The ProMaster is growing ever more in popularity, especially for camper van conversions and for good reason. Compared to other common vans such as the Mercedes Sprinter and Ford Transit, the ProMaster is far more affordable and with three sizes available, it has never been easier to find the best ProMaster size for van life tailored perfectly to every one of your needs.
So, which model is the best? The best ProMaster for conversion is the RAM ProMaster Cargo Van 2500 High Roof. Not too small and not too big, the 2500 has the power and size that makes it the ideal choice for a camper van conversion.
Travelling the world and living full time in a tiny home on wheels has now become a very achievable dream, but with such an abundance of vans on the market today, it can be hard to choose the best one for vanlife. The ProMaster is bursting with potential and being one of the widest vans in its category on the market today, the conversion layout ideas are endless.
ProMaster Models (1500, 2500, 3500)
There are three different models of ProMaster available; 1500, 2500 and 3500. All models are kitted out with a 3.6L V6 gas engine, front wheel drive, 9 speed automatic transmission and each also have similar torque and respectable horsepower capabilities. With various roof heights and lengths available, there are many different options when it comes to choosing the best ProMaster to fit all of your needs.
In terms of wheelbase lengths, there is a 118”, 136” and 159” available, however there is also an additional extended version of the 159” for around $3000 but this is only an option for the 3500 ProMaster. The ProMaster is available with a low or high top roof, but for full time vanlife, a high top van will arguably create a far more comfortable and functional living space.
Each model of ProMaster has relatively good mpg, staying around 20 mpg usually even post conversion, however, it is important to try and avoid using extremely heavy materials in a camper conversion as this can both affect how the vehicle drives whilst also diminishing the mpg.
As each of the available ProMasters has a relatively high load rating, features such as a log burner, spare wheel carrier and a large water tank are able to be included in the conversion without too much stress or worry about being overweight post completion.
Another aspect useful to note with the ProMaster is its engine and transmission parts which are the same as recent Jeeps, Chryslers and Rams, meaning not only are maintenance costs kept lower, but parts are also far more widely available.
Considering the ProMaster is a worldwide option simply sold with different branding around the globe, it could be the perfect van for those looking to travel far across different countries and even continents, without having to worry about finding parts when the vehicle breaks down or has some issues.
Due to the availability of ProMaster parts, this also means you do not have to solely rely on expensive dealerships and garages to solve any teething issues. Mechanically, ProMasters are notorious for being rather simple vehicles, resulting in most mechanics being able to fix issues easily without the need for advanced machinery and tools.
In the past there have been a few issues with the ProMaster resulting in some recalls questioning the reliability of these vehicles, however, models from 2017 and onwards have been proven to be reliable and dependable and are becoming an ever more popular vehicle being chosen for van life.
With some ProMaster forums revealing many of these vans have surpassed the 250,000 mile mark, it is safe to say that any former issues have been both resolved and improved upon.
Which ProMaster is the Best Size for Vanlife?
When choosing the perfect size vehicle for vanlife, it is important to consider all the aspects you want to include in the conversion, such as a bathroom area, decent sized kitchen, couch area, comfortable bed etc.
If more than one person will be using the space or living in the van such as a couple or family, it may be worth also including space saving features into the build such as a foldable bed or hideaway table to create a more open living area.
In order to remain comfortable when living full time in a van, a high roof is definitely a good option, and it is vital to have enough functional space to maneuver around otherwise the frustrations of living in a tiny home may arise quite quickly.
If you are a single vanlifer or even a weekend explorer, a ProMaster 1500 may be the perfect choice as there is enough space to comfortably house an ample amount of belongings, and with decent payload capacity, it can take a considerable amount of weight too.
The 1500 is also nimble and agile enough to be parked in regular spaces with the added benefit of remaining rather stealthy and not drawing very much unwanted attention. For a couple or family transitioning to full time vanlife, a 2500 or 3500 is definitely a better option in terms of the space available.
With far greater floor space, the interior layout options for a larger ProMaster are truly endless. For a family, there is ample space with the larger ProMasters to create a bunk bed system on each side of the van or even install a high double bed and fold out couch-style bed underneath.
You can even add a pop-top to your Promaster and give the kids a dedicated sleeping loft.
The width of the ProMaster is also beneficial in terms of free space within the van. With narrow camper vans, even if they have a long wheelbase, the space can often feel small and cramped as cabinets and storage areas encroach greatly onto the floor space.
With the ProMaster however, it is easy to create an airy, dynamic camper conversion with plenty of space to navigate between friends and family without getting in each other’s way.
Due to being noticeably wider than other popular vans such as Ford Transits or Mercedes Sprinters, there is also far more potential in terms of roof space too.
