Converted Sprinter vans are often seen as the pinnacle of van life goals, and Colorado-based TouRig creates some of the swankiest professional van conversions available today. In this article, we’ll take a look at what TouRig offers and hear from Kate and Levi, the company’s marketing team as well as proud TouRig owners.
TouRig began as a concept in 2001 when Eric Miller and his business partner commissioned their first adventure rig, Big Red. This vehicle concept was born as an alternative to constantly flying and staying in unfamiliar hotel rooms for their jobs as traveling sales agents in the outdoor industry. The success of Big Red led the team to create a second rig, Black Beauty, in 2002.
The current iteration of TouRig began in 2014 when Eric partnered up with Paul Bulger, a maritime professional with invaluable building experience. The first few modern TouRigs were built out in a less-than-ideal shed in Nederland, Colorado before the company moved to its current headquarters in Golden.
TouRig offers conversion packages for Mercedes Sprinters and Ford Transits, with virtually unlimited luxury customization options. A full list of available options is available on their website.
TouRig’s team starts with an initial phone or in-person consultation to discuss your dream van, meet the team if you are in the area, and give you an idea of the price and timeline associated with what you want. Next, they’ll collect a fully refundable $3,000 deposit to secure your spot on the production calendar and you’ll be paired with a Design Consultant who will work with you to draft and finalize your van design.
When your production slot arrives, you’ll drop off your van along with a non-refundable deposit that’s equal to 60% of the total estimated build cost. Depending on the options you select, your van conversion will take anywhere from 6-12 weeks.
When it’s done, you’ll get a full walk-through of your van with the lead electrician of your build and a member of the production team to explain every element in detail, which can take around two hours.
Once the remaining balance of your conversion project has been paid in full, you’ll drive away in your dream van with a detailed user guide that contains diagrams, descriptions, instructions, and product manuals for everything in your rig.
Q&A with TouRig’s Marketing Team
I spoke with Kate and Levi, who own an incredibly awesome TouRig Sprinter van that is aptly named Bruce Banner for its resemblance in size and color to The Incredible Hulk. They are also the marketing team for TouRig, spreading the good word about the company’s top-notch work. Here’s what they had to say about TouRig and Bruce Banner:
How did you get started with van life?
“We were both living and working in NYC when we met. Not long after, we moved in together in Brooklyn and were each running our own businesses. I was working in photography in the fashion industry which required a lot of international travel and Levi was running his own Jiu Jitsu school.
When we decided to take the leap into a nomadic lifestyle we combined our business skills and created Sweat Equity Creative. Fortunately we were able to use a lot of the skills we had from working in NYC and take our hustle on the road doing what we loved and traveling together.
Initially we knew our goal with the van life was to be full time, so setting up a business that would thrive along with our travels was important.
Our first van was a 2018 Mercedes Sprinter 3500 which we did a DIY conversion on. We started the conversion right on the streets of Brooklyn and once it was ‘livable’ we hit the roads and would stop whenever we had enough money to do more work to complete the build.”
How did you come to be the marketing team for TouRig?
“During our first year on the road we showcased our van at many overland, 4×4 and van life events. It was at one of these events that we met the TouRig crew and fell in love with their modern and clean build-outs. We stayed in contact with the team and worked on some smaller projects for them in the interim.
At the end of the season we sold our first van and invested in a custom TouRig which we appropriately named ‘Bruce Banner.’ You can see Bruce on our Instagram @werollwithit. Creating the Bruce Banner TouRig allows us to fully represent the TouRig brand.
Our rig has a lot of new products onboard which we researched and developed, and we designed it with the concept of pushing the boundaries between van life and expedition truck. The Bruce Banner build showcases TouRig’s capabilities as a builder.
We also have the first roof rack/ladder system from Backwoods Adventure Mods and we are excited that after having ourselves and TouRig test the design, it is now available to order.”
Is there a pricing guide for TouRig conversions?
