Last Updated on January 2, 2022 by Douglas
If you’re bored and tired of leading a traditional lifestyle of living inside an apartment or a house, vanlife might be the thing you’ll love to know more about. Vanlife is a worldwide movement suggesting people to ditch their homes and apartments to start living in tiny houses on wheels.
But how can you spend your whole life on the road in a tiny van house? And what is the best van that you can invest in for your vanlife?
Every person has a different type of vanlife, and has different expectations from his van when investing in one. You might need different vehicles for different travel plans. But there are some specific vans that are commonly liked among the vanlife loving people.
Usually, vanlifers like cargo vans to live in. These vans are tall enough for you to stand inside, and the wide space inside the van allows you to use a variety of layouts without much issues. So, cargo vans are usually the best option for full-time vanlife, but there are quite a few options other than them as well.
If you are also looking to buy a van for full time vanlife, you can check from the list below and read more about the vans. Vans have their own strong points, while some of them are focused on better off-road experience, some are well suited to city life and blend in pretty nicely. Depending in what you like and your budget, you might like some types of vans more as compared to other types.
About half of the vanlifers are doing it full-time, and the rest also use them to travel for weeks or even months. Various trustable surveys suggest that vanlifers mostly like cargo vans as their mini homes, however, there are a few other types of vans that they choose from as well.
- Cargo vans
- Passenger vans
- Hippie Van
- Bus or Schoolie
Other than these, there are many customized categories as well. Here are some of the best vans for vanlifers.
Top 15 Best Vans to Live in For Full Time Vanlife
1. Mercedes Sprinter
It is actually one of the best and the most popular vanlife vehicles choose by vanlifers. This is a classic design that many vanlifers still love.
These vans usually come in neutral colors, and you can choose to have side windows as well if the budget allows. While buying and converting a sprinter can usually cost your upwards of $200, many people have this as their dream car despite the high price tag. There are three companies making these sprinter vans, and you can choose any make and model year depending on your liking.
2. Ford Transit
Fort transit is one of the best full-time vanlife vehicles that are somewhat affordable and reliable as well. This van is available in a number of different models, and with different features.
The Ford transit van models like Cargo van and Crew van have so high ceilings that you can fully stand inside them.
No matter what model you choose, the Ford vans are always a reliable and affordable alternative to some other vans. A Ford transit can cost you around $40k, and that is before you start renovation and conversion.
3. Volkswagen Bus
VW bus, or the Hippie Van is also a great choice for life on the road. You can get this van in many different colors, and its looks classic and cute.
As far as the prices go, they can vary widely. You can often get one for as little as $20k, but this price can climb up to $145k for some popular models. The price also depends on the condition of the bus you’re getting.
There are many second hand converted VW buses in the market which you can choose from. This way, you can save some money on the conversion as well by paying for the whole thing in total. You can only get used VW buses as the company isn’t producing or selling any of them directly.
The latest model of VW bus runs on electricity. You can charge it fully, and it will last for around 300 miles before requiring a recharge. It is a favorite choice amongst the vanlifers who aim to minimize their environmental impact. Don’t worry about the recharge though, as it can go from 0 to 80 percent in under 30 minutes.
However, if you like to live off the grid life in remote locations, you should choose one of the classic models.
4. Knaus Boxdrive CUV
Of you don’t know anything about van conversions and don’t want to do it either, you can invest in one of the Knaus Boxdrive CUV vans which are ready for camping and vanlife.
When you buy one of these vans, they come with a pre styled layout. This can either be a benefit or drawback depending on your liking. You’ll be getting a fully converted van from the very start, but you won’t have any control over the conversion either.
However, these vans are really spacious, and there is plenty of room inside them to enjoy on a camping trip. There are lots of other features as well which make these vans a perfect choice for vanlife.
Another benefit of these vans is that you can sleep around 5 to 7 people inside them, which is a standard family size. You can usually buy one of these vans starting from €80k, but remember that no conversion is needed.
5. Luton Box Van
If you’re looking for a cargo can with a room like interior, the Luton box van by Mercedes Benz would be a great option to explore.
The interior of this van is rectangle like, which means you might find it easy to convert. This makes the van a perfect choice for the people who live to lead a life on the road.
But these vans don’t have windows, and the only way to get them is by cutting them out during the conversion. This van really has a high weight carrying capacity, and has a front wheel drive as well.
You can buy a second hand Luton van for around £17k. The conversion costs will be separate.
6. Renault Trafic Camper
If you’re into stealth camping and want to invest in a van that looks like a normal van on the road, you can invest in a Renault Trafic Camper.
This van looks really modern, and the pre-conversion type has seats to accommodate up to nine people. The modular inside design allows for easy conversions.
The van is already made with precision to help you save plenty of money in the conversion process as well.
This model of vanlife van is also popular for being reliable and long lasting. This helps in reducing the need for maintenance, and even reduces the repair costs by a huge margin.
