clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Elegant bamboo camper kits get you van life for $18K

New, 1 comment

Conversion kits can save you time and money

A tan van parked in sand. The doors of the van are open revealing an interior that has a kitchenette.
A 4x4 Mercendes Sprinter converted by ZENVANZ includes bamboo cabinets and paneling.

Whether you’re on the hunt for a budget camper or something more luxurious, new conversion van companies are popping up everywhere. But the next wave of companies capitalizing on #VanLife appeals to all of the DIY-ers out there: modular camper conversion kits. Love campers and trailers? Come join our new community group.

For adventurers who can’t afford a Sportsmobile or an Outside Van, conversion kits are the best of both worlds. You save time by using a kit measured and fabricated by someone else, and you save money by installing the kit yourself. It’s the perfect fit for a wannabe van owner who is handy with a power drill but doesn’t feel confident making cabinetry.

We’ve reported on kits from companies like Portland-based Adventure Wagon before, but what caught our eye recently were the gorgeous interiors from ZENVANZ. Created by Portland couple Bryan and Jen Danger—who also converted a 480-square-foot garage into a rent-free oasis—ZENVANZ emerged because so many people loved the couple’s personal van. After making a few fully converted vans for clients, the Dangers decided they wanted to stay on the road and use their hard-earned knowledge and skills to sell DIY kits as well.

The interior of a van. The walls are wood paneled and there is a bed with grey bed linens. There is a kitchenette with a stove. There are storage compartments under the bed which is elevated.
Selling for $18,000, a DIY kit comes with everything you need for the kitchen, storage, and sleeping.
Courtesy of ZENVANZ

Made from aluminum exoskeleton and bent bamboo panels, the ZENVANZ DIY van kit is a complete cabinetry and component system you install into your van using factory holes. That means that the cabinets can also be removed if the van needs to be converted back to a daily driver, or if you want to upgrade or redesign the interior.

Each kit comes with an interior galley kitchen featuring solid, marine-grade bamboo cabinetry, a bamboo and PaperStone countertop, and a cutlery drawer with soft close hardware. Other upgrades to the kitchen can be added on, like a fridge, a two-burner propane cooktop, a sink, and a mounted tabletop.

Elsewhere, the kit comes with a ton of storage—think three bedside cabinets, five driver side, and two passenger side upper cabinets. A three panel bed system is removable, stackable, and easily sleeps two, while a slide out step conceals a Thetdford Marine port-a-potty. Finally, the DIY kit boasts a fold-out gear drying rack made of bamboo hooks that attaches to the upper door panel of the passenger sliding door. It folds flat when not in use, has been one of the most popular items made by ZENVANZ, and is a lifesaver for handing wet jackets or gear.

A detailed look at the cutlery and storage drawers included in the DIY kit.
Courtesy of ZENVANZ

You can also add sealed bamboo door panels for all door and wall panels and half-inch bamboo ceiling slats to finish the look. But even the basic package—priced at $18,000—is the most elevated and high-end DIY kit we’ve seen, especially thanks to the elegant look of the all-bamboo finishes. This is a kit made from design-minded adventurers who have spent plentiful time on the road, and it shows.

We toured the ZENVANZ cabinet systems at the Overland Expo in Flagstaff, Arizona, in May and we have to say, they look just as good in person. Of course, you still need to buy a van on top of the kit price, but the increasing number of top-notch DIY kits on the market should make a fully converted van more attainable to #VanLife dreamers.

To find out more about the ZENVANZ DIY kits and the fully converted vans they have for sale, head over here.

The kitchen uses bamboo cabinetry and a PaperStone countertop.
Courtesy of ZENVANZ
Cabinets provide plentiful storage and a sleek look.
Courtesy of ZENVANZ
The three-panel bed system is easily removable and stackable.
Courtesy of ZENVANZ
Sealed bamboo panels are an additional upgrade to the kit.
Courtesy of ZENVANZ