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The van life has gotten pretty popular over the past few years and the pandemic catalyzed it. Many Americans have come up with crafty ways to make homes out of busses, vans, trucks, and even cars to live life away from tethered housing. A Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a popular choice, as is the Ram ProMaster. But what if you want something smaller like a Ford Transit van? Can you live out one of those?

The Ford Transit is a great choice for van life

A screenshot of a Ford Transit Camper from "We're the Russos"
A screenshot of a Ford Transit Camper | We’re the Russos/YouTube

While larger vehicles like a Sprinter or a ProMaster can easily do the job of being a house on wheels, a Ford Transit can do the same. The good news is that a Ford Transit is also usually much cheaper than those larger vehicles and you can customize it as well. A 2022 Ford Transit Connect currently starts at $27,290 for the XL trim and it can top out at around $32,120 for the top trim Titanium.

But if you would rather convert an older Ford Transit Connect, then you can easily find one for well under $10,000 nationwide, according to a CarGurus search. The beauty of buying an older one is that you’ll have more funds to customize it for your needs. However, the first-generation Transit Connects are much smaller, so you’ll need to account for that.

The Ford Transit Connect has a lot of space and is fuel-efficient

The Ford Transit Connect truck, the 2010 North American Truck of the Year, is displayed during the second press preview day
The Ford Transit Connect truck, the 2010 North American Truck of the Year, is displayed during the second press preview day at the 2010 North American International Auto Show on January 12, 2010, at Cobo Center in Detroit. | (STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images)

While the Ford Transit Connect isn’t exactly made for camping, it sure can be converted into a camper. Hot Cars notes that the Transit Connect can seat up to 15 people, so you know there’s plenty of room to convert its cabin into a mobile living room. With its extended roof, the Transit Connect is also really tall and can accommodate standing adults up to 6 feet 5 inches. Now that’s what we call “headroom.”

What’s even better is the Transit Connect is also relatively fuel-efficient. Under the hood is a 169-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that’s able to get up to 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, according to EPA. Plus, that engine is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission, making the Transit Connect easy to drive.

The Ford Transit van is easy to customize

When it comes to converting a Ford Transit van into a camper, the sky is the limit. Hot Cars notes that there are plenty of do-it-yourself videos on YouTube that cover customization tips and tricks to give your Ford Transit van all of the home amenities you need. But if you’re not the DIY type, then you can always consort with a company that customizes vans instead.

Contravans, which is based in Colorado, is one such company that converts Ford Transit vans of all years and sizes. They have multiple layouts to choose from including fully custom setups in order to make your camper dreams come true. According to their website, some of the customizations include:

  • An elevated bed with a memory foam mattress
  • Kitchen sink and storage drawers
  • Insulated walls and ceilings
  • Refrigerator
  • Loads of storage solutions

As we can see, the sky is really the limit when it comes to customizing a Transit Connect to live the van life. Provided you can afford what your heart, and living conditions, desire.

Ford Transit vans are easy to park and don’t attract too much attention

Petito's 2012 Ford Transit Connect van
Petito’s 2012 Ford Transit Connect van | YouTube

Another plus to driving and living out of a Ford Transit van is that they are stealthy and easy to park. Unlike a giant Sprinter or ProMaster, the Ford Transit is more inconspicuous, so parking it in a safe space for the night is easier.

Case in point, you can live out of a Ford Transit and Transit Connect if you have the money, time, and patience to modify for mobile living. Otherwise, you could just buy a Transit van and sleep on the rear seats, but that probably won’t be very comfortable.


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