So we did something crazy. Something that we’ve been talking about for awhile and we finally pulled the trigger. WE BOUGHT A VAN! Yes, its been a few months since we’ve made the decision and we are loving it so far. And we haven’t even started the conversion process. We’re planning to convert our van into a campervan, and we’re planning to do all the renovations ourselves! We will keep you updated on our progress but for now, let’s talk about which is the best van for a campervan conversion. We’ve also included a handy guide comparing these vans in more detail, for you to download below!
What You'll Find in This Post
- 1 The Best Van for a Campervan Conversion
- 2 Which Van is Best For You?
- 3 In-depth Van Comparison Chart
- 4 Why did we choose the Promaster for our campervan conversion?
The Best Van for a Campervan Conversion
Nowadays, van life and van conversions are super popular. There are lots of vans that you can convert into a campervan, but were going to discuss and compare the 3 most popular vans. If you’re thinking about converting a van to live in, we will help you find the best van for you. All three vans are great options, but there are some differences between them that might help you make your decision on the best van to convert into a camper. We will compare the current top 3 options for converting a van into a camper, the Mercedes Sprinter, the Ram Promaster, and the Ford Transit.
Price: Starting at 38,420 (144″ WB and standard roof)
Details: The Sprinter seems to the top of the line for campervan conversions, but it also brings a hefty price tag. The 170″ wheelbase is a popular attraction for vanlifers, and having the option of 4×4 powertrain. The price seems to be the biggest drawback for the Mercedes Sprinter vans, especially if you are buying brand new or have any maintenance work needing to be done. The Sprinter van is the only cargo van in the US to offer 4×4 traction from the factory.
Pros: The Mercedes Sprinter can be AWD, 4×4, or standard RWD. The Sprinter diesel model is most popular, which gives amazing gas milage, up to 30mpg.
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Price: Starting at 29,995 (118″ WB and low roof)
Details: Lots of different options, including 3 different wheelbases (118″, 136″ and 159″) and 2 different heights. The promaster comes with front wheel drive, and a big open cargo space. The inside height of the promaster is much bigger, without having a taller clearance, meaning more room for storage. The front-wheel drive allows a better turning radius and more cargo space between the rear wheel well.
Pros: The Ram Promaster is FWD, which is better in snow. The floor heigh is 7″ lower than the Sprinter and the Transit, meaning its sturdier being lower to the ground.
Price: Starting at 32,380
Details: Like the sprinter and the promaster, the Ford Transit has lots of customizable options, including 3 body lengths, two wheelbases, three roof heights, and three different engines. The Ford Transit hasn’t been around as long as the other 2 models, so there are not as many used options.
Pros: RWD but can be converted to 4×4.
These 3 seem to the most popular vans that are currently being used to convert to camper vans. There are also Chevys and Nissans that are becoming more of a popular option,
Which Van is Best For You?
Knowing which van is best for your campervan conversion can be tough. But think about how you’ll be using the van. It will take some time to know which van is best for your campervan style. Its important to figure out all the different wants and needs that you may require. Here are some important questions you could ask yourself: If you’re going to be living in it full-time or just part-time, if there are are 2 people or just 1 person. And also how tall you may be? If you are super tall, the low roof (or medium roof) is probably not the best option for you, if you want to be able to stand up without crouching.
Ram Promaster vs Sprinter Comparison
The Promaster is a front-wheel van, which can give it more traction in winter weather. In contrast, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter comes with rear-wheel drive, which is more common for vans, and has some advantages when it comes to having a full-loaded model. The Ram ProMaster cargo van offers more cargo space than the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van and at a lower starting MSRP. With a wider interior width, the Promaster van offers more interior space for storage and bed space.
Ram Promaster vs Ford Transit Comparison
The Promaster has a shorter overall height, but a taller standing height, which means there is more room INSIDE the Promaster for standing and storage, but it doesn’t make the overall van height taller. We really liked how open the Promaster felt compared to the Ford Transit. The Transit has more options, including 3 different roof heights, but the total conversion space inside the van is smaller than the Promaster.
Ford Transit vs Mercedes Sprinter Comparison
The Ford Transit is a rear wheel drive, while the sprinter is a 4×2 (or 4×4 if you want that option). The biggest negative we’ve come across with the Sprinter besides the price, is the maintenance issue. Ford Transit seems to be more affordable and easier to replace parts when needed. However, the Mercedes Sprinter gets better gas mileage, and the engine seems to have a longer lifespan.
Why did we choose the Promaster for our campervan conversion?
After test driving both the 2018 Ford Transit and the 2018 Ram Promaster, we fell in love with the Promaster and knew we had to get it. The reason we bought the 2018 Promaster over the Sprinter or the Ford Transit was based on the extra size in the back and the lower price tag. We know plenty of people who have converted Mercedes Sprinter vans and are very happy with it. We loved the height of the Promaster, the amount of space in the back, and the turning radius of the Promaster. Having two people and two dogs in the van, we wanted to make sure we had enough space once our van is fully converted. So far, we are loving our decision! We will make sure to update once we get the build complete.
You can do a van conversion with any van (or car) out there, it doesn’t have to be one of the 3 we have talked about today. You can buy new or used, depending on your budget. The nice thing about campervan conversions is you can make it into whatever you want! There are so many options and great ideas out there, just open up your imagination and make it your own!
Have you converted a campervan? We’d love to hear from you on which van you picked (or are planning to pick) for your campervan conversion! Drop us a comment if there’s some vanlifers you really love, we’d love to follow them and see their vans!