VanCraft’s story begins in tranquil Maine. There Nathan Doody and his girlfriend Mari dreamt of a life in California. In 2014, they set off across the USA: From Niagara Falls via Chicago, past the Yellow Stone geyser, the devil tower in Wyoming and across the Badlands of Dakota. Arriving in California, they settled down to look for an apartment and jobs. They bought new cars and with a heavy heart decided to sell their converted van on Craigslist. As fate would have it, their future partner Derek Mason became aware of them there. He and his girlfriend Jillian were looking for an escape from their nine to fives and were planning a trip across South America. So a converted van was just what they needed: They quit their jobs and embarked on a journey south, which would turn their lives completely upside down.
“As soon as the journey begins, you realize that you are actually living in the land of unlimited possibilities,” enthuses Derek. They started in San Diego and drived via Baja California to Mexico. Together they traveled to Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize. On their journey they surfed the perfect wave, hiked a four thousand meter peak, got to know exciting people and foreign cultures. On the way back they drove through Florida, all the way across the USA back to California. The couple shared their experiences via their Instagram channel @thevandiary.
Derek’s tip for those who are longing for a longer journey:
Stay open to all possibilities and be prepared to leave the planned route. Sometimes the best experiences are the ones you didn’t expect.
“Returning after living in the van for a year and having life-changing experiences is anything but easy. Your bank account is empty, no job is waiting for you and you don’t know what to do with yourself.” Derek decided he did not want to go back to his old life. He contacted Nathan Doody and asked him if he would like to start a joint project and VanCraft was born.
The “great American road trip” changed the lives of the two founders in this way. They pressed the reset button in their career and are now converting T1 camper vans.
Both men share the desire to bring the passion of living in a van closer to as many people as possible. The two founded VanCraft and specialize in the sale, rental and conversion of Sprinter vans. They rebuilt their first joint Sprinter in July 2016. Derek and Nathan have been certain ever since: If you are planning a conversion, it is best to use a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter T1N produced between 2004 and 2006. Both have specialized in the model because it is exceptionally efficient and the engine offers proven fail-safe reliability. Another bonus: The engine can also be fueled with higher-sulphur fuel, as is often the case in South America. The two entrepreneurs also appreciate the spacious storage space with a height of 1.88 meters and the aesthetic design of the T1.
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.