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As I write this, the U.S. is entering peak RV season. Yet while that’s great for those who already rent or own one, it means now is the worst time to buy one. Plus, supply issues aside, if you’re not doing the conversion yourself, even the cheapest camper vans cost almost as much as the average new car. But there is a way to save time and cash: the used market. And one of these bargain-priced RVs, a 2011 Ford Transit Connect XLT camper conversion, is up for grabs this week on Cars & Bids.

The Ford Transit Connect makes a humble but solid base for a camper van conversion

A white first-gen Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van at the 2010 NAIAS
First-gen Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van | STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images
2011 Ford Transit Connect XLT
Engine2.0-liter Duratec four-cylinder
Horsepower136 hp
Torque128 lb-ft
TransmissionFour-speed automatic with overdrive
Curb weight3365 lbs
Maximum payload1600 lbs
Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)Cargo Van: 5005 lbs
Wagon: 4995 lbs

Anyone who’s into camper vans has likely heard of the Ford Transit. But Ford has a smaller cargo/passenger van, the Transit Connect. Despite the name similarities, though, the vans aren’t related and ride on separate platforms.

However, although the Transit Connect isn’t as spacious as the Transit and can’t carry as much, it is a capable urban workhorse. For one, the first-gen model’s optional articulated hinges let the rear doors swing out up to 255°. Also, the Cargo Van has 129 cubic feet of storage space. In addition, Ford offered optional onboard telephone, computing, and Internet access. And to this day, it’s a semi-regular base for camper van conversions, too.

Ursa Minor Vehicles, for example, can convert any second-gen (2014-2021) Ford Transit Connect LWB into a camper van. Furthermore, while Caravan Outfitters used to make its Free Bird out of Nissan NV200s, it now uses current-gen Transit Connects. And while the first-gen (2010-2013) model is too old for pre-built kits, there are plenty of van-lifers that use it for DIY builds.

This Ford Transit Connect XLT camper on Cars & Bids comes pre-made

Understandably, not everyone has the time, money, and/or skills to turn a van into a camper themselves. Fortunately, there’s no wrenching involved with the 2011 Ford Transit XLT camper currently listed on Cars & Bids. Nashville-based PeeWee Campers performed the conversion several years ago. And because the company now exclusively makes trailer campers, the only way to get a PeeWee RV is to get a used one.

Although it’s one step up from the base model, the 2011 Ford Transit Connect XLT is a work van at heart. So, the factory equipment is rather basic. You get ABS, power windows and locks, A/C, a stereo, and…that’s about it. But the PeeWee Campers treatment gave it a few more home comforts.

Firstly, it has a toilet and a shower, as well as the requisite freshwater and wastewater tanks. Secondly, the dinette area features a fridge, microwave, sink, fold-away table, fold-down shelves, and overhead storage. Plus, it converts into a two-person bed.

For space reasons, the propane camp stove is mounted externally. Don’t worry too much about the weather, though, because this Ford Transit Connect camper has external lighting and a roll-out awning, too. But if you are stuck inside, it has a high roof with a vent as well as rear auxiliary A/C. And to help power everything, this little RV has dual rear-rack-mounted six-volt batteries and 110V shore power hookups. The seller is also throwing in an external water hose.

This Ford Transit Connect camper has seen some use, judging by the faded exterior trim and some scattered scratches. But apart from an illuminated TPMS light, it’s in great shape overall. And it has a zero-accident history and only 9200 miles on the clock. Also, the selling dealer replaced the batteries in preparation for the sale.

It’s a compact, affordable way of getting into that #vanlife

As of this writing, this 2011 Ford Transit Connect XLT camper is listed at $8100 with three days left in the auction. That’s a bargain price for a used Transit Connect, especially one converted into a camper. The cheapest first-gen Transit Connect currently listed on Autotrader with similar mileage costs almost twice as much.

Cars & Bids notes that this camper’s Carfax report has some gaps, so an independent pre-purchase inspection is a good idea. But if you’re looking to RV on a budget, this little camper might be worth considering.

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