The search for the perfect van for camper conversions can be intimidating, especially when there are so many van chassis to choose from.

In terms of picking out the right van for camper conversions, it’s important to know what you’ll be using this van for. Each make and model van will offer its own pros and cons, making it vital for you to go through and determine what works and doesn’t work for you.

Roof height, floor plan layout, off-road capability, and fuel type are important things to consider while looking at a van for camper conversions.

In this article, we’ll cover the most popular used van for camper conversions, starting costs, and the various models offered.

Ford Transit

Cost: $34,510+

Details: In 2014, Ford came out with another large cargo van option for camper enthusiasts which simulates the size of a Mercedes Sprinter, but much cheaper. The 2020 and newer models are now offering an “intelligent” all-wheel drive that improves traction on icy, snowy, or muddy roads, making it a popular choice a van life van.

Ford Transits come in 3 body lengths, 2 wheelbases, 3 roof heights, and 3 different engines.


  • 130″ wheelbase, 220″ long, interior cargo length 118”
  • 148” wheelbase long, 236” long, interior cargo length 129”
  • 148” wheelbase extended, 264” long, interior cargo length 158″

Roof Height Options: 

  • Low-57″
  • Medium-72″
  • High-81.5″

Engines Offered: 

  • 3.7L V6
  • 3.5L Eco-Boost
  • 3.2L Inline 5 Diesel

Drivetrain: Rear Wheel Drive (2020 models have an all-wheel-drive option)

Pros: Affordable for repairs & maintenance, highest roof option, decent mileage, plenty of power

Cons:  Basic front cab, least room between front seats & rear door, difficult to find used models for sale

Mercedes Sprinter

Cost: $33,790+

Details: The Sprinter is one of the most popular van options for Class B conversions, and for good reason. Its interior allows for plenty of build-out space with tons of potential for creativity. In addition, it’s one of just a few vans that is offered in an AWD option.

Mercedes Sprinters come in standard or high-roof models, 2 wheelbases, 2 engine options, and are now made in the USA.


  • 144” wheelbase, 234” long, interior cargo length 128”
  • 170” wheelbase, 274” long, interior cargo length 170”
  • 170” wheelbase extended, 290” long, interior cargo length 180”

Roof Height Options: 

  • Low-64″
  • High-75″

Engines Offered: 

  • 4-cyl gas (new in 2020)
  • 6-cyl diesel

Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive & 4WD

Pros: Diesel engines produce good power, comfortable interior, higher resale value, easy to find used

Cons: Expensive, complicated emissions system, requires DEF fluid, fewer dealerships in US

van for camper conversions

Ram Promaster

Cost: $30,245+

Details: Not only do Promasters offer the widest body option, but it is one of the few options that has front-wheel drive and many owners have enjoyed the way it drives, handles, and parks. 

Cargo models have 3 length options, 2 wheelbase options, and 2 height options (low 64”, high 74”),


  • 136” wheelbase, 213” long, interior cargo length 112”
  • 159” wheelbase, 236” long, interior 132”
  • 159” wheelbase extended, 251” long, interior cargo length 146”

Roof Height Options: 

  • Low-64″
  • High-74″

Engines Offered: 

  • 3.76L V6 gas
  • Diesel option only offered in non-US models)

Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive

Pros: Widest body option, lowest floor height, easy to drive, nice interior, rear cargo area features 90-degree angle sidewalls

Cons:  Not the most aesthetically pleasing, low ground clearance, struggles on steep grades, lack of power

van for camper conversions

Chevy Express

Cost: $32,500+

Details: Chevy Express vans are some of the most affordable options to convert. They are also capable of being converted into a 4×4 which makes it a popular purchase for some.


  • 135″ wheelbase, 224″ long, interior cargo length 121″
  • 155″ wheelbase extended, 244″ long, interior cargo length 141″

Roof Height Options: 

  • Low

Engines Offered: 

  • 4.3L V6 gas
  • 6L V8
  • 6L V8 CNG / LP capable
  • 2.8L 4-cyl diesel

Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive

Pros: Easy to find used for under $20,000, popular for pop-ups, plenty of aftermarket parts available, up to 10K pound towing capacity

Cons: Only available in low roof configuration which limits van life van conversion possibilities

Nissan NV

Cost: $30,140+

Details: The Nissan NV is another option to convert into a 4×4 and has room to add larger tires. The 77” high top is also great for taller individuals. 


  • 146″ wheelbase, 240″ long, interior cargo length 120″

Roof Height Options: 

  • Low-56″
  • High-77″

Engines Offered: 

  • 6-cyl gas (1500 & 2500 models)
  • 8-cyl gas (3500)

Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive

Pros: Ability to convert into 4×4, second-highest ceiling

Cons: Least amount of cargo space compared to other mid-length vans, poor gas mileage 

Ford Econoline (Discontinued) Van for Camper Conversions

Details: Similar to the Chevy Express, they have a strong aftermarket, parts availability, and the ability to convert into a 4×4. They are also another budget-friendly option.

Pros: Budget-friendly, can be converted into 4×4

Cons: Limited production, used market only

What is the Best Van for Camper Conversions?

The answer to this will depend on your needs for van life. Van life conversions all differ, making each build completely unique to the person or couple that’s using it. Make sure you look into the roof height, floor plan layout, off-road capability, and fuel type when making your final decision to ensure the van meets your personal requirements.

Want to know what other kinds of vehicles you can use for your conversion? Check out: 3 Types of School Bus Sizes for Your Conversion

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