VanLife Build Basics
VanBuild Basics

What Is VanLife?

VanLife has become a popular lifestyle choice for those looking to downsize and live a nomadic life on the road. If you’re considering joining the tiny home movement, the first step is choosing the right van for your needs.

First, are you wondering what the difference is between VanLife and RVLife? Check out this article by clicking here.

There are several factors to consider when building your own van and joining the VanLife community. This can be extensive, but the main considerations are:

  • the type of van you want to live in
  • how much space do you need?
  • and whether you’ll be traveling alone or with others.

You’ll also need to think about the amenities you want in your van

  • Do you want a kitchen
  • bathroom
  • storage
  • and how you plan on powering everything.

Decisions To Make

One of the main decisions to make is whether to build your own van, or buy from an RV dealership. Building your own van gives you complete control over the design and layout, but it can be expensive and time-consuming.

You’ll need to think about components such as

  • insulation
  • electrical wiring,
  • plumbing,
  • carpentry

which can be complex and potentially costly if not done correctly. The key to an enjoyable VanLife experinece is to have what you want, and ensuring it works when you need it to.

You’ll also need to consider the cost of materials and labor, even your own labor has value to it.

Buying a Pre-Built Van

Buying a van from an RV manufacturer can get you into the VanLife community much faster than building one on your own. However, you’ll have less flexibility in terms of style and design. You’ll need to choose from the options offered by the manufacturer, which may not include everything you want or need.

The main advantage of buying a van from an RV manufacturer is that everything is installed for you. All you need to do is hook up the utilities and you’re ready to go!

However, you may end up paying more for this convenience. The wait time can be up to a year for some well. Depending on the time you put into your build, it could take a year or longer as well.

If you buy off the lot, you can be enjoying VanLife this weekend!

Research What Kind of Van You Want

The most important thing is to do your research and choose the option that’s right for you. Some popular van models for VanLife include the Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, and Dodge Promaster.

Can I Really Build My Own Van?

When building your own van, it’s important to be realistic about your skills and limitations.

If you’re not comfortable with certain tasks, it may be best to hire a professional. Some are great at carpentry but not electrical, it’s okay to outsource that part of the build. You dont’ need to do all your own VanLife conversions, ask for help, it’s okay!

It’s also a good idea to set a budget, as building a van can quickly become expensive. Cost overruns, new additions, and scarcity of supplies all add to the cost of the van.

What Van Should I Use To Convert?

When it comes to VanLife, the Mercedes Sprinter, Dodge Promaster, and Ford Transit are all popular choices.

Each of these vans has its own unique features and characteristics that may make one a better fit for your goals.

Mercedes Sprinter

The Mercedes Sprinter is a mid-sized van that is popular due to its spacious interior and high roof options. This allows for more headroom and storage space.

It is also known for its durable build quality and reliable performance. However, it can be more expensive to purchase and maintain compared to other van models. The Sprinter is usually used by the VanLife community who want quality and luxury in their builds.

Dodge Promaster

The Dodge Promaster is a full-sized van with a reputation for being rugged and reliable. It has a spacious interior and a high roof option. This makes it a good choice for those looking for more headroom and storage space.

It is also relatively fuel-efficient and has a lower starting price compared to the Mercedes Sprinter.

Ford Transit

The Ford Transit is a full-sized van that is popular among VanLifers due to its versatility and customization options.

It has a variety of roof heights and lengths to choose from. The Transit has a wide range of engines and trim levels. It is also known for its durable build quality and excellent fuel efficiency.

However, it can be more expensive to purchase and maintain compared to other van models.

When choosing the best van for your build, it’s important to consider your budget, needs, and preferences. The Mercedes Sprinter, Dodge Promaster, and Ford Transit are all good options, each with its own unique features and characteristics. It’s a good idea to do your research and compare the different options before making a decision.


No matter which option you choose, building or buying a van is a rewarding experience. You can create a unique, personalized space on the road.

With careful planning and attention to detail, you can create a van that meets all your needs. Living in a van can allow you to live the life you’ve always dreamed of. So, if you’re ready to join the Tiny Home movement, start planning your van build today.

Follow Stuart from, he started in a large 40-Foot Super C RV and moved into a 24-foot van. His channel can be found by clicking here.

And check out this video on Van Build Basics by!

Happy van building!