The new modular cube system from Happier Camper acts as a van conversion kit for the 144-inch Mercedes Sprinter with wheelbase.
Photo: Courtesy of Happier Camper
This story was originally published by Curbed before joining New York Magazine. You can visit the Curbed Archives at archive.curbed.com to read all articles published prior to October 2020.
The excitement for life in the van shows no sign of stopping. Every month, Curbed gets the news of a new remodeling company, and we get dozens of emails weekly highlighting DIY rigs that take hundreds of hours to complete. And while both the custom van and the DIY van can accomplish the same goal – camping and adventure – not everyone has the money or the time to ride these routes. Do you love motorhomes and caravans? Join our community group.
Fortunately, there is another option. For every fully custom conversion company like Outside Van or Sportsmobile there is a new group of companies that sell conversion kits. Sometimes these kits are relatively simple and just consist of a bed and maybe a few shelves. Other kits are more complicated and contain everything you need for a full rig.
All kits offer something between an expensive custom build and the tedious process of building a van yourself. Please note the shipping times, however, as some kits are now reordered due to increased demand during the coronavirus.
We rounded up five kits that caught our eye, including one with a chic bamboo style and one with a more industrial and modular feel. The prices listed here do not include the cost of the van itself. Take this into account when choosing a kit. We’ve also listed what type of van each kit works with, although many companies are ramping up operations soon to expand to other van platforms soon.
This is #VanLife, prefabricated house.
The MOAB bed is offered together with the storage bags from Adventure Wagon.
Photo: All photos courtesy of Adventure Wagon
Costs: From $ 11,500 (depending on the length of your Sprinter)
Of the type: Mercedes-Benz, Dodge and Freightliner Sprinter high-roof crew, freight and passenger models with 144 and 170 wheelbases.
Details: Each kit includes thermal insulation, fabric wall cladding, marine grade LED ceiling lights, two remote-controlled ceiling fans, and a fuse box and wiring harness for the electrical harness. You also get the characteristic light MOAB bed from Adventure Wagon – abbreviation for “Mother Of All Beds” – made of bamboo plywood and aluminum.
To maximize storage space in the rear garage, the MOAB bed is a raised three-part folding bed that attaches to the supports on the inside walls of the van. L-rail strips on the wall ensure that you can reposition the bed at different heights or even remove it entirely. If van enthusiasts aren’t looking for a complete kit, many parts of the company – like the MOAB bed and 3M Thinsulate insulation – can also be purchased separately.
Read more about Adventure Wagon here.
Happier Camper has just presented its Adaptive for Vans system, a conversion kit for Mercedes Sprinter vans.
Photo: Courtesy of Happier Camper
Costs: An initial production run is being offered to early adopters, and pricing is still TBD. Happier Camper reports that the basic kits are expected to start at around $ 15,000 and the deluxe kits are expected to start at around $ 20,000, although these prices are subject to change.
Of the type: Currently designed for the Mercedes Sprinter 144-inch wheelbase (although you can expect kits for other popular vans in the future).
Details: The latest product from Happier Camper is an extension of the innovative Adaptive System. Known for their vintage-inspired HC1 caravan (read our full review here), Happier Camper used their experience with modular trailers to create a flexible van system that allows you to customize the van on the go.
The Adaptive for Vans concept starts with a fiberglass mesh floor and a series of cubes. Two wheelhouse stems create four built-in cubes, and once the base is in place, add additional cubes in any configuration you want. Most cubes double as a storage area, and a basic package includes cubes with seat cushions, access holes, a cooler ice box, and a cube that doubles as a pantry.
Stack two cubes high across the width of the van, add the form-fitting pillows, and you have a bed that can move where you need it. Take the cubes out of the van and you have seating or an outdoor kitchen. Do you need an additional table for a mobile office? A few dice can do that too.
Photo: Courtesy of Contravans
Costs: Starts at $ 798 for jeep camper kits and from there
Of the type: Ram ProMaster City, Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes Metris, Dodge Grand Caravan, Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona, Nissan NV 200 and many others.
Details: Contravans from Colorado started selling the Contra-Kit for the smaller Ram ProMaster City chassis years ago and has expanded from there. The smaller motorhome superstructures include compartments and drawers for storing equipment, while larger superstructures can include a bed, sink, storage and seating for five.
Do you want something with more space? Check your transporter systems; Pull-out drawers maximize space and let you sleep over the kitchen and equipment areas.
Read more about Contravans here.
Costs: $ 18,000 for 144 wheelbases and $ 22,000 for 170 wheelbases
Of the type: Mercedes Sprinter
Details: The Zenvanz DIY van kit consists of an aluminum exoskeleton and curved bamboo panels and is a complete furniture and component system that you install in your van using factory holes. Each kit contains an indoor kitchen with solid marine-grade bamboo furniture, a worktop made of bamboo and PaperStone and a cutlery drawer with soft-close hardware. Other improvements in the kitchen can be added, such as: B. a refrigerator, a propane hob with two burners, a sink and a mounted table top.
Elsewhere, the kit offers plenty of storage space – think of three bedside tables, five driver-side and two passenger-side wall cabinets. A three-panel bed system is detachable, stackable and can accommodate two people, while an extendable step hides a Thetdford Marine potty.
Read more about the Zenvance kits this way.
Wayfarer Vans makes affordable kits for two different types of camping vans.
Photo: Courtesy Wayfarer
Costs: $ 5,196 and up depending on which van you equip. Article also available a la cart.
Of the type: Ram Promaster City Cargo; Ram Promaster 136-inch wheelbase, high roof; Ram Promaster 159-inch wheelbase, high roof; and the Ford Transit 148, long, high roof.
Details: With kits for different types of vans, Wayfarer offers an affordable way to find the camper of your dreams. The Wayfarer kit for the smaller Promaster City van includes sturdy insulation panels, a sturdy table that can be folded up against the wall, floor coverings and RV boxes with cushions.
The larger Ram Promaster kits include floors, integrated load management rails, wall and ceiling paneling with 100% natural wool insulation, outside shelving, a kitchen with 5 gallon fresh and gray water tanks, sink and hand pump, bed platform, trunk box and privacy screen for the sliding door window areas and the back door.
A complete kit typically takes less than two months from order to completion. Shipping is a flat $ 500 or installation at the Wayfarer store in Colorado Springs, Colorado is free. More information can be found here.