When it comes to #vanlife, it is important to know that not all vans are created equally. Some vans are simply roomier and shaped more appropriately for human habitation. They offer greater reliability, more comfortable seating and have been thoughtfully built to allow potential modifications.
One vehicle that ticks all the right boxes is the best-selling Ford Transit Van, and year after year it just keeps on getting better and better. Now in 2020, Ford are offering the Transit in All-Wheel-Drive; meaning further improved handling and capability.
Another reason to pick this van would be the roughly 3,000 Ford dealers dotted around the country. You are never far from help should you need it.
In the words of VanDOit CEO, Brent Kline: “There are Ford dealers in the middle of nowhere, and for me, that is very reassuring. And it is (an) extremely dependable (vehicle). There is some know-how that has gone into this vehicle. It drives like a car, the seats are comfortable and it is a tremendous van to build on”.
Some people will be wanting to tackle their van conversion project DIY-style. Others simply don’t have the time, tools or ability. So, with that in mind, here’s our list…
The 10 best Ford Transit van conversion companies:
The guys at VanDOit understand that sometimes you just need to take the fun with you. And so they provide an incredible amount of space with their designs that allow you to take your bicycles, motorbikes and even ATV’s along for the ride.
They offer the Liv Package that features a hydraulic lift queen or king-sized bed. You can raise or lower it depending on the gear you are taking with you. There is space for a bunk or twin bed as well, it seats eight people, and prices range from $59,800 – $108,800.
The Do Package is relatively new and innovative. They wanted to design a fully functional traveling van while keeping the floor plan completely open. There is an abundance of attachment points for mounts, hooks, racks, tie downs and shelves. This means you can take with you anything that you can imagine. You will even fit things like canoes and stand up paddle boards inside.
They also offer van rentals through their sister company Kline Van and Specialty Rentals.
More info: vandoit.com
Big thank you to Matt Myers on instagram @altitude__adjustment for the featured image (top of page). Along with the pic of his VanDOit van, he also had this to say…
“VanDoIt was awesome to work with, the team really understands how to build out highly personalized and yet modular vans on a budget with great attention to detail.”
Having been in business since 1961, the good people at Sportsmobile have done it all. And to prove it, they offer their services to cover a large range of vehicles, including the Transit, Sprinter, Promaster and E-Van.
They seem to have every single configurable option available to choose from. For the extended body Transit van alone, they give 22 different examples of floor plans, with the option to fully design your own as well (although they probably have this sketched out somewhere already).
Sportsmobile also offer their popular penthouse feature, which includes a roof modification that turns it into a pop top. This provides an “upstairs” bedroom, allowing more room in the main body for other activities.
More info: sportsmobile.com
3. Outside Van
You have two options with Outside Van: buy one of their prefabricated lifestyle vans (the Ascend Series), or go through the process of fully customizing your own van (the Peak Series). If that sounds a little daunting, then you need not worry. With over 30 years of experience, the people at Outside Van will look after you.
After dropping a deposit, they will assign a personal designer who will run you through everything, step by step. They will finalize your layout, appliance options, materials and color choices, and then when you are happy with everything they will get to work on the build. It normally takes between 2 – 4 months to complete (depending on how crazy you went with the design).
More info: outsidevan.com
4. Creative Mobile Interiors
Far more than just van conversion experts, this Ohio-based company will do pretty much anything to your van that you can conceive of. Want to turn it into a high-tech spy van? No problem. A luxurious limousine-like transporter with reclinable leather seats, flat screen TVs and surround sound? Too easy!
In fact, Creative Mobile Interiors get so creative, that they have nearly 130 different customization options available. If you can imagine it, they have probably already done it. You can purchase new or second hand vehicles directly through them to make things a whole lot easier for yourself, or they are just as happy to work on your new or second hand vehicle.
They do not believe in set floor plans, which we love, and they are more of a company that deal with more luxury-end conversions than budget-friendly options.
More info: creativemobileinteriors.com
5. Colorado Camper Van
They have only been around for a bit more than 10 years, but this company working out of Colorado is already making waves in the #vanlife world. Their custom shop comes with the subheading: Yeah, we can build it!
