Pancakes for breakfast, hours on vast fields in the nature and cozy evenings in bed when it pours outside. While other families go stay in hotels when they’re on vacation, the Waltons take their little hotel with them. Camping is a perfect weekend getaway for Andrew, Danielle and their two kids Hetty and Harry. But never would the family enjoy their trips as much without “Mo”, their 2008 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 311 CDI LWB. “We named it after my Grandma Mo, who loved to travel,” says Danielle. Within seven months, the sprinter got converted into a camper for traveling around the UK.
Making a van suitable and especially comfortable for a family of five – their dog Finn included – can be quite a challenge. What’s necessary to consider beforehand and which adjustments make a van truly family friendly?
The initial inspiration for a van build dates back to Andrew’s and Danielle’s backpacking days in India in the mid 90’s. They were inspired by a group of overland vehicles that had traveled from Sweden. “It just seemed like the perfect home with all the comforts that we were missing whilst traveling,” remembers Danielle. Those days built the foundation for the idea. A holiday in Turkey gave them the missing piece when coming across caravans, a vehicle without an engine that can be pulled by a car. “We rented a German caravan that was basically just a box,” tells Danielle. “We had it for quite some time, but it was just not big enough”. In a caravan one sleeps widthwise which, especially with Andrew being 6.3 feet in height, gave them a hard time. “We slept in weird positions all night”.
Though they enjoyed the comfort of having an accommodation on wheels, caravans on top of being too small were also comparably expensive. There had to be something better out there. After thorough research, amongst others on Instagram, the Waltons came down to two options: Either a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or a VW crafter. Danielle and Andrew knocked their heads together and decided that a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was more sleek and offered more space for the family than the crafter.
Get the kids involved! Hetty and Harry enjoyed helping to build the van, especially with the insulation. Getting fed up pretty quickly is quite common for kids that age (preteen and teen). But in hindsight, it gave them a good feeling to be part of the whole process. “Our daughter Hetty is quite arty and has an eye, so she really got involved with the interior design with me,” says Danielle. Both girls also decided on the color scheme together. Their son Harry was obviously more into the mechanical and hands-on details, so he helped his dad with cutting woods, putting in screws or fixing the solar panels.
It took them seven months to completely remodel “Mo” – a great accomplishment considering that both parents kept working usual work hours and trying to maintain a sane daily routine with the family. Of course, experience in the field were essential for that. “I helped as much as I could, but Andrew did have the knowledge,” says Danielle. Working as a gas engineer he’s gathered quite some experiences over the years, building houses amongst others. “The funny fact is that Andrew remodeled the van without anything on paper. It was all literally in his head,” tells Danielle. A proof that without the necessary skills one shouldn’t try to just wing a remodeling project. Luckily, the Waltons were covered with the right skills. What’s also important though are the right helping hands.
After seven months of hard work from everyone, Mo was ready for adventurous trips throughout the country. The Waltons are proud to say that their van is perfect for a family. Here they share what they took into consideration to make that possible.
Waking up with the back doors flung open to those majestic fields. Nothing can beat that.
Camping for the Waltons is a perfect family adventure that guarantees unforgettable memories. “With Mo, we’ve been to Brighton, Wesley Dale and the Yorkshire Dales for example. But so far, our favorite has definitely been Camping in Lake District,” explains Danielle. Lake District is a mountainous region in North West England, a popular holiday destination that’s famous for its beautiful lakes.
You want to spend a holiday in the UK and hire Mo for yourself? The van is hired out through the Quirky Campers – a handcrafted camper hire agency.
The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.
Please note that camping is not allowed in every country. So check before your trip whether camping is permitted or not.