Our campervan set up at James Price Point WA

The Best Vans for Conversion to Campers in 2023

Are you ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime? Imagine hitting the open road in a camper van perfectly customized to your needs, style, and comfort. With so many excellent vans for conversion to campers on the market, choosing the right one for your camper conversion can be a daunting task. 

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the top vans for camper conversions and discuss the factors you should consider when deciding.

We’ll compare the Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, and Volkswagen Transporter based on luxury, reliability, versatility, and affordability. Get ready to be inspired and informed as you plan your dream camper van using the best vans for conversion to campers!

Key Takeaways

  • The top vans for camper conversions are the Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit and Volkswagen Transporter.
  • Consider budget, maintenance expenses, interior room design & off-road abilities when selecting a van.
  • Get inspired by real conversion stories to create your dream campervan!

Top Vans for Camper Conversions

When it comes to camper conversions, three popular vans stand out as the best vans: the luxurious Mercedes Sprinter, the versatile Ford Transit, and the compact, classic Volkswagen Transporter. Each van offers unique advantages, catering to different needs and preferences.

The Mercedes Sprinter is often considered the gold standard of camper vans, boasting top-notch build quality, plenty of customization options, and a strong resale value. On the other hand, the Ford Transit is a more affordable option with excellent gas mileage, easier driving and parking, and decent customization possibilities. Lastly, the Volkswagen Transporter is perfect for those seeking a compact and classic design, ideal for weekend getaways and shorter trips.

Appreciating the distinctions among these leading camper conversion vans will guide you towards an informed decision, allowing you to select the optimal van that aligns with your specific needs and budget.

Mercedes Sprinter – Luxury and Reliability

The Mercedes Sprinter is popular among van lifers who value luxury and reliability. With a reputation for top-notch build quality, the Mercedes Sprinter Van offers a spacious and customizable interior, allowing you to create your dream home on wheels.

Key features of the Mercedes Sprinter include:

  • Top-notch build quality
  • Spacious and customizable interior
  • Luxury and comfort
  • Reliability
Mercedes Sprinter camper van from outside

The starting price for a new Mercedes Sprinter is around $70,000, making it a pricier option, but the investment can be well worth it for those who prioritize comfort and quality.

The Sprinter’s fuel economy is decent, ranging from 14-18 liters per 100kms in the city and around 11 litres per 100kms on the highway. The available All-Wheel Drive (AWD) option allows for improved off-road capabilities without significantly impacting fuel efficiency. Remember that maintenance and repair costs for a Mercedes Sprinter may be higher than other vans, as it requires specialized dealership or mechanic services.

If luxury and reliability are worth the investment for you, the Mercedes Sprinter stands as an outstanding selection for your camper conversion.

Ford Transit – Versatility and Affordability

The Ford Transit is a fantastic choice for those seeking a more affordable and versatile option. With various sizes and features available, including Ford Transit vans, this vehicle caters to a wide range of camper conversion needs. The Ford Transit van balances performance, customization, and cost for weekend warriors to full-time van dwellers.

Ford Transit Camper Van

One of the main advantages of the Ford Transit is its fuel efficiency, boasting an impressive gas mileage compared to other vans in its class. The Transit is easier to drive and park, making it a popular choice for those new to van life. However, it’s worth noting that the Ford Transit has limited customization options and a smaller interior length when compared to the Mercedes Sprinter.

Should versatility and affordability top your list of priorities, the Ford Transit makes a robust pick for your camper conversion.

Volkswagen Transporter – Compact and Classic

For a compact and classic camper van option, the Volkswagen Transporter is a fan favourite. Its iconic design and smaller size make it perfect for weekend getaways and shorter trips. While it may not provide as much interior space as the Mercedes Sprinter or Ford Transit, the Volkswagen Transporter’s compact design offers a unique charm and style.

Volkswagen Transporter camper van

The starting price for a new Volkswagen Transporter is between $50,000 and $65,000, making it a more affordable option compared to the Mercedes Sprinter. However, it’s important to consider maintenance costs, as some older Volkswagen models may require more frequent repairs.

If you desire a compact and classic van for your camper conversion, the Volkswagen Transporter emerges as an impeccable option.

Key Factors to Consider for Camper Conversion

While selecting the ideal van for your camper conversion, it’s pivotal to take into account multiple key elements, such as:

  • Budget
  • Maintenance expenses
  • Interior room
  • Design
  • Off-road abilities

Each van model offers unique advantages and drawbacks, so it’s important to weigh these factors carefully to ensure you make the best choice for your needs and lifestyle, ultimately finding the best van for you and your own van requirements.

