How to Choose Your First Van

Best Van For Vanlife

I constantly get asked what people should be thinking about before they go and buy their first van, what is the best van for vanlife, and which van best suits them. So here are a few things to mull over before you go throw that hard earned cash down on your first home on wheels.

So you’ve figured out vanlife IS for you (if you’re still unsure check this blog out before continuing to read on), but what kind of van are you going to turn into your humble abode? This will be very dependent on what kind of needs you have, how much time you plan on spending in it, what you want to use it for, and what you’re willing to sacrifice. Do you really want to be able to stand up inside? Then a sprinter, pop top, or some other high top van is for you. How much stuff do you want to fit in? If you want to be able to fit bikes, climbing gear, and your pack of 30 Chihuahuas, then you’ll need something large with plenty of storage room. Want to be incognito? Then your stock standard white plumbing van with pipes on top is your best bet. Here are some of the main factors to consider:

  • Cost - Figure out your budget and the vehicles that fit within that. 

  • Space - The more luxuries and the more toys you want the more space you’ll need and the bigger the van.

  • Time spent in van - A weekend warrior will have different needs to a full-timer and potentially need less luxuries. 

  • Comfort Levels - The luxuries are what get you through the tough times, but the more luxuries the bigger the van and the bigger the cost. 

  • Climate - Some vans are easier to insulate than others. More extreme environments, hot and cold, will mean you’ll be needing more insulation. 

  • Fuel Efficiency - Fuel is usually a vanlifers biggest cost so if you plan on touring a lot an efficient vehicle will save you thousands of dollars.

  • Visibility - Camping in the most obvious places is possible in an incognito van so if you’d like to spend more time in cities or areas you’re not supposed to be camping maybe a van that is less obvious is for you. 

  • Mechanical Reputation - Are you prepared to be stuck on the side of the road or constantly worrying your vehicle might not make it (ask any classic VW owners)? If not a newer vehicle with a solid reputation will keep you in better stead. 

  • Off road capabilities - if you want the extra adventure and be able to reach places far and wide having a 4x4 vehicle will be for you. 

Each van is going to have a mixture of pro’s and con’s so whatever is high on your priority list will determine the best van for you. If you’d like to read a more in-depth break down of each factor, a list of luxuries you might want in your van, and see the pro’s and con’s of 15 vehicles from three different continents download my FREE e-book here. 

Jess Bonde