When the open road calls for some camping adventures, there are all sorts of recreational vehicles to choose from. One type that has been gaining notoriety in recent years is the campervan. Campervans don’t have the name recognition of their larger cousin, the motor home, but the price tag is a lot smaller. So if you’re looking for an affordable option for your RV needs, it’s time to learn more about the campervan and how you might find an option that fits your budget.
What is a campervan?
A campervan offers many of the traditional benefits associated with a motorhome but within a smaller space. It provides you with both mobility and living space all in one package. As Camper FAQs explains, a campervan will almost always include a bed, often one that pulls down when needed. The van also usually includes a limited amount of storage space. These vehicles often come with a small refrigerator and perhaps a two-burner range for cooking purposes.
Campervans have gained notice recently thanks to the success of the film Nomadland. In that movie, Frances McDormand portrays the real-life adventures of a retiree who began living life on the road in her own campervan, meeting other folks enjoying a similar lifestyle along the way.
The 2021 Free Bird takes the prize for affordability
Even though campervans tend to be less expensive than many other types of RVs, they still require a significant investment. Trail and Summit report that if you’re trying to stretch every dollar, one of your best options for a new campervan is the Caravan Outfitters Free Bird, which starts at $39,460. It provides a good mix of functionality and value because it’s built on a Nissan NV200 base.
With Caravan Outfitter’s Slide and Glide floor, it’s quick and easy to convert your van from living quarters to cargo transporter when you’re not on a camping adventure. Caravan Outfitter also notes that this van features a 31-qt. fridge, two USB power ports, and dimmable LED lighting. The kitchen box comes with a portable butane stove and two storage drawers.
Even better, a dinette set allows you and some companions to dine in comfort and then converts to a bed when it’s time to go to sleep. A ceiling fan and large batwing awning will also help keep you cool, day or night.
Used campervans reduce costs even more
If this least expensive of new campervans sound out of your reach, you may want to consider some used options. On other occasions, we’ve recommended converted Chevy Astro vans as great, affordable, and reliable used vehicles for many years of camping enjoyment. These campervans are often available on sites such as Craigslist and have a reputation for durability. If you’re lucky, you may even find a converted Chevy Astro van in the $10,000 range. And considering that they’ve been known to reach 300,000 miles, you could end up getting quite a bargain.
Another widely available model that can be easily and affordably converted is the Ford Transit Connect van. These vehicles often spent their early years in delivery or passenger fleets, so some conversion work would be needed to make them into fully functional campervans. That said, the conversion can be completed for only a few thousand dollars, and the van itself would likely cost under $30,000. Companies such as Ursa Minor Vehicles specialize in converting these Ford vehicles to campervans.
So if you’re feeling the urge to live life on the road, but a massive RV seems out of reach for you, never fear. An inexpensive campervan may be just what you need to get your adventure started.