For those desiring a solar set up in addition to roof vents and a deck, the 2500 and 3500 are ideal with ample roof space to fit a multitude of functions without having to choose one feature over the rest. By creating a deck or usable area on the roof, the space of the camper is enhanced and in warm climates this feature can provide the ultimate comfort.
ProMaster Vs Other Brands for Vanlife
Choosing a ProMaster for vanlife has many benefits, initially starting with the cost. For a new or even used Mercedes Sprinter, prices are high and when factoring in the cost of a high quality conversion, the final total can be nothing short of staggering.
The ProMaster is a far more affordable and budget friendly van with maintenance and parts coming in considerably cheaper than their costly Mercedes Sprinter or Ford Transit counterparts. Aside from the lower overall costs, the ProMaster is wider than most other vans, allowing a standard double bed to fit width ways in the build.
Having the option of a width way bed creates far more space for other features such as a kitchen and a bathroom area without feeling claustrophobic or cramped. Continuing with the stand out features of the ProMaster, there is also more usable roof space than other vans, allowing for a roof deck, roof vents and even solar panels depending on your rooftop layout.
In addition to this, being front wheel drive, the ProMaster can arguably perform better in certain weather conditions such as snow which can be great for those wanting to explore far and wide in their camper van. Having a front wheel drive van is also ideal as it sits relatively close to the ground, making it easy to enter and leave the van from the side door without having to take a ginormous step up or down.
Having a low campervan also provides a good center of gravity, allowing for great stability on questionable terrain and sharp corners. In addition to the front wheel drive, the ProMaster has a good turning radius, making parking and maneuvering the van far easier than some of its competitors.
Having a great turning circle is also useful when travelling on mountainous roads and forest tracks where space can often be a little tight. The ProMaster also has a recent great reputation in terms of reliability and durability – two crucial factors to consider when choosing a vehicle for vanlife.
Although fairly new to America, initially being sold in 2014, the ProMaster has rapidly become a popular van for many businesses and vandwellers alike. Similarly to any vehicle, if regular maintenance and care is taken with a ProMaster, it should see you through many adventures for a long time.
ProMaster Van Conversion Kits
The van conversion market is filled with an abundance of stunning high quality conversions, but these often come with a rather large price tag. For those with a budget in mind for their camper conversion, it may be a far more beneficial option to complete the entire conversion yourself or use a diy conversion kit from a reputable company such Wayfarer Vans.
At Wayfarer, the RAM ProMaster conversion kits are built specifically to each van which allows for a far more affordable and time friendly conversion, taking a matter of hours to install as opposed to several months. This cost and time effective conversion option means you can start your vanlife travels and adventures right away.
A fantastic example of just one of the conversion kits available from Wayfarer Vans is the Walter conversion kit available for either the ProMaster 1500 or 2500, 136” wheelbase, high roof van.
This complete kit contains everything required from high quality natural wool insulation, flooring, shelving, kitchen and bed to both the fresh and grey water tanks you will need for a campervan. Campervan conversions often take a considerably longer time to complete than initially planned but with diy kits ready to install, time, stress and money can be reduced substantially.
It can also feel daunting when faced with an empty panel van as there are so many aspects to consider in the build.
With vanlife becoming increasingly popular, there is also an infinite amount of information online regarding the best ways to convert a van, however, each van conversion needs to be specific to the requirements of its users and therefore much of this information can be both confusing and misleading.
By using diy kits for the conversion, it can remove any doubts or fears you may have when looking to convert a camper, and with Wayfarer also guaranteeing all of their conversion components, they are a very trustworthy option when considering diy kits.
Wayfarer state that if any manufacturing defects arise within three years of purchase, they will rectify the issues with no extra charge and will even repair wear and tear issues for a low cost.
When considering transitioning to full time vanlife, it is important to purchase a van with the ability to provide everything you need for life on the road. Although a smaller van may be easier to park and remain somewhat more of a stealth camper when travelling, for more than one person, a small van lacks functionality and the free space needed to feel comfortable living in a vehicle.
Depending on personal preference, some travelers may desire features such as an indoor shower unit, hot water heater, large kitchen and full size bed. All of these features take up considerable space within the camper and simply would not fit into the 1500 ProMaster van.
Along with an abundance of space in terms of both width and length, the ProMaster 2500 has a curb side load of 4,644lbs allowing for plenty of weight for a high quality camper conversion with the inclusion of creature comforts such as an indoor shower space.
Still not sure about the best ProMaster for conversion? For full time vanlife with more than one individual, the ProMaster 2500 high top seems an ideal option with ample load capacity and space to build a cozy and functional tiny home on wheels to take you on the wildest adventures yet. Take the leap!
(Featured image: ramtrucks.com)
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Erick is a freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast. Growing up in Nairobi Kenya and now calling Glasgow, United Kingdom home. Sipping on homemade spiced swahili tea and enjoying a good book is his idea of bliss.