Buying your van is the initial approach to living the van life you have always wanted! So which van must you purchase? What should you be on the lookout for? Should you consider cargo or passenger vans? So many inquiries!
You really shouldn’t fret; we did the research so you wouldn’t have to. Here’s a list of the greatest vans for van life to help you construct your ideal vehicle. Let’s get started!
Best Vans for Full-time Van Life
Listed below are some of the best vans for van life listed in order of greatest to ones that are great as well but much more economical.
Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van
Mercedes sprinter vans are well known for their dependability, durability, and, most importantly, customizability. Everything that you can even ask for! This is why they are renowned and preferred by a lot of van users. This makes it a promising option for many van lifers.
The sprinter van is also available in a variety of sizes. Based on how much living area you require, you can select a 144″ or 170″ long body. They are also available with a diesel 4×4 modification for individuals who want to go off-road.
The main disadvantages of these vans are that they are somewhat expensive, difficult to obtain and used, and difficult to repair. However, as previously noted, these vehicles are extremely dependable.
In the instance of a breakdown, it may be costly to have the vehicle towed to a Mercedes shop or someone who is familiar with operating sprinter vans.
If you want to take the sprinter van path, there are various conversion firms that can help you! Nevertheless, it’s pretty clear to comprehend why the sprinter van is recognized as the ultimate van for van modifications.
Ford Transit camper vans are yet another extremely popular vehicle among van lifers. In 2014, Ford discontinued production of the immensely successful econoline cargo van and substituted it with the Transit. Econolines have long been renowned as workhorses and were ideal fleet cars.
Ford transits are normally RWD (rear-wheel drive), however, Ford also provides a 4WD option, making them another terrific adventure van. They’re also rather simple to repair, so locating a repair shop shouldn’t be too tough.
This van’s hauling abilities are not as outstanding as those of its competitors, which may be a disadvantage for some.
Nevertheless, one significant advantage of selecting a Ford Transit Camper Van over other choices is the height of the roof. The Ford Transit’s high roof stands an impressive 6 feet 9.5 inches tall. This immediately makes it the highest van, making it an obvious choice for tall van dwellers!
Dodge Ram Promaster
Dodge Ram Promaster vans resemble Mercedes Sprinter as well as Ford Transit vans in appearance. Although they aren’t as flashy as sprinters or as tall as transits, they are the broadest cargo vans on the marketplace!
If an increased living area is crucial to you, the Promaster might be the van for you! Especially when the Promaster’s walls are almost entirely vertical. This makes it much easier to maximize space.
It’s worth noting that these vans are all-wheel drive. Weight distribution must be prioritized during the construction process. This should not be an issue if weight is distributed carefully.
Dodge Ram Promaster is also incredibly simple and inexpensive to repair (as compared to Mercedes Sprinter vans.) There are also several conversion firms that will make Promasters into gorgeous camper vans if that’s the option you want to take.
2022 Jayco Swift
The Swift is a Jayco class B RV that people enjoy for full-time lifestyle. It contains two floorplans that are each 20′ 11″ long.
There is a wet bath that spans the width of the van at the back. It contains two twin beds or sofas that transform into a king bed, a kitchenette, and a lot of space.
Some other option involves a sofa bed, a kitchen, a wet bath, and comfortable chair behind the captain’s seats. Every vehicle is built on a Ram Promaster 3500 chassis.
For a full-time van lifestyle, a lot of people recommend the Airstream Interstate, particularly the Interstate 24X, which sleeps two people and is 24′ long. The layout includes two convertible couches in the back, a wet bath with a sink, a good-sized kitchen, a clos et, and captain’s swivel chairs.
Airstream also produces two other Interstate models with significantly different layouts. Lots of us prefer the 24X for its style, and it comes with an adventure package that includes all-terrain tires and 4×4 characteristics.
The versatility of the cabin is what distinguishes the Airstream Interstate 24X floor plan. The huge seating spaces, together with several table mounts, create the ideal gathering spot for a meal or a meeting. The installation of aluminum aviation L-tracks on the floor and walls provide adequate storage room for your camping and adventure gear, in inclusion to abundant storage capacity under the bench seats and in the accessible upper storage racks.
The outstanding galley storage and countertop provide enough space for meal prep for even the most demanding cooks, and the accessible space behind the swiveling driver’s seat is ideal for watching leisure or having some jobs completed.
Ford E-Series Vans
As previously stated, Ford updated their E-series (Econolines) with the Ford Transit van in 2014. Ford Econolines were and continue to be widely utilized as work vans. They are an extremely dependable and cost-effective van conversion solution.
One disadvantage of the van is that they are difficult to locate with a high roof. Therefore, if the standing room is crucial to you, you should search elsewhere or consider building your own high-top roof or pop-up roof.
