Designing your ultimate adventure van is all about customization, making your vehicle a masterpiece for the road. While some vans might look similar on the surface, true adventurers know that every vehicle has something unique and original that sets it apart.
However, there are a few accessories that make the must-have list for all road warriors out there, specifically those with the prized Mercedes Sprinter van.
Topping the list is a Sprinter roof rack that unlocks endless possibilities for more accessories and adventuring options.
Let's find out why every Sprinter van owner must include a specialized roof rack in their upfitting process, and what attributes make certain roof racks better than the rest.
Even if you're brand new to the adventure van lifestyle or you're just here as a spectator, you'll learn why roof racks are such a vital component to a successful van build, and have a head start if you decide to one day hit the road yourself.
What is a Sprinter Roof Rack?
A brand new Sprinter van is like a blank canvas with tons of potential for customization and improvement. But by far the most comprehensive and cost-effective base accessory is a fully equipped roof rack.
A roof rack may not look like much - a set of side rails and crossbars that attaches to the roof of your van, typically with some stainless steel hardware to hold it in place. But the point of a roof rack isn't to make your van more aesthetically pleasing at it barrels down the highway.
Functionality is the focus here, should be the top priority when adding a roof rack to your Sprinter.
Simply by installing a roof rack onto the top of your Sprinter van, you immediately open the door to a huge range of capabilities that don't come direct from the factory.
No other single installation grants you the same array of features, functions, conveniences, and flexibility as a roof rack, especially one that is built to fit the latest Sprinter models.
While Mercedes does a decent job of equipping its base Sprinter models with features for adventure van beginners, a roof rack is the quickest, easiest way to level up your van and make it that much more capable on the road, wherever it may take you.
Newcomers to the world of adventure vans may be shocked to discover the sheer versatility of accessories that can be fitted to a roof rack. Given the generous amount of surface area on the top of his vehicle, you've got a lot of room to work with, and choosing accessories is a key part of customization.
The first and most talked-about accessory type is storage - you just can never have enough of it on the road. Even if you consider yourself to be someone who "travels light", spending long stretches of time on the highway is a different game.
Storage options are plentiful with roof rack attachments, ranging from square-shaped soft storage compartments to high-stability hard storage units that can hold more expensive gear and belongings.
A roof rack also opens up options for life-changing cooling and ventilation features that don't come standard with even the top-line Sprinter vans. As any van veteran will tell you, keeping your van cool on the road is crucial to your longevity in the driver's seat and experience overall.
Roof racks offer a framework on which to place vents, AC units, and other components that give you greater command of the internal temperature and air quality in your cabin.
Let's not forget about other quality-of-life upgrades that a roof rack brings to the table. If you want to add a deck, an awning, light bars, or solar panels to your van, a roof rack will help you make it happen.
Of course, you can also swap out accessories depending on the parameters and demands of the trip that lies ahead - preparation is everything!
On top of those essentials, there is gear available across the market with roof-rack-specific attachments. Fishing rods, snowboards, camp shovels, satellite antennae - anything you can imagine, it's out there. You just need a rock-solid roof rack to set the foundation and make it all road-ready.
Best Sprinter Roof Rack Features
You'll encounter a lot of Sprinter roof racks in your search, but which ones are worth the money? Here are five criteria that your roof rack should meet.
Custom Fit for Sprinter
A one-size-fits-all solution is never appropriate for your van, especially critical infrastructure like a roof rack. Make sure your hardware is custom made for your Mercedes Sprinter model and nothing else.
Lightweight and Aero-Friendly
Some roof racks weigh in at over 60 or 70 pounds - even more. That's too heavy for a van already fully loaded with gear. Make sure your chosen rack is around 50 pounds and aerodynamic as well.
Quick and Easy Installation
There's no need to spend hours in awkward positions to install your Sprinter roof rack. Nor should you need to damage the body of your van with invasive tools and bolts.
The best roof racks are a snap to install and will only add value to your van with zero damage.
Affordable and Available
Roof racks are serious investments, but shouldn't drain your bank account, either. Also, make sure you aren't waiting for ages to receive your roof rack in the mail. Fast delivery and affordability are both key.
Full Range Compatibility
Van masters know that gear compatibility is a never-ending issue, but the right roof rack solves this from the outset. The more flexible and customizable the rack, the more options you'll have to make your van vision a reality!
Don't Skip Your Sprinter Roof Rack
A Sprinter van without a durable, versatile roof rack just isn't meeting its full potential. Maximize your investment and get the most from the van lifestyle, with a roof rack that meets your standards. Once fitted, you're a step closer to the van of your dreams.