The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Van for Your Conversion

Hello fellow adventurers! If you’re reading this, you’ve likely been bitten by the wanderlust bug and are considering a leap into the exhilarating world of van life. The first, and perhaps most critical decision you’ll face in this journey is selecting the perfect van for your conversion. We’re talking about a space that’s not just going to be your vehicle but your living room, bedroom, and sometimes even your office. Choosing the right one can make or break your road life experience. This guide is designed to simplify the process. Our focus keyphrase for today is ‘Choosing the Best Van.’

Defining the Perfect Van: One Size Does Not Fit All

When we talk about ‘Choosing the Perfect Van,’ what we’re really discussing is what’s perfect for you. Individual needs and preferences play a vital role in the decision-making process. Factors such as your budget, desired comfort level, planned usage, and lifestyle are all parts of this consideration. Let’s take a closer look at some of these factors.

Size and Layout

If you’re transitioning from a traditional home or apartment to a van, space is going to be a premium. Larger vans like cargo vans offer more square footage and standing room, providing comfort and freedom of movement. However, they could pose challenges in maneuverability and parking, particularly in densely populated areas.

Conversely, smaller models like minivans are much easier to handle and can be parked almost anywhere but require a more minimalist lifestyle. When considering size, also think about the layout that you envision. Do you plan to have a dedicated sleeping area, or are you open to a convertible bed design? How much kitchen space would you like? Do you need room for a desk or other work area? A clear vision for your layout is crucial to select the right size van. Our guide on maximizing storage space might provide some useful insights for you in this regard.

Reliability and Maintenance

Your van is going to be more than a vehicle; it’s going to be your home. Thus, reliability should be high on your priority list. Consider the reputation of the make and model for reliability and longevity. The cost and accessibility of spare parts are also key, as the need for repairs could arise anywhere, anytime.

Fuel Efficiency

While the spaciousness of a big, powerful van might seem appealing, remember that larger vehicles usually consume more fuel. Since you’ll likely be covering long distances, fuel costs can add up quickly. Striking a balance between space and fuel efficiency can save you a significant amount in the long run.


Your budget will ultimately dictate your choices. Be sure to factor in not just the cost of the van itself, but also the anticipated expense of the conversion. Use our ultimate van conversion checklist as a guideline to help budget for the entire project.

Popular Vans for Conversion

Now that we’ve covered the key considerations, let’s explore some of the most popular vans among the van life community.

Mercedes Sprinter

The Mercedes Sprinter is a top choice among van lifers due to its size, reliability, and luxury brand appeal. The high roof models offer stand-up room, which is a significant advantage for long-term living.

Ford Transit

The Ford Transit is loved for its reliability, ease of maintenance, and variety of size options. It’s a common model, meaning replacement parts are easily accessible.

Ram ProMaster

The Ram ProMaster offers a wide body, allowing for creative and spacious layouts. Its front-wheel-drive can come in handy in adverse weather conditions.

Volkswagen Transporter

Often fondly referred to as the “VW Bus,” the Volkswagen Transporter is a classic choice for those leaning towards a smaller, nostalgic van life experience.

Chevrolet Express

This sturdy workhorse is known for its durability and ease of maintenance. Its boxy shape provides plenty of room for customization.

Every van has its pros and cons, and the best one for you depends on your unique needs and circumstances. Once you’ve made your decision, the real fun begins – planning and executing your conversion. Whether it’s installing insulation, selecting the right flooring, setting up an electrical system, or adding personal touches with DIY projects, each step brings you closer to the dream of embracing the open road in your customized home-on-wheels.

Remember, the journey of converting and living in your van can be just as exciting as the destinations you’ll visit. Take your time, plan well, and most importantly, enjoy the process. After all, the road to your perfect van life is paved with the love and labor you put into creating your dream mobile abode.