Camper vans have been an all-time favorite of outdoor enthusiasts since the introduction, in 1950, of the Volkswagen Type 2. They quickly gained in popularity thanks to their versatility and affordability and, soon enough, competitors started building their own models. Nowadays, most manufacturers have their own version of a van designed for recreational use and it’s not hard to get yourself lost in the sea of camper van offering, each with their own set of options and gadgets.
If you’d like to leave your daytime routine for some long-distance traveling or simply want to go on a short camping trip, a camper van is a perfect choice. But, not all vans are created equal. Some are pretty cheap and come with a limited amount of options while others are simply luxurious palaces on wheels. That’s why so we created this post to help you find out which camper van will give you the best bang for your bucks!
Ah, and while some of the camper vans on this list are built for normal working-class people like us, we have also included some of the most wicked camping trucks money can buy. If your camper van addiction is not totally under control, we strongly suggest you refrain from watching. Psychological harm may occur. Don’t come saying we didn’t warn you!
Ahhh… The classic E-series.
This is probably one of the most versatile vehicles ever made. The Ford E-series has already been modified into almost any vehicle you can think of, from ambulances to electrician vans, army, and moving trucks, as well as flatbed tow trucks and minibusses.
Sold by Ford since 1961, the E-series has evolved continuously since and the numerous different trims and powertrains offering makes it one of the best possible camper vans for almost every budget. Depending on the YM you intend to get, the E-series has one of the widest engine options seen in the market.
From the 2.4L FalconSix V6 released in 1960 to the 6.8L EFI Triton® V10 engine included in the 2019 model, everybody can find an E-series that will fit their budget. Delivering 305 hp and 420 lb-feet of torque, the 6.8L is more than enough for most people’s needs.
The 6.8L V10 may not be suitable for you if you intend to travel long distances but it will sure do the job if you plan to drive on mountainous terrain. For better fuel efficiency, an optional 6.2L V8 is also offered on 2019 models. With a little luck, you can probably even find a propane-powered model online somewhere!
Ford offers a camper conversion service but as anything dealer-related, it tends to be a little pricey. A good alternative for DIYers out there is to buy a new base model, or even an older model, and convert it yourself. You’ll need some basic mechanical and woodworking knowledge tho. Some of the interior equipment can be bought instead of built but you’ll still have to install and secure everything correctly. Don’t worry, there’s a ton of good tutorials online to help you convert your E-series in a wonderful camper van for a cheap price.
If building a camper van from scratch is not for you, conversion service companies also offer E-series conversion. Sportsmobile is one of them and offers an affordable alternative to existing expensive camper vans. You can design your own camper, customize it to your liking, and let them do the job. That’s pretty much your best bet if you want to save yourself the hassle of doing everything by hand.
Another less expensive alternative is to use a campervan hire service. Camper van rentals and sharing services have picked up in the recent years since it’s often cheaper to rent a van for the duration of your vacation than to buy one and pay for the maintenance and the storage when it’s not in use.
Cost: The E-series price varies a lot depending on the year, the engine, the condition,
Hailed as the first-ever mass-produced and mass-manufactured 4-wheeler RV in the US, Winnebago has always been a synonym of a cheap and reliable camper van. The newer Revel model is built with a no-nonsense approach to adventure in mind and packed with function-driven features, it’s perfect for any outdoor enthusiasts and adventurous families. Whether you want to enjoy a full kitchen, a wet bath or a sound sleep for two, the van has all the right features to suit your needs.
Inside the Revel, you’ll find a small fridge, a wet bath, a cassette-style toilet, a power lift bed and a dinette with a pull-up table converting to more sleeping space. Also included
The Winnebago Revel features a 3-liter, 6-cylinder turbo diesel engine which is capable of generating a power of 188hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. The better fuel efficiency provided by the small but capable engine makes it perfect for long travels on the highway. The on-demand 4WD system, complete with high/low range mode makes it a versatile little van capable of driving you deep in the woods.
Cost: Starting at $142,049
Roadtrek N6 Active
The Roadtrek N6 Active is based on a Nissan NV2500 HD chassis. Finally, a camper van built on a Japanese chassis!
Everybody has its own idea about whether American or Japanese vehicles are the best and I won’t go there. Let’s just say that it adds more variety to the camper van offering and that it’s a good thing. The main difference is mostly a question of taste anyway.
Designed for multi-purpose functionality, the Roadtrek N6 Active is an exceptionally striking camper van for adventure lovers. It’s big enough to carry your whole family to the campground and it’s small enough to be used as a daily driver. It has enough space to drive around 6 passengers and a driver to the weekend soccer game and enough room for 2 adults and 3 children to spend a comfortable night in the woods.
This camper van is powered by a 5.6-liter V8 engine capable of generating 317 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque. Not bad for a small Japanese car. But what this smaller engine lacks in size, it makes up in fuel efficiency. With a reasonable 18 MPG, it burns almost the same fuel as any other SUV.
