If you happen to’re an out of doors fanatic who desires to get outdoors extra and hit the open street, the Storyteller Overland MODE van would possibly simply be the proper ready-to-go journey automobile for you. This versatile, succesful van is designed to get you off the overwhelmed path and permit you to expertise the outside in a complete new method. On this full Storyteller Overland MODE van evaluation, I share precisely why.
I took a 2023 Storyteller Overland Basic MODE AWD Van for a spin round Southern Utah, exploring dust roads and secluded campsites, and I used to be blown away by how adventure-ready it’s. It’s straightforward to see that Storyteller Overland has completely perfected their design over time – each little element is impressively thought out. It comes outfitted with all the things you want so you may hit the street straight away.
To offer you a bit of background, I’ve toured many various camper vans, truck campers, and different journey automobiles over time. My husband and I’ve street tripped and camped in our Volkswagen Vanagon throughout the Western U.S., pushed the Baja California peninsula many instances, and even lived out of it for greater than a 12 months once we drove from San Diego to Patagonia. From assembly different vacationers on the street to trying out journey rigs at occasions, we’ve seen automobiles which have spanned the gamut from finances DIY to luxurious RVs to insanely succesful Earth Cruisers.
I first noticed Storyteller Overland’s MODE vans in individual at Open Roads Fest, Bearfoot Idea’s van life occasion, and was impressed by their well-thought-out versatile format, rugged design, and the best way they maximized the usage of area. Nevertheless, attending to expertise a MODE van on the street was subsequent stage and gave me an incredible appreciation for the way superb these vans actually are.
After 10 days and almost 1,500 miles exploring the backroads of Southern Utah in a Storyteller Overland MODE Van, right here is my full evaluation and why I feel this is likely to be the final word journey automobile for out of doors lovers who desire a van that’s able to hit the street.
Made Doable by Storyteller Overland
This evaluation is made attainable with the help of Storyteller Overland. An enormous thanks to them for handing over the keys to certainly one of their model new 2023 MODE vans with out hesitation and letting us take it for a spin. All phrases and opinions are our personal and we try to share trustworthy, useful data.
The Van: 2023 AWD Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
We had been fortunate sufficient to take out a model new 2023 Storyteller Overland Basic MODE AWD van constructed on a 2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. As with all Storyteller Sprinter vans, it’s a 144” wheelbase, high-roof Sprinter.
The very first thing we observed was how straightforward it was to drive in comparison with different camper vans and huge automobiles we’ve pushed. It dealt with extra like an SUV than a 9,000 lb camper van, zipping via cities and sliding into regular parking spots.
360-degree cameras make each side of driving a breeze whether or not you’re turning a good nook, parallel parking, or backing up. The entrance dashboard has a giant contact display screen that shows the digital camera view when wanted and makes it straightforward to manage lane help and different automated driving options.
The van comes with all the opposite trendy facilities you’d anticipate in a brand-new Sprinter van together with LED high-performance headlamps, heated swiveling driver and passenger seats, satellite tv for pc radio, a navigation system, driving help, Bluetooth, and extra. You possibly can view the total specs of the Storyteller Overland Basic 2023 MODE AWD Sprinter right here.
Storyteller Overland Basic MODE Van Inside
Step contained in the Storyteller Overland MODE van and also you’ll be greeted by a comfy, useful residing area that’s designed so as to add consolation and comfort to your adventures. The inside format is well-thought-out, with a wide range of cleverly designed options that maximize area and performance.
One of many issues we liked most in regards to the Storyteller Overland MODE van was the seating and sleeping setup. The van comfortably seats and sleeps as much as 4 folks, that’s why the STO makes our record of the finest campervans for households.
There’s seating with seatbelts for 2 behind the driving force’s seat. Even higher, this seat – often known as Storyteller Overland’s patented GrooveLounge™ – folds down right into a mattress.
We traveled with our one-year-old so this setup was excellent for us. In seat mode, we had been in a position to safely safe her automobile seat for the lengthy drives. The seat subsequent to her got here in useful so certainly one of us might sit along with her when she received stressed and wanted leisure and snacks.
