1. Hey there. I commented on your electrical post the other day. I have a couple more questions if you don’t mind. We are hurriedly doing an upfit of our sprinter and really like the simplicity and design of yours. We are using a similar layout, but won’t be nearly as pretty. Could you tell me what the width and depth of your countertop? Also, I’d love to know where you stow your fridge. And finally, where did you get the mattress you are using and is it comfortable? Thanks again for all of your help!!


    • Logan,

      sorry for the delay, we’ve been out of service for a couple of days.

      The countertop is 20 inches deep. The cabinets underneath have a depth of 18-1/4 inches, and then the doors / drawers add an additional 1/2 inch (so the total depth of the cabinet to the wall is 18-3/4 inches. There is about 1/4 inch of overhang for the countertop, so from the wall the countertop reaches in a total of 19 inches. On the wall side we shaped the countertop to bulge out towards the window (which is the remaining inch). I’m not sure this explanation is clear but maybe you can see it on some of the pictures. As for the width, we custom fit the countertop into the remaining space between the bed frame and the driver seat box – we left about 10 inches of space from the end of the kitchen cabinet to the driver seat box to make it more comfortable to sit in the driver seat when the seat is swiveled around.

      Our fridge is in the bottom right of the kitchen cabinet. We built a drawer out of 1/2 inch birch veneer (same as the rest of the furniture) that sits on casters (http://www.leevalley.com/US/Hardware/page.aspx?p=69914&cat=3,51976&ap=1). We used a hole saw on the right sidewall of the kitchen cabinet (towards the front of the car) to add some air circulation – so far this has worked really well.

      We like our mattress a lot – actually we’ll post an article about it shortly. It’s this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002GRB4AK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002GRB4AK&linkCode=as2&tag=sprivandiar-20&linkId=CEISHNRA3VOUHBZO

      Email me at jakob@sprintervandiaries.com if you have additional questions.

  2. Nikki and Jakob,

    I just got a chance to finally catch up on your most recent blogs, and please please please keep them coming! You two are the perfect explorers to do such a trip and spread the word about it, so it’s not in the least bit surprising that you’re enjoying the interaction with others you meet on the journey. Keep up with the pictures because they look larger than life… love and miss you guys every day! Happy travels and keep exploring.

    So much love,

    • We love you little lady and miss you tons. Can’t wait to see what adventures you will embark on once you’re a full grown human. 🙂 love you Kurd.

  3. Hi there. I love reading your posts – the writing is wonderful and the stories are so fun to read. I’ve been to a few countries in S. America in which there are many stray dogs. I would love to travel via van in S. America with our dogs, but am a bit worried about the stray dogs, and would love to have some feedback. Have you had any problems with the dogs being aggressive with Leika?


    • Hi Cindy! Honestly, we haven’t had any problems with the strays at all. Before we left we were a bit concerned but once we hit the road, we realized that they are more afraid of us than anything and are generally better socialized then most ‘domestic’ dogs so are more often than not just curious. They’re actually afraid of Jakob and me so if you step towards the dog or pretend to pick up a rock, they’ll scram. We love having Leika with us and if your dog listens well to you, you shouldn’t have any trouble! Safe travels and have fun! Let us know if we can help answer any questions or concerns.

  4. Hi there, we are looking at following your footsteps but on a Europe journey and noticed in a more recent instagram that you had bikes. Where did you store these? We were looking at creating sliding drawers under the bed for them, do you think this would work?

    • We’re storing them under the bed in the rear. Having the bikes on the inside of the van was something we focused on while we built the van. To achieve that, we made the storage space 65″ long and about 39″ high – this accommodates our 2 bikes easily. We didn’t put in a drawer although that’s certainly the more elegant solution. Check out traipsing about for an example of sliding drawers!

  5. Hope your trip is going well. My husband and I have decided we wanted to purchase a van to make a similar trip as yours. On the top of our list is the new Ford Transit van. It is very similar to the Sprinter van and I was wondering if you had any issues with feeling unsafe having a pretty expensive vehicle in Central and South America? We like the Sprinter type van better than a Westy since we wouldn’t have to pop the top in order to stand inside, but are worried about bringing a 40k van outside of the US. So any words of encouragement you might have that would make us feel better about pulling the trigger to purchase the van would be greatly appreciated!

    • Tricia, thanks for getting in touch. We totally agree on all the advantages of the Sprinter / Transit. As it relates to safety, while driving we actually feel like the car is pretty inconspicuous because it looks a lot like public transport vans called ‘colectivos.’ We get flagged down by people quite a bit because of that. Either way, I think as long as you get the basics right – don’t drive at night, never leave valuables visible when the car is parked, and never leave the car unattended – you can reduce the chances of attracting unnecessary attention pretty well. This is something that applies to anywhere in the world, not just Central and South America.

      This post may be helpful for you as well, and our friend wrote a nice piece on it recently.

  6. Hey guys! My wife and I are forging a similar path to yours in a very short while outfitting a sprinter van. We also took an extended trip through many of the US national parks last summer (completely agree with your sentiments on national forests being where it’s at versus NP’s). I had a question for you two in relation to that though. Did your pup ever have to stay in the van alone? Say because access wasn’t allowed at all places for pets? Or did you all just reroute if that wasn’t possible and if you did occasionally how did that work for you guys? For keeping her cool specifically. Let me know! Thanks!

    • Hey Bryan, thanks for getting in touch! Having a dog quickly became an issue for us, as they are technically only allowed where cars go (i.e. the roads and parking lots). Especially in the summer months with 100+ degree weather we couldn’t really leave Leika in the car for more than 20 minutes (even though the roof vent works quite well). In the end we actually decided to spend less time in the (overcrowded) National Parks and go to the less discovered National Forests surrounding these parks. Usually we found stunning scenery, had the place all to ourselves, and found free dispersed camping anywhere we wanted. So I would highly recommend doing the same with a dog. Sometimes there are also dog-loving people living close to the parks that may be able to watch your dog for a while at a reasonable price – we sometimes just asked people at outdoor gear stores and got some good pointers. Hope this helps.

      All of that is a lot easier in Canada, where almost all parks are dog-friendly, as well as in Mexico where most people did not care / know what the rules are.


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