Table of Contents Show
- What Is Vanlife?
- What Makes a Van Great for Vanlife?
- What Is a Good Size Van for Vanlife?
- Can You Convert a Van Yourself?
- Top 5 Vans for Enjoying Vanlife in 2023
- Enjoy Vanlife in Style and Comfort
There’s been a dramatic increase in recent years of adventurers embracing vanlife. Like Goldilocks, you must find the perfect vehicle if you want to enjoy the lifestyle.
However, it’s not as easy as it sounds, especially if you’re just testing the waters. You may think you can live in a tiny space or go without certain features, but that can be easier said than done. Lucky for you, we’ve found some of the best vans for vanlife.
Let’s narrow down your choices so you can embrace the nomadic life!
What Is Vanlife?
Vanlife is a popular trend in the nomadic community that has increased dramatically over the past several years. The lifestyle involves living out of converted vans while traveling like nomads.
Some individuals will live out of their vehicles full-time, and others will go on seasonal adventures. Those who embrace vanlife take tiny living to a whole new level.
There are infinite possibilities as to why people choose vanlife. Many want to fulfill a desire for traveling, saving money, or fulfilling a sense of adventure. On the other hand, some vanlifers have very few other options due to rising living costs.
Whatever the reason, vanlife can be what you make of it, whether you choose it or it chooses you.
What Makes a Van Great for Vanlife?
Some vans work better than others when it comes to features and capabilities. You have a few things to consider if you want to enjoy vanlife fully. You’ll need a vehicle that runs great and has sufficient sleeping space for you and anyone traveling with you.
Additionally, you need to be as self-sufficient as possible. This means you’ll need a shower, cooking space, and a restroom.
Many vanlifers utilize wet baths containing a shower and toilet to maximize the space. Additionally, a composting toilet can nearly eliminate the need to worry about dumping black tanks.
Propane is often the go-to cooking source, whether inside the vehicle or on a portable griddle like a Blackstone. These are some of the basic features that make a van great for vanlife.
However, if you want to go from good to great, you’ll want a few extra features. The best vans for vanlife often have solar panels to charge lithium battery banks. In addition, these vehicles provide superior off-roading capabilities and build qualities to withstand whatever you throw at them.
What Is a Good Size Van for Vanlife?
When looking at vans for vanlife, you want to consider who is traveling with you. Ensure everyone has enough room if you plan to bring a spouse, significant other, or pet.
An empty vehicle could seem spacious while shopping, but the walls can quickly close in on you when you add your gear and supplies.
When it comes to a good size van, many solo travelers can get by with vans with a 144-inch wheelbase. This makes the overall length of the van just under 20 feet.
Because of their size, they function like standard passenger vehicles and are very nimble. You’ll have no trouble getting in and out of most campsites or dealing with length restrictions.
For couples or anyone who enjoys their space, the 170-inch and 170-inch EXT wheelbases are the best vans for vanlife. These measure approximately 22 feet 9 inches and 24 feet, respectively.
However, even if you’re not overly tall, you need to consider the height. High roof models are typically 6 feet 4 inches from floor to ceiling, compared to 5 feet 5 inches for low roof models.
Can You Convert a Van Yourself?
You can convert a van yourself if you’re a jack-of-all-trades or a DIY expert. However, it’s important to know that some vanlifers have encountered issues with insurance companies regarding DIY conversions.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could make a potentially deadly or dangerous mistake. While converting a van yourself can be substantially cheaper, you need skills and knowledge in several key areas.
You’ll need to do electrical, plumbing, and carpentry in a tiny space. Unfortunately, making a mistake on any of these projects can be costly. If you don’t know how to do it, you’ll need to pay professionals to do it right.
Top 5 Vans for Enjoying Vanlife in 2023
Regarding the best vans for vanlife, some models stand out from the rest. Today, we’re sharing the top five vans that make it easy to enjoy vanlife in 2023. Let’s get started!
1. 2023 Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a full-size van popular among vanlifers for its spacious interior and versatile design.
The Sprinter offers a range of configurations, including passenger and cargo models, high roof options for increased interior headroom, and 4×4 options for off-road capabilities.
