Designed to seek out remote, forgotten trailheads and cross-country routes where trails pass nowhere, the all-new Tails RV from Outside Van is a complete ATV support vehicle and basecamp. More than just a motorhome with a few bike racks, this van is fully optimized to function as a mobile mechanic’s station, off-grid power station, and cozy mountain cabin. Settle into a base camp and explore like skiers from backcountry yurts or team up with a few van lifer buddies to tackle huge descents or string together epic bike expeditions. Whatever the mission, Tails will allow man and machine to do their best.
We’ve seen plenty of motorhomes built around carrying bikes, often in unexpected and clever ways, and a few include a rear door rack or helmet rack. Outside Van is looking to multiply bike carrying and field repair capabilities with Tails, designing what it envisions to be the “ultimate bike van”.
The Tails van makes its mission known immediately at the rear, where each of the door ladders are equipped with dual bike racks. The interior of both doors is also bike-friendly, carrying custom-designed tool rolls that drop down for convenient access to bike tools. The passenger side door includes a removable Park Tool repair stand to pull the bike repair up to a comfortable working level.
To prevent small parts and tools from rolling around and being chewed up by mud or sand, Outside hangs a fold-down workbench with built-in tray compartments on the driver’s side door. The bench even includes a built-in leveling system that allows the user to fine-tune positioning on uneven ground using a bubble level and tool-less knob screws.
An access point just under the bumper hooks up to the ARB air compressor to inflate bike tires. The compression system also includes a four-tire pressure adjustment system to simultaneously adjust all of the van’s tires for different terrain conditions.
The exterior attaches full-length tie-down rails to the wheel arch electrical and water boxes on the side walls of the cargo area, ideal for tying down gear or mounting accessories. The driver’s side water box includes an exterior hook-up to support a hot/cold exterior shower for man, dog, and gear. Between the power and water boxes, the slide-out tray can hold two more bikes or general gear like luggage, body armor and helmets.
With so much time spent sculpting the back of the pickup truck into a mobile workshop, you might expect less thought about the RV’s equipment. However, Outside does not skimp on innovation.
With the bed and garage extending almost to the rear edge of the central galley, the exterior gets creative by squeezing in an aft sofa for dining and lounging. The front panel of the three-panel garage bed lowers and works great as a padded seat back for the sofa bench. A portable toilet stores in a compartment at the base of the bench.
The kitchen unit includes a built-in induction hob, a stainless steel Isotherm under-counter fridge, a sink with worktop cover and a folding worktop extension. A microwave is installed in the hanging cupboards.
The kitchen also benefits from storage pockets on the insulated soft wall that separates the driver’s compartment from the motorhome. This wall helps keep furnace heat or A/C cooling in the living room where it’s needed. The wall has a roll up door for easy movement between cabin and RV.
Tails is based on America’s favorite adventure van, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 144 4×4, and Outside makes it a more capable explorer capable of navigating all types of dirt and rock except singletrack than mountain bikes are waiting. The exterior adds an Agile RIP suspension upgrade with Fox 2.0 front and rear shocks and heavy-duty leaf springs, a 50-inch front LED light bar, 360-degree area lighting package and a custom roof rack.
The van’s powerful off-grid electrical system powers base camp for days on end via a 945 Ah lithium battery bank and 140 W Zamp solar panel. Outside of cellular range, a Midland radio system with in-cab and portable units take over by providing off-grid communications between individual drivers and the base camp.
One thing we really like about the Tails design is that while it’s clearly designed for bikers first and foremost, many of the solutions are universal or removable, meaning it can easily be converted into a surf van, hunter powder snow or good old weekend motorhome. . For example, the rider can remove tool rolls or store them with alternative tools, use the fold-down bench for non-bike work, and store skis or boards in place of bikes on the pull-out tray and through the center cross.
We had serious apprehension about getting to the pricing section for this flagship-level build, but we never had to come across that number. The van is a prototype, and while many of the solutions are available in Outside Van’s regular customization program, some of the newer ones, such as the newly designed fold-down workbench, tool rolls and soft storage bags , are prototypes that the company will undergo rigorous testing before deciding to add them to its range. Outside explains that it uses such project vans to develop its rapid prototyping capabilities, a process we last looked at a few years ago, in order to stay at the forefront of the market by steady growth of custom motorhomes.
Those looking for a more immediate motorhome solution can browse Outside’s selection Sprinter vans currently available, which range between $195,000 and $290,000 at the time of publication. Or they can take a look at the scroll of Tails features linked below and start imagining which ones they would add to an individualized build.
The full video below looks at all the thoughtful details of Outside against a stunning backdrop. We didn’t mind spending the 11.5 minutes watching at all.
VAN SPOTLIGHT: Tails | Exterior Van 4WD Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 144 Van Conversion Tour
Source: Outside van