More and more companies are offering campervan conversion kits, which means the options for what you can do in a van are expanding exponentially. In this article, we’ll take a look at kits offered by seven companies from across the United States and Canada.
Whether you want to build out a Sprinter for full-time living or kit out a minivan for weekend camping trips, there’s something on this list for you.
7 Campervan conversion kits for USA based van builders:
1. Wayfarer Vans
Wayfarer Vans is based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the company was born from a camping and biking trip that turned into a muddy, damp, unfortunate night in a tent while a storm raged. The founders decided then and there to create a camper van conversion kit that would be simple, affordable, and reliable – and that would keep them warm and dry on their next adventure!
Wayfarer Vans offers full conversion kits for 2014 or newer 136” wheelbase Ram Promasters with high roofs ($9,795), 2014 or newer 159” wheelbase Ram Promasters with high roofs ($11,394), 2015 or newer 148” wheelbase Ford Transits with high roofs and long cargo spaces ($10,750), and 2015 or newer SLT or Standard Ram Promaster City Cargo/Tradesmans ($5,196).
A complete conversion kit from Wayfarer Vans includes flooring, an integrated cargo management system, insulation and paneling on the walls and ceiling, shelving around the perimeter, a galley-style kitchen with five-gallon fresh and gray water tanks for the hand pump sink, a bed platform with cushions, a boot box, and privacy paneling for the windows.
Wayfarer Vans can also hook you up with a van if you don’t already have one, through their local dealership partner, for approximately $38,000 on top of the cost of conversion. You can also choose your fabric colors and customize your van with add-on elements like a Maxxair vent fan, an insulated partition, or a hideaway table.
I spoke with Joe (@quietglow) who had his Promaster kitted out by Wayfarer Vans in August of 2019. Here’s what he had to share about the experience:
How did you choose to go with Wayfarer Vans?
“Ultimately, by doing a bunch of research online. The thing that appealed to us about Wayfarer is that our campervan philosophies lined up perfectly. Specifically, we don’t live in our van, we live out of it. In the past year, we’ve spent more than 2 months traveling in the van, and I can’t remember a single time we hung out in the van during the day.
We are super active people, and the van is our way of not having to worry about where to sleep after we spend a day in the mountains etc. Almost all other conversion companies focus on making vans feel like living rooms. We wanted ours to feel like base camp. Wayfarer delivered that.”
What were the pros and cons of a van conversion kit/service?
“I actually have the skills to do the conversion (I’ve done restorations on a few vehicles over the years), and we didn’t even consider doing it ourselves. I live in a city, so it would have been impractical anyway.
But the real reason: we didn’t want a hobby, we wanted a mobile base camp (see above). Wayfarer does the conversion in less than a day. We drove out to Colorado, went and had a burrito while they were working, then drove to the mountains to have fun.”
After having the van converted for a while, would you have done anything differently?
“Yes, I would hit the lottery and become a full timer. Kidding. There is actually not much I’d do differently. We have lots of plans to change this or that, but they’re not related to the process of getting and having the van converted.”
Is there anything else you’d like to share about Wayfarer Vans?
“I cannot recommend them highly enough. They worked with us on timing, produced a fantastic product, and are cool people. If I had to do another conversion tomorrow, I’d go with Wayfarer again.”
Joe also documented the van conversion process and his other adventures on his YouTube channel.
2. Adventure Wagon
Based in Tualatin, Oregon, Adventure Wagon offers their modular interior system for either DIY or professional installation. Their kits are designed for 144” wheelbase and 170” wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter vans and they start at $11,500. The company also plans to start offering kits for 148” wheelbase Ford Transits in the near future.
Adventure Wagon provides helpful videos that cover each step of the kit installation so you can feel confident if you choose to DIY. Their kits are designed to be installed over four days with two people working, although of course you can work at your own pace. Following their guide, the first day involves van preparation, fan installation, running the electrical harnesses, and installing the Hushmat.
Day two is dedicated to A-frame bracer installation and day three covers insulation, reinstalling the front headliner, and finishing the electrical wiring to the battery. Finish up on day four by installing the wall panels and tracks, reinstalling B-pillar covers and the driver seat, and adding any finishing touches.
One of the main benefits of their modular system is that you can change up your van for whatever you need it to do on each trip. For instance, if you want to bring along your dirt bike, simply raise the bed up high enough to accommodate it. You can also choose between a bunk style bed or a full-width bed platform, as well as select finishes and add optional overhead storage bins.
3. Trail Kitchens
Trail Kitchens was founded in 2014 and is based in Truckee, California. They offer the ultimate portable kitchen, clean-up, and outdoor shower solutions for road tripping and adventuring in the backcountry.
Trail kitchens has a newly expanded lineup of kits that work for Sprinters, Promasters, Transits, Sportsmobiles, and Express vans as well as kits for minivans like Metrises, Siennas, Transit Connects, Pacificas, and Promaster City vans.
They offer several different core kits, including a removable and modular van kitchen, a van kitchen plus a fridge, a slide out sink and fridge kit, as well as ultra-compact kitchen kits that can go in any vehicle and double as a backcountry kit. Their kitchen modules range from about $2,000 to $3,000, with their complete van kitchen package coming in at $2,665.
