A life of freedom, adventure, and minimalism is popping up on Instagram feeds everywhere under the hashtag #vanlife. People from all walks of life are trading in their rent and mortgage payments for a life on the road. With loads of empty cargo vans turning into super cozy homes on wheels, van life is a travel and lifestyle trend that’s here to stay.
But, where do you begin if you too want to live the #vanlife lifestyle? Be it full time or just on weekends!
Whatever your budget, there are options! When we decided on trying van life, we scoped out a ton of different van conversions. We ended up buying an empty Sprinter van and doing a DIY build ourselves. Converting a van to live in while customizing every part of our camper van was great, but it took a lot of research and hard work. If that doesn’t suit your lifestyle or you’re looking to hit the road ASAP, hiring a conversion van company is the way to go.
There are also already converted vans for sale, but if you can’t find one that fits your needs, it’s time to go custom. Luckily, there are campervan conversion companies all over the US and Canada that create amazing custom builds. Whether you’re looking for a rugged overlanding rig or a decked-out glamper van, these 12 best van conversion companies can help turn your van life dream into a reality.
READ NEXT: Best Vans for Camper Conversion
Van Conversion Companies in the US
Location: Belgrade, Montana
Cost: Build cost starts around USD $65k.
Conversion Time: 10-14 weeks
Specialties: 4×4 Sprinters, Ford Transit, Ram ProMaster, Nissan NV. They also work with low-top work vans like the Chevy Express and Ford E Series.
If your van build needs to hold up in rugged terrain and harsh winters, Beartooth Vanworks are the custom van builders you should call. Based in western Montana, these conversion van manufacturers are the masters of four-season conversion camping vans. They build mountain-ready adventure wagons with a specialty in 4x4s.
The company is employee-owned with a team that understands the adventurous lifestyle because they live it. They also have 70 years of combined trade experience, so you know you’ll be in good hands. Beartooth has built out 60+ vans since 2016 and each one is completely custom.
While other camper van conversion companies offer standard packages, every van built by Beartooth is meant to tell the story of its owner.
You can get started by filling out their survey and be on your way to “rugged liberation” in no time.
Location: Bellingham, Washington
Cost: A basic Phase 1 conversion (insulation, solar, bed, lighting) costs USD $25k-50k. Full conversions are USD $60k-$125k+.
Conversion Time: Depending on the scope of the project, builds can take anywhere from 1-6 months.
Specialties: Sprinter vans and Ford Transits with a focus on solar systems.
If you’re looking for an off-grid adventure mobile, Freedom Vans is the van conversion company for you. Their builds are all about enjoying the freedom of the road and creating a comfortable home base for your adventures.
They specialize in installing the perfect solar system for your needs so you don’t have to worry about studying any wiring diagrams or electrical jargon. Born from a desire to share the freedom of van living with others, they’ve completed over 55 van conversions since starting in 2015. Working closely with their clients through the design process, Freedom Vans can bring your camper van dream to life.
Location: Austin, Texas, and Huntington, Indiana
Cost: Full conversions start at USD $41k.
Conversion Time: Full conversions take 8-14 months.
Specialties: Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ram ProMaster, Ford E Series, Chevy Express, Mercedes Metris, and 4x4s.
These guys pretty much wrote the book on van conversions. Sportsmobile has been around since 1961 when iconic VW buses filled the streets. They’ve secured their title as one of the best camper van conversion companies with decades of customized vans under their belt. The company originated in Texas and does hundreds of conversions each year. Sportsmobile works on all kinds of vehicles from Ford E Series to Mercedes Benz Sprinter.
They’re also one of the oldest 4×4 van conversion companies, having outfitted off-road-ready vans since the 70s. Sportsmobile works with dealers so you can even order your base van directly through them. They offer an endless list of customization options and have standard floor plans to choose from as well. And if roof height is your priority, they can even put a pop top on your Sprinter van!
Location: Portland, Oregon
Cost: Conversion costs average USD $125k
Conversion Time: About 4-5 months, depending on the complexity of the project.
Specialties: Mercedes Sprinter
Established in 2007, Outside Van was created by van lifers for van lifers. The founder had been outfitting surfing and snowboarding vans for 30 years when he started the company. With a goal of connecting people with nature through mobile living, Outside Van produces over 100 conversion vans each year. Your Outside Van will be winter-ready with an interior that is always designed with gear storage in mind.
