Introducing the Eiger-2 Camper
We are building the next great camper van right here in the beautiful state of Washington...this time using a Sprinter 144".
Stay tuned for more!
As popular as the Westy has been, owning a Westy is not an inexpensive endeavor. The vehicles themselves are typically 30-40 years old. The engines in these vans are undersized and have a difficult time climbing even moderate grades without overheating. They require near constant maintenance including engine rebuilds, engine replacements, fuel line replacements (so they don’t catch on fire), and cooling system repairs. Most don’t have working air conditioning. None were originally built with inverters for running AC-powered devices and appliances. As much as the Westy is loved for its vibe, it is unfortunately a vehicle that can’t be trusted 100% to get its owner home from a dispersed camping spot that is out of cell phone service range. If someone wants to buy a new VW Westy, their only option is the VW California. Unfortunately, the California is not available for sale in North America and VW has no published plans to do so in the foreseeable future. Large Class B RVs offer a different set of ownership issues: they are difficult to park (or run afoul of HOA rules), are often under-powered, get poor fuel mileage, and simply are larger vehicles than what many buyers need.
The solution to the Westy/large Class B dilemma is a modern camper van that includes the defining features of the Westy: compact size for easy parking (even in a garage or in a neighborhood with strict HOA rules), pop-top for second bed and standing headroom, bench seat that folds out into a bed, small galley with sink, fridge, and room to cook, and swivel front seats. And all of that built on a trustworthy platform with A/C, modern sound system, and ample power for climbing hills and for freeway driving at posted speed limits. The low-roof Sprinter and Metris are ideal platforms for such a modern Westy (with the Sprinter offering an extra-spacious interior) and are readily available in the U.S. They are reasonably priced, have companies building pop-tops specifically for them, can be parked in a residential garage, have interior space roughly equivalent to (or larger than) the VW Westy, and have sufficient power for care-free highway driving with respectable fuel mileage.
Between the Metris and the Sprinter, the Sprinter is perhaps the better of the two options. Not only is it much larger inside, but coming in 2023 is a new full-time AWD system replacing the somewhat difficult to use current 4x4 system. New engines will also be available with increased torque and better fuel economy. The Sprinter can accept large off-road tires and there are excellent suspension upgrade and lift packages available from Agile Off Road and Van Compass that greatly improve driving performance and comfort both on and off road. There is also a large selection of mods for the Sprinter from such companies as Owl Vans, Aluminess, Flarespace, and CAtuned to name just a few.
I thought I would share how the furniture is going to be built...specifically the rock and roll bench/bed. For this we are using the same aluminum extrusion framing system used in all the other furniture with some special hardware that allows the bed to lie flat from the sitting position. The bench/bed cushions will sit on 1/2" Baltic birch plywood that in turn will be screwed to the aluminum framing. All the exposed framing ends will be capped to keep it looking clean and professional.