The seating space additionally features a desk that may transfer, swivel, and be eliminated and stowed if not wanted. It’s excellent as a piece station by day and eating desk at evening. We stowed it during our journey since we used the GrooveLounge as a sleeping space and in addition wanted area for our toddler to roam round, however it’s good to have the choice.
Lastly, the entrance seats had been luxurious and cozy and each the driving force and entrance passenger seats swivel round for additional hangout seating and area when camped.
As talked about above, certainly one of our favourite options of the Storyteller van is the GrooveLounge – the rear seats that flip into a further mattress. It takes lower than a minute to fold down and it’s vast sufficient to comfortably sleep one grownup or two young children.
When camped, we’d fold the GrooveLounge down and put our toddler’s Pack’n’Play proper on high (it felt sturdy as is however we secured it with paracord so there was no probability of her knocking it over). Even with the Pack’n’Play setup, we had been in a position to transfer across the van like regular and entry the kitchen space, the mattress, and the storage. There was even sufficient area contained in the van for us to suit our toddler’s excessive chair inside for dinner on chilly evenings.
The major mattress in the back of the van is comfy and spacious sufficient for 2 adults. The flares present that little bit of additional area wanted to have the ability to sleep sideways and maximize the area within the van. My husband is 6’ and was in a position to match comfortably on the mattress from head to foot. If you happen to’re bigger than 6’ tall you would wish to make use of a bit of diagonal area (which there’s room for) in the event you needed to stretch out and sleep along with your legs straight.
The mattress is one other certainly one of Storyteller’s distinctive patented options (often known as the Dreamweaver™ Mattress/Convertible Work Floor) and is made up of two components which makes the again space of the van very versatile. You possibly can fold up one aspect of the mattress to make extra standing room and use the opposite aspect as a platform for cooking or working. Otherwise you can fold each side of the mattress up to offer your self much more standing room within the again.
We traveled with the primary mattress in place the entire time since there was sufficient area within the cabin for us that we didn’t must entry the again a lot. We liked that there was no want to maneuver issues round or make up the mattress at evening, it was able to go. We discovered the mattress to be comfy as is (no additional padding wanted) and slept very well. We used a snug double REI sleeping bag and pillows from residence as our bedding and it labored out nice.
The kitchen within the Storyteller van, like all the things else, is completely thought out (the truth is, it makes our record of finest camper van kitchens). It makes use of the slider door area for optimum effectivity and appears out so you may benefit from the views whereas cooking and cleansing. We discovered the counter area to be lots, and when the chrome steel sink will not be in use, the tap folds down and the sink lid sits flush on the counter creating extra counter area as effectively.
The fridge/freezer was spacious and held sufficient meals for the three of us for our total 10-day journey. The van even comes with a chrome steel microwave oven which got here in useful for reheating leftovers and shortly heating up dinner for our toddler.
The highest drawer of the galley holds the single burner moveable induction cooktop that comes with the van. This range was straightforward to cook dinner on and actually got here in useful. We introduced our double burner camp range considering we’d wish to use it to cook dinner extra elaborate meals however didn’t use it as soon as – we discovered the only burner induction range to be all we wanted.
The three drawers under supplied a very good quantity of cupboard space for pans, dishes, cookware, utensils, Tupperware, and so forth, and made it handy to cook dinner and simple to wash up afterward.
The galley additionally comes with a useful exterior fold-down desk on the surface that you need to use with the slider door open. There’s even an outlet proper above the desk (I’m telling you – they’ve considered all the things) so you may plug within the induction range and cook dinner outdoors. That desk was actually all we wanted for out of doors cooking and eating and it was good to not need to depend on a further camp desk to arrange and pack away.
There are two showers on board the Storyteller van – each an indoor and an out of doors bathe. The indoor bathe is exclusive to Storyteller in that it stows away when not in use. Just like the Groove Lounge, that is one other certainly one of their ingenious patented designs. You possibly can see a video of it in motion in our roundup of the finest camper van bogs.
