clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

7 van conversion companies that can build your dream camper

Make #VanLife a reality

A black camper van with a ladder leading to the roof. The van is in a grass field. There are mountains in the background.
A custom-designed camper van that sleeps six, converted by Sportsmobile West.
Photo by Lucy Beaugard

If you’ve been dreaming of a camper van—and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?—you have a few options. You could go the DIY route, devoting hundreds of hours and labor to building your own perfect van. Or you could try a camper kit that provides the conversion basics, but still requires you to install it yourself. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.

But if you don’t have the time, inclination, or skills for the above options, you might need to consider a custom van outfitter. These shops take empty Sprinters, Promasters, and Transits and fill them with everything you need to bike, ski, and play outside. They range from basic builds—think a bed platform and some insulation—to fully integrated adventure rigs, packed with amenities and the comforts of home.

There are new conversion companies popping up monthly—although the northeast is still lacking compared to the west—so we’ve rounded up some of our favorites here. We’ve also identified their location and given a rough estimate of how much a basic conversion costs, without the van. These costs will of course rise or fall depending on what kind of amenities you include, and if you need to know the base price of the most popular van chassis, we’ve covered that, too. Know of a conversion company you love? Give us the details, and we’ll check them out.

Chosen because of their reputations, verified quality of work, and innovative ideas (and sometimes all three), here are seven companies that can help make your van life dreams a reality.

Outside Van

A blue camper van. The doors are open and there is an attached awning. There is a man pumping air into a bicycle near the van. A woman stands in the back of the van. There is a table and a portable grill under the awning. Courtesy of Outside Van
The interior of a camper van. Courtesy of Outside Van
The interior of a camper van. There is a seat, table, and storage compartments. Courtesy of Outside Van
The interior of a camper van. There are various cycling items including a bicycle. Courtesy of Outside Van

Location: Troutdale, Oregon

Cost: Conversions starting at $32,000.

Details: Outside Van converts most any van as long as they are 2007 or newer; you can provide your own van, order a new one, or choose from a chassis that’s in stock. The builds forego the traditional “RV-look” for a more modern, sleek design.

Outside Van’s most common base vehicle is the Mercedes Sprinter, and each van is purpose-built to get you outside and adventuring. This means that whether you want to motorcycle, mountain bike, or kayak, Outside Van can fit all your gear and more. To read about the compact van mountain bike-centric van above, head over here.

Sportsmobile

A black camper van near mountains. the van has a black ladder leading to rooftop storage. Photo by Lucy Beaugard
The interior of a camper van. There is a table, seats, a kitchenette, and cabinetry. Photo by Lucy Beaugard
The interior of a camper van. There is a bed with patterned bed linens. There are storage cabinets along the top of the interior. Photo by Lucy Beaugard
A blue camper van. The back doors are open and there are bicycle parts attached to storage compartments. Photo by Lucy Beaugard

Location: Huntington, Indiana; Austin, Texas; and Fresno, California

Cost: Starting at $35,000

Details: Founded in 1961, Sportsmobile is one of the oldest conversion van companies in the country. They work on Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, Dodge ProMasters, Ford Transits, and Chevy vans, but are probably best known for their pop-up penthouse roof that provides a sleeping space and higher ceiling.

After picking which van to use as a base, you choose one of Sportsmobile’s standard plans or a custom, design-your-own build. Sportsmobile can order the van for you or they can convert a van you already own. To read more about the Sportsmobile van pictured above, head over here.

Van Specialities

Location: Tualatin, Oregon

Cost: Starting from $15,000

Details: Founded over 40 years ago, Van Specialities has a well-earned reputation for quality conversion vans built for camping, surfing, mountain biking, rock climbing, and more. Today, they work on Sprinters, Ford vans, Chevy vans (old and new), Ram Promasters, Nissans, and other custom projects.

Van Specialities has a helpful online quote system that can give you a sense of how much your project might cost, and a large gallery of vans they’ve built over the years.

RB Components

A tan camper van. Courtesy of RB Components
The interior of a camper van. There are seats, a table, and a kitchenette with a sink. There is a microwave and various storage compartments. Courtesy of RB Components
The interior of a camper van. There is a kitchenette with a sink and stove, a bed, and various cabinets. Courtesy of RB Components
The interior of a camper van. There are seats, a table, a kitchenette with a stove, and various storage components. Courtesy of RB Components

Location: Los Angeles, California

Cost: Starting at $25,000

Details: RB Components is marketed as a one-stop shop for trailer, shop, garage, and van accessories. And unlike some van companies out there with subpar websites and service, RB Components delivers. We saw one of their vans at Overland Expo this past spring, and it was well-thought out and superbly constructed.

With a focus on Sprinter van conversions, RB Components add a ton of high-end, functional elements to their builds. But they also sell everything from base cabinets to bed panel kits that can get you the van lifestyle at a fraction of the cost. Like something pictured in the van above? It’s probably for sale. Read more, this way.

Colorado Camper Van

Location: Loveland, Colorado

Cost: Interior builds start around $12,000, while pop-tops start at $10,500.

Details: Colorado Camper Van offers a range of services, but they are most well-known for adding a pop-top sleeping area to an array of vans. Customers can opt for just that service, or they can move up to different “levels” that gradually add more bells and whistles.

Perhaps the best part of the company is their flexibility; Colorado Camper Vans can pop the top on Ford Transits, Sprinters, Promasters, Ford E Series, Nissan NV, the Chevy Express, and Euro Vans.

Sync Vans

A grey van in a field next to a body of water. The van has a painted pattern on the side of it.
The interior of a camper van. There is a bicycle, a seat, and storage compartments.
The interior of a camper van. There is ski equipment and camping gear hanging from hooks and on top of storage compartments.
The interior of a camper van with multiple units of storage.

Location: Hailey, Idaho

Cost: Starting at $32,000

Details: We first came across Idaho-based Sync Vans in Arizona at the Overland Expo West, where we were able to tour their vans in person. Sleek finishes and innovative storage ideas made a good first impression, and we love that Sync has a much shorter build time—less than four months—than many of their competitors.

A modern look, adventure-minded details, and space-saving design elements all help Sync Vans make the cut. Read more about the van above, this way.

Beartooth Vanworks

A black camper van in a desert next to a cliff face.
The inside of a camper van. There is a kitchenette with a sink, a seat, and a wooden table.
The interior of a camper van with a tan seat, under seat storage, and overhead storage compartments.
The interior of a camper van with counters that have many drawers and storage.

Location: Bozeman, Montana

Cost: Starting price is $30,000

Details: Located in the outdoorsy city of Bozeman, Beartooth Vanworks offers a range of different van build outs, including this show model called the First Tracks (for more details on this van, head over here).

Beyond the basics, Beartooth Vanworks is a pro at customizing your van for particular activities. As the name implies, the First Tracks van is built to chase snow in the winter, while other custom builds focus on whatever activity your heart desires.