The team of 65 skilled employees has you covered through the entire design process. All packages come with a premium interior build with tons of additional customization options. Outside Van also offers pre-built one-off camper vans if you’re looking to hit the road ASAP.
Location: Huntington Beach, California
Cost: All-in pricing for the van chassis and conversion is USD $155k-$190k.
Conversion Time: 8-12 weeks
Specialties: Mercedes Sprinter
El Kapitan is one of the oldest California van conversion companies that has been building custom vans on the California coast since 1984. They offer two different conversion packages based on the length of your Sprinter van wheelbase. Vans built at El Kapitan are treated as works of art, with careful consideration of every detail.
Over the last 30 years, they’ve crafted more than 15,000 luxury conversion vans and have no signs of stopping. The company aims to bring innovation and quality craftsmanship into every van interior. Their campers are equal parts rugged as they are stylish. With decades of experience, the carpentry, electronics, and finishes at El Kapitan are top-tier. There’s a reason they are one of the best Sprinter van conversion companies around.
Location: Longmont, Colorado
Cost: Custom build-outs range from USD $50k-$125k and up.
Conversion Time: Lead time on new builds is 6-12 months out, but the build itself takes only 3 weeks!
Specialties: Custom shop that will work with most van models and recently introduced custom truck campers to their list of offerings.
Rossmönster Vans is all about marrying quality craftsmanship with efficient timing and pricing. Mönster is a Swedish word meaning “to design and create artistically, simply, and skillfully.” This concept is at the heart of the company’s philosophy. This Colorado camper van company has been doing van build-outs since 2010. They’ve now expanded their offerings to include custom composite truck camper models compatible with most half, three-quarter and one-ton chassis.
Rossmönster is a custom conversion company with impressive turnaround times and a commitment to craftsmanship and design. Most builds are complete in just 3 weeks so you can pick up your custom van and hit the road! If you’re still figuring out what you want in a camper van, they also offer rentals to give you a taste of vanlife.
Location: Golden, Colorado
Cost: Van builds start at USD $39k.
Conversion Time: Most builds take 6-12 weeks.
Specialties: Mercedes Sprinter or a Ford Transit conversion van
Another pioneer in the custom van game is TouRig from Golden, CO. They started out building their own camper vans in 2001 as an answer to comfortable travel. They set out to create vans that could be a basecamp for adventure, on and off of the road. TouRig’s builds are all about being both high quality and high performance with an emphasis on lightweight durability.
They aim to take design, innovation, and technology to new heights in Sprinter and Transit vans. On top of the long list of customizable features, you can even top off your build with retractable steps or a roof rack. They’ve transformed more than a dozen 4×4 Sprinters and are currently taking reservations for the new All Wheel Drive model of the Ford Transit. With a cost starting at USD $89,999, TouRig is now offering fully built-out Ford Transit XUV conversions so you can start your vanlife journey stress-free.
Conversion Van Companies in Canada
Paved to Pines
Location: Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
Cost: Builds range from CAD $40k-$200k.
Conversion Time: 2-4 months
Specialties: All-weather Transits, Sprinters and Ram ProMasters, and converted school buses.
Paved to Pines is a prairie-based camper van conversion company that doesn’t stop at vans. The tight-knit team creates amazing four-season camper vans and luxury converted school buses. The company started after the co-founders traded their motorcycle for a school bus and converted their first skoolie. Since then, they’ve been helping people all over the US and Canada transform their vehicles into homes.
Paved to Pines is all about helping people downsize without compromising on comfort and convenience. They handcraft all of their rigs with adventure and off-grid capabilities in mind. Layouts and finishes are completely customizable and their experienced builders can help guide you in creating your perfect home. School buses can even have rooftop decks! If you’re someone looking for an ultra-unique home, they might be the best camper van conversion company for you.
Location: North Vancouver, British Columbia
Cost: Nomad Vanz offers pre-built modular interiors for a DIY build starting at USD $20k. For custom builds, prices start at USD $50k.
Conversion Time: 3-4 months depending on the complexity of the project.
