In recent years, the number of adventurers committed to vanlife has increased dramatically. Like Goldilocks, you need to find the perfect vehicle if you want to enjoy this lifestyle.
However, it’s not as easy as it sounds, especially if you want to try it out first. You may think that you can live in a small space or do without certain features, but that’s easier said than done. Luckily for you, we’ve found some of the best vans for vanlife.
Let’s narrow down the choices so you can enjoy the nomadic life!
What is Vanlife?
Vanlife is a popular trend in the nomadic community that has increased dramatically in recent years. This lifestyle involves living in converted vans while traveling like a nomad.
Some people live in their vehicles full-time, while others go on seasonal adventures. Those who embrace vanlife take tiny living to a whole new level.
There are endless possibilities as to why people choose vanlife. Many want to fulfill their desire to travel, save money, or live out their sense of adventure. On the other hand, some vanlifers have few other options due to the rising cost of living.
Whatever the reason, vanlife can be what you make of it, whether you choose it or it chooses you.
What makes a van interesting for vanlife?
Some vans are better than others when it comes to their features and capabilities. You need to consider a few things if you want to enjoy vanlife to the fullest. You need a vehicle that runs well and has enough sleeping space for you and your fellow passengers.
You also need to be as self-sufficient as possible. That means you need a shower, cooking facilities and a toilet.
Many vanlifers use wet rooms with a shower and a toilet to maximize space. Plus, a composting toilet can almost eliminate the worry of disposing of black tanks.
Propane is often used for cooking, either in the vehicle or on a portable griddle like the Blackstone. These are some of the basic features that set a van apart for vanlife.
However, if you want to go from good to great, you’ll need a few additional features. The best vans for vanlife often have solar panels for charging lithium batteries. Plus, these vehicles offer superior off-road capabilities and are built to withstand anything you throw at them.
What size is a good van for Vanlife?
When looking at a van for vanlife, consider who will be traveling with you. Make sure everyone has enough room if you plan to bring a spouse, significant other, or pet.
An empty vehicle may seem roomy when you’re shopping, but the walls can quickly become cramped when you add your gear and supplies.
When it comes to a good size van, many solo travelers can get by with vans with a 144-inch wheelbase. This makes the overall length of the van just under 20 feet.
Because of their size, they function like regular passenger vehicles and are very maneuverable. You will have no trouble getting in and out of most campgrounds or dealing with length restrictions.
For couples or anyone who likes lots of space, the 170-inch and 170-inch EXT wheelbases are the best vans for vanlife. These measure about 22 feet 9 inches and 24 feet, respectively.
But even if you’re not overly tall, you need to consider height. High roof models are typically 6 feet 4 inches from floor to ceiling, compared to 5 feet 5 inches for low roof models.
Can you convert a van yourself?
You can convert a van yourself if you are a jack of all trades or a do-it-yourselfer. However, it’s important to know that some vanlifers have had problems with insurance companies regarding do-it-yourself conversions.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could be making a potentially fatal or dangerous mistake. Remodeling a van on your own can be much cheaper, but it requires skills and knowledge in several key areas.
You’ll need to perform electrical, plumbing and carpentry work in a small space. Unfortunately, a mistake on one of these projects can be very costly. If you don’t know how to do it, you’ll have to pay professionals to do it right.
The 5 best vans for vanlife in 2023.
When it comes to the best vans for vanlife, some models stand out from the rest. Today, we’re going to introduce you to the five best vans that will help you enjoy vanlife in 2023 with ease. Let’s go!
1. 2023 Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a full-size van popular with vanlifers for its spacious interior and versatile design.
The Sprinter offers a range of configurations, including passenger and cargo models, high-roof options for more interior headroom and 4×4 options for off-road capability.
Vanlifers enjoy customizable and functional space, plenty of storage options, and flexible seating arrangements. The van is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, has a rearview camera, and makes it easy to power and charge your devices.
Overall, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a well-rounded option for van life. It offers comfort, versatility and technology, making it an attractive choice for those who want to live on the road. Unfortunately, the initial cost is around $50,000 before the cost of converting it into a livable space.