Ten Best Vans To Convert

There are two types of van conversions. The more-common “van-life” style is where someone lives and travels in their conversion while they work online and earn money to survive. This is called location-independent living or “van-dwelling" by some. The second type of conversion is when someone wants to build a camper that stays in one location and uses it primarily for vacations and traveling. Every vehicle you own has some purpose. Otherwise, it wouldn't have a place in your home. But do you have a car that serves more than one purpose? Let me suggest the Top 10 vans to convert into an RV if not.

1. Ford Transit

For a good reason, the Ford Transit is a popular cargo van for camper van conversions. They have the best fuel economy of their competitors and are incredibly dependable.

The Ford Transit is available with three roof heights (low, medium, and high), three lengths (regular, long, and extended), and rear- or all-wheel drive. The Ford Transit’s adaptability, dependability, and efficiency make it one of the best vans for converting into a camper van. The Transit also offers plenty of cargo space in its rear compartment, which can be expanded by folding down the back seats. This makes it a great option for hauling larger items or moving multiple passengers simultaneously.

A diesel engine powers the Transit range, which makes it one of the most fuel-efficient vans out there — especially when compared with other vehicles in its class like the Toyota HiAce or Nissan NV200.

It’s no surprise that so many van lifers use this van.

2. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

It’s easy to see why the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is one of the most popular models for a conversion van camper. These vans are of the highest quality and engineering, as expected from a luxury brand like Mercedes-Benz. The Sprinter is available in three lengths, 144″, 170″, and 17″ extended wheelbase and two roof heights standard and high. The Sprinter comes standard with rear-wheel drive, but a “44” drivetrain is also available. This is essentially an all-wheel drive that can be activated and deactivated as needed. Because of the Sprinter’s high quality, the term “Sprinter van” is frequently used to refer to any cargo van.

3. RAM Promaster

Although it isn’t mentioned much in van conversion discussions, the RAM Receiving a higher is still a great option. It also has a few distinguishing features that set it apart from other cargo vans.

For starters, the RAM Receive a higher has the most comprehensive body of any popular cargo van, allowing for more room in your build. Furthermore, the flat-sided walls may make the construction easier. It is also unique in that it has front-wheel drive, whereas most vans have rear-wheel drive.

4. Nissan NV

The Nissan NV is a quirky little cargo van that could be more popular. It will be phased out after 2021; regardless, it can be a good option for a camper van conversion.

Aside from standing out from the crowd, the Nissan NV’s distinct appearance can make it more suitable for stealth camping. It is less likely to be identified as a camper van because it is rarely used for conversions. Like most Japanese automakers, Nissan has a reputation for dependability and quality manufacturing. The Nissan NV is one of the best vans on the market. The interior is well-designed, and it has plenty of space for cargo. It’s built on the same platform as the Frontier pickup truck, so it handles well and has good power off-road.

The NV comes in a few different configurations: regular cab, extended cab, crew cab, and King Cab. The King Cab model has an extra seat behind the driver and passenger seats and is a great choice if you are looking for a van that can haul people and cargo.

The NV has two engine options: a 4-cylinder engine or a V6 engine. Both engines have plenty of power, but the V6 will get better fuel economy than the 4-cylinder option.

5. Chevy Express/GMC Savana

The Chevy Express, also known as the GMC Savana, is another option for classic cargo vans. Although Chevrolet still manufactures these, older models are more commonly used for camper van conversions.

As with any older van model, the main advantage will be lower cost. And, like most older vehicles, an older van may be easier to repair.

The Chevy Express/GMC Savana is the best van to convert because it comes in both rear- and forward-facing configurations. It also has a very large payload capacity and the ability to tow a trailer so that you can use it for commercial and personal purposes.

The Express and Savana are similar in appearance, but they have different engines and drivetrains. The Express has a 6.0-liter V8 engine, while the Savana has a 5.3-liter V8 with direct injection. Both vans come with six-speed automatic transmissions as standard equipment, but you can also opt for an eight-speed transmission with either model.

The cargo area of these vehicles is huge: The rear seats fold down completely flat, giving you access to over 100 cubic feet of cargo space — enough room for five passengers’ luggage!

