Dozens of companies are building adventure vans for those with wandering hearts, and some of them have yearlong waiting lists. One of them is Benchmark Vehicles, a Portland, Oregon-based outfitter that promises to build your dream escape vehicle. The latest addition to their portfolio is Deso, a Mercedes Sprinter-based van conversion that is literally overflowing with high-end features and components sourced by some of the aftermarket's biggest names.
Benchmark Vehicles specializes in building custom, off-road-ready adventure campers. They start with a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter cargo or crew van and customize it to turn the dreams of their customers into reality. In the past, the team used to build Ford Transit-based conversions as well, but since 2021, they've only focused on adventure van build-outs on Sprinter chassis to streamline their process and increase production efficiency.
Mercedes Sprinter off-road camper vans have become a common sight in the US. You can spot them on the road, at the beach, and scattered around campgrounds and National and State Parks, so companies are striving to come up with something extra to make their builds stand out from the crowd.
But Deso comes with plenty of extras, which explains its exorbitant price. It boasts a slew of aftermarket off-road components that ensure it can go anywhere, a slide-out tray that can accommodate up to four bicycles, a luxurious interior, and much more.
Benchmark Vehicles upgraded almost every relevant mechanical component of the base vehicle. As such, the Deso campervan is fitted with Fox 2.0 shocks as part of the company's Agile Off-Road Ride Improvement Package, new leaf springs, Bilstein heavy-duty coilovers, and Owl Talon wheels wrapped in BFG K02 285/70/17 all-terrain tires. The van also benefits from new front and rear bumpers, a Warn Zeon Platinum 12S winch, and Van Compas front skid plates.
The list of extra features also includes a snorkel to ensure you don't get stuck in deep water and a mount for a Starlink satellite dish that will keep you connected from anywhere in the world.
As for the living space inside the van, the company made sure to include everything one needs for a comfortable camping experience. There is a functional place to cook, a comfortable bed to sleep, and a cubicle to keep clean, apart from additional seating for when you want to drive the whole family.
The mid-van kitchenette is just what you need for whipping quick meals. It has plenty of cabinets to store all your goodies and comes equipped with a single-burner induction cooktop, a microwave, a sink, a freshwater dedicated faucet fed by a 35-gallon stainless steel water tank, a large Vitrifrigo fridge, and a coffee maker that slides out from the pantry cabinet.
The sleeping quarters at the back of the van include a large bed with 4.5" memory foam mattress. The raised bed platform leaves plenty of room underneath for a generous garage that allows for a large bike tray to be centered on the van load floor.
This features-laden van conversion is surely capable of offering the ultimate camping experience, but spending nearly $400,000 on a camper van is not up everyone's alley. Benchmark Vehicles also offers the Deso camper van with fewer features starting at $250,000.