You can buy a new Trafic in £27.5k, and that is before any conversions.
7. Sportsmobile Classic 4×4
Although this van is perfect for adventures and camping, you can also easily use this for vanlife. This 4×4 is really rugged, and can provide you with a good driving experience in off-road scenarios as well.
These vans are already made with vanlife in mind. That’s why it has a small fridge, a microwave oven, and a sink installed already. The top of this van can be used as a bed for comfortable sleeping experience.
There is even a countertop which rotates to the outside, and helps in meal preparation. The roof of this van has a solar panel and a storage rack.
You can use an access ladder to get to the storage rack easily. The exterior of this van is also made rugged to enable in to withstand the harsh outside elements.
These vans are cheap as compared to the other vans on this list. You can get your hands on one of these for $21k. This includes all the conversions that we just talked about. So, you can buy one and hit the road right away.
8. Rivian Electric Truck
While this vehicle isn’t a van to be precise, you can still invest in one as this is the future of adventure vehicles. This truck is fully electrical, and has a great range of over 400 miles per charge.
5his truck won’t provide you with an interior vanlife experience, in fact, you can buy a separate pop-up tent to either go behind the truck, or use in separately at night.
This isn’t a good stealth camping vehicle, but can serve as a good remote or rugged vehicle. This is a great ruck for off-road adventures. You can buy a rivian at around $69k. This is an energy efficient vehicle that many people love.
9. RAM ProMaster
RAM ProMaster is another great vehicle well-suited for vanlife. This vehicle is well suited for vanlife, and allows you to stand inside as well due to its tall interior. You can use various floor plans inside the van to suit it to your vanlife needs.
Another reason why this vehicle is great for you is that you can find its spare parts in the US easily. But these vans are reported to have more break downs than other vehicles.
You can buy one of these vans for $31k to $44k. This is the price before conversion.
10. Vauxhall Movano
This is a great van for amazing vanlife. There are lots of features like different lengths, diesel engine, and different heights.
You can choose from both the automatic and manual transmission options as well. You can customize them to a great extent as well.
You can buy one of these vans for around $29k.
11. VW California
This van is a great choice for easy conversions, and it has a modern inside finishes as well. This van is also fitted with a pop up roof which can be used to expand the roof. There is also a kitchen, a cool box, a stove kitchen and a sink.
All of the tables and fitting inside the van stow away to save a lot of inside space. These vans also come in great colors, and give you the classic VW bus feeling.
These are different models of this van available in the market, and you can choose one of them ranging from £55k to £63.5k.
12. Citroen Wildcamp
This is a great competing model amongst the vanlifers. It is a classic van model which has been popular for decades. This van is made more durable than a VW bus, and has an additional rack on the roof that is suitable to store 2 wheels, a foldable ladder, and some of your heavy vanlife gear as well.
This van has a convertible interior as well, and you can really enjoy the spacious living space inside the van.
The van is also fitted with a kitchen, a sink, and a freezer. The van also has a built in bathroom.
You can buy this van for around €41.5k. This is before doing any conversions.
13. School Bus
A school bus is one of the most versatile things for living a full-time vanlife. You can buy a school bus and convert it into a great vehicle for vanlife. There are lots of pre-converted buses in the market as well which are converted into mini homes. You might also need to gut your bus before converting it to a liveable van.
One reason why the buses are great is they provide you with interior space because they can be converted to fit your needs perfectly. Many vanlifers like to make rooms in their buses, and others like to leave it open.
Keep in mind that you you’ll need to invest extra money to insulate the bus. You can find used school buses for only a couple of thousand dollars. On the other hand, the already converted school buses can be bought from $18k to $35k.
If you’re investing in a school bus, it is important to get it inspected by a professional mechanic. However, you’ll need to remember that these buses are usually larger that a majority of vanlife vehicles. Additionally, you should also know about any special maintenance needs that your bus might have.
14. VW Crafter
If you’re a fan of Volkswagen, but want a van like the Sprinter, you’ll love the VW Crafter.
You can buy and use this van as a base for your amazing vanlife conversion. There are different vehicle lengths and heights that you can choose from.
This van is primed for vanlife conversions. This comes with lashing rails on the walls, lashing rings recessed into the floor, and a roof rack in the interior of the van that you can use as a starting point of your converted van.
There is also a plenty of storage space to help you store a lot of items inside the van. You can buy a VW Crafter in £27k to £48k.
15. Four Wheel Campers
Due to the increasing popularity of vanlife, many people are looking to convert their SUV into a converted van for full-time vanlife. These vehicles can be converted into great vans that are fit for any type of vanlife.
These vans can be converted into a van perfect for vanlife in only a fraction of the cost that you’ll have to spend on other vans. You can fit a lot of features into the vans. You can easily convert them into perfect vehicles for long term travel. These can be converted into a van easily if you don’t have any know how of the conversion process.