In my first sentence, I am going to say that camper vans are not usually cheap. They are a significant investment, and, as with all vehicles, they tend to lose value with every mile they are driven and every year. Considering they are such a big investment, you might be wondering what the average cost is for a camper van.
- New camper vans cost upward of $110,000 and end at just above $200,000.
- Old used camper vans can cost as low as $25,000.
- Premium used camper vans cost around $75,000 to $100,000.
- DIY camper van conversions cost between $25,000 and $45,000, excluding the chassis.
In the rest of this article, I want to go in-depth into these prices. There is a lot that you need to consider, and there is a lot that I need to get through; by the end of this article, you should have a good idea of what you are going to spend when buying or converting a camper van. Let’s jump into it.
The Average Cost Of A New Camper Van
When it comes to camper vans, a lot of work goes into it; hence, they are not cheap. Minor factors such as where you live can also play a role in the price you pay. Then you have to consider the make and model and the quality of work going into the campervan.
For a premium camper van, you can expect to pay anywhere between $160,000 to $200,000. There are cheaper options available at around $120,000. I want to go into more detail so let’s look at the Ford Transit camper van and the sprinter, the two most popular class B RV models.
Ford Transit Campervan: Average Cost
Ford Transit is one of the most popular vehicles when it comes to RV’s and camper vans. We have written a recent article about the vehicle where we go in-depth into whether or not it is worth it and where you can get one of yours converted. I highly recommend checking that article out after reading this one: How Much is a Ford Transit Camper Van? (New, Used and DIY)
For a high-end Ford Transit camper van, you can expect to pay more than $160,000. However, if you don’t need everything to be state of the art, you may as well go for the mid-range vehicle, which will set you back approximately $110,000 to $130,000.
It is important to remember that the higher price tag might mean a different drivetrain, so it will be disingenuous to say that the only difference is inside the van, as I have seen people do before. When shopping around for a new Ford Transit camper van, it is best to ask about this. You’ll be choosing between factory AWD, rear wheel drive or a full on 4×4 conversion by a third party.
Sprinter Campervan: Average Cost
The Mercedes Sprinter is, in my experience, the only vehicle that comes close to the Ford Transit. They are typically more spacious than the Ford; however, they come with a higher price tag, and the performance and handling are quite similar.
For a premium brand new Sprinter camper van, you can expect to pay approximately $190,000. For the mid-range model, you can expect to pay around $150,000. Again, it’s not only the interior that gets changed on the more expensive model. There might be aspects of the vehicle that are changed as well. To take a deeper look at Sprinter costs, don’t miss our article here: How Much Does a Sprinter Van Conversion Cost?
The Average Cost of a Used Camper Van
Buying a used camper van is the best option for casual camping and RV enthusiasts. If you buy from a reputable dealer, you are more likely to get your money’s worth, and it might come with maintenance/warranty plans.
For older models such as the 2007 Ford EB camper van, you can pay anywhere from $25,000 to $30,000. For a 2018 Ford Transit with a lot of mileage, you could expect to pay between $75,000 and $80,000.
For a camper van that has been well kept, the prices start to increase exponentially. For a sprinter camper van with low mileage, it could set you back over $100,000. Be sure to keep reading because I will discuss whether or not you should buy a new or used camper van further down in this article. To get a feel of what is on the market, try a nationwide search on a popular site like rvtrader.com.
The Average Cost Of DIY Camper Van Builds
A DIY campervan costs whatever you want it to. The first price tag you are looking at is the vehicle itself. The price could range anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 depending on your chassis; then, you need to look at each component.
The most expensive DIY expenses will be your electrical and plumbing work. After that, batteries can set you back a few thousand dollars. So, to power your camper van and to have electricity and plumbing, your cost is already over $8000.
Also, you now need to get the van ready to fit furniture in. This includes carpets, cupboards, sinks, and much more. The costs start to add up. At the end of it, you could have spent over $30,000. We haven’t even gotten to labor. Whether it is your time or somebody else, it will cost you one way or the other.
Your best option is to get a professional to do it. Companies like Sportsmobile offer packages that range from $41,000 and upwards. This includes labor. You also have the expertise of the people working on the vehicle, and often they offer a warranty in case something goes wrong.
Another popular option is to buy a pre-built camper van conversion kit. This will save you a lot of build time and money over hiring a full on conversion company.
New, Used or Conversions: Which Campervan Option Is Best?
If you can budget for a brand new RV, it will always be the best option. You get maintenance plans that come from the vehicle manufacturer and sometimes the RV dealership. You also get the comfort of knowing that you are the first to drive, sleep and use the bathroom in your vehicle.
If you are new to RVs, you might want to consider renting one first. There are hundreds of companies that will rent you a camper van. We have compiled some of the most popular options here: 21 Best Camper Van Rental Companies for Your U.S. Road Trip
After that, you could consider buying a used camper van from a large dealership. As long as you choose a dealership with a good reputation, you shouldn’t have any problems and if you do, the dealerships will often help you solve any issues.
If you find a good Ford Transit or Sprinter vehicle at a great price, you could end up saving money by first buying it and then doing a conversion. Your best bet is to compare prices for conversions and new RVs and then see whether or not you come out on top; otherwise, converting a vehicle is not the greatest option, and it is my least favorite option.
Is A Camper Van Worth It?
If you are reading this article, there is a high chance that you are in the market for a camper van or at least looking to convert one of your vehicles to one. There will be times when you wonder whether you should get one, and trust me, I can relate to this feeling.
The truth is, most of the answers you get to this question will be opinion-based. Most of the factors depend on you and your circumstances. However, I can give you a few reasons why I believe a camper van is worth the price. These reasons include:
- You save money on your vacations.
- A camper van can get you to remote places.
- You get to see more while driving rather than flying.
- A trip in your camper van is a great way to bond with family.
- Campervans are surprisingly more comfortable than they look.
- You can use it for events where hotels might be sold out, such as F1.
- You can still use it as a day-to-day vehicle if needed.
I always try and be objective; you have to be when writing articles. However, I might be a little biased when I say that a vacation across the United States or whichever country you live in is best done in a camper van. It is best to look at the camper van as an investment for your happiness. If you need to know more about camper vans, feel free to go through some of our other articles.
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David is an accomplished mountain endurance athlete who has completed over 25 ultra marathon races (follow on Strava). He is most proud of his finish at The Drift 100 – a high elevation, 100 mile winter foot race that zigzags along the Continental Divide in Wyoming. In the future he hopes to compete in the ITI 350 and ultimately the full 1,000 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational that follows the same path as the historic dog sled race.