Featured Campervan Upfitter :: Benchmark Vehicles

Benchmark def:a standard or point of reference against which things may be compared or assessed.

As the definition would suggest, Benchmark Vehicles positions themselves as the standard by which quality campervan conversions are measured, and that’s no small task. There are hundreds (thousands?) of upfitters out there, and many offer high-quality builds for the discerning customer. Given the preponderance of options, how does Benchmark Vehicles stand out from the competition?

It begins with CEO Leland Gilmore, who comes from a family of builders and has “grown up working with his hands.” Leland’s fondness for tinkering and working with vehicles led him to create Benchmark vehicles, but he knew that he would need additional help beyond his own abilities. To offer the highest quality product, Leland brought other experts to the shop. Collectively, the Benchmark team has decades of experience in building trades such as cabinetry, green building, and vehicle restoration. Many members of Leland’s crew have traveled and lived out of vans, including Leland, and their work is not an interpretation of what they think van owners want—it is the manifestation of knowing what is needed.

 

The Benchmark Process

Benchmark offers custom upfitting of the Mercedes Sprinter and Ford Transit cargo van platforms. Instead of asking their customers to begin by selecting from a few different base packages, their process starts with a conversation to determine a budget, features, and a layout that best serves the customer’s needs. A build sheet is generated based on this discussion and Benchmark follows up with a floor plan sketch (with customer input).

Once the floor plan has been refined and finalized, a CAD drawing can be generated, providing the customer with a visual representation that includes some of the more intricate details of the final vehicle design. After a signature of approval from the customer, fabrication can begin. With an emphasis on a high-quality product, the team works diligently, never rushing, and always doing their best to maintain construction timelines. A full build from start to finish generally takes about three months (Benchmark is currently booked out until January of 2022).

As for the cost of their conversions, Benchmark doesn’t list any prices on their website. Are their builds expensive? Likely. Are all custom campervan builds expensive? Absolutely. If you are contracting Benchmark to upfit your Mercedes or Ford, it is not because you are pinching pennies.

In addition to full-up van conversions, Benchmark has a 5,000 square-foot install center dedicated to accessory installations. They specialize in the fitting of equipment from RoamBuilt, Owl Van, Agile Off Road, and Aluminess. Installation timeframes average eight to ten weeks.

 

Available Features? How About a Gallery Instead?

I find it interesting that Benchmark doesn’t list specific build options on their website, but then again, they seem to adhere to an “if you can dream it, we can do it” approach to campervan builds. Instead of speculating on what types of appliances and design features they can offer, take some time to inspect these beautiful photos of completed projects and get inspired.

 

Learn more about Benchmark Vehicles’ services on their website.

When he's not publishing campervan content or gear reviews on ExPo, Matt Swartz is honing his paragliding skills, hiking a 14er, or exploring the backroads of Colorado. His love of travel has seen him bike across the United States, as well as explore more exotic destinations like the Amazon basin and Patagonia. Matt spent three years living in a 1964 RV with his partner, Amanda. He's worked as an Interpretive Ranger and Wildland Firefighter and his photography and writing has been published in Rova Magazine, the Leatherman blog, 'Hit The Road' by Gestalten Publishing, and Forbes.