“A basic build-out will start at $29,900 and then we add on from there based on the individual’s needs. We find that each client is very unique in their lifestyle and it’s important to us that their build is tailored to their needs and desires. If you are interested in having a TouRig built, you can book an initial consultation with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
This will be a 30-45 minute phone call to discuss what amenities and capabilities you want in your dream rig. From this we can build a personal profile and tailor a custom quote.”
What is the current lead time?
“We are booked out six months in advance. You will find that all quality adventure van upfitters are usually booked this far in advance. Once a van is in the shop, it takes about 90 days to complete most builds.”
Does TouRig have any completed vans available for sale?
“Almost all TouRigs are made to order, but we sometimes have TouRigs available at the end of the year and these would be the rigs which you would have seen on display at events with us. They get snapped up very quickly!”
What are the most common questions/comments you receive?
“Discerning buyers will want to know what sets TouRig ahead of other builders. TouRig is located on the front range of the Colorado Rockies, which gives us a unique ability to engineer vehicles to withstand extreme temperature variances and severe weather conditions all while navigating dramatic altitude and humidity change.
We are often asked about experience. TouRig has been in business since 2014 and currently produces 50+ rigs each year. Most of our staff have rigs, some even live in them full time. Exemplary fit and finish are not only words but motivating factors behind the best-in-class approach to each step in our process.
TouRig designs are tested and proven. TouRig also has a three-year warranty on builds, which goes to show we believe in our skills.
We also find people often mention our customer service, from interactions on social media DMs to designing their build with the team. Having a quality experience with the company you work with is just as important as the quality of the end product. At TouRig, just as much passion goes into the relationship with each customer as goes into each vehicle we build.
From the simple to the extravagant, you can expect a top-rated customer experience paired with relentless attention to detail. Owning a TouRig means joining a community of like-minded adventurers — the relationship doesn’t end after the build is complete. We host group tours and events for TouRig owners to attend where they can learn new skills and meet fellow adventurers.”
What are some of the features onboard your Bruce Banner TouRig that make it so unique?
“Our TouRig has true 4×4 capabilities with a Dana 60 front and 70 rear solid axle. We run 37-inch Falken MTs on 20×12” Black Rhino Armory rims. Our rig is equipped with on-board air so we can change our tire pressure on the trails. We had the exterior custom-coated by LineX of Clatsop County so we are completely scratch-proof.
The external components are from Backwoods Adventure Mods. A TerraWagen snorkel makes sure the engine is receiving clean air. For power we have 600AH of Victron lithium smart batteries on board, which charge from the alternator and from our 375-watt single solar panel.
We carry 40 gallons of water which is great as we have a full stand up shower to enjoy. We also have a sink inside and there is a wash-down for gear or outdoor showers at the rear of the van.
We have lots of storage inside the van with TouRig’s signature Airliner Aluminium cabinets. The airliner cabinet doors latch shut keeping everything in place and they don’t make a sound even on the roughest roads. As we are full-time living, we added extra storage with Roam Adventure Co cases mounted on the roof and a Backwoods Rear Bumper box.
In case it’s needed, we have plenty of recovery gear on board including a winch, MaxTrax, a HiLift jack, and some gear from Factor55. In the cabin we use the Garmin Overland to follow trails and sPod to control our exterior lights. We upgraded the sound system with MB Quart and even added outdoor marine speakers underneath the van for campfire tunes.
Stock seats were switched to Scheel-Mann seats, which make the journey MUCH more comfortable. We have a kitchen with diesel cooktop, our heat and hot water also run on diesel. The rig has a 28-gallon reserve fuel tank to accommodate these.”
What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about going full-time in a van conversion?
“Invest in your rig as if it were your home, because it will be!”
See More TouRig Vans In Action
Check out these Instagram accounts and articles:
Last but definitely not least, head over to TouRig’s instagram page (@mytourig) to see even more sweet vans. Thanks to Kate and Levi for providing some insights into the TouRig brand and sharing details about Bruce Banner. If you see them on the road be sure to say hi!
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Cat is originally from Seattle, WA but has traveled around the US and Canada full-time in a self-converted school bus with her boyfriend Aaron since April of 2018. She enjoys rock climbing, paddleboarding, hiking, and generally being outdoors!