FAQ's  -  Sprinter (Raptor & Airstream FAQ's below)

What happened to the Airstream / (spoiler alert) Why did you sell it??
We had an Airstream, in various sizes, for about 8 years,  We loved it, but over time it became clear that we needed something we could drive and stay in places we couldn't pull the trailer into.  I have nothing bad to say about our airtream.  In a perfect world we would have kept both, but it didn't make any sense financially to keep it when we knew the chances were we would only use it a handful of times per year.

What is this new vehicle??
We've now have a 2018 Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van - 4x4 - Short-Wheelbase.  It was upfitted by Master Overland in San Diego (now in Tampa FL).  The build exceeded our expectations.

Do you miss having the Airstream? 
Yes & No.  We loved it, but there are some things we will and won't miss.  We'll miss the extra space, but welcome the accessibility the smaller Van will afford us.  I won't miss hitching up or having to be so careful coming in and out of driveways, gas-stations, etc.  I also won't miss not having a usable, off-grid AC (only ran on generator of hookups that we never had).

What sort of capacities do you have and how do they compare to the Airstream you sold?
Power: we have 1,000 amp hours of lithium battery.  Yes, that's a lot and no, it's not overkill.  One of the shortcomings of a trailer is that most of them don't have a generator on-board.  You might say, "Camping with AC isn't really camping",and I would agree, except that A) We don't "camp" in places hot enough to where we would need AC and...B) We need the AC for when we are NOT "camping" and instead need it when we are en-route somewhere.  There have been times for example that we're headed to Southern California, where it's going to be 72 degrees, but on the way there we need to spend the night at a rest stop in Bakersfield, where it's been 110 degrees all day and is still 85 degrees at 11 PM.  It's also important since we travel with Georgie (our dog).  If we want to stop and eat somewhere we no longer have to leave the car running for him.
Water: We have 26 Gallons of fresh water on board
Fridge: Our Isotherm Cruise 200 is bigger than the fridge we had in the Airstream
Propane: We no longer need propane on-board.  We have an induction cooktop, a June Smart-Oven and a Webasto Duo-Top Evo 6 heater and hot water heater that runs off the on-board diesel fuel tank
Clearance:  This isn't a capacity, but not worrying about dragging the hitch, plumbing of anything else when off the beaten path is a huge advantage

That's a lot of battery!  How the hell do you charge all that?  I only see a single solar panel up there.

We knew two things when we started the build.  First, that we were going to want much more battery capacity than we had in the airstream and second, that if we had that much battery, we would need a way to charge that.  At first we thought we'd need a solar array the size of the entire roof, but then Josh at Master Overland told us about the Nations Alternator.  Long story short, it's a secondary alternator that serves, literally, as a generator.  When driving it will pump in up to 280 amps into our battery bank.  At idle, up to about 150 amps.  For reference, we had 480 watts of combined solar panels on the Airstream.  In ideal conditions we'd be lucky to get 35-40 amps of power coming in and that is of course during a very limited window of time when the sun was directly above us.  So with that in mind, you can see that we will get more power by idling the van for 30 minutes than we would in an entire day's worth of solar.  Problem solved.  Truth be told, the only reason we have that panel up on the roof is because we had that room there and I also figured it would compensate for the power consumed by parasitic loads, like our fridge and other systems that are always on.

What did you have to give up when you decided to go with a van?
Aside from the space, nothing really.  The van, the way we had it built, offers us more than the airstream did.  It has approximately 6 six times the amount of usable battery capacity, an Air conditioner we can run, overnight, off of our batteries.  The bathroom is a bit of a sacrifice in that it's a wet-bath, but very few people have a bathroom/shower combo in a van to begin with.  Our fridge is bigger.  The furnace runs off of the on-board diesel fuel tank, so we don't need Propane.

Do you really need all those amenities in a van, I mean, aren't you "camping"?
Yes, we need them.  Some people have a trailer, RV or van for use only on the weekends.  If that's the case then sure, you don't need much.  We're usually not out in the van for any less than a week and many times in it for up to 6 week stretches at a time.  Furthermore, the only way I CAN be out on the road is if I can work.  In order to do that we need certain comforts (power outlets, comfortable seating and a work space (desk/table).

What did you spend on the van?
A lot!

Who makes that AC on your roof and how much power does it use?
The AC is made by a company called KingTec.  This particular AC is a game changer for us in that it is 12-volt, DC powered (runs directly off the batteries) and uses only about 45 amps.

Why did you go with the short-wheelbase Sprinter.  If you need all that stuff wouldn't it have been better to get the longer wheelbase version?

Good question, but in short...No.  As I mentioned previously, what we wanted in the van that we didn't have in the airstream was accessibility.  That means nothing with crappy approach/departure angles or anything where we'd run the risk of high-centering

Who makes those lights you have on the he van?
  • Light bar - (above windshield) - Rigid Adapt 50
  • Round lights (at bumper )- Rigid 360 Series Lights (2 Spot / 2 Driving)
  • Scene lights (front/rear/left/right) - Rigid A-Series (Low power)
  • Porch Lights - (left and right of right side step) - Rigid A-Series lights (High Power)
  • Power-Step lights - Removed what came with the steps and replaced them with

Who makes the ladder and bumpers on your van?

I could never, in good conscience, refer anyone to that company.  I'm still waiting for a reply to the email I sent the owner way back in Feb of 2019.  Mix this with what I encountered when we were actually trying to order their stuff??.......no way.  If you really must know, write me and I'll email you back with who they are (with that caveat)

What size wheels & tires are you running?
Wheels are 17"
Tires are BFG TA/KO2 - 285/70/17

That's a big tire.  Do they rub?
They did, so we had to heat, mold and trim the fenders a bit.  It's fine now



FAQ's RAPTOR/AIRSTREAM

A Raptor for Towing??
YUP!!  We wanted something that served both the purpose of towing, and since we can't bring along ATV's or a side-by-side, this is also what we use for Offroading fun.

