort is important, not only for Roger but also for the dogs. The heating is temperature-controlled. As soon as the temperature dips below 14 degrees, the heater comes on, and when it goes above 17 degrees it switches off. The van can also supply water at a constant temperature of 16-17 degrees, so that the dogs can be washed off after the hunt. To keep the dogs comfortable, there is also a fan to convey the heat from the cab through to where the dogs are, and a fan in the roof to remove the condensation that builds up when transporting four wet dogs. Roger says that the dogs are always very pleased when he opens up the van, which he thinks is partly because they are so happy travelling in it.