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Heavily-Accessorized 'Deso' Van Conversion Offers the Ultimate Camping Experience

While big RVs are fine and dandy and enjoy great popularity among those who love glamping, they are not the go-to choice for people who want to explore the outdoors and commune with nature. The freedom that many seek during their camping adventures is more attainable in a camper van.
Benchmark Vehicles' luxury camper van Deso 28 photos
Photo: Benchmark Vehicles
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Camper vans combine the maneuverability of a passenger car with the creature comforts of a travel trailer or RV and allow you to travel pretty much anywhere. Moreover, professional van conversion builders are continuously upping the vanlife game, so if you have the money, you can basically have a five-star hotel room in the back of your van.

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.

Benchmark Vehicles' luxury camper van Deso
Photo: Benchmark Vehicles
The Deso van conversion is a rugged adventure vehicle based on the long and spacious 2023 Mercedes Sprinter AWD 170, and if you look at the extensive list of features, it might be the most heavily modified Mercedes van you've seen. It offers a luxurious interior and can be configured to reflect the client's tastes and functional requirements. It is also one of the most expensive Sprinter-based build-outs, starting at an eye-watering $386,000 USD.

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.

Benchmark Vehicles' luxury camper van Deso
Photo: Benchmark Vehicles
Another great thing about the Benchmark Deso is the off-grid-adapted power system, with 245 watts worth of Zamp Obsidian Solar Panels, a Xantrex 3000-watt inverter/charger, and a 640 Ah Lithionics Battery lithium power system, which ensures you are covered even when you're on the road for extended periods of time. If you also add a high-capacity Roambuilt roof rack with load lights and a rear-door cargo carrier, you've got a great rig for a comfortable, safe road trip.

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.

Benchmark Vehicles' luxury camper van Deso
Photo: Benchmark Vehicles
A unique feature found inside this camper is the French-made Scopema flip-and-fold van seat that provides additional seating and extra space to stretch your legs. The driver and passenger seats have also been replaced by Scheel-Mann seats with custom upholstery. There is also a small bench with matching upholstery next to the slider door and a walnut Lagun swiveling table that completes the front lounging area.

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.

Benchmark Vehicles' luxury camper van Deso
Photo: Benchmark Vehicles
A Girard power-operated awning with LED light extends the living space to the outside and enhances your camping experience. For those moments when the shade provided by the awning is not enough to cool off, the van is equipped with a Nomadic Cooling X3 12V air conditioner.

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.

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About the author: Ancuta Iosub
Ancuta Iosub profile photo

After spending a few years as a copy editor, Ancuta decided to put down the eraser and pick up the writer's pencil. Her favorites subjects are unusual car designs, travel trailers and everything related to the great outdoors.
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