Their base interior range is called Base Camp, which is simplicity defined. A pop top roof provides the sleeping quarters, while the main compartment is nothing but space. This not only gives ample space for all your adventure-related gear, it also gives you an open place to design your own van in the future. A great option for a budget-conscious buyer.
The Adventure Mobile is an option in either 2 or 4 person format (prices starting at $20,500 and $36,000 respectively). They feature beds, kitchens, full interior insulation, sound dampening walls and a choice of ceiling and flooring options.
Their last template design is called The Dine and Dash. It features a diner-styled table and chairs at the back of the van that can seat 4 adults. This area then transforms into the main bedroom.
In addition to their signature designs, Colorado Camper Van also have the custom shop where you can discuss ideas and have them create exactly what you are after.
More info: coloradocampervan.com
6. Van Specialties
Van Specialties are experts at working on the Sprinter van series from Mercedes, but are professionals with the Transit van as well. They have been in operation in Oregon since 1973, and are happy to work on almost any kind of van on the market.
They can customize anything to suit your needs, and their website features a fully transparent price list with multiple options for you to consider. It is also worth giving them a call if you require a multi-purpose van than can be used for other things. If you need a work vehicle that is capable of converting into a leisure vehicle, that may be something they could fabricate for you as well.
More info: vanspecialties.com
7. Benchmark Vehicles
Benchmark Vehicles are another Oregon-based company. They have no set design plans, as they acknowledge that no two customers will have the exact same requirements. So, everything is made exactly the way you want it.
They do not sell the vehicles outright, but will work on your new or used shell. That being said, they are more than happy to assist with the purchasing of the vehicles, or to provide advice on the topic. Benchmark Vehicles are another dual van company as they also custom fit the Mercedes Sprinter.
More info: benchmarkvehicles.com
Recreational vehicle manufacturers ModVans are based in Ventura, California, and offer their signature CV1 design for their Transit Vans. They feature enough space to sleep four adults, with more camping add-ons and RV components than you can poke a stick at.
The design is modern-yet-basic, and is definitely aimed more at the family adventurers than for those seeking an ultimately luxurious experience. If you need any extras, then ModVans have you covered, offering cool stuff like: solar charging capabilities, cell phone signal boosters, composting toilets and outdoor showers.
More info: modvans.com
9. Action Van
Action Van offer a no-frills experience in van conversion. The company sprang to life after designing a van for a local mountain bike racer who wanted home comforts while away competing on the road. He needed to get his bikes in and out of the van without having to dismantle wheels or other parts.
What resulted was a biker-friendly van with a motorized bed system. This allows the raising of the bed for bike storage in the garage below. As with the Liv Package from VanDOit, this allows for storage of items as large as ATV’s and stand up paddle boards.
More info: actionvan.com
Refusing to put all their eggs in one basket, the guys from Tourig also convert the Mercedes Sprinter into a home on wheels. They will customize pretty much everything according to your adventure requirements.
The list of external extras is almost as long as the internal one. You can add awnings, retractable steps, bumpers, roof racks, ladders, wheel and suspension upgrades and thermal window tinting, without even scratching the surface.
Tourig also sell second hand vehicles on their website that they have already converted into stylish and practical living spaces. They currently retail for approximately $150,000, and are not available for long. Add your name and email address to the waiting list to be the first to hear about vehicles as they enter the market.
The company also have an online shop where you can purchase useful van accessories such as storage lockers and window screens.
More info: mytourig.com
Up Next In Van Conversions:
What do I Need for Vanlife? 25 Essentials for Life on the Road
How Much Does it Cost to Put a Pop Top on a Van?
Ram Promaster Conversion Kits: Your Best 3 Options
How Much Does a Sprinter Van Conversion Cost?
As a travel writer and photographer, Gordon spent the better part of 2018 visiting 13 different countries as far apart as Chile, Morocco and Vietnam. He is in New Zealand in 2019, writing a third travel book, while exploring pretty much anything that forms a bump on the Earth’s surface.
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