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Ready for the next trip: Max & Lee give tips for loading the van.

A large collection of water sports equipment and gear

A not optimally loaded van can quickly become a problem. Hints from experienced vanlifers like Max & Lee help to avoid typical mistakes.

A good vanlife is not a foregone conclusion.

While Lee is talking, she quickly reaches behind her. Without looking, the Canadian opens a drawer and pulls out two wooden objects. “We find our way around in the van as if we were blind. Of course, that’s not a foregone conclusion,” she explains. Lee and her boyfriend Max have been living entirely in their “home on four wheels”, as they call it, for a year now. Before deciding to live a nomadic existence, however, the young couple had no great experience with vanlife. After countless kilometers and hours in their Sprinter, they collected some valuable tips. The most important thing is to load the van right.

A young couple lies in a van and the man strokes a dog

Lee, Max and dog Occy benefit from their great experience.

Work first, then fun.

If the perfect camper van is ready for the big holiday or the new life, you can start right away, right? “Before the journey begins, there are a few organizational things that should be clarified,” advises Max. This also includes the on-board logistics of the vehicle. “From our point of view, it is a big mistake not to think about this important issue thoroughly enough,” says the Australian. Nevertheless, there is no reason to panic. If you follow a few basic rules, you can soon plunge into vanlife without much previous experience.

Vanlife is often unplanned and sometimes very chaotic. A logical division helps to bring orientation and constancy back into everyday life.

Effectively packed: Less is more.

“The biggest beginner’s mistake is a maximally packed van,” warns Lee. Many newcomers to vanlife often bring too much luggage. The generous storage space of the vehicle is fully occupied to take a wide range of everyday items on board. But the motto at this point is quite clear: Less is more. “For two people, two sets of utensils must suffice,” explains the Canadian. Two plates, two knives, two towels and so on. With this rule of thumb you get by quite well in most cases. In this way, essential storage areas can be created inside the vehicle. “Even the rarely planned dirty laundry can be put away like this,” Lee knows.

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A logical room layout.

But even with an optimal reduction of luggage on board, problems can arise. “It is extremely important to always think along when occupying the storage space. You should always ask yourself when and how often certain things are needed,” explains Max. Utility items that are used very often must be easier to reach than those that are used less often. It’s also a good idea to categorize the storage space. “Vanlife is often unplanned and sometimes very chaotic. A logical division helps to bring orientation and constancy back into everyday life,” says Lee. Clothing, food, toiletries, etc. should therefore be divided into separate compartments where possible.

A woman opens a cupboard door in the kitchen of her van

A general division concept transforms Max and Lee’s van into a home suitable for everyday use.

Load securing is a must.

Anyone who uses a van commercially has to deal with this issue daily. But general safety standards also apply when travelling in a private van. Conscientious load securing is at the top of this list. “Of course, you have to make sure that loose elements are properly fastened in a camper,” Max makes clear. However, exemplary load securing means much more: Even properly stowed objects threaten to fall out of the respective fixtures at full speed or when braking if they do not work properly. “That’s why we always check drawers, door fixtures and magnet constructions in the van in advance to ensure that they can be retained,” explains Max. “And not just on winding roads,” adds Lee.

A lashing strap holds various benches together

Lashing straps can help to secure the load in the van properly.

Only an optimally loaded van makes a home on four wheels a feel-good place.

A young man is carrying a camping mat and a lamp

Some utensils can take up a lot of space in the van. It is therefore only worth taking a camping mat with you if you are really camping outside.

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.

Photos: Lee & Max; Devon Keim & Joe Ruscito;


Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

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