Specialties: Mercedes Benz Sprinter
Based in North Vancouver, BC, Nomad Vanz is all about adventure and high-end design. After living and traveling in a van on three different continents, the founders decided to share their expertise with other adventure enthusiasts. Their van builds are off-road ready and can hold up to anything that Canadian weather can throw at them.
Nomad Vanz does 20 conversions per year and also offers partial and modular conversion kits from Adventure Wagon. They have a team of 10 people that can customize every element of a Sprinter van, inside and out. They also offer an upgrade to a commercial aluminum fuel tank, which can double your van’s range. If you’re looking to get way off the beaten path on an overlanding adventure, this is their specialty.
Pura Vida Vans
Location: Squamish, British Columbia
Cost: Basic conversions start at CAD $35k.
Conversion Time: 4-5 months
Specialties: Full conversions on Ford Transits and Mercedes Sprinters and partial conversions are available on a Dodge ProMaster.
Located in Canada’s adventure capital, Pura Vida Vans builds custom vans for travelers and explorers. They offer all services from full conversions to specific services like a window or heater install. Their van interiors vary based on the needs of their customers and if they’ll be living in it full time or using it recreationally. The floor plan for full-time rigs is all about living space and a comfortable sleeping area. Meanwhile, recreation-oriented builds focus on lots of storage for gear and bikes.
The company converts several vans a year and is continuously looking for ways to stay local. They’ve partnered with nearby manufacturing company Stoked Adventure Outfitters to create quality metal bed frames and roof racks. Pura Vida is all about community and sharing the freedom of traveling in a self-contained vehicle.
Shelter Overland Van Co
Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Cost: Core conversions start at CAD $25k with full conversions ranging from CAD $60k-$120k
Conversion Time: A core conversion will take one month and a full conversion will take 2-3 months.
Specialties: Mercedes Sprinters van conversion and retrofitted Airstreams
Traditions are changing and Shelter Overland Van Co wants the new family cabin to be a camper van. Their focus is on building adventure-ready rigs with an emphasis on durable and eco-conscious materials. They want to encourage people to get outside while creating cozy living spaces to come home to.
The company started in 2017 and is committed to contributing to social and environmental causes. Their ethos is all about promoting outdoor adventure for everyone, regardless of race, gender, or abilities. Unlike other Sprinter conversion companies, they even do commercial modifications for mobile dentists or tradespeople. And it doesn’t stop there—they do lust-worthy Airstream remodels too. You can stay in one at Mackenzie Beach Resort in Tofino, BC.
Location: Tay, Ontario
Cost: With a basic cost starting at just CAD $20k, builds can range up to $120k.
Conversion Time: 2-5 months
Specialties: Ford Transit and Mercedes Sprinter conversion and RV/camper van upgrades.
Founded in 2018, Ray Outfitted is an Ontario-based custom van builder dedicated to off-the-grid living. With so many BC-based companies, Ray Outfitted is one of the few companies that convert vans to campers on the east coast. In addition to building vans from the ground up, they also offer upgrade options for existing RVs and camper vans. They can do everything from wiring electrical components to cold-weather outfitting.
Ray Outfitted has converted over 100 vans in Canada and consulted on DIY builds for van lifers globally. Their goal is to create homes for lives that people don’t need a vacation from. This philosophy shows in their vehicles with thoughtful layouts and plenty of storage spaces for gear. Since living in their own Sprinter van, the founders share their automotive and electrical skills with other nomads across the country.
Choosing the Best Van Conversion Company
Location aside, the best way to get started is by contacting the camper conversion companies that match your goal. Search for camper van conversion companies near me, check out their website, and pop them an email with any questions you have. Their processes are all about assessing your needs and building the van around what features matter most to you. Once you’ve selected your base vehicle, they can help you design the interior with storage and the best use of space in mind.
As you can tell from these companies’ van specialties, Ford Transits, Dodge ProMasters, and Mercedes Sprinter are some of the best vans for conversion. But, there are still plenty of options for custom van conversion companies that work on other models too! Some of the best cheap vans for conversion are just empty cargo vans waiting to be customized.
How much does it cost to convert a van? Prices are all based on the extent of your build and the components and finishes you choose. Expect to pay at least USD $30k for a basic build and the sky’s the limit from there!