Whereas an indoor bathe is often stationary and takes up precious actual property contained in the van, Storyteller’s Halo Inside Bathe™ System is constructed into one of many overhead cupboards. Merely open the cupboard, pull out the bathe curtain, and open the FlexSpace™ Hid Bathe Pan constructed into the ground (which serves as a step as much as the mattress and cupboard space when not in use) and also you’re prepared to wash up after an extended day of journey.
The bathe head has a useful on/off button so you may simply cease the water movement when you cleaning soap up, then flip the movement again on while you’re able to rinse – a useful technique to save water so you can also make your water provide final so long as attainable.
The out of doors bathe is situated within the storage on the water management panel. It’s excellent for shortly hosing off your self, your gear, and your pets while you don’t must take a full indoor bathe.
After all, in the event you’re going to bathe you’re going to need sizzling water, and Storyteller Overland’s vans include a diesel-fired water heating system. You possibly can have heat water when doing the dishes (the very best when tenting in chilly temps) and for a sizzling bathe anytime. The water heater works seemingly instantaneously when you have already got the cabin heater working, and in the event you don’t have already got the heater working it takes only a few minutes.
The Storyteller Overland van additionally comes with a moveable bathroom that matches neatly contained in the bathe pan. For apparent causes, this was not included within the demo van so we don’t have any private enter on this, however having a transportable bathroom or different system for going to the toilet onboard is important when touring away from rest room amenities.
The Storyteller van has an in-cabin 21-gallon freshwater tank and a 24-gallon gray water tank – loads of water cupboard space for every week of journey with out having to fret about refilling. With all of the onboard conveniences, we had been fairly liberal with our water use at first and went via most of our water provide throughout the first 3 days of our journey (faster than we usually would). After realizing that, we began utilizing water extra conservatively and had been in a position to make it last more. You can simply make 21 gallons of water final for every week in the event you’re being conservative and never showering within the van.
The freshwater tank can simply be crammed by attaching the included hose to a spigot. It can be crammed by way of siphon which is a very cool function. The Storyteller can siphon water when a spigot can’t be discovered or in the event you merely choose to fill from a bucket or a 5-gallon jug.
For instance, in Sedona, slightly than trying to find a potable water spigot to refill the van’s water tanks, we discovered it simpler to fill a 5-gallon jug with water at a refill outdoors of a grocery retailer and siphon it into the van. It took 4 rounds to fill the recent water tank however it was fast and simple and is a good choice to have readily available for when you may’t discover an accessible water spigot (which could be tougher within the winter months).
Local weather Management
The van comes with a particular Storyteller touchscreen management panel that permits you to monitor and management numerous programs, such because the lighting, heating, and water, from one centralized location. You possibly can open the vent and switch the fan on, management the heating and air con, examine your freshwater and greywater ranges, and extra. We discovered this method to be extraordinarily straightforward to make use of and it was so good to have the ability to activate the heater with a faucet after getting back from a chilly snowy hike.
To begin, the Storyteller van is insulated with all-natural sheep’s wool which gives a extra comfy inside temperature proper off the bat. For instance, we stopped at an REI in Phoenix on a sizzling 80-degree day and determined to make lunch within the parking zone earlier than hitting the street once more. We comfortably frolicked within the van in peak afternoon warmth in full solar in a parking zone with simply the vent open and the slider door ajar – that was fairly spectacular.
As well as, the window on the slider door and the window reverse (behind the driving force seat) each open to vent, and the window behind the van by the mattress slides open as effectively creating a number of air flow choices mixed with the roof vent and fan.
The high-powered ceiling consumption/exhaust fan was useful for venting the van once we had been cooking and for creating a bit of airflow throughout the day when our one-year-old was inside napping. The vent has a rain sensor and can mechanically shut if it begins to rain – very useful in case you’re away from the van with the vent open and the climate turns.