Vanlifers enjoy the customizable and functional space, many storage options, and flexible seating arrangements. The van features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a rearview camera, and makes it easy to power and charge your devices.
Overall, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a well-rounded option for vanlife. It offers comfort, versatility, and technology, making it an appealing choice for those looking to live on the road. Unfortunately, the starting cost is approximately $50,000 before any costs associated with converting it into a livable space.
2. 2023 Ford Transit
Next on our list of the best van for vanlife is the 2023 Ford Transit. We love its versatility, affordability, and suitability for life on the road.
The Transit has various configurations, including cargo, passenger, and cutaway models, with options for different roof heights, wheelbases, and engine choices.
One of the benefits of the Ford Transit is that it has a strong reputation for durability and reliability. Whether you’re planning to spend extended periods on the road or enjoy shorter adventures, it’s a great choice.
In addition, Ford offers a range of up-fit options, including conversions for campervans, which can be a cost-effective solution for those looking to do a DIY vanlife setup.
They recognize the popularity of the Transit among the vanlife community and do their part to make conversions as easy as possible.
3. 2023 Dodge Ram Promaster
The 2023 Dodge Ram Promaster is another van that’s best for vanlife. You can choose between a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 280 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque or a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine that produces 174 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque.
Like its competitors, the Promaster also has various roof heights and wheelbases, so you can choose which fits your unique needs.
Additionally, it has a reputation for its smooth and stable ride and for withstanding bumps and potholes on the road.
It also has many safety features like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and park assist. Considering its starting price of $40,000, this is one option that’s hard to overlook.
Keep in Mind: Make your camper van feel more like home with these Camper Van Decor Ideas!
4. 2023 Airstream Interstate 24X
Just because you’re choosing to enjoy vanlife doesn’t mean you can’t do it in luxury. The Airstream Interstate 24X sits on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van chassis and has a spacious interior with room for six but sleeping space for two.
You’ll find a full kitchen with a refrigerator, sink, and cooktop, a bathroom with a shower and toilet, and massive storage space.
With all-terrain tires, four-by-four capabilities, and a rugged body, the 24X can take you to some exciting places. The 3.0L V6 Turbo Diesel engine delivers 188 horsepower and 325 pounds of torque. You can drive with confidence whether your adventures are on the blacktop or off-road.
In addition, the 5,000-pound towing capacity allows you to bring a trailer full of toys along for the ride.
With so much to love about the vehicle, there’s got to be a catch. Right? You’ll quickly discover the catch when you see the price tag.
Any vehicle in the Airstream brand isn’t cheap, and the 24X is no exception. If you want a 2023 Airstream 24X, you better be ready to pay over $246,000.
5. 2023 Winnebago Solis 59PX
The Solis 59PX is a Class B motorhome produced by the popular recreational vehicle manufacturer Winnebago. This 59PX sits on a Ram ProMaster chassis and features a modern, stylish design with numerous amenities.
As a best van for vanlife, the 59PX can sleep up to four people. It also includes a full kitchen with a refrigerator, sink, cooktop, and a bathroom with a shower and toilet.
The living area is comfortable for hosting guests and features a dinette and a seating area that easily converts into a bed. At only 21 feet long, the 59PX makes it easy to get in and out of just about any camping situation.
Additionally, the high-end features make it a popular choice for travelers who want to explore new destinations in comfort and style.
While not the most expensive van on our list, the 59PX’s $152,000 starting price isn’t easy to overlook. However, it’s one of your best options if you want quality craftsmanship and luxury comforts while enjoying vanlife.
Keep in Mind: It always pays to have a few camper van jokes up your sleeve! You’ll have everyone laughing around the campfire with these RV and Camper Van Jokes
Enjoy Vanlife in Style and Comfort
If you want to get the most out of your vanlife experience, you can’t just pick any van. As you can see, the vehicles we’ve shared have some incredible features.
In addition, they have a reputation for being some of the best-built vans in the industry. Unfortunately, you have to pay a premium price to enjoy a premium experience. However, if you can stomach the cost, you can travel in style and comfort while enjoying vanlife.
Which van would you choose for your vanlife adventures?