Perhaps you came across an awesome rig on Instagram, or you wish to recall your childhood camping experiences in a vintage Volkswagen Bus. After months of research and browsing, you are ready to buy a camper van. Are you a fan of campervans and motorhomes? Join our community group.
Although you could visit your local RV dealer, it is likely they won’t stock many camper vans (also known as Class Bs). To buy a camper, you can do an online search. But how do you know that you have finally found the right choice? Some of you may be thinking about buying an empty van or converting the van.
There are many things you should consider before making a decision to buy or build. Camper vans are a large investment of time and money. We’ve collected the top 10 questions you should ask before making a purchase.
Some people imagine hitting the road with all their gear. My husband and I saw our van as a way to take on an adventure. We bring gear to climb, bike, SUP, and ski anything that crosses our path.
We quickly discovered that our first van was an empty cargo van, which we DIY’d. It didn’t suit us to have our bikes out on a rack in the harsh Colorado weather. In our second build, a gear garage was a necessity. We also now know what gear to bring.
Others see a campervan as a tranquil retreat on the road that is free from the clutter and gear of bigger homes. Sometimes a pair of sturdy hiking boots and a bookcase will suffice. It is important to determine how your camper van will be used. Check out these examples of gear-oriented vans: a van designed for mountain biking and another designed for snowmobiling.
If you are traveling alone, it may not seem that difficult to sleep in a van. For most families and couples, however, the sleeping arrangement is more complicated. Which side do you prefer? Sideways layouts require that you are tall enough to use flared sides.
Camper vans are designed to sleep two people comfortably. However, if you have children or grandchildren, a bench seat (preferably legal for cars) can be used as an extra sleeping area. You can see a sporty with six beds, smart bunk beds, and modular construction with a pop-top.
Some people find it impossible to imagine driving without a toilet. Others, including, find that bathrooms are too big for a camper van. They also make it difficult to have a family bathroom. For those who love a good bathroom, you can read my opinion on not having one.
You will not have the luxurious hot tub or swim spas you are used to in your home, but you will have a small space with clean water for your trip.
It doesn’t matter what you choose. It is important to decide if you need a bathroom and what kind of bathroom. A fully-built out wet tub with a shower and toilet is an option. A portable toilet could be stored on a shelf outside. There are many options, and you will only know what is best for your rig.
Which kind of weather are you using it?
Sometimes the excitement of a campervan can hide a key question beneath a conversion: Is it well insulated? Good insulation is essential if you live in cold climates or plan to travel to those climates.
My mistake was that I bought my first Sprinter as an empty cargo van. We built a platform for a bed before we set out on our first trip. Our first night in was in Colorado May, and temperatures were in the 30s. We were cold throughout the night because there was no insulation in our van. When we returned home, insulation and a diesel heater were the first things we did. Insulation may not be as important for people living in Florida, California, and the Southwest. It’s essential in cold climates.
It is also very important to take into consideration the tires. Although you don’t need four-wheel drive, good tires are vital for all types of driving, including rain, mud, and off-road. The good news is:
You have two options when it comes to the roof. Low roofs are less noticeable when driving and fit into some garages better. While they offer more standing space, high roofs have a limited range of travel. Parking garages are not an option.
The next question that you will need to answer is whether or not you plan to put a roof on your camper. The iconic look of a camper van with a pop-top roof is an important part of many people’s adventure vision. Pop-top campers are able to sleep up to six people more comfortably than standard roofs and create a pleasant, airy atmosphere when they’re popped.
A pop-top camper is not ideal for cold weather. Pop-top campers can be used in colder weather. However, it is possible to cover the windows with additional panels to keep the cold out. Because the roof is popped, it’s easier to stealth camp because you can see that you are sleeping inside.
This question is for DIYers who want to convert a van or anyone looking to purchase a campervan. Although used campervans for sale are cheaper, they will have less wear and tear. Although new vans offer a blank canvas, they are more expensive.
What will you do to power your van?
You could either plug in your fully converted van or completely off the grid, depending on what kind of camping you are doing. You can get a van equipped with TVs and air conditioning if you camp in a motorhome or RV park. If you intend to boondock in areas without power, you will need a large set of batteries, an Inverter, and solar power.
There are three types of Class B vans. There are two main types of Class B vans. The first is vans that have been converted to campers by people. Vans that custom converter outfitters convert into campers for others are the second type.
It is possible to do several things. A new wave of companies is selling camper kits, which includes all materials and instructions. This allows you to convert your van yourself.