It is not unusual to come across old models that have been meticulously maintained by companies who have used them as work vans. This implies they frequently live a very long time. Ford never produced a 4×4 Econoline, but many enthusiasts have installed 4×4 features to make their Econolines into off-roading warriors.
Generally, the Ford E-series cargo vans are extremely inexpensive, quiet, and dependable. This makes them a wonderful choice for a conversion van. Understand the common difficulties to look out for when purchasing a Ford Econoline for van life by clicking here.
Nissan Nv vans are rarely utilized as conversion vans. They are, however, quite dependable, far less costly than other more famous vans, and have wonderful dimensions for a wonderful conversion.
The Nissan Nv cargo van is fairly covert because it is frequently utilized as a work van rather than a conversion van! A great option for stealth camping.
Among the Nissan Nv’s drawbacks include: it being a little top-heavy. This makes traveling on a windy day more difficult. They’re also only available in two-wheel drive. However, when compared to its competitors, this van’s towing capability is rather excellent, reaching a massive 9,400 pounds!
The Nissan Nv also comes with an extremely remarkable warranty. Nissan provides a 5-year or 100,000-mile warranty on all vans bought at the dealer.
GMC Savana / GMC Vandura / Chevy Express
Each one of these vans is the same one. GMC replaced the Vandura with the Savana in 1996, and Chevy rebadged the same van as the Express.
Nevertheless, due to its size, capacities, and dependability, this van is a favorite choice among van lifers. Several of them had been already built as conversion vans.
They had a back seat that folded down into a bed, a TV, and a VCR. Furthermore, the pre-converted ones have insulated floors and walls.
Even though none of those vehicles were ever built with high tops, numerous owners did. It’s not rare to come across a used version of these vans with a high roof.
Another impressive feature of this vehicle is its tremendous towing capacity! Their towing capacity range from 7,000 to 10,00 pounds based on the model. This is incredible for a cargo vehicle!
If you’re searching for a low-cost van that’s also dependable and simple to convert, one of these vans might be the ideal option for you!
Chevy Astro Van
The Chevy Astro van is well-known for its dependability, and they are often inexpensive to purchase. The Astro is also incredibly stealthy, tiny, and inexpensive to repair.
Another thing to keep in mind is that these vans are smaller than the majority of the others on our list. The clear benefit is that they are easier to drive and can fit into the majority of parking facilities. The disadvantage is that there is less interior space and storage.
If you want to save money while yet having a covert camper van conversion, the Astro van will not disappoint.
The Mercedes Metris, which debuted in North America in 2015, is yet another top option when it relates to tiny campers. This vehicle has earned appeal for its sleek style, safety systems, and remarkably decent gas mileage.
This mid-sized van is ideal for a camper conversion since it is easy to operate, has enough cargo room for a solitary or couple of passengers, and is powered by a dependable engine.
The Mercedes Metris has a novel feature in that you can buy the “Getaway Van” straight from the dealer, which includes with choices for a pop top, integrated solar panels, an awning, mosquito netting, as well as a rear pull-out kitchen. The Metris also has an AWD option and two different wheelbase options, so you can be sure that everything will fit.
The Toyota Sienna, being one of the most popular minivans in the industry, has rapidly got to be a popular alternative for people considering van life. The Sienna has many attributes that make it ideal for a camper conversion, including comfortable chairs, excellent gas mileage, and a wealth of aftermarket parts and extras.
The Toyota Sienna is available with all-wheel drive (AWD) and aftermarket lift kits. This automobile is so well-known that no one will be surprised to find it parked in the city. There are also several instances of detachable van designs that can be used for shorter journeys for weekend warriors.
If you’re searching for a vacation escape, an amorous vehicle, or scenic images, the VW Vanagon is the car for you. Vanagons have a hefty initial cost, however, they are simple to repair. That will be useful since these products are ancient and break down frequently. VW buses feature reasonably easy-to-find parts and are quite DIY focused if you’re technically savvy.
The vintage Volkswagen community is massive. There are a lot of online help and cool tweaks to help you with your construction. These are simple to fix yourself and will give you the impression that you’re experiencing a forgotten era’s dream. Older American vans are a little more difficult to acquire components for, but they are still fairly simple to work on. Some 1970s Dodges and Fords are quite stunning, and there are numerous well-designed camper adaptations, such as the VW Westfalias.
Therefore, are there any drawbacks? VW buses are wonderful for showing off, but you won’t be able to be stealthy in this vehicle. Because the engine is usually underpowered, don’t expect to be cruising up steep mountain routes or obtaining high gas mileage. A completely loaded 1990 vanagon will get you 15mpg, which isn’t too bad when you realize it only has 90hp. All of these ancient cab-over-wheel trucks are also quite dangerous. The majority of them lack airbags and their crumple zone is your ribcage. Because everything in life is a risk, this will not deter anyone, but it is something to be mindful of.
