A new year—and new decade—is quickly approaching, and to celebrate, we’re looking back at our favorite campers of 2019. Today’s focus is camper vans, the adventure-ready Class B RVs that are in hot demand from coast to coast. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group!
Curbed was on the camper van beat this year, reporting on camper vans in all sizes and price points. We also provided service-oriented intel to keep you in-the-know on all things #VanLife—our stories on what to ask before buying a camper van, which vans are the best to convert, and the business of van life were some of our most-read all year.
It’s hard to narrow down our favorites, which is why we’ve delivered a range. All-new camper vans like the Winnebago Solis and Thor Sequence made the cut, as did the much-talked about VisionVenture concept van from the Erwun Hymer Group. But we’ve also chosen a few vans simply because they are well-designed and beautiful—several of the vans on this list look more like hip apartments than roving homes-on-the-go—and we couldn’t leave out the viral DIY conversion made from $1,000 worth of Ikea products.
Without further ado, here are the nine best camper vans we reported on this year.
Yama Nomad’s Christopher van
Like a chic apartment on wheels, this 2018 four-wheel-drive Mercedes Sprinter van showcases the gorgeous design typical of Yama Nomad in a 170-inch wheelbase. The van features tiled floors and all-white walls, with a sofa that works for daytime lounging or reading. A swivel table and swivel front cabin chairs gives you a spot to eat or work, and overhead cabinets allow for plenty of storage.
Where Yama Nomad sets themselves apart is the home-like design of their kitchen. A white farmhouse sink with a pull down faucet contrasts with teal and gold-accented cabinets. A custom walnut countertop adds warmth to the design, and the kitchen also features a diesel-powered Webasto two-burner cooktop, white-tiled wall, magnetic knife block, 75-liter top-load fridge, and enough drawers to store your utensils and cooking supplies. See it all, this way.
VisionVenture concept van
Although it’s unlikely to ever become a reality, this concept camper from the Erwin Hymer Group was one of the most talked about campers of 2019. Built on a Mercedes chassis, the VisionVenture is a forward-thinking camper that looks more like a high-end apartment than a striped-down adventure rig.
To accomplish this, the camper’s interior uses warm bamboo, gray felt, and leather, mixing woods with other materials to add interest. The living area is located in the rear with two white sofas and a center dining table that folds down below the passenger-side bench. The stand-out feature of the living room is the panoramic rear window and large side windows. Fold out the rear door, drop a lower gate and the van boasts its own rear deck—complete with slide-out electric grill. See even more, this way.
Outside Van’s Next Gen
We’re always excited to see what Oregon-based Outside Van cooks up with their custom-built adventure vans, whether it’s a no-frills mountain biking oasis for two, or a sleek and modern 4x4 ready to off road. But the Next Gen van takes design up a notch, with a fun teal, orange, and brown color scheme that’s a departure from Outside Van’s usual industrial look.
Custom upholstered katzkin leather seats feature a center stripe of color in a durable Sunbrella fabric, while the upper storage areas use a brass-like finish and white accents. A unique partition system with roll-up doors lets you close off the back area, and another roll-up door provides access to the fully enclosed aluminum shower. Wood-inspired floors look fresh and apartment-like, although they are made with marine-grade vinyl that’s built to last. See more, this way.
Winnebago debuted two new camper vans this year, the Boldt and the Solis. Already well known for the Revel, a converted 144-inch Mercedes Sprinter with four-wheel drive, Winnebago is looking to grow its share of the camper van market.
Billed as a four-season pop-up camper built on the Ram Promaster chassis, the Solis is also Winnebago’s most affordable camper van with a 2020 price tag of $100,667. What’s exciting for potential buyers is that the Solis delivers sleeping space for four thanks to a rear double-bed area that converts to seating during the day. Buyers can opt for a queen-size Murphy bed that drops down, or—and this is key for families—a sofa bed that includes two additional three-point seat belts. This means that parents can safely drive and sleep their kiddos, either in the optional sofa bed or in the two chairs up front.
Whichever option you choose, two people can enjoy the rear sleeping space while another two people can sleep in the fiberglass pop-top area that includes the Froli sleeping system and three windows. See more, this way.
Jupiter from Nomad Vanz
We first met the Nomad Vanz crew at Overland Expo in 2018 where we ogled their showcase van Out of the Blue, and in 2019, the build that really impressed was the Jupiter. The high-roof van features the shortest wheelbase (144 inches) offered by Mercedes, but Nomad Vanz still manages to fit in all the essentials, and more.
Step into the sliding side door and you’re struck by the van’s bright colors. A yellow floor is both durable and cheery, and red kitchen cabinets match the van’s exterior. A feature Chilewich wall adds texture to compliment the other colors, while gray storage upper and central cabinets balance out the design. An oversized window adds an airy feeling above the small cube seating area, and a moveable teak tabletop works for work or eating. Check it all out, over here.
Shabby-chic camper van from Supertramped Co.
Supertramped Co’s latest build started with a Mercedes-Benz T2, a boxy, burly van that was manufactured by Daimler-Benz from 1967 to 1996. Often used as ambulances, delivery vehicles, and work trucks, the T2s have established a cult status in Europe for their durable construction and maneuverability.
Called Ernie, this bright blue and white van has been gutted and transformed. Supertramped Co.’s clients wanted a surf-inspired mobile beach hut with shabby chic decor, and that’s what they got. The whitewashed cabinetry delivers on country style, and seashell and starfish trinkets point to the beach theme. A blue and white backsplash tile accents the farmhouse sink nicely, and the kitchen also includes a fridge/freezer combo, stove top, and oven. See more photos, this way.
A DIY Ikea van
Readers loved this giant Ikea hack on wheels as a novel idea for van life on a budget. As documented on her blog The Sweet Savory Life, Grace Aquino and her husband Marlon bought a low-roof 2017 Ram Promaster cargo van and converted it using approximately 80 percent of its materials from Ikea.
In total, building the Ikea camper van cost about $1,000 in materials and everything can be taken out and reorganized as needed. It’s an affordable option for a DIY van, and the couple has enjoyed living in it full-time since earlier this spring. See the Ikea products used in the van, this way.
Sequence by Thor Motor Coach
In an effort to appeal to younger generations, Thor Motor Coach (one of the Thor industries brands) debuted a Class B camper van called the Sequence. This camper van is a first for the company—in the past they’ve only manufactured Class A and Class C motorhomes.
The Sequence is built on a Ram Promaster 3500 (one of the go-to vans for DIY conversions) and its design looks to the small camper vans of Europe for inspiration. A wet bath is housed in the rear of the van, and dining benches on either side combine to form a wider sleeping space for two. Wooden cabinetry is sourced from Italy, there’s a slide-out dog bowl so you can bring along Fido, and the two driver cab seats swivel and feature a retractable table for eating. The compact kitchen boasts the essentials with a sink, dual-burner stove, microwave, and fridge. Find out more, over here.
Off Grid Adventure Vans
We first reported on Off Grid Adventure Vans in 2018 as they were in the beginning stages of their company. Unlike other pricey converted vans that cost well over $100,000, the team wanted to build a more budget-conscious van. Today, Off Grid Adventure Vans is still focused on affordability while also offering more choice to consumers with builds on both Promasters and Ford Transits.
The Rambler—which costs $33,000 for the buildout—is still their most popular layout on the 159-inch Ram Promaster. In this model a full-size Murphy bed sleeps two and folds up when not in use. In its place are two long bench seats with a removable table in between for working or dining. See more, over here.