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Bowlus Road Chief® vs. Van Conversions
Our Bowlus Road Chief® owners told us why they swapped their Sprinter van conversions for The Ultimate Off Grid Adventure Vehicle™:
Off Grid Capabilities
Van Conversion Issue
Bowlus Road Chief® Advantage

Often use deep-cycle lead acid batteries; limited off grid time.

Only uses the highest quality batteries—lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4); lasts for up to a week off grid.

Battery typically lasts 2-5 years.

LiFePO4 battery lasts 8-10 years.

No emission-free camping option.

Emission-free camping possible with electric car.

Ease of Use
Van Conversion Issue
Bowlus Road Chief® Advantage

Hassle of packing up everything for even the smallest of outings.

Unhitch in minutes, securely leave your gear and be on your way.

Campsite often taken by others while you’re out because it looks abandoned.

With the Road Chief as your “base,” you don’t have to pack up each time you leave.

Another vehicle to maintain.

Your existing vehicle(s) can be used to tow; no engine means no extra maintenance.

Minimal storage; difficult to access.

Ample, easy-to-access storage that’s seamlessly integrated into the Road Chief’s® design.

Entry/exit difficult for smaller adults due to step-up design. Ground clearance is poor.

Good ground clearance with easy entry/exit for smaller adults and children.

Drivability
Van Conversion Issue
Bowlus Road Chief® Advantage

18+ estimated MPG.

Sedan owners report a loss of only 2-5 miles per gallon when towing their Road Chief. Some customers report MPG of 25+.

Only driving option for camping. Less flexibility with what vehicle to bring camping.

Towable by multiple vehicles since the brake controller is twinned to the Road Chief.

Difficult handling in windy and mountainous areas.

Easy to tow in any conditions thanks to an aerodynamic build and low center of gravity.

Seating uncomfortable for long drives.

Comfortable seating results in far less driver fatigue, and therefore safer drives.

Craftsmanship
Van Conversion Issue
Bowlus Road Chief® Advantage

Made with what’s cheap and expedient.

Made with honest materials of the highest quality.

Low-quality; despite Mercedes name, it’s a shop van that rusts after two years.

Handcrafted from aircraft-grade aluminum; no rusting.

Mass recall for all Sprinter vans with air-conditioning on the roof due to improper seal installation.

Bowlus Road Chief’s A/C is safely tucked inside.

Numerous quality control issues have created a huge secondary market for the vans and made them difficult to resell.

In five years of production, not a single Road Chief® has passed to the secondary market.

Design
Van Conversion Issue
Bowlus Road Chief® Advantage

Cramped and frustrating floorplan.

Comfortable floorplan that allows for privacy.

Claustrophobic; tight for 1 and crowded for 2; interior height of 6’2.25”.

Spacious; can sleep 4 and seat 5; interior height of 6’4”.

Poor placement of TVs.

Cell boosters and routers allow you to watch from anywhere in or around the Road Chief.

Not pet-friendly because of small floorplans and poor ventilation.

Pet-friendly with spacious floorplan and effective ventilation system.

Non-unique body shape gives “shagging-wagon” feeling.

Exquisite combination of classic lines, iconic details, incredible craftsmanship, agile handling and superb aerodynamics.

Meaningful Travel
Van Conversion Issue
Bowlus Road Chief Advantage

They didn’t like the hassle of packing up everything every time they wanted to do an errand.

They like they can simply unhitch their Bowlus Road Chief in minutes securely leaving their gear and be on their way.

They found their campsite often taken while they were gone since it looked abandoned.

With the Road Chief as your “base” you don’t have to pack up each time you leave.

They found the floor plan cramped and frustrating.

They loved how the floor plan is comfortable yet also allows for privacy.

Agility
Sprinter Van Conversion Problem
Bowlus Road Chief Solve

They found it frustrating to pack up for even the smallest of outings and the lack of proper storage meant items were never properly secured.

They like it is faster and easier to get out on a trail in their tow vehicle for the day and deal with a dish left out, etc. later when they had time.

The handling in windy and mountain areas was challenging.

The Road Chief due to the aerodynamics and low center of gravity is easy to tow.

They found the seating uncomfortable for long drives and difficult for entry/exist for smaller adults.

Owners prefer their existing vehicle seating and experience much less fatigue on long drives.

It was another vehicle to maintain.

They preferred to use their existing vehicles.

Quality/Craftsmanship
Sprinter Van Conversion Problem
Bowlus Road Chief Solve

They thought they were buying a Mercedes. However, it was really a shop van that began to rust for California residents after two years.

Bowlus Road Chief uses aircraft grade aluminum for the exterior over an aluminum frame. No issues with rust.

There is a mass known recall for all Sprinter vans with air-conditioning on the roof due to improper seal installation.

Bowlus Road Chief’s A/C is safely tucked inside the Road Chief.

Sprinter Van Conversions have numerous quality control issues meaning the secondary market is large and challenging for resales.

In five years of production we have yet to have one Road Chief pass to the secondary market. 

Range
Sprinter Van Conversion Problem
Bowlus Road Chief Solve

18+ Estimate MPG.

Sedan owners report a loss of only 2 – 5 miles per gallon when towing their Road Chief®. Some customers report MPG of 25+.

Only driving option for camping.

Towable by multiple vehicles since the brake controller is twinned to the Road Chief.

No emission free camping option.

Emission free camping possible with electric car.

Exterior
Sprinter Van Conversion Problem
Bowlus Road Chief Solve

Non-unique body shape gives “shagging-wagon” feeling.

Exquisite combination of classic lines, iconic details, incredible craftsmanship, agile handling, and superb aerodynamics.

Interior
Sprinter Van Conversion Problem
Bowlus Road Chief Solve

Very uncomfortable beds – they felt like they were sleeping on car seats.

A Road Chief has 6” inches of incredible high-quality foam.

They felt really closed in sleeping and didn’t like crawling over each other to exit.

The love the true king or two great twins with so much more room than the “almost a double” you’ll find in a van.

They felt the bed in the van conversions were “short”.  

The Road Chief beds are 6’7” long.

They didn’t like making their beds up every night and realized they wasn’t really room to store any linens.

They loved the separate bedroom. They all commented on the Libeco linens – the best in the world so you have a great night sleep.

They felt claustrophobic in a van conversion – it was tight for 1 and crowded for 2. The interior height is 6’2.25”.

Bowlus Road Chief is incredibly spacious and can sleep 4 and seat 5. The interior height is 6’4”.

The toilet odor after a few months of use in a van conversion was unbearable for many.

Bowlus Road Chiefs have a special ventilation system so this is not a concern.

Most could not lift their arms to shampoo or shave in the shower as it was too narrow.

Bowlus Road Chief showers are extremely spacious and offer an outdoor option.

They found interior storage an issue in the van conversions.

The storage is easy to access and is integrated into the Road Chief design.

They found the location of the TV not useful.

Liked using iPads better with their Road Chief

They found pet odor unbearable in the small space when they added a beloved pet.

Dogs, cats, the occasional bunny and their owners all report increased happiness in their Road Chief.


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