6. Ford E series

Now that we’ve covered the modern options, let’s move on to a classic. The Ford E series, formerly the Ford Econoline, is the forerunner to the contemporary Ford Transit. It has many benefits of a new Ford van, but because of their age, they are highly affordable. The Ford E series van is a popular choice for conversion because it’s so affordable and easy to find. The E350 has a 5.4L Triton V8, which is powerful enough to tow while also being frugal on fuel.

The Ford E series van has a long history of serving as an RV platform, and many companies are dedicated to building custom versions of this workhorse. If you want something ready-made, you can find pre-converted vans from companies like Roadtrek, Class B, and Sportsmobile, starting at around $60,000.

The Ford E series van has been around since the 1980s and is still strong today. While some models are quite old, the last generation of E350s was introduced in 2006, meaning it’s still being produced by Ford today.

The E350 also comes in an extended-wheelbase version called the E450 or Club Wagon that allows for more cargo capacity behind the rear seats (up to 4’10” in length).

7. Compact Cargo Vans (Mercedes Metris, Ford Transit Connect, RAMne ProMaster City)

Every primary cargo van model has a smaller and more compact “sister” model:

The Ford Transit Connect is an accessory for the Ford Transit, and the Mercedes Metris is a Mercedes Sprinter-specific metric.

These compact cargo vans are similar to their larger counterparts in many ways but are smaller in almost every dimension. They’re also less expensive than larger models. They’re a little small for most camper van conversions, but they’re ideal for an ultra-compact camper for someone who doesn’t spend much on timeless space.

8. Step Vans

The large, blocky vans used by postal and delivery workers are called “step vans,” also known as “multi-stop trucks.” They are also used in other applications, such as ice cream and food trucks.

These vans are ideal for camper van conversions because they are spacious and sturdy. Furthermore, their flat sides may facilitate camper van conversion. Even better, they are frequently available for meager prices used or through auctions.

Step vans have a higher roofline than other vans, making them taller and giving them more headroom. They also have a lower floor, so you won’t have to climb into your cargo area if you carry large boxes or crates. The low floor also makes it easier to load and unload items, especially when no loading ramps are available (which is often the case).

The standard flat-back configuration has two doors on either side that open inward, so they don’t take up room when open; however, if you want more accessibility — or if your business requires it — then consider getting a walk-through model so employees can easily move between the cab and cargo area without having to climb over each other.

9. School Buses

Many businesses specialize in converting school buses into campers and RVs. You can purchase a new bus from these companies if you want to convert it yourself. The conversion process is usually very simple and doesn’t take long. Many different conversions are available depending on what vehicle you want to use for your converted bus after it’s converted. One popular option is making a camper out of your converted bus so you can travel around in style while camping out in remote locations with friends or family members.

This style of a camper van conversion, also known as “skoolies,” is fairly popular and has a large following. Old school buses are frequently available at auction for a low price, and both DIY and professional conversions are possible.

10. Unique Vehicles

Most conversions will use a van or similar vehicle, and there are numerous examples of camper conversions that use other vehicles. Often, these will use a work vehicle that can purchase cheaply at an auction.

Conversions of box trucks are a great example of this. Box trucks are “chassis cab trucks,” with an enclosed front section separated from a larger cargo area in the back. These are most likely trucks you can rent from companies like U-Haul and Penske.

This rear cargo area provides a lot of space and makes box truck conversions an excellent value.

However, for the more creative DIYers out there, far more unique builds are available. For example, people have built campers out of fire and garbage trucks!

While these unusual builds are unlikely to be most people’s first choice, you’ll need help finding a professional willing to do it. However, the sky is the limit if you have access to a one-of-a-kind vehicle and the know-how to DIY it!


These vans are cheap to buy and maintain, can comfortably sit up to twelve people, and can easily transform into a livable space. Plus, most of these vans have at least a few different configurations available so that you can choose the best fit. Most importantly, though, these vans have reliable engines, so you’ll be less likely to stall during your cross-country trip. If it’s time to ditch the tent and travel in style, these are some of the best vehicles for you.

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