5 Types to Choose From

5 Types to Choose From

You’ve determined to drop the roots that maintain you in a single place and see what the world has to supply, taking your house on the go. Much like an lovely hermit crab or turtle, you wish to be protected, comfy, and absolutely ready for no matter journey comes your means, wherever on the earth you wish to be. 

Welcome to van life.

Living in a van is numerous enjoyable. It lets you be fully location unbiased, supplying you with the liberty to go the place you please, as long as there’s a highway to take you there. 

But, similar to something in life, it’s not all epic sunsets, picture-perfect campsites, and comfy nights. There are numerous professionals and cons to residing in a van however selecting the right car kind for the van life you dream of is essential to creating it give you the results you want.

While vans are available in many shapes, sizes, and colours, I’ve damaged them down into 5 differing types. These automobiles will give you both extra off-road capabilities, extra inside area, or a extra lux expertise. Fill within the blanks to select the perfect van for your van life. 

Jeep / SUV with Roof Tent


  • Use your on a regular basis car
  • No constructing mandatory
  • Can take you wherever, roads optionally available
  • The best-fitted car will include an enormous price ticket, an older or used mannequin will likely be inexpensive


  • Not nice for constructing an inside residing area
  • Small, not capable of stand inside
  • Bad climate is a dealbreaker

Let’s begin with the smallest possibility on this record and one which’s truly not a van in any respect. Opting for a Jeep or small SUV with all-wheel drive (AWD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD) received’t provide you with an indoor kitchen or workspace nevertheless it’s the final word car for outside adventures.

We met loads of folks on the highway who have been touring this manner. By including a pop-up tent to their roof (with a ladder for straightforward entry), they have been actually capable of take their on a regular basis car wherever they needed to go. With a Jeep or different SUV fitted for actions, you’ll be capable to simply convey your bikes, kayaks, or additional gear with you. Plus, most of those automobiles can fold their backseats fully down, supplying you with the choice to sleep inside or offering you with loads of storage for your whole tenting gear.

The Bottom Line: A Jeep or related SUV with a rooftop tent is the right journey car for these searching for a real escape. If you need to have the ability to go and camp wherever, with out being hindered by roads or parking areas, that is the one for you. Ideal for these not doing this full-time.

Ford Econoline E150 or Similar


  • Small sufficient to park wherever and mix in
  • Large sufficient to have a mattress, small kitchen, and space for storing
  • Easy driving, particularly in cities
  • Super inexpensive


  • Not all fashions have 4WD 
  • You received’t be capable to rise up
  • Max area for two folks

A Ford Econoline E150 is comparatively small. This is the kind of van most frequently related to building employees, painters, or sadly sufficient for its shallowness, these dodgy white vans that kids are lured to.

Now, let’s drop that stereotype and see these vans for what they are surely: a compact sufficient car that you simply’ll be capable to slot in practically all parking spots however giant sufficient the place you possibly can flip the within into a snug construct with some room to stretch out.

When my husband, canine, and I launched into our western U.S. highway journey, we purchased a Ford Econoline E150, affectionately named Wanda. Wanda was the right van for what we wanted her for. We deliberate to spend most of our time open air, solely deliberate to do dispersed tenting, and needed to have the ability to pop into cities when it was handy.

She was the right dimension for all of that. 

Although the Ford Econoline was superb for our journey, it does have its downfalls. Unless you wish to take off the roof and add top, adults received’t be capable to stand absolutely erect in these. You’ll have to hunch or sit whereas inside, which may get fairly tiresome if that is your full-time residence. Ours additionally didn’t have a 4-wheel drive, so whereas we have been capable of take her to some fairly distant locations, we couldn’t do all the adventures we hoped for. 

The Bottom Line: A Ford Econoline or related is the perfect van for van life if you need to have the ability to combine in visiting distant areas with spending time in cities. It’s additionally nice should you plan to solely do that part-time or for a comparatively quick time period. 

Mercedes Sprinter or Similar


  • Modern facilities
  • Spacious interiors
  • Big sufficient for a small household (however finest for 1-2 adults)
  • Ideal dimension for full-time van life


  • The price ticket of your van is well-known and may draw undesirable consideration
  • It’s larger than you suppose, making metropolis driving typically powerful
  • Given the variety of options, it may be powerful to keep up

I do know you’ve seen loads of Sprinter vans if you scroll by means of Instagram daydreaming of your life on wheels. I get it: they’re new, trendy, aesthetically pleasing, and spacious sufficient. If you might have the cash to spend on one, it actually is difficult to beat out a Sprinter’s facilities, particularly as a digital nomad needing to stability journey with work.