How well does the Raptor tow?
The raptor tows great.  It has plenty of power and could easily tow more than the rated 8,000 lbs. I you look at a regular F150 3.5 Ecoboost with tow package (which is just a stiffer rear), it tows somewhere around 11,000 lbs.  This truck has more hp and torque and it’s only limitation is the soft suspension. Click HERE (and here) to see how I fixed this WITHOUT airbags (which would severely limit the upward wheel travel and defeat the purpose of owning a Raptor in the first place)


How big is your airstream and how much does it weigh?
Our Airstream is a 23’ International. It weighs 4,700 lbs dry and 6,000 lbs loaded (propane, water, gear, etc)


How are you able to tow your Airstream and NOT have your Raptor's rear sagging?  Are you running airbags?
No airbags (or air-suspension), but if I left it stock it would drop +/- 5 inches in the rear.  I had airbags for a while as a stopgap measure, but finally found a solution (fabricated by @Izzy_fab in Southern California) that comes without compromise.  Click HERE (and here) to see how I fixed the sagging issue WITHOUT airbags.  I know from experience that airbags would severely limit the upward wheel travel and defeat the purpose of owning a Raptor in the first place)


What lights are you running in the front (and rear)
I’m running all Rigid lights.  Click on the “Gear” section to see a list and links to what I have.  We are ambassadors for RIGID, but don't think for a minute that that's why we have them.  We could have gone with another brand if that's what we wanted.  I had Rigid on our previous Raptor and that's what I wanted on this one.  They are ROCK SOLID


Who makes the bar/mount for the 30" Rigid light bar?
The mounts themselves are from Rigid.  The bar in front of it, that protects it, is a custom push-bar that I had fabricated by @Izzy_fab in Southern California


What is that bed-cover/rack you’re using?
It’s a UnderCover Ridgelander cover.  For info and links on that and all the racks/lights on it, go to the “Gear” page (left menu)


Who makes that bedside rack system (where the PowerTank is mounted) and was it hard to install?
It's made by Builtright Industries.  Click HERE to see it on their website.  The rack installs incredibly easy by way of the existing cleat and tie-down holes.  This thing is a no brainer purchase.  Every truck should have this installed.


How does that PowerTank work?
We have two different types of PowerTanks and three overall (for different purposes).  One is a C02 tank which is used to quickly fill tires and the other is a Nitrogen tank to fill our aux Fox Air Shock (air in this case actually meaning Nitrogen).  This is from a previous Instagram post in which I wrote:
I’m a bit partial, but only because I actually reached out to these guys out to find out about their product. So this isn’t an ad. This is my actual experience with a #PowerTank.
I knew this would be cool to have but holy #%!?.....This thing is awesome. To give you an idea as to just how great.....When we take our #raptor offroad we’re dropping tire pressures down to about 24 psi (from +/- 40psi). Sure you can use a compressor when you come off a trail/run, but if you do you’ll be standing around for a little while......ok fine, a long while. I’m telling you, no BS, this thing fills each tire back up in about 20 seconds. The first time I used it I literally stood there chuckling, telling Stephanie “geez...that’s just stupid fast”. Oh yeah and one (10lb) tank should give me > than 20 air-ups like what I described above. Yeah....stupid fast!! Doesn’t hurt that Steve, Tyler and the rest of the crew at PowerTank are just really awesome people.


What size PowerTank do you have (Co2 for tire inflation)?
We have both the 5lb and the 10lb PowerTank.  The 5 lb is what you've seen attached to the side of the inside of our truck-bed and we use that more to blow stuff out than to inflate tires (although we could of course use it for that).  We use our 10lb tank for tire inflation on the Raptor and the Airstream.


How do you fill the PowerTanks?
The Co2 tanks can be filled at?  From the PowerTank site:
"You can get CO2 refills from welding supply shops, fire extinguisher servicing shops, beverage carbonics, and more. It is typically best to call ahead to check pricing and to make sure they can fill your Power Tank onsite, rather than taking it to another facility to be filled offsite. Our smaller Power Shot bottles can be filled at any sporting goods store or paintball shop for a few bucks.
Average cost to fill your Power Tank can be anywhere between $15 to $30 in the US depending on your area and the size of Power Tank you are filling. We are working on compiling a national list of good CO2 suppliers. Please recommend your local CO2 shop to us so we can put them on a searchable map to help out your fellow wheelers. You can email us at info@powertank.com


What make/model kayaks are those?
They are Hobie Outback Mirage kayaks.


What racks are those on your roof?

They are Thule Aero bars with Thule Glide and Set cradles


Why don't you share locations on Social Media?
If you want a really good explanation click to read this post (not mine).  Anyway, my friends are tired of hearing this, but it's simple:  Sharing locations on social media is like putting out a commercial for something on TV as opposed to word of mouth.  Put simply, that great, quiet, secluded spot you found is going to be anything BUT great, quiet OR secluded.  Some people have told me that they "don't have enough of a following" for it to make a difference, but as a whole when so many people share a location it adds up.  We've been to countless places that used to be unlnown to the masses and now they've been so overrun by people that they are now at risk being of being closed to campers altogether.


Where is that Camo drone wrap from (click here for photo)?
Mavic Pro 2:  Click HERE
Mavic Air: Click HERE
Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In