In the following sections, we’ll dive deeper into these factors and provide helpful tips and resources for customizing your camper conversion, whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a professional service.

Delve into the aspects that can potentially fulfill or shatter your camper conversion aspirations!

Budget and Maintenance Costs

When planning a camper conversion, it’s crucial to consider both the initial van conversion cost and any ongoing maintenance expenses. While a brand-new van may offer a blank canvas and manufacturer warranties, it can be expensive and depreciate quickly. On the other hand, purchasing a used van can save you money upfront but may require more maintenance and repairs over time.

Comparing the costs of different van models is essential for making an informed decision. The Mercedes Sprinter, for example, is on the pricier side, while the Ford Transit and Volkswagen Transporter offer more affordable options. However, maintenance and repair costs must also be considered, as these can vary greatly between van models.

A comprehensive research and cost comparison of various vans will enable you to identify the most budget-friendly option that caters to your requirements and financial plan.

A man fixing a car tyre

Interior Space and Layout

Another critical factor to consider when choosing a van for camper conversion is the interior space and layout. Depending on your needs and preferences, you may require more or less space for sleeping, cooking, and storage. Assessing the interior space and layout options of different vans can help you determine the best fit for your camper conversion.

For example, some popular options for vans include:

  • Mercedes Sprinter: Offers a spacious interior with various customization options
  • Ford Transit: Provides a more versatile and compact layout
  • Volkswagen Transporter: Perfect for weekend getaways and shorter trips with its compact and classic design

Understanding the available space and layout options in each van will help you make the best choice for your camper conversion.

Off-Road Capabilities and Driving Experience

Lastly, it’s important to evaluate the off-road capabilities and driving experience of various vans to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable camper conversion experience. Factors such as suspension, wheel/tire improvements, and All-Wheel Drive (AWD) options can significantly impact your van’s performance on different terrains.

The Mercedes Sprinter, for example, offers an AWD option for improved off-road capabilities without significantly impacting fuel efficiency. The Ford Transit can also have an AWD option for more serious off-roading adventures.

Considering the off-road prowess and driving experience of each van will guide you in selecting the vehicle for your camper conversion, ensuring a comfortable, safe, and enjoyable journey.

Mercedes Sprinter camper van and sunset at a beach camp

Customizing Your Camper Conversion

Given your newfound understanding of the leading vans for camper conversions and key deciding factors, you’re now ready to begin customizing your camper conversion. Whether you decide to tackle the project yourself or work with a professional service, there are plenty of resources available to help you create the perfect home on wheels.

In the following sections, we’ll provide DIY camper conversion tips and discuss professional camper conversion services, ensuring you have all the tools and information necessary to bring your dream camper van to life.

DIY Camper Conversion Tips

If you’re considering a DIY camper conversion, planning carefully and preparing for the challenges that come with such a project is essential. Here are some tips to help you succeed in your DIY camper conversion:

  1. Research the best materials and components for your camper conversion. This can include insulation, electrical systems, plumbing, and more. A thorough understanding of the available materials and components will help you make informed decisions and ensure a successful conversion.
  2. Plan your interior layout carefully. Consider your needs for sleeping, cooking, storage, and other activities when designing your camper van’s layout. This will help you maximize space and create a functional living environment.
  3. Learn how to install the necessary components. While some aspects of a camper conversion may be straightforward, others can be quite complex. Take the time to learn how to properly install components such as electrical systems, plumbing, and insulation to ensure a safe and functional camper van.

Adhering to these DIY camper conversion tips will pave the way towards constructing your envisioned home on wheels.

inside a DIY Mercedes Sprinter camper van

Professional Camper Conversion Services

If you prefer to work with a professional camper conversion service, there are many camper van conversion companies available to help you create the perfect camper van. These services specialize in designing and building custom interiors, installing appliances and features, and providing expert advice on materials and components for your campervan conversion.

When working with a professional camper conversion service, you can expect:

  • Great customer service and attention to detail
  • Help designing a custom interior that fits your needs and budget
  • Advice on the best materials and appliances to use
  • Assistance in ensuring that your camper conversion meets safety standards and complies with local laws and regulations.

Whether you choose a DIY approach or work with a professional camper conversion service, the key to success is careful planning, research, and a clear vision of your dream camper van.

