The Van, the Myth, The Legend

Meet Navi aka. the blue whale or Der Blue Jewel (meaning the blue jewel). We did not name it after the Na'vi of Avatar, but we did just recently realise this van totally gives off blue-long-limbed-magical-creature-vibes. Navi is in fact the short word for Navigation or GPS in German and it says NAVI on our dashboard monitor. When we saw this we thought it was the perfect name for this van, since it would guide us to magical places and epic adventures.  

We found the blue lwb 2017 Mercedes Sprinter van at a Sprinter dealership, in the summer of 2020. The year prior we had been living in our old van Elefriend, a 1987 Volkswagen Carthago Camper. It was love on first sight: This van was exactly what we had been looking for, so we followed our gut and bought it within 48 hours. The following year we spent converting it into the van of our dreams and we opted to install top end equipment, so that we could live and work comfortably off-grid, throughout all seasons. Our priority was to create a homy, open, functional space, so we carefully planned the layout to make sure to include all the necessities - a bed that also functions as a sofa, an office space, a big kitchen, including oven, sink, fridge, a seating bench, a toilet and a sweet electrical hookup. 


Specs, features and components

Overall Info

∙ Vehicle make: Mercedes

∙ Model: Sprinter

∙ Year: 2017

∙ Color: Blue

∙ L 22.8ft 6,96m // W 6.5ft 1,99m // H 8.6ft 2,62m

∙ Weight: 3100 KG

∙ Milage: 143.000 Miles 230.000 Km

∙ Engine: 163hp / 120kW

∙ Fueltype: Diesel

When choosing the vehicle, it was important to us that we had a solid “foundation”. That's why we spent a long time looking for a Mercedes Sprinter that was in prime shape. This van was used by a company that made long distance deliveries. They had made sure to maintain the van well, and although the van has already driven quite a bit, it just keeps going - which is what Sprinter vehicles are famous for.


The entire vehicle has been insulated with Armaflex AF and with the Truma gas heater the van stays warm even in the dead of winter. There is a lot of storage space under the bed and in the cupboards. At the front under the bed there is a small pull out seat that can house a camping toilet.

We incooperated:

∙ Truma gas heating 4KW, with integrated water boiler. 10L capacity

∙ Dometic 40L top loading fridge

∙ Dometic gas oven with 2 hobs and grill

∙ 40L gas tank - fill propane directly at the gas station

∙ BF Goodrich All Terrain tires

∙ MaxxAir ceiling fan

∙ Black Dometic windows

∙ Insulated with Armaflex AF 19mm & 22mm

∙ Soundproofing with Reckhorn Alubutyl

∙ 70L fresh water tank & 40L waste water tank

The water tank holds 70L, most of the time this sustained us for up to 7 days. We decided against incorporating a shower in the vanbuild, there were many reasons: we wanted to have more space, avoid uneccesary moisture and not worry about our water usage. Showers at truck stops, gyms and campsites are far more convenient in our opinion.

Electric System

With over 600W of solar power on the roof rack, there is endless electricity in the summer! When we need shore power, the 300Ah lithium battery is fully charged within 2 hours. During the darkest weeks of winter we hooked up every 4-7 days.

Complete electrical system from Victron Energy - includes:

∙ 300Ah LifePO4 lithium battery

∙ 3000W MultiPlus interverter

∙ 16A shore power charger

∙ 620W solar power with 150V

∙ SmartSolar MPPT charger

∙ 500A smart shunt

∙ Cerbo CX Smart Control Center with touch screen

∙ BookBoost charger, especially for Euro VI engines.

Useful Extras

∙ Bear Lock anti-theft system

∙ Gas alarm detects Carbon-dioxide and propane

∙ Cruise control

∙ Air con in drivers cabinet

∙ Electric and heated mirrors

∙ Suspension driver's seat

∙ Bluetooth radio with integrated navigation system

∙ Reversing camera

∙ Parking sensors

∙ Heated windshield

∙ Fiamma F45 awning

∙ Lagun table mount

∙ LG Ultra Wide Screen with flexible mount

∙ Double mattress included (only used for 3 months)

∙ Adjustable bedframe for comfortable movie nights and easy access to storage below

∙ Insulated tailgate window blackout covers

∙ Magnetic mosquito net for the sliding door

From Vanlifers to part-time Vanlifers

For 1,5 Years the blue jewel was our home, and in the beginning Vanlife was a dream come true, but we eventually hit bumps which included stress, decline in physical and mental health and financial instability. The bumps got harder and harder to overcome, because life on the road can get really tough! And so the dream of an unbound life slowly faded and a different one came in its place. As we hit the 10 year mark of living as nomads, we finally wanted to grow some roots. 

But this is not the end of Navi, neither is it the ending of breaking away! No, this is just a new chapter. We might live a more conventional life now, but we break away whenever we find the time. Luckily we live close to the Alps, the Black Forest and the biggest lake of Germany, Lake Constance. We often get to explore cool new places in our surrounding area, and we have some epic plans, like driving to the North Cap, head down to Sicily and take a ferry to Ireland, just to name a few!

Follow along on our instagram, where we sporadically post!
Tanja & Lenny //  TheBreakawayers