Camper vans may be the ultimate recreational vehicles. They offer the maneuverability of a passenger car (or close to it) paired with many of the comforts typically found in travel trailers or full-blown motorhomes. Not surprisingly, #vanlife has become a popular movement, whether it's Instagram-friendly weekend explorations or converting to a full-blown alternative, off-the-grid lifestyle. And recent events have made that #vanlife fantasy feel especially poignant. (Hell, it's not hard to argue that camper vans were supporting actors in the Oscar-winning film Nomadland, which depicts Francis McDormand traveling across America...while living in her van.)
Many camper vans we feature don't come to the U.S. The modern equivalent of the classic VW model, tantalizingly named The California, only gets sold in Europe, and only Aussies can snag this badass, off-roading Toyota van with Land Cruiser bits. But there are still several excellent options available if you're looking to buy a camper van in the U.S.
We've pulled together some of our favorite camper van options from major manufacturers and independent builders. Check them out below.
Major Camper Van Manufacturers
Ohio-based Airstream is an iconic name in camping trailers, but the company also offers a line of pricey "touring coaches" — including the Interstate Nineteen, which fits an entire motorhome of conveniences into a 19-foot van.
Price Range: $200,681 to $289,911
Mercedes-Benz offers a pop-top camper version of its Metris van called the Metris Getaway built by Peace Vans. It seats five, sleeps four, and can be fitted with upgrades like a roof rack, an eight-foot awning, mosquito nets and a pull-out rear kitchen. You can order one through a Mercedes dealership with a full factory warranty.
Thor Motor Coach
Thor Motor Coach is a sibling brand of Airstream. They have a vast lineup of Class B motorhomes and Mercedes Sprinter-based camper vans and that includes the Mercedes Sprinter 4x4-based Sanctuary, which is ready to hit the trail from the factory with optional off-road tires and a roof-mounted solar panel.
Price: $112,540 to $171,640
Winnebago is an iconic Iowa-based recreational vehicle manufacturer. While best known for its bus-like RVs, the company also produces a wide range of Ram Promaster- and Mercedes Sprinter-based camper vans, from the affordable pop-top Solis and comparatively petite Solis Pocket to the off-road-ready Revel 4×4.
Price: $114,945 to $245,587
Independent Camper Van Builders
Portland-based Adventure Wagon builds modular interior conversion kits for Mercedes Sprinter and Ford Transit vans. Their kits come with integrated wiring, ventilation and insulation and can be installed in a matter of days by a professional installer or as a DIY project.
Starting Price: $13,500
Antero Adventure Motors
Colorado-based Antero Adventure Motors, formerly known as Summit Adventure Vans, builds off-road-ready adventure vans. They currently offer a "Longs Peak" model van built with the Mercedes Sprinter and a "Pikes Peak" based on the Ford Transit. The brands are off-the-grid ready with 180 watts of solar power and offer full-length L-track insets for customizable floorplans.
Oregon-based Benchmark Vehicles promises to build your dream escape vehicle. They dropped Ford Transit conversions last year to focus on building custom, off-road-ready Mercedes-Benz Sprinter conversions. One unique feature is offering French-made Scopema flip and fold van seats.
Arizona-based Boho Campers performs conversions of Ram Promaster vans. They are known for their exceptional custom wood interiors. Boho Campers also maintains a rental fleet and sells used vans after one year in service.
Starting Price: ~$90,000
Boulder Camper Vans
Colorado-based Boulder Camper Vans performs custom Mercedes Sprinter, Ram ProMaster, and Ford Transit conversions — and also rents their vehicles if you want to give #vanlife a try before buying. Interiors are hand-crafted, and vans can be outfitted for four-season use with heat, air conditioning and insulated piping.
Caravan Outfitter brings the spirit of the old Volkswagen Westfalia into modern camper van builds. Their four-seater Freebird model is all-new for 2022 and based on the Ford Transit Connect. They also do a la carte upfits for Mercedes Sprinter vans, adding features like a pop-top roof and diesel heater.
Starting Price: $49,550
Colorado Camper Van
Colorado Camper Van performs custom conversions for a wide range of camper vans. They specialize in adding pop-top roofs to both camper vans and camping trailers. They build out custom interiors for camper vans. They also perform 4x4 conversions on Ford vans.
Starting Price: $16,115
Southern California-based El Kapitan builds luxurious camper vans based on short and long-wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter vans specializing in "handcrafted perfection" with metal, hardwoods, fine leather, fabrics and electronics. They offer Story Maker (Sprinter 144") and Dream Weaver (Sprinter 170") conversions with a range of floor plans.
