So you think you’re ready to start vanlife? There are many things to consider, so many in fact that it could seem overwhelming. Your budget, your lifestyle, your specific travel destinations, etc. You might want to be a weekend warrior or live only part of the year in your van. All of these factors determine what you need from your van. Here’s a few things to consider when deciding which van might fit your needs.
Older vans are more affordable and fairly common compared to newer vans
New Sprinter, Promaster, or Transit vans can set you back a good chunk of change, but you may be able to find a used Econoline, or Express/Savana van that gives you more money to spend on actually outfitting your van. As more and more people are deciding to abandon the traditional idea of “home”, these old vans are ticking up in price. However, they still are more affordable than buying a new or like-new van.
Older vans provide an awesome base for custom van conversions
Many adventurers like the idea of being able to customize your van so it feels like home, rather than just making do, especially for longer excursions. There are many great blogs out there about customizing your van. These blogs go into great depth about insulation, lighting, and how to make the most out of every inch of your van. Also, let’s not forget the exterior with custom bumpers, rockers, roof racks, and 4×4 conversions. With the popularity of vanlife on the rise, more aftermarket accessories are available to help make your journey more comfortable without everything turning into a massive DIY project.
They’ve got character
Sure your van may need some work to get it back in shape, but it’s worth it in the end. Everyone loves a story. If you’re new to the DIY scene or you’re looking to get on the road fast, an older van may already have been converted by a previous owner or even original from the factory (think Westfalia).
You can add a high top for extra headroom for a more comfortable vanlife experience
Let’s be honest, cooking while being bent over or trying to get dressed with a regular height van roof is a pain, literally. With a high roof, you can stand up and get all of the extra storage space up top, as well as underneath your bed if you choose to raise it. Find our Tufport van tops here: www.tufport.com/van-tops/
Widely available parts and mechanics
There’s nothing worse than having an unplanned breakdown in a place you’ve never been to, and then finding out your trip is going is going to be REALLY delayed when the shop can’t get parts. Some vehicles have common problems which make it easier for the mechanic to figure out what’s wrong and get you back on the road. Plus, these new vehicles have so many electronics that going to a dealer is your only option. The long-term reliability of new vans remains to be seen.
Why waste a perfectly good vehicle?
Making a new vehicle is a resource intensive process. Don’t forget “re-use” part of the recycling triangle. Most older vans only need a little love to start exploring.