The mixture of with the ability to rise up and having all the facilities of an actual home, with out being so large you possibly can’t get wherever, is a fairly nice possibility. Keep in thoughts although, Sprinters are most likely smaller in your head than they really are in actual life. You received’t slot in many parking areas or parking decks should you plan to spend your time stealth tenting round cities. 

Given its dimension although, it’s a nice van for full-time van life for a single particular person, couple, or a household with a small youngster. Thanks to how intricate van builds are nowadays, you’ll be shocked by how a lot you possibly can match right into a Sprinter. 

The Bottom Line: A Sprinter is a good possibility for somebody who will stay full-time of their van. It’s can value a hefty sum, so it’s finest for somebody with cash to spare. It’s not the one van on the market, opposite to what social media says.

Schoolie (aka a School Bus)


  • You’ll have greater than sufficient room inside
  • You can get tremendous inventive with the inside construct
  • It’s an inexpensive possibility
  • It’s each child’s dream come true


  • It’s large so that you received’t have all the liberty to go the place you please
  • It’ll be actually tough to seek out parking in cities
  • Gas will likely be costly

All aboard the college bus! This time although, we’re skipping elementary college and going straight into the outside. Well, at the very least as far into the outside as your large ‘ol bus will take us. 

Let’s get one factor straight: residing in a college bus is cool. Something about it brings all of the vibes and you’ll go forward and assume whoever calls this bus house is a fairly down-to-Earth particular person. That being stated, driving a college bus wherever you go actually isn’t for everybody.

Given its dimension, you possibly can kiss downtown parking goodbye. You may also say chao to tremendous dispersed tenting the place the areas to park may simply be a small reduce out down a hardly used forest highway. 

On the opposite hand, its dimension means spacious residing. If you intend to journey slowly, keep on pal’s property, or are prepared to sacrifice the place precisely you park your house, you’ll love simply how large your transportable home is. You’ll be capable to create a full-on residing area, working area, kitchen, and sleeping space with none points.

The Bottom Line: A schoolie is the perfect “van” for “van life” should you choose consolation and area over the flexibility to journey far off the overwhelmed path. This is nice for those who want ample workspace or are simply making an attempt to avoid wasting a fairly penny on housing prices.



  • The construct is completed for you
  • You’ll have all of the at-home facilities already inbuilt
  • You’ll have loads of choices with dimension
  • You can discover an RV in your finances


  • They’re not nice off-the-grid automobiles
  • Stealth parking will likely be powerful in cities
  • They perform at their full potential solely when connected at RV websites.

Before I dive into residing in an RV, I wish to preface with this: RVs are available in a wide range of sizes and builds. I understand it is a large blanket time period however I’ve my causes for lumping all of them collectively, simply stick with me on this one. 

Regardless of the dimensions RV you buy, one factor is for certain: the inside construct will likely be accomplished for you. You’ll buy it prepared for the highway, that means you can begin your nomadic life the second you drive away from the dealership (or from that random particular person you met on Facebook Marketplace). 

This is nice should you both A) don’t have any constructing expertise or need to make use of a hammer or B) are keen to start out your journey and don’t have any time to lose. On the flip facet, that is lower than superb should you both A) love constructing issues or B) wish to have any say in maximize your inside area. 

For us, having the inside accomplished for us was a deal breaker. My husband likes to construct and I needed to study. Although constructing our personal van fully on our personal was weeks of continuous work, it was an enormous a part of the enjoyable. We felt linked to our residence and began our journey with an enormous sense of accomplishment and possession. 

If you simply rolled your eyes at that, you’ll most likely love an RV.

A bonus factor to notice about RVs is way of them have to be hooked as much as perform to their full potential. This means tenting at RV parks, not the good open air. With that electrical energy and water provide although, you possibly can have a extremely comfy livelihood in an RV.

The Bottom Line: An RV is for you if you need a journey car that’s prepared for full-time residing from day one. Based on the dimensions of the RV, it might comfortably suit your total household. It’s additionally finest for the individual that desires to convey all the comforts of a home with them.

Which is the Best Van for Your Van Life?

Now that we’ve got gone by means of 5 completely different car sorts for van life, which one will you select? 

Picking the right van, or related,  to your nomadic journey is essential to beginning it off on the correct foot. Before you pull the set off and buy the primary deal you come throughout, take a while to consider what you need van life to appear to be for you. Since this can quickly develop into your automotive, your house, and your workspace, you received’t wish to take this resolution flippantly. 

Kat Smith, the founding father of A Way Abroad, has been residing world wide for the final 10 years. She not too long ago spent 6 months within the U.S. constructing out a van and having fun with a protracted highway journey. She’s again overseas now, at present traversing the Balkans.


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