This kit includes a complete 14-gallon water system and an indoor/outdoor cooking system. You can choose to add on a hot water heater and/or a kitchen pod to organize all your cooking gear and utensils.
4. Contra Vans
Contra Vans is based in Denver, Colorado and they offer complete conversions for box trucks, cargo vans, minivans, and even cars and SUVs. They offer both custom conversions as well as turnkey conversions, with a variety of stock options available.
Their cargo van conversion services range from about $6,000 to $15,000 and are available for Transit Connects, Metrises, NV200s, Promaster City vans, Expresses, and Econolines.
Contra Vans offers an extensive list of add-on options, including awnings, roof racks, bike racks, cargo boxes, insulation and sound dampening, floor mats, roof top tents, solar panel systems, refrigerators, window coverings and curtains, and more.
Contra Vans works fast, too – the installation only takes about a week from when you drop your van off at their Denver shop.
ZENVANZ is based in the Pacific Northwest, and they offer incredibly beautiful (although expensive) DIY kits that allow you to turn your Sprinter van into a masterpiece. ZENVANZ prides themselves on using only premier components, such as an aluminum exoskeleton and durable bamboo.
All components are designed to be installed using factory holes, so you don’t have to drill any new holes or have special tools to make your vanlife dreams come true.
You do, however, need to shell out $18,000 if you have a 144” wheelbase Sprinter or $22,000 for a 170” wheelbase Sprinter for the DIY kit. That’s right, you get to do the labor after paying $20k. However, these kits are visually stunning and include everything you need to live in your Sprinter full-time.
All the components are also easily removable, so you can take parts out if you need to access wiring or use your van as a daily driver.
The kitchen unit includes solid bamboo cabinetry, a bamboo/paperstone countertop, and a soft-close cutlery drawer. Optional kitchen upgrades include LED lighting under the counter, a fridge/freezer, a 2-burner cooktop, a sink and faucet, and a mounted tabletop.
The kit also includes bedside cabinets, upper cabinets, a 3-panel bed system, and a fold-out gear drying rack. You can upgrade many of these components and also opt to add bamboo ceiling, door, and wall panels or additional custom cabinetry.
6. Freeway Camper Kit
Freeway Camper Kit is based in Quebec, Canada but they will ship their minivan conversion kits to the United States at no extra cost. They offer van kits that vary in price from $1,000 to $5,500, as well SUV kits for less than $1,000.
Their deluxe Sleeping Giant camper kit costs $5,500 and can work with the following minivans: 2015 or newer Chrysler Pacificas, 2004 or newer Toyota Siennas, all model years of Dodge Grand Caravans, all model years of Chrysler Town and Countries, 2006-2014 Kia Sedonas, 2006 or newer Hyundai Entourages, and 2005 or newer Honda Odysseys.
This kit includes a slide-out drawer-type exterior kitchen with two fold-out counters, an automatic water pump, a sink with a retractable shower faucet, and 6.8 gallons of freshwater. It also includes a solar energy system, a fridge, a 3-piece mattress, a transformable bed/lounge area, and a hideaway interior table.
The Sleeping Giant kit is designed for semi-permanent use, although it can be installed by two people in 15 minutes. For the price point, this kit contains everything you could need, although since they only make kits for minivans and smaller vehicles, you can expect relatively cramped living quarters.
7. Happier Camper
Happier Camper is based in Los Angeles, California and they produce a unique Lego-like van conversion kit for Sprinters. You simply install their special floor system which then makes it easy to install and move around components like seating, tables, beds, storage compartments, appliances, and so forth.
Although they ask you to contact them for a quote, you can expect to pay in the neighborhood of $15,000 to $20,000 for these unique campervan kits, obviously depending on which modules you select.
The floor panels have different connection points for mounting components or tying things down, and they can be arranged in such a way that you can shift things around in your van or even take everything out if you want to use your van for something besides camping.
Modules include storage cubes, a nesting table, a bench/bed system, a cooler, a kitchenette, a bunk bed/couch, and dry toilet. All elements are stackable, cleanable, and made for indoor and outdoor use.
While Happier Camper currently only offers kits for Sprinter vans, they plan to develop kits for other popular van makes and models in the near future.
My Final Thoughts and Top Choice…
There’s really something for everyone on this list, no matter if you want a barebones adventure basecamp or a luxurious full-time living situation. I live full-time in a 100-square-foot bus with my partner, and I couldn’t imagine crawling around in a minivan or standing outside to cook while it rains.
However, some of these modular and minivan kits are certainly intriguing for weekender rigs. What I would really like to see is a van conversion kit that includes an actual bathroom rather than just a toilet in the middle of the van.
All of that to say, if I had $100k to blow, I would lean towards a Happier Camper kit in a Sprinter van. While many van kits claim to be modular, there are usually only a couple configurations at most that are legitimately possible. But, the Happier Camper kit offers the most versatility in my opinion.
After more than two years of living on the road, I can say without a doubt that there are times when it would be nice to make the entire back half of the vehicle into a mega-bed for movie nights or to fold the bed out of the way entirely to have friends over, but of course that’s not possible in our bus.
A Happier Camper kit would make those things actually possible, and a Sprinter still allows you to stand up inside your home – a critical point for me.
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