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DIY camper van: 5 affordable conversion kits you can buy now

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Make #VanLife happen without breaking the bank

Selling for $18,000, a DIY kit from ZENVANZ comes with everything you need for the kitchen, storage, and sleeping.
Courtesy of ZENVANZ

The van life craze shows no sign of stopping. Each month Curbed gets word of a new conversion van company and we get dozens of emails weekly highlighting DIY rigs that take hundreds of hours to complete. And while both the custom van and the DIY van can accomplish the same goal—camping and adventure—not everyone has the money or time to go those routes. Love campers and trailers? Come join our new community group.

Luckily, there’s another option. For every fully custom conversion company like Outside Van or Sportsmobile out there, there’s a new crop of companies selling conversion kits. Sometimes these kits are relatively simple, consisting of just a bed and maybe some shelving. Other kits are more involved, with everything you’d need for a fully outfitted rig.

All of the kits offer something in between a pricey custom build and the lengthy process of doing a van yourself. We’ve rounded up five kits that caught our eye, including one with chic bamboo style and another that boasts a more industrial and modular feel. The prices listed here don’t include the cost of the van itself, so factor in that when you’re choosing a kit. We’ve also listed what type of van each kit works with, although many companies are quickly ramping up operations to expand to other van platforms soon.

This is #VanLife, prefab style.

Adventure Wagon

The MOAB bed is featured along with Adventure Wagon’s storage bags.
All photos courtesy of Adventure Wagon

Cost: $13,800 and $14,800 (depending on the length of your Sprinter)

Van type: Mercedes Sprinter, but a MOAB installation kit for the Ford Transit and other vehicles are coming soon.

Details: Each kit includes thermal insulation, fabric wall paneling, marine-grade ceiling LED lights, two remote-controlled ceiling fans, and an electrical harness fuse box and wiring kit. You’ll also get Adventure Wagon’s signature lightweight MOAB bed—shorthand for “Mother Of All Beds”—which is made from bamboo plywood and aluminum.

In order to maximize storage space in the rear gear garage, the MOAB bed is an elevated three-panel folding bed that secures to supports on the interior van walls. L-track strips on the wall make it so you can reposition the bed at different heights, or even remove it altogether. If van lovers aren’t looking for a full kit, you can also buy many of the company’s pieces—like the MOAB bed and 3M Thinsulate insulation—separately.

Read more about Adventure Wagon, over here.

Contravans

Denver-based Contravans is building prefab conversion kits for the Ram Promaster City.
Courtesy of Contravans

Cost: $13,500; price includes installation in Denver, Colorado.

Van type: Ram ProMaster City, although the company also plans to build other conversion kits for the Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes Metris, and Toyota Sienna.

Details: Colorado-based Contravans is selling the Contra-Kit for the smaller chassis Ram ProMaster City. Each kit includes a two-person full-sized memory foam mattress and a retractable kitchen and storage system that uses two sliding drawers accessed from the rear doors.

Other features include a slatted wood ceiling, wall panels with cubbies, a deluxe remote operated ceiling fan with rain sensor, Two 12v power outlets, and LED dimming lights that run off of a 100ah auxiliary battery system and 400-watt inverter. Order your kit online and the Contravans team will schedule the installation in two weeks time at their facility in Denver, Colorado; final delivery is just two days later.

Read more about Contravans, over here.

ZENVANZ

Selling for $18,000, the DIY kit comes with everything you need for the kitchen, storage, and sleeping.
Courtesy of ZENVANZ

Cost: $18,000

Van type: Mercedes Sprinter

Details: Made from aluminum exoskeleton and bent bamboo panels, the ZENVANZ DIY van kit is a complete cabinetry and component system you install into your van using factory holes. Each kit comes with an interior galley kitchen featuring solid, marine-grade bamboo cabinetry, a bamboo and PaperStone countertop, and a cutlery drawer with soft close hardware. Other upgrades to the kitchen can be added on, like a fridge, a two-burner propane cooktop, a sink, and a mounted tabletop.

Elsewhere, the kit comes with a ton of storage—think three bedside cabinets, five driver side, and two passenger side upper cabinets. A three panel bed system is removable, stackable, and easily sleeps two, while a slide out step conceals a Thetdford Marine port-a-potty.

Read more about the ZENVANZ kits, right this way.

Wayfarer Vans

Wayfarer vans makes reasonably-priced kits for two different types of camping vans.
Courtesy of Wayfarer

Cost: $4,696 to $8,795 depending on whether you are outfitting the larger or smaller Ram van. Items also available a la cart.

Van type: Ram Promaster City CARGO/Tradesmen SLT or Standard or the Ram Promaster 1500 or 2500, 136” wheelbase, high-roof top.

Details: With kits for two different Ram vans, Wayfarer offers an affordable way to get the camper you dreamed of. The Wayfarer kit for the smaller Promaster City van includes durable insulating panels, a sturdy table that folds up against the wall, flooring, and camper boxes with cushions.

The larger Ram Promaster kit includes flooring, integrated cargo management tracks, wall and ceiling paneling with 100% natural wool insulation, perimeter shelving, a kitchen galley with 5 gallon fresh and grey water tanks, sink and hand pump, bed platform, boot box and privacy paneling for the sliding and rear door window areas.

From order to completion, a full kit takes about two to three weeks. Shipping is a flat $500, or installation is free at the Wayfarer shop in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Head over here for more info.

Wandervans

Wandervans offers an array of different prefab sleeping modules that can be installed in under eight hours.
Courtesy of Wandervans

Cost: The single tier model starts at $4,000 while the double tier costs $7,500

Van type: Ford Transit or Mercedes Sprinter

Details: Located in Boise, Idaho, Wandervans started as a camper van rental company before branching out into the conversion kit business. Their modular designs are either single or double tiered. The single tier system provides a single bed for sleeping two people with storage underneath.

The double tier system provides two beds for sleeping up to four people with storage underneath. The lower bed can also be removed to haul bikes, SUPs, or kayaks. Additional options include a space heater, shower system, and external gear racks. This way, for more information.