Legal and Safety Considerations

Legal and safety considerations should be at the forefront of your mind while planning your camper conversion. Ensuring your camper van meets the necessary insurance, registration, and safety requirements will help you avoid potential issues down the road and provide peace of mind as you embark on your van life adventures.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss the specific insurance and registration requirements for camper conversions, as well as essential safety features and precautions to include in your camper van design.

Insurance and Registration Requirements

Insurance and registration requirements for camper conversions can vary depending on your location. It’s important to check with your local vehicle registration authority and insurance provider to understand the specific rules and regulations that apply to you. This may include meeting specific safety standards, obtaining necessary approvals, and ensuring you have the appropriate insurance coverage for your camper van.

Gaining knowledge about your area’s insurance and registration stipulations will help you adhere to local regulations for your camper conversion and evade potential future complications.

Safety Features and Precautions

In addition to legal requirements, it’s essential to include safety features and precautions in your camper conversion design. These can include:

  • Fire extinguishers
  • First aid kits
  • Breakdown warning kits
  • CO2 and smoke detectors
  • Gas stop devices

Additionally, securing your valuables and incorporating anti-theft devices such as trackers and locks can help protect your camper van and belongings.

Integrating these safety features and precautions in your camper conversion will create a secure and pleasurable living space for your adventures in van life.

Van Conversion Stories and Inspiration

Let’s examine examples of triumphant camper conversions to ignite your journey. These stories showcase the creativity, ingenuity, and hard work that goes into creating a unique and functional home on wheels. Whether you’re considering a Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, or Volkswagen Transporter, these conversion stories will provide valuable insights and motivation for your own project.

In the following sections, we’ll explore case studies of a Sprinter camper conversion and a Ford Transit camper conversion, offering a detailed look at the features, layout, and lessons learned from each project.

Case Study: Sprinter Camper Conversion

The Mercedes Sprinter is popular for camper conversions thanks to its luxurious features, reliability, and customizable options. One successful Sprinter camper conversion features a fully equipped kitchen, comfortable sleeping area, and ample storage space. The owner of this Sprinter van took advantage of the spacious interior to create a cozy and functional living environment tailored to their needs.

Inside a Mercedes Sprinter camper van

This Sprinter camper conversion showcases the potential of the Mercedes Sprinter as a luxurious and reliable option for van life enthusiasts. The owner created their dream home on wheels by meticulously planning the interior layout and incorporating high-quality materials and components with a sprinter van conversion.

If you’re considering a Sprinter for your camper conversion, this case study is an excellent example of your possibilities.

Case Study: Ford Transit Camper Conversion

For those seeking a more affordable and versatile option, the Ford Transit is a fantastic choice for camper conversions. One successful Ford Transit camper conversion demonstrates the van’s adaptability with a well-designed interior layout that maximizes space and functionality. The owner of this Ford Transit conversion carefully planned the layout and utilized cost-effective materials and components to create a comfortable and efficient living space.

Ford Transit Camper Conversion


This case study highlights the versatility and affordability of the Ford Transit as a camper conversion option. The owner created a functional and enjoyable camper van that met their needs and budget by carefully planning the interior layout and making smart decisions on materials and components.

If you’re considering a Ford Transit for your camper conversion, this case study provides valuable inspiration and insights to help guide your decision.

Tips for Buying a Used Van for Camper Conversion

Acquiring a used van for your camper conversion can prove to be an economical choice, yet it’s crucial to be aware of what to inspect and the pertinent questions to pose while hunting for the perfect van.

Here are some tips to help you navigate the process of buying a used van for your camper conversion:

  1. Examine the van’s logbook and service history. This will provide valuable information on the van’s previous use and maintenance, helping you gauge its overall condition and potential issues.
  2. Ask the seller about the van’s mileage, age, and reason for selling. This can help you determine if the van is a good fit for your camper conversion needs and if there are any red flags to be aware of.
  3. Inspect the van for signs of rust, damage, or other issues. If possible, bring a mechanic with you to thoroughly inspect the van and ensure it’s in good condition.

Adherence to these tips can enhance your probability of locating a dependable and cost-effective used van for your camper conversion endeavour, including exploring vans for camper conversion and various van conversion options.


In summary, the Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, and Volkswagen Transporter each offer unique advantages for camper conversions. By considering factors such as budget, maintenance costs, interior space, layout, and off-road capabilities, you can make an informed decision and choose the best van for your camper conversion needs.

Whether you decide to tackle the conversion yourself or work with a professional service, careful planning, research, and a clear vision of your dream camper van will set you on the path to success. With the right van and the proper resources, you can create the perfect home on wheels for your van life adventures.

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