The Honda Element is another excellent choice for van living. The inside of this automobile is boxy, with waterproof materials and easy-access entrances. It’s also rather discreet, making it an excellent choice for people seeking to avoid public scrutiny.
The Element has an AWD option, so it will easily climb the mountains. It also provides decent gas mileage, and the seats are easily removed to begin your project.
Although the Honda Element lacks the ground clearance of competing vehicles, it nevertheless provides a smooth ride and is overall dependable.
The Element’s main disadvantage is that it has been discontinued since 2011. You’ll therefore need to purchase a used one, and finding one with low miles is becoming increasingly difficult.
Things to Consider when Buying a Camper Van
The very first step in locating your modest home on mobility is selecting the finest van for van life. We’ve found some key elements that van lifers prioritize.
Vans have cramped living quarters. Before acquiring your van, evaluate how you’ll utilize it and the amount of space you desire. It will have a considerable impact on the size of the van you require.
Shorter vehicles, for instance, may not be able to contain a shower. If it is important to you, search for something more substantial.
The excellent thing is that there are various options available, ranging from high-top and pop-up top vans to longer lengths.
Capability to Stand
The capability to stand up inside your camper van will make your experience more pleasant. It may not appear to be a significant concern when shopping for the perfect vehicle for your van life activities. However, after a wet weekend spent cooped up in your van, you’ll be sick of lowering your head.
Many high-roof vehicles will accommodate people over six feet tall. Choose a pop-up top model if you need more headroom.
Number of People
How many individuals are you taking with you? If you’re traveling solo, you’ll have had more van layout options. Contemplate your normal routine whether you’re traveling with a companion or a small family.
For instance, if you eat with others, you do not want a kitchen set up for just one person. Resting and seating space should also be high on the priority list.
Range of movement and the chassis
The greatest vans for van life can easily move through traffic, parking lots, and campgrounds. One of the numerous advantages of a van is that it can simply back up and fit into tighter areas than larger RVs. A van chassis helps with this.
There are 3 primary chassis for motorhomes; a Ford Transit, Ram Promaster, and a Mercedes Sprinter. Each has advantages and disadvantages. We recommend conducting a study to determine if you want a gas or diesel engine.
Diesel or Gasoline
A gas van provides advantages, such as the ability to travel to practically any gas station. This saves time and frequently money.
Nevertheless, the gas mileage may be inferior to that of a diesel engine. Diesel engines are better at carrying weight in your van and getting you across difficult terrain.
In contrast hand, diesel engine maintenance will be more costly than gas engine upkeep. Oil changes and replacement parts can be expensive.
Finally, the finest van for van life is determined by your travel requirements. What will you do with the van? How long will your journeys last? What else will your daily ritual be like while traveling?
When searching for vans, ask yourself these inquiries and consider whether the layout, chassis, and total size of the vehicle can meet your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can You Live Full-Time Out of a Van?
You can live in a van full-time. It is a legal and transparent way of life. Nevertheless, because it is a little room, it requires the perfect individual or couple to make it work.
Full-time van living isn’t as lovely as Instagram might seem. It can be difficult and costly, based on how frequently you travel and also where you reside. Nevertheless, it can be a terrific way to travel and discover the world.
How Much Do Camper Vans Cost?
Van prices range from modest to exceeding the price of a huge stick and brick house. DIY camper van modifications can range in price from $5,000 to $20,000, not including the cost of the van itself.
When buying a new van from a manufacturer, the typical MSRP (manufacturer-suggested selling value) runs from $100,000 to $200,000. Used class B camper vans can be found for less than $100,000, but finding one can be difficult because van lifers want to maintain their little homes on wheels.
How Do You Keep Your RV Looking New?
This should necessitate some effort to maintain your RV looking new. You should wash it and reapply the protective layer several times during the camping season. This makes the decals and paint last longer.
When it isn’t in use, how you store your equipment will also make it look like new. The sun can cause significant damage to your RV’s roof, decals, and colors.
If you desire your gear to seem brand new for years to come, enclosed storage will prevent severe weather from hastening the aging process.
Whatever rig you’re in, there’s a perfect van out there for any price and need. Life in a van isn’t a one-size-fits-all lifestyle. It can be customized to meet all of your individual requirements.
Choosing the right vehicle for you can seem difficult, but there are so many fantastic possibilities. The best vehicle for van life is a completely subjective matter.
Therefore, whether you buy an older van, this used van, a completely new sprinter van, or even a one-of-a-kind school bus, there is absolutely no incorrect method for living the van life.