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VanLife: A New Class of RV Buyers

Lifted 4x4 van

In the past, the number of class B vans with the capability of traveling off-road and handling adverse weather conditions were extremely limited. Today, that’s all changing due to rising interest in smaller, off-road worthy camper vans that are equipped for one thing – adventure.

While limited in size and comfort compared to class A behemoths, the benefits of compact camper vans seem endless. To name a few:

–  Fit in your garage
–  Function as a daily driver
–  Great for short weekend trips
–  Better maneuverability
–  Easier to take off-road, 4×4 capability
–  More affordable

The question remains, should you buy a new one that comes fully equipped or convert one DIY style? There’s no one right answer. People are doing both and having a lot of fun in the process. The good news is there are more options available to people in the U.S. than ever before. Additionally, there are many reputable conversion companies that are doing some pretty exciting things.  There are pretty much three different paths you can take.

1.  Buy a base model and customize it yourself.
2. Buy a base model and have it outfitted by a custom conversion company.
3. Buy a new adventure-ready van.

Here’s a little more information that will help get the creative juices flowing. Prices are ballpark estimates, but they should give you a general idea on where to start and how to set your expectations.

Base Models – $29,000 – $38,000

Some of the best-sellers include the Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, Ram Promaster, Chevrolet Express, Nissan NV. For the economically minded, this is where your #VanLife dreams begin. Many of the adventure vans you see out there today start with a base model that gets stripped down and rebuilt for camping and off-road use. One of the most expensive upgrades is a 4×4 conversion kit that ranges anywhere from $5,000-$12,000 depending on provider and parts.

Ford recently announced that their best-selling Transit family would include all-wheel drive models for better traction, not to mention all-new engines and a new 10-speed automatic transmission. While not true 4×4, an all-wheel drive model will be an attractive option for those wanting customize a camper van themselves. If you’re wanting to DIY, there are a lot of helpful forums out there that can help you install anything from plumbing to solar panels.

Custom Conversion Companies – Conversions from $12,000 – $35,000

From Oregon to Pennsylvania, custom conversion companies are rolling out some pretty gorgeous and luxurious vans. Outside Van, Off Grid Adventure Vans, Sportsmobile, Quigley4x4 are just some of the well-known companies that are building awesome products. Whether you want something that is custom tailored to mountain biking or equipped to rock crawl in Moab, you can find a conversion company to do the job. Hop on Instagram and check out #VanLife to see some different concepts and applications.

Adventure-Ready Camper Vans – $93,000 – $135,000

The Winnebago Revel is one of the first mass-produced 4×4 RVs available in the U.S. It’s built on the Sprinter frame but comes with a 3-liter turbo diesel engine, aggressive tires and an impressive “hill descent” mode. On the inside, it features a full kitchen, wet bath and power beds for two people.

Also available in the U.S. is an exciting new model from European RV manufacturer Hymer that’s built on the Ram ProMaster frame, sleeps up to four, has a full kitchen, and a spacious full bathroom. Airstream, Carado and ModVan also have some pretty slick models for sale if you’re interested in researching those.

Need Your Adventure Van Serviced or Repaired? Call Elite RV & Car Care

Whether you have a motor home or a class B camper van, we can help prolong the life of your recreational vehicle and help ensure your safety on the road. Our knowledgeable technicians are experienced working on RVs of all different shapes and sizes. We pride ourselves in treating our customers and their property with dignity and respect. Contact us today by calling (281) 812-3085 or feel free to send us a message online.

CC image courtesy of Truck Hardware at Flickr

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