Between the window vents, the ceiling vent, and the fan, you could be comfy within the van even on a sizzling day. We by no means used the cabin air con however it’s accessible in case you end up tenting in actually sizzling temperatures and want a bit of noon escape.
Maybe most significantly for us, the van has a diesel-fired heating system which was a godsend on our journey in late March. It has been a moist, snowy 12 months and it nonetheless felt like winter once we had been on the street. We camped within the snow in below-freezing temperatures on the Grand Canyon and persistently had nights within the 30s all through our journey. Within the night when the temps would drop, we’d hop within the van, set the thermostat to a snug 68 levels, and luxuriate in cooking and consuming dinner in consolation.
The diesel heating system is each a cabin heater and a water heater multi function. For the cabin heater, you may management the temperature and the fan stage (low, medium, or excessive) so you may actually warmth issues up shortly when wanted or maintain issues at a cushty temperature when sleeping at evening. You may also use the auto setting and set the temperature to the place you need it and the heater will deal with the remainder. This was particularly essential to us with our little one-year-old so we might sleep straightforward figuring out she was heat and comfortable at evening.
Lighting has a huge impact on ambiance, and the lighting within the Storyteller van was thoughtfully laid out, useful, and handy, similar to the remainder of the van.
The lights are divided into totally different areas in order that with one contact of the management panel you may activate the cabin lights (the primary lights down the middle of the van), the studying lights (lights alongside the perimeters of the van beneath the cupboards that you would be able to click on on and off individually), and storage lights. All of the lights are LED and totally dimmable as effectively. This was good for creating the ambiance we needed and was particularly useful for turning issues down within the night when it was time to wind down our toddler for mattress.
There’s loads of well-thought-out cupboard space all through the van.
Up entrance there’s overhead storage for each the driving force and passenger (the proper place to retailer your hat, sun shades, beanie, headlamp, and so forth for straightforward entry), three storage compartments on high of the dashboard certainly one of which has USB and Bluetooth ports, and two units of twin cupholders. These could all be customary options of Mercedes’ 2023 Sprinter vans however they had been tremendous handy nonetheless.
Within the cabin there are overhead cupboards that line each side and supply loads of cupboard space. All have click-in button locks which are tremendous useful – simply click on the button in when closing the cupboards to lock them in place for driving for a rattle-free journey and click on them open while you’re stopped and must entry one thing.
We used the cupboard closest to the galley as a pantry for espresso, tea, oatmeal, and snacks. The cupboards above the mattress had been excellent for storing all our garments which we put in packing cubes to make it straightforward to search out what we had been searching for (one packing dice for tops, one for bottoms, one for undergarments, and so forth). Having a spot for all the things actually helps maintain issues organized so you may spend your time exploring outdoors, not looking out excessive and low in your socks.
The storage may be very spacious and makes bringing massive gear objects alongside straightforward. It’s a massive open cargo space with a heavy-duty ground and L-track so you may retailer and safe bikes, paddleboards, mountain climbing/backpacking gear, and the rest you would possibly want. We solely introduced mountain climbing gear on our street journey so we didn’t make the most of the storage to its full capability, however it was useful to have a lot area and have the ability to simply throw our gear again there.
Along with all of the cupboard space within the storage, you’ll additionally discover an out of doors bathe and the complete water management panel the place you may fill water, empty water, and winterize the system when wanted. It’s all very easy and simple to make use of.
The Storyteller van comes with a full set of bug screens put in on each the aspect and rear doorways so you may benefit from the recent air with the doorways open proper off the bat. These are important for heat months when the bugs are out. They’re straightforward to roll down when wanted and roll up when not. When in use, a magnetic strip makes it straightforward to go out and in of the van and shut the display screen behind you to maintain bugs out. We solely used the bug screens on the primary day of our street journey earlier than we reached colder temps the place there have been no bugs and we discovered them to be very handy.