Questions to Ask
Choosing the right van conversion company can be nerve-wracking! You want to make sure that you’re working with the best team that aligns with your needs and budget. To help navigate the selection process, here are a few questions to consider when discussing your potential project.
- Will I have a variety of premade layout options to choose from?
- Can my build be completely custom and designed from scratch?
- Do I have options for extra features for my specific gear/solar needs? Or are most of the components from pre-selected brands?
- How involved can I be in the process?
- Will I get a run-through of how everything works or will there be manuals included?
- Are there material options based on my climate (i.e. heavier insulation for colder climates, mould-resistant for damp climates)?
- Is my build date guaranteed?
- Does the build include warranty or repairs support?
- Do you have a showroom where I can test out certain layouts or features?
- Can I supply any of my own materials (i.e. I have a faucet I’d really like to use or fabric I’d love to repurpose)?
What to Consider When Choosing a Van Conversion Company
Browsing a company’s website and scrolling through photos of beautifully designed vans is super fun and exciting. But, it’s easy to overlook some of the nitty-gritty stuff that plays a big role in the success of your build. Keep the following things in mind when selecting the right van conversion company for your project.
Base Model of Your Van
Taking the time to research which van is best for your camper conversion is a crucial first step (hint: use our handy guide!). Once you’ve figured that out, you can narrow down how companies sync vans to their builds. For example, a ProMaster, Mercedes Sprinter, or Ford Transit have a lot more interior space than a Westfalia. You need to figure out the bones you’ll be working with before you jump into the design process.
Remember that the price of your build is an additional cost to the cost of your van so you’ll need to budget accordingly. That said, what’s included in a $100k build is substantially different than what’s included in a $30k build. If you want all top-of-the-line materials and lots of customization, it will have the price tag to match. Consider how much you can realistically afford and what your financing options are before signing any contracts.
If you’re looking for van or RV conversion companies on the east coast and keep seeing “Location: Los Angeles, California” or “Location: Loveland, Colorado,” be prepared to travel. Do you have the time and budget to travel across the country to drop off and pick up your van? Or are you comfortable doing the process virtually until it’s completed? The location of the shop can add extra costs to your budget that are worth factoring in.
Chances are that you’re going to pay more for a van conversion company than a DIY build. And there’s good reason for that—they’re professionals. Working with a reputable company means you can expect high-quality work that’s done properly.
Specializations and Extra Features
If you have specific features in mind like a pop-top or 4×4 modification, let this guide your research. For example, Mercedes Sprinter camper conversion companies are experts at Sprinters but might not have experience with a skoolie. If you’re looking for a winter-ready off-road rig, look for a company that specializes in rugged 4-season builds.
Is van life a couple of years out or are you looking to hit the road ASAP? Some shops might be able to start your build right away while others have a long waiting list. You’ll need to figure out a realistic time frame and determine if your dream shop is worth the wait.
Level of Involvement
Some people are happy to choose a pre-designed layout while others want to add more customization. Working with smaller, more local companies is a great way to be more involved in the process if that’s important to you. Meanwhile, if you’d prefer to pick a design and be completely hands-off, that’s definitely doable too.
How to Compare Van Life Conversion Companies
Once you’ve researched your options, consider these factors to narrow down your choices:
- Price – “You get what you pay for” is definitely true when it comes to van conversions. Choosing a reputable company and good materials will ensure a quality build.
- Time Frame – Your time frame plays a big role in which companies you can work with. Remember, this includes the shop’s lead time + build time.
- Location – Whether you’re willing to travel or want to stay local will also narrow down the search.
- Specialties – You wouldn’t go to an eye doctor to get your teeth cleaned. If you have specific needs, choose a shop that has experience in that area.
- Warranty – Some shops may offer a warranty on components or the build itself. Determine if this is a deciding factor for your peace of mind.
- Style – Some builders use materials and finishes that you might love while others aren’t really your taste. Depending on the level of customization, you may want to opt for a camper van conversion company that shares your aesthetic.
In summary, choosing the right van conversion company should be a thorough but exciting process! Doing research to figure out what’s important to you and your budget will make things much easier to navigate. All of these companies are experts in their field and can surely answer any questions you may have. Give them a call and start turning your #vanlife dreams into reality!