The ingenious design of the N6 is really what makes it a really remarkable camper van. The rear seats swivel and a table can be installed in the center of the floor so 4 adults can be seated at the same time. Once the table is removed, the seats can fold to accommodate a bed for 2 adults. A panel can be installed over the two front seats to make room for a young kid to sleep for the night. Two more adults can sleep in a pop-up overhead sleeping quarter.
Obviously, there’s not enough space for a bathroom in there but, Roadtrek found a clever solution to the problem. The N6 comes with an outdoor handheld shower and a freshwater tank holding up to 5 gallons connected to a constant-flow electric water heater.
Be warned, the N6 doesn’t come with a toilet though.
A sink, a 2.5 cubic foot fridge, and a microwave oven is all that you’ll get in place of a kitchen. More than enough for a minimalist camper van. With all this equipment, the only thing you’ll need now is a nice little grill for the perfect weekend camping trip. If you need help finding one, take a look at this portable grill review by Globo Surf!
Cost: Most used N6 will go between $36,000 and $66,000 depending on the year, the mileage and the options selected.
Thor Chateau Super C 33SW
As the name suggests, the Chateau is truly a luxurious
The Thor Chateau comes equipped with a 6.7L Power Stroke V8 turbo diesel engine with an output of 300 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque. The power stroke engine has a proven track record of durability and low-hassle maintenance.
The Chateau is simply packed with all the essential commodities as well as a ton of high-end gadgets. The amount of options available is simply too long to describe exhaustively so I’ll just list some of the main features.
cu. ft. Stainless Steel Residential Refrigerator w/Ice Maker
- 3-Burner Gas Cooktop with Oven
- Large Double Bowl Kitchen Sink
- Exterior Kitchen with 2.6 cu. ft. Refrigerator, Sink
& Portable Gas Grill
- King Size Bed
- Bunk Beds in Hallway Slideout
- Shower with Glass Door
- Stainless Steel Bathroom Sink
- Vanity Soffit Lighting
- Porcelain Toilet
- Power Vent in Bathroom
- 40” LED TV & DVD Player in Cab-Over
- Mid-Ship Entertainment Center with 32” LED TV
& DVD Player in Living Area
- 32” LED TV in Bedroom
- Two 13” LED TVs & DVD Player in Bunk Bed Area
- Exterior 32” LED TV
- Bluetooth® Coach Radio System with Exterior Speakers
- Cab-Over Entertainment Center with 50” LED TV & Sound Bar
Cost: Starting at $168,228
Mercedes Benz Zetros
The Mercedes-Benz Zetros looks more like an armored vehicle than a camper van for a good reason – it was designed for army use and disaster relief operation first. It’s only after a wicked millionaire decided to take the concept even further
Be warned. This is no ordinary camper van.
The Zetros is simply a monster built to eat mountains, devour tropical forests and destroy Siberian winters.
Powered by a 7.2L inline 6 cylinder outputting a modest 326hp but backed by almost 1,000 lb-ft of torque, this machine can go literally anywhere. Worth mentioning, it also has a 6×6 powertrain and three mechanical differential locks easily switched on or off using a rotary knob if torque alone is not enough to go up a hill.
The Zetros weighs in between 25 to 27 tons depending on the options selected. Even the overall size is completely out of this world. Measuring over 35 feet in length, 14 feet high, and about nine feet wide, you can
More Options Than You Can Ask For
The Zetros comes equipped with all the standard motorhome options and everything was designed to sustain the most extreme temperatures known to man. It comes standard with a microwave, a dinner table for 8, ceramic counters, fridge, and even a bar!
The twin-burner outdoor grill is also a must in my book.
The list of tech accessories still goes on. Two flatscreen TVs, an electronically-raised and lowered kitchen table hiding in the floor to free up space for another bed, satellite TV and a Bose audio system.
It even comes with a Mac Mini and it’s own WiFi connection.
Cost: More or less $1 million
The Earthroamer XV-HD is completely on another level. It has been created for those who appreciate quality and design first. You can forget about the E-series DIY interior and the flower-power feeling of the VW Type-2. It’s definitely a state-of-the-art and self-sufficient expedition vehicle designed to be driven off-road and as far as you want.
The Earthroamer XV-HD features a massive rooftop solar panel and a lithium battery pack, making it absolutely self-sufficient. Yeah, you heard right! No propane, no noisy generator! It also features a comfortable interior, a separate shower, a full bathroom, a dryer and washing machine, a Bose surround-system and of course, in-floor heating system. Forget any discomfort on-the-go as the XV-HD can easily accommodate 6 people at a time.
The XV-HD is built on
Cost: The only con to this camper is the price. The price of each XV-HD is $1.5M. An initial $375k deposit is required to reserve a production spot and the first 3 vehicles should come out the production line in early 2019.
Well, we’re allowed to dream right?