One other function that I take into account an absolute necessity is insulated privateness window covers. Fortunately, the Storyteller van comes with a whole set of high-quality window covers for every window within the van. Every is labeled with its location and simply attaches by way of the magnetic lining. Along with offering privateness, these assist insulate the within of the van from each cold and hot temperatures outdoors.
The included moveable bluetooth speaker was a pleasant contact as effectively. It’s housed proper above the galley subsequent to the microwave the place it conveniently fees so it’s prepared in case you wish to take it outdoors. This small however considerate function added to our enjoyable and made it tremendous straightforward to create a enjoyable ambiance whereas making dinner and hanging out with out having to have the automobile stereo on.
Storyteller Overland Basic MODE Van Exterior
One of many main highlights of the Storyteller Overland Basic Mode AWD Sprinter camper van is its off-road functionality. This van is constructed to sort out tough terrain and take you to distant locations that aren’t accessible by common RVs. The van is provided with all-terrain tires that present wonderful traction and stability together with a strong AWD system and 9.5 inches of floor clearance permitting you to confidently navigate via difficult landscapes.
We took this van on many dust roads throughout our street journey, a lot of which had been muddy and rutted from main rains within the days main as much as our journey. We put it to the take a look at and drove up the notorious Cottonwood Canyon street in Southern Utah – it dealt with very effectively and made it via some impressively deep mud.
The ability system is ready as much as enable you the liberty to be stationary for a number of days and nonetheless have entry to the facility you want.
The van comes with a 90W photo voltaic panel on the roof together with a hefty home lithium battery that additionally fees when you drive by way of the high-output auxiliary alternator. We drove virtually day-after-day throughout our journey so we by no means needed to fear about energy and solely took the battery all the way down to round 70% even with utilizing the lights, music, microwave, and charging our electronics.
The van additionally comes with a 30A energy twine in case you wish to hook up at a campground or RV park.
The Volta touchscreen show subsequent to the primary Storyteller management panel makes it straightforward to show the inverter on and off and to see how a lot energy you’re utilizing and the way a lot you’ve gotten left.
There are loads of 110V and USB energy shops all through the van, all strategically positioned proper the place you would possibly want them. There are additionally a number of 12V shops in case you want them.
The van comes with a low-profile roof rack (full with a wind deflector) that creates a big platform on high of the van the place you may sit and benefit from the sundown with a drink in hand. This additionally offers you the choice to simply connect gear or a rooftop tent.
The roof could be simply accessed by way of the aspect ladder which has a useful nonslip grip.
There’s additionally a hitch on the again the place you may connect a motorbike rack (in case you don’t wish to journey with bikes within the storage) or different exterior equipment like a spare tire (see our evaluation of the extra Owl Vans equipment that Bearfoot Idea’s founder Kristen has on her customized Exterior Van).
The van additionally comes with a powered awning that you would be able to prolong and retract with the contact of a button. It’s even lined with dimmable LED lights so you may have out of doors lighting whereas enjoyable outdoors at evening.
General, we had been past impressed with the Storyteller Mode Sprinter van and the way sturdy, well-built, and adventure-ready it’s. A lot in order that we had been unhappy when the time got here to return it. We’re now dreaming of getting one for ourselves so we are able to proceed adventuring with all of the consolation and comfort it gives, particularly with the toddler onboard.
The way to Get a Storyteller Overland Van
Storyteller Overland’s MODE vans can be found via a wide range of sellers throughout the U.S. You possibly can discover a native supplier close to you to see one in individual.
What’s very nice about Storyteller Overland’s vans is that they’re able to go proper off the lot – no massive design selections to make, no ready for the construct, no second-guessing your selections. Only a well-thought-out, confirmed design that’s been perfected over time.
If you happen to’d prefer to take a Storyteller van out for a spin earlier than taking the leap, try GoCamp – they provide totally outfitted camper van leases by proprietor and have plenty of Storyteller Overland vans of their fleet. Use the code GOBEARFOOT to get $50 off your rental.
I hope you discovered this Storyteller Overland evaluation useful and that you simply discover the appropriate off-grid-ready camper van for you.
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