Starting Price: $167,000
Washington-based Freedom Vans builds cozy, comfortable and custom Sprinter and Transit conversions, whether you're looking for a family van or a commercial buildout. They specialize in cozy interiors and solar power systems, which can be added to other vans a la carte.
Average Build Price: ~$150,000
California-based Glampervan specializes in multi-use builds based on the Ram ProMaster that are designed to transition from two-person weekend getaway vehicles to everyday duty as a mobile office or van for hauling gear. They also offer a stripped-down Core build for those who want to DIY their own van.
Starting Price: $42,000
Vancouver-based Nomad Vans builds custom overland expedition vans based on the Mercedes Sprinter and Ford Transit that are designed to be durable and provide comfortable living in any season. Vans can include custom gear garages, pop-out compartments for extra living space and even custom upholstery.
Starting Price: $120,000-plus
Want a camper based on a minivan instead of a full-size one? Oasis Campervans offers custom minivan conversions for the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica with kitchen, sleeping and storage setups with hardwood finishes. They offer a Classic Conversion and a Nomad conversion for the more budget-inclined.
Starting Price: $5,800
Outside Van performs Mercedes Sprinter-based conversion vans for adventure enthusiasts, performing custom woodwork, metalwork and upholstery in-house. Buyers can opt for the Peak experience with a fully bespoke build or the Fusion using one of Outside Van's proven layouts.
Peace Vans performs modern conversions of Mercedes Metris vans (including for Mercedes as noted above). They offer a basic Weekender build and a Full Camper build with a fully-outfitted kitchen (42-liter refrigerator, integrated sink, two portable stoves) and custom cabinetry. Want a more vintage style? They also repair and do electric conversions of old VW Vanagons.
Starting Price: $27,995
New Jersey-based Ready.Set.Van turns Ram ProMaster vans into apartments on wheels, with the help of Tesla-sourced batteries. They specialize in innovative storage solutions, including below-the-bed gear storage, and off-grid power systems. (We took one of their camper vans out for a weekend; read all about it here.)
Starting Price: $52,750
Sportsmobile performs a range of conversions on Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster vans. They specialize on outfitting 4x4 vans for heavy-duty off-roading, including the Sportsmobile Ford-based Classic 4×4 and the Sprinter 4×4, with features like locking differentials, Fox Shocks and a sway bar disconnect.
Starting Price: ~$98,000
Storyteller Overland is based in Alabama. They produce a line of Mercedes Benz-based off-road vans including their top-of-the-line Beast Mode. They now offer a Ford Transit-based Mode LT model as well. Features include custom wheels with all-terrain tires and a touchscreen control system.
Starting Price: $143,748
Idaho-based Sync Vans performs "semi-custom" conversions of short and long-wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter. Buyers make their customizations using a Sync Vans suggested configuration as a template, allowing for a quicker build time than a complete custom build. Sync Vans can add custom cabinets, lighting and upholstery.
Los Angeles-based Texino offers a range of four different Mercedes-Benz-based vans starting at just $40,000. They also rent vans and have a share program that allows owners to rent their van through Texino and keep 50 percent of the profit. Available features include an electronic murphy bed, a pop-top compartment for additional sleeping capacity and an AquaHot system for instant hot water.
Colorado-based TouRig performs both spec and custom Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and (newly for 2020) Ford Transit-based 4×4 adventure van conversions. They offer a range of electrical and plumbing systems for going off the grid. They can also outfit vans for off-road use with suspension kits, shocks and mounts, wheels and tires.
Starting Price: $149,000
San Diego-based VanCraft performs conversion for both short and long-wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter vans. Their builds are designed to go off the grid and offer features like Oak Butcher Block Counters, four-season insulation and open-concept garage storage. VanCraft also offers rentals.
Starting Price: $43,000
Denver-based Vanlife Customs can build modern or rustic conversions of Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster vans. It can also tailor them to your unique style with custom wood interiors. They also rent vans in Colorado, Nevada and Utah.
Starting Price: $85,000
Can I Rent a Camper Van? Yes
If you're not ready to commit to owning a camper van just yet, no worries — you can also try it out by renting one. Start with the rental companies below, or check out our complete guide to renting a camper van for more in-depth info.
Outdoorsy is a peer-to-peer marketplace that connects camper van owners with potential renters in a safe and easy process that includes features like insurance protection and 24/7 roadside assistance.
RVshare is a peer-to-peer marketplace with more than 100,000 recreational vehicles available, with everything from luxury motorhomes to basic travel trailers. Search filters are easy to use and include pet-friendly options.