The Top 7 Vans for Building Your Own Camper

Creating your own camper is a thrilling and rewarding endeavor that offers the freedom to design your dream mobile home. However, choosing the right base vehicle is crucial for a successful camper conversion. In this blog, we will explore the top 7 vans that are well-suited for building a camper. We will delve into the merits and drawbacks of each brand, pricing considerations, safety features, and provide a handy checklist for what to look for when purchasing a van for your conversion project or wohnmobil ausbau.

  • Mercedes-Benz Sprinter:

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a popular choice among DIY camper builders for good reasons. It offers a spacious interior, excellent fuel efficiency, and a reputation for reliability. The Sprinter’s tall roof option provides ample headroom, making it easier to create a comfortable living space. However, its initial purchase price can be on the higher side compared to other vans. A used Sprinter can cost between $20,000 to $40,000, while a new one can exceed $50,000.

Safety Consideration: The Sprinter comes equipped with advanced safety features, including multiple airbags, stability control, and collision prevention technology.

  • Ford Transit:

The Ford Transit is another popular choice for camper conversions. It is available in various sizes and configurations, providing flexibility for different layout designs. The Transit’s affordability is one of its key advantages, with used models starting around $15,000 and new ones ranging from $30,000 to $50,000. However, its fuel efficiency might not be as high as some other options.

Safety Consideration: The Ford Transit comes with a suite of safety features, including Ford’s Co-Pilot360 system with automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist.

  • Ram ProMaster:

The Ram ProMaster, with its front-wheel-drive layout, offers excellent handling and maneuverability. Its square-shaped cargo area makes it easier to work with when building the camper interior. The ProMaster’s affordability is a significant draw, with used models starting around $15,000 and new ones ranging from $30,000 to $40,000. However, its ground clearance might be limiting for off-road adventures.

Safety Consideration: The ProMaster features standard safety equipment such as stability control, antilock brakes, and front airbags.

  • Volkswagen Transporter:

The Volkswagen Transporter, commonly known as the VW T-Series, is beloved for its iconic design and compact size. It provides a smooth and comfortable ride, making it ideal for long journeys. The T-Series can be relatively expensive, with used models ranging from $20,000 to $40,000 and new ones exceeding $40,000. Additionally, maintenance and repair costs for Volkswagen vehicles can sometimes be higher.

Safety Consideration: The Transporter offers various safety features, including electronic stability control and multiple airbags.

  • Nissan NV Cargo:

The Nissan NV Cargo is a reliable and budget-friendly option for camper conversions. It boasts a simple and spacious interior, making it easy to customize. Used NV Cargo vans can be found for around $15,000 to $25,000, while new models generally range from $30,000 to $40,000. However, its fuel efficiency might not be as impressive as some competitors.

Safety Consideration: The NV Cargo comes with safety features such as stability control, antilock brakes, and front and side-impact airbags.

  • Ford E-Series (Econoline):

The Ford E-Series, also known as the Econoline, has been a popular choice for camper conversions for many years. Its wide availability and affordability are significant advantages, with used models starting around $10,000 to $20,000. However, being a larger vehicle, its fuel efficiency might be lower compared to some newer options.

Safety Consideration: The Ford E-Series includes standard safety features like front airbags and stability control.

  • Chevrolet Express / GMC Savana:

The Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana are very similar in design and features. They offer a vast cargo area, allowing for versatile customization when building a camper. Their pricing is competitive, with used models ranging from $15,000 to $30,000 and new ones typically starting around $30,000.

Safety Consideration: The Express and Savana come equipped with basic safety features such as stability control and front airbags.

Checklist for Purchasing a Van for Your Camper Conversion:

  1. Budget: Determine your budget range for purchasing a van, including the costs for conversion.
  2. Size and Layout: Consider the size and layout you want for your camper and choose a van that fits those requirements.
  3. Mileage and Condition: Check the van’s mileage and overall condition, and if possible, opt for a well-maintained, low-mileage vehicle.
  4. Service History: Obtain the vehicle’s service history to assess how well it has been maintained.
  5. Safety Features: Ensure the van comes with essential safety features, such as airbags, stability control, and antilock brakes.
  6. Fuel Efficiency: Consider the van’s fuel efficiency, especially if you plan on long trips.
  7. Reliability: Research the reliability and longevity of the van’s make and model.


Choosing the right van for your camper conversion or camper ausbau is the foundation of creating your dream mobile home. Each van option comes with its unique advantages and considerations, including pricing, safety features, and fuel efficiency. By carefully evaluating your needs and budget, you can select the ideal van to begin your camper conversion project. For further guidance and detailed resources on building your camper, I recommend visiting the website of By NOMADS. They offer valuable insights and expertise to help you throughout your camper conversion journey.