Featherbuilt Playbook - Van Selection

How to Choose the Perfect Van for Your Conversion: A Comprehensive Guide


Dreaming of hitting the open road with your own camper van? The first step is choosing the right van for a successful conversion. This guide is a very brief overview, but it will help you navigate the options and select the best van for your needs, budget, and lifestyle.

Understanding Your Needs

Choosing the perfect van starts with understanding your specific requirements. Consider your lifestyle, budget, and any special needs you might have.

Lifestyle Considerations:

  • Type of Travel: Are you planning weekend getaways or full-time van living?
  • Number of Travelers: Will you be traveling solo, as a couple, or with a family?
  • Specific Needs: Do you need workspace, pet-friendly features, or off-grid capabilities?


  • Initial Purchase Cost: How much can you afford to spend on the van itself?
  • Conversion Budget: What is your budget for converting the van?
  • Maintenance and Operation Costs: Consider ongoing expenses like fuel, insurance, and repairs.

Van Models Overview

There are several popular van models to consider for your conversion. At Featherbuilt, we certainly have our favorites. Here’s a quick overview of the most common options:

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter:

  • Dimensions: Available in various lengths and roof heights.

  • Payload and Towing Capacity: High, suitable for heavy loads.
  • Engine Options: Multiple diesel engine options with good fuel efficiency.

Ford Transit:

  • Dimensions: Multiple lengths and roof heights available.
  • Payload and Towing Capacity: High, with various engine options.
  • Engine Options: Gasoline and diesel options available.

Ram ProMaster:

  • Dimensions: Wide interior space, front-wheel drive.
  • Payload and Towing Capacity: Suitable for moderate loads.
  • Engine Options: Gasoline engine.

Nissan NV:

  • Dimensions: Less interior space compared to others.
  • Payload and Towing Capacity: Strong V8 option available.
  • Engine Options: V6 and V8 options.

Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana:

  • Dimensions: Traditional van design, less space-efficient.
  • Payload and Towing Capacity: Good for heavy loads.
  • Engine Options: V6 and V8 options.

Pros and Cons of Each Model

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter:

  • Pros: High build quality, available in 4x4, various lengths.
  • Cons: Higher cost, expensive repairs.
  • Featherbuilt Favorite: Many campervan conversion products available

Ford Transit:

  • Pros: Affordable, widely available, various roof heights.
  • Cons: Lower resale value
  • Featherbuilt Favorite: Many campervan conversion products available

Ram ProMaster:

  • Pros: Wide interior space, cost-effective.
  • Cons: Limited engine options, lower ground clearance.

Nissan NV:

  • Pros: Strong V8 option, durable, good warranty.
  • Cons: Limited aftermarket support, less interior space.

Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana:

  • Pros: Reliable, affordable, easy to service.
  • Cons: Outdated design, lower fuel efficiency.

Tips for Purchasing Your Van

Research and planning are key to a successful van purchase.

Research and Planning:

  • Set a Budget: Determine your maximum spending limit.
  • Identify Must-Have Features: List your non-negotiable requirements.
  • Determine conversion compatibility: Make sure it is going to work with your campervan conversion

Where to Buy:

  • Dealerships: Offer warranties and financing options.
  • Online Marketplaces: Platforms like Craigslist, eBay, and Autotrader.
  • Auctions: Potential for lower prices, but higher risk.

Negotiation Tips:

  • Research Market Prices: Know the fair value of the van.
  • Be Prepared to Drive / Fly: Don’t be afraid to look in other areas of the country where van’s sell for less.


Selecting the right van is the foundation of a successful van conversion. By considering your needs, researching van models, and carefully inspecting potential purchases, you can find the perfect van to start your adventure.

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