With summer in full swing, adventurers are out in force enjoying everything from national parks to off-the-grid camping in remote destinations. And while you’ll see no shortage of teardrops, Airstreams, and RVs on the roads, there’s one type of vehicle that’s king this summer: the Class B adventure van. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.
Whether it’s a Sprinter or a Promaster, camper vans are so popular that in states like Colorado, Montana, and Oregon, new conversion van companies are opening every month. It can be hard to stand out in a sea of awesome vans, but the latest company to catch our eye did just that.
Based in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Nomad Vanz builds custom adventure vans either for weekend adventurers or those wanting to live in their vans full time. Most builds use the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter high or low roof vehicles, although Nomad Vanz has done partial conversions for customers who own Ford Transits, Dodge ProMasters, and the Mercedes-Benz Metris.
The team drove their showcase van, named Out of the Blue, down to Overland Expo this past May in Flagstaff, Arizona, and gave Curbed a tour. Starting with the Sprinter 2500 high roof, Nomad Vanz used a playful blend of plaid tartan—inspired by vintage Volkswagen fabric—teak accents, and white cabinets to offer a modern take on mobile living. At first glance, the orange floors and brightly lit interiors offer a nice change in an industry that still struggles to move away from RV beige. But look a bit longer and this van is packed with amenities.
Open the sliding door to Out of the Blue and you step inside a compact living room with seating for four with front cabin swivel chairs. A wall mounted table bracket holds a solid teak table top for working or eating, and large picture windows provide a view to the outdoors. A high-end kitchen uses a Wallas diesel two-burner cooktop, Vitrifrigo fridge, large sink, stainless steel backsplash, and bamboo cutting board. Sleek cabinets conceal loads of storage, and ceilings lights and cabinet backlighting make the van’s interior feel more spacious.
At night, a lightweight carbonate bed panel holds a latex mattress wrapped in an organic cotton cover, while articulating bed springs add to comfort and airflow. Two people can sleep easily lengthwise in the rear bedroom thanks to custom side pop outs, a space-saving element that can hold individuals up to 6 feet 6 inches. The living room two-person bench seats also transform into a small bed for a guest, and hand-sewn magnetic window shades help insulate and provide a veritable sleeping cave at night.
A well-designed kitchen and comfortable sleeping space are non negotiable for most Class B lovers, but where the Out of the Blue van really sets itself apart is in the bathroom department. A cassette cartridge toilet slides out of an inconspicuous cabinet in the main living area, and an innovative indoor shower system means that winter showers after skiing are a real possibility in this van.
Just take out the stowaway shower curtain and wand, set it up above the flush-mounted drain pan in the entry way of the van, and enjoy on-demand hot water from the van’s electrical and heating systems. The shower area can also be used to wash off pesky dirt or sand as you enter, and all of the van’s mechanics are controlled from a helpful command center located in an upper cabinet. Although we’ve seen adventure-oriented vans with full bathrooms in the past—the Winnebago Revel comes to mind—we much prefer this set up if you’re trying to maximize living space.
Outside, the Out of the Blue van boasts ROAMBUILT roof racks, Zamp solar panels, and burly bumpers and guards. An extended 63-gallon fuel tank helps you get where you want to go, and patin protection film and LED lights ensure that the van will always be Instagram-ready. And most important for gear addicts, a rear garage accented with storage pockets can fit bikes, skis, or whatever else you need to get outdoors.
Each Nomad Vanz build is custom, and the company works with each client to build what they need, so prices can vary. Premium Nomad Vanz full custom conversions start at $120,000 for the 144-inch wheelbase and $150,000 for the 170-inch wheelbase. While expensive, that’s in line with many other high-end conversion companies.
Even if you can’t scrape up the cash for a custom build and you go the DIY Route, it’s great to see companies like Nomad Vanz rethinking what vans can be. With an eye for design—hello, Chilewich wall textile—and innovative practical solutions like their rain closet shower system, Nomad Vanz is pushing the boundaries on just how many amenities can fit into an adventure van. And that, my friends, is pretty cool.