What are the best vans for van life? You may have noticed there are many opinions out there, and it can be challenging to narrow down the list of new models.
We’re here to help bring things into focus. We’ll explain how to choose a van for your travels and reveal the five best options on the market for van life.
Buckle up, and let’s get into it!
Can You Live Full-Time Out of a Van?
You can live full-time out of a van. It’s a legal and straightforward lifestyle. However, it is a tiny space, so it takes the right person or couple to make it work.
Full-time van life isn’t as glamorous as Instagram may portray. It can be challenging and expensive, depending on how often you travel or where you stay.
Still, it can be a fantastic lifestyle and the perfect way to explore the world.
This is what real vanlife looks like outside of social media.
How Do You Choose the Best Van for Van Life?
The first step in finding your tiny home on wheels is to choose the best van for van life. We’ve identified six main features that van lifers consider priorities.
Vans have tiny living spaces. Before purchasing your van, consider how you’ll use it and how much space you want. It will significantly factor into the size of the van you need.
For example, shorter vans may not accommodate a shower. If that’s important to you, look for something bigger.
The good news is you can find several options from high-top and pop-up top vans to extended lengths.
Ability to Stand Up
The ability to stand up will give you a more comfortable experience. When you’re looking for the best van for your van life adventures, it may not seem like a big deal. However, after a rainy weekend trip stuck inside your van, you’ll be tired of ducking your head.
If you’re over six feet tall, most high-roof vans will be sufficient. You can also consider a pop-up top model for additional headspace.
Number of Travelers
How many people will be traveling with you? If you’re going solo, that leaves you with more van layouts to consider. But if you’re traveling with a partner or a small family, consider your daily routine.
For example, if you cook together, you don’t want a kitchen configuration for only one person. Sleeping space and seating room should also be at the top of the checklist.
Chassis and Maneuverability
The best vans for van life can maneuver well on the road, parking lots, and campgrounds. One of the many benefits of a van is easily backing up and fitting in tighter spaces than large RVs. A van chassis contributes to this.
There are three main chassis for camper vans; a Ford Transit, Ram Promaster, and Mercedes Sprinter. Each has its pros and cons. We recommend researching and determining if you prefer a gas or diesel engine.
Gas or Diesel
A gas van has benefits, such as going to nearly any gas station. This saves time and often saves money.
However, the gas mileage may not be as good as a diesel engine. Diesel engines tend to carry the weight in your van better and get you around mountainous regions more efficiently.
On the other hand, the maintenance of a diesel engine will be more expensive than gas. Oil changes and parts can be costly.
Lastly, choosing the best van for van life boils down to your travel needs. What will you be using the van for? How long will your trips be? What will your daily routine on the road be like?
Ask yourself these questions while shopping for vans, and imagine if that van’s layout, chassis, and overall size can accommodate your needs.
How Much Do Vans Cost?
Vans vary in price from low budget to more than the cost of a large sticks and bricks house. DIY camper van conversions can cost from $5,000 to $20,000, plus the expense of the van.
If you’re purchasing a new van from a manufacturer, the average MSRP (manufacturer suggested retail price) ranges between $100,000 to $200,000. You can find used class B camper vans for less than $100,000, but that can be challenging since van lifers like to keep their tiny homes on wheels.
DIY van build vs. buying a Class B camper van motorhome: which is the better option?
5 Best Vans for Van Life in 2022
Now that you have a better picture of what to look for let’s check out some vans. Here are the five best vans for van life currently on the market.
1. Winnebago Revel
MSRP: Starting at $202,401
The Winnebago Revel is a class B camper van. It’s on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis, and it’s 19’ 7” long. It has an on-demand four-wheel drive, so you can take it off-road.
The van sleeps two people with a queen-size bed in the rear. It also has a wet bath, kitchenette, and the captain’s chairs swivel to face a bench made for two with a table. The Revel is great for camping trips or cross-country excursions but may not be best for full-time living.
2. Roadtrek SS Agile
MSRP: Starting at $183,260
The Roadtrek SS Agile comes with 330 watts of solar and large frameless windows. It can seat five people and sleep up to three.
The van has a wet bath, a fully equipped kitchen, and a large table. It has a wardrobe, a couch, and jump seats that convert into a bed in the rear.
The layout of the SS Agile is conducive to full-time van living. It’s on a diesel Mercedes Sprinter chassis with an overall length of 19’ 5”.
3. 2022 Thor Sanctuary
MSRP: Starting at $158,900
Thor’s 2022 Sanctuary is a 19’ 8” long, 10’ 6” tall class B van on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis. It can sleep two people and has a rear bed with storage space underneath. The layout has a modern look with a wet bath, a small kitchen, and two opposing benches with a table mid-ship.
The Sanctuary is an excellent option for getting off the beaten path with its all-terrain tires. Full-time living is doable in this van but might be tight for more than one person.
4. 2022 Jayco Swift
MSRP: Starting at $131,550
The Swift is a class B RV by Jayco, and we like this option for full-time living. It has two floorplans, and each is 20’ 11” long.
One has a wet bath that extends the van’s width in the rear. It has two twin beds or couches that convert into a king bed, a kitchen, and plenty of storage.
The other option has sofa bed conversion, kitchen, wet bath, and two chairs behind the captain’s chairs. Each is on a Ram Promaster 3500 chassis.
5. Airstream Interstate
MSRP: Starting at $222,572
We like the Airstream Interstate for full-time van living, specifically the Interstate 24X. It sleeps two people, it’s on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis, and is 24’ long. The floorplan includes two couches in the rear that convert into a bed, a wet bath with a sink, a good-sized kitchen, a wardrobe, and captain’s swivel chairs.
Airstream also makes two other versions of the Interstate with slightly different layouts. We’re partial to the 24X for the design, and it has an adventure package with all-terrain tires and 4×4 capabilities.
Is Van Life Worth It?
Van life can be memorable and life-changing. So, yes, we believe it’s worth it. However, it’s not for everyone. Be sure you know your travel style and what purpose a van would serve. Then get out there and explore!
Could one of the best vans for van life on our list work for you? If you get one of them, let us know. We would love to hear about your experience and all the places you’ll go with your new van.
If You Love RVing, You Need to Stay Informed
Don’t rely on biased RV industry news sources to keep you informed with RVing news.
Stick with Nomadic News. We publish daily articles and breaking stories that matter to your RV lifestyle.