In the world of camper vans—and more so than any other type of RV—the most common lament has to do with price. In my inbox or on Curbed’s RV community group you can’t get far without complaints about the cost of vans.
The reasoning is twofold: Both the base vehicles of vans (the Sprinters, Promasters, and Transits) and the van conversion process require steep investments. If you have the right skills and a lot of time, you can save money when converting a DIY van. Lack either of those things and the Class B of your dreams can run well over $100,000.
In recent years, a potential solution has emerged in the shape of van conversion kits, and a brand new conversion kit from Happier Camper is prepped to rock the industry. Kits offer something in between a pricey custom build and the lengthy process of doing a van yourself. Some are relatively simple, consisting of just a bed and maybe some shelving. Others are more involved, with everything you need for a fully outfitted rig.
Happier Camper’s latest product is an expansion of their innovative Adaptiv system. Known for their vintage inspired HC1 travel trailer (read our full review over here), Happier Camper used their experience with modular trailers to create a flexible van system that lets you customize the van on-the-go.
Currently designed for the Mercedes Sprinter 144-inch wheelbase (although you can expect kits for other popular vans in the future), the Adaptive for Vans concept starts with a fiberglass grid floor base and a series of cubes. Two wheel well trunks create four built-in cubes, and once the base is in you add additional cubes in any configuration that you want. Most cubes double as storage areas, and a base package includes cubes with seat cushions, access holes, a cooler ice box, and a cube that functions as a pantry.
Stack two cubes high across the width of the van, add the form-fitting cushions, and you have a bed that can move wherever you need it. Take the cubes out of the van and you have seating or an outdoor kitchen. Need an extra table for a mobile office? A few cubes can accomplish that, too. In the “deluxe” package you can also add a refrigerator cube with countertop, a dry flush toilet, patio bases, and a custom footstep. As Happier Camper has proven with the HC1 trailer, these cubes can stack in a mind-boggling number of combinations.
Happier Camper is debuting the Adaptiv for Vans concept alongside their 2020 trailer models at the California RV show starting today, October 4. An initial production run will be offered to early adopters, and pricing is still TBD. Happier Camper reports that the base kits will likely start around $15,000 and the deluxe kits will run around $20,000, although these prices can change.
We’ve included some photos of the new cube system in a 144-inch Sprinter below. If you’re interested in how the Adaptiv system works in the HC1, Happier Camper’s travel trailer, we’ve added that video below, too.