If you’ve been dreaming of a camper van—and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?—you have a few options. You could go the DIY route, devoting hundreds of hours and labor to building your own perfect van. Or you could try a camper kit that provides the conversion basics, but still requires you to install it yourself. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.
But if you don’t have the time, inclination, or skills for the above options, you might need to consider a custom van outfitter. These shops take empty Sprinters, Promasters, and Transits and fill them with everything you need to bike, ski, and play outside. They range from basic builds—think a bed platform and some insulation—to fully integrated adventure rigs, packed with amenities and the comforts of home.
There are new conversion companies popping up monthly—although the northeast is still lacking compared to the west—so we’ve rounded up some of our favorites here. We’ve also identified their location and given a rough estimate of how much a basic conversion costs, without the van. These costs will of course rise or fall depending on what kind of amenities you include, and if you need to know the base price of the most popular van chassis, we’ve covered that, too. Know of a conversion company you love? Give us the details, and we’ll check them out.
Chosen because of their reputations, verified quality of work, and innovative ideas (and sometimes all three), here are seven companies that can help make your van life dreams a reality.
Location: Troutdale, Oregon
Cost: Conversions starting at $32,000.
Details: Outside Van converts most any van as long as they are 2007 or newer; you can provide your own van, order a new one, or choose from a chassis that’s in stock. The builds forego the traditional “RV-look” for a more modern, sleek design.
Outside Van’s most common base vehicle is the Mercedes Sprinter, and each van is purpose-built to get you outside and adventuring. This means that whether you want to motorcycle, mountain bike, or kayak, Outside Van can fit all your gear and more. To read about the compact van mountain bike-centric van above, head over here.
Location: Huntington, Indiana; Austin, Texas; and Fresno, California
Cost: Starting at $35,000
Details: Founded in 1961, Sportsmobile is one of the oldest conversion van companies in the country. They work on Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, Dodge ProMasters, Ford Transits, and Chevy vans, but are probably best known for their pop-up penthouse roof that provides a sleeping space and higher ceiling.
After picking which van to use as a base, you choose one of Sportsmobile’s standard plans or a custom, design-your-own build. Sportsmobile can order the van for you or they can convert a van you already own. To read more about the Sportsmobile van pictured above, head over here.
Location: Tualatin, Oregon
Cost: Starting from $15,000
Details: Founded over 40 years ago, Van Specialities has a well-earned reputation for quality conversion vans built for camping, surfing, mountain biking, rock climbing, and more. Today, they work on Sprinters, Ford vans, Chevy vans (old and new), Ram Promasters, Nissans, and other custom projects.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Cost: Starting at $25,000
Details: RB Components is marketed as a one-stop shop for trailer, shop, garage, and van accessories. And unlike some van companies out there with subpar websites and service, RB Components delivers. We saw one of their vans at Overland Expo this past spring, and it was well-thought out and superbly constructed.
With a focus on Sprinter van conversions, RB Components add a ton of high-end, functional elements to their builds. But they also sell everything from base cabinets to bed panel kits that can get you the van lifestyle at a fraction of the cost. Like something pictured in the van above? It’s probably for sale. Read more, this way.
Location: Loveland, Colorado
Cost: Interior builds start around $12,000, while pop-tops start at $10,500.
Details: Colorado Camper Van offers a range of services, but they are most well-known for adding a pop-top sleeping area to an array of vans. Customers can opt for just that service, or they can move up to different “levels” that gradually add more bells and whistles.
Perhaps the best part of the company is their flexibility; Colorado Camper Vans can pop the top on Ford Transits, Sprinters, Promasters, Ford E Series, Nissan NV, the Chevy Express, and Euro Vans.
Location: Hailey, Idaho
Cost: Starting at $32,000
Details: We first came across Idaho-based Sync Vans in Arizona at the Overland Expo West, where we were able to tour their vans in person. Sleek finishes and innovative storage ideas made a good first impression, and we love that Sync has a much shorter build time—less than four months—than many of their competitors.
A modern look, adventure-minded details, and space-saving design elements all help Sync Vans make the cut. Read more about the van above, this way.
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Cost: Starting price is $30,000
Details: Located in the outdoorsy city of Bozeman, Beartooth Vanworks offers a range of different van build outs, including this show model called the First Tracks (for more details on this van, head over here).
Beyond the basics, Beartooth Vanworks is a pro at customizing your van for particular activities. As the name implies, the First Tracks van is built to chase snow in the winter, while other custom builds focus on whatever activity your heart desires.