By Bryan Hood
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The last few years have highlighted how important it is to step away from our daily lives from time to time. They’ve also been a reminder that you can travel without suffering the airport hordes or stepping foot on a plane. We currently find ourselves in something of agolden age for luxury campers and trailers, which has made it easier than ever to take your life on the road without sacrificing comfort. And now, there are plenty of brands and shops giving the same treatment to vans. They may not be able to sleep as many people as their hulking cousins, but these all-in-one vehicles come loaded with creature comforts such as high-end kitchens, Wi-Fi-enabled multimedia systems and plush beds. Plus, their relatively smaller size means they are more agile, off-road friendly and easier to park. Below, 13 campers that will let you experience #vanlife in comfort and style.
Our Best Camper Van Picks
- Best Overall: Airstream Interstate 24X
- Best for Off-Roading: Jayco Terrain
- Best for Weekend Getaways: Mercedes-Benz EQT Marco Polo
- Best for Cyclists: Outside Van Tails
- Best for Camping (Anywhere): Storyteller Overland Beast Mode 4×4
- Best to Live In: Loef Camper Van
- Best All-Electric Option: Tonke EQV
- Best With a Bathroom and Shower: Thor Motor Coach Sanctuary
- Best Under $50,000: Fiat Ducato Camper Van
- Best for Families: Winnebago Boldt
- Best for Winter Road Trips: Sportsmobile Sprinter 4×4
- Best Conversion: Glampervan Promaster MUV
- Best for DIY Couples: Ford Transit Trail
Best Overall: Airstream Interstate 24X
Airstream. Thankfully, the company isn’t afraid to branch out. Just look at theInterstate 24X, the trailer maker’s attempt to take the camper van to new heights. Built on the bones of aMercedes-BenzSprinter—like a lot of the models on this list—the vehicle has everything you need to rough it in comfort. Airstream has done a lot to maximize space in its climate-controlled cabin. A modular dining table doubles as a desk, and it can be easily converted into the largest sleeping area in a Class B Motorhome. There’s also a full mini kitchen and bathroom. You can take the van off-roading, too. In addition to a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 engine that churns out 188 hp and 325 ft lbs of torque, it also comes equipped with four-wheel drive, a height-adjustable suspension and all-terrain tires. Pricing for the all-around beast starts at $213,850.
—A climate-controlled living area that has been designed to maximize available space.
—A modular dinner table, a mini-kitchen and a bathroom with a toilet.
Best for Off-Roading: Jayco Terrain
Jayco is best known for its hulking travel trailers, but like Airstream, it can do compact, too (well, compact enough to fit in a parking space, that is). The US company’s newTerrainmodel, which starts at $192,000, is an adventure van designed for those who like to veer from the beaten path. As the name suggests, it’s designed for off-roading, with a turbo-diesel V-6, Koni shocks, a rear stabilizer and a rear hitch strong enough to tow an additional trailer if you need more room. Inside, it’s a little spartan compared to some other options on this list, but its kitchenette can be converted into a sleeping area with room for a full-size bed, as well as plenty of storage space beneath. There’s even a built-in awning when you need some shade in the summer months.
—Equipped with Koni shocks, a rear stabilizer and a heavy-duty tow hitch.
—Kitchenette can be converted into a spacious sleeping area with room for a full-size bed.
Best for Weekend Getaways: Mercedes-Benz EQT Marco Polo
Mercedes-Benz clearly doesn’t want to relinquish its title as the go-to van maker for outdoor lovers. At last year’s Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, the German marque showed off a prototype based on its upcoming all-electric EQT van called the Marco Polo. The stylish EV has everything you need for a weekend at the campground and is more compact than the ubiquitous Sprinter. When the van’s rear seats are folded down, the back can be used as either a sleeping area with room for a double bed or a cooking and entertaining space. The kitchen doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some of the other entries on this list, but it does have a pull-out stove, fridge and sink. There’s also a pop-up, roof-mounted tent if your travel party includes more than two. The Marco Polo is a concept, but Mercedes will sell a module that will allow you to turn any EQT into a camper van when the $51,500 EV goes on sale in the spring.
—All-electric power train, so you don’t have to worry about doing too much damage to nature while you explore it.
—Itscampinggear—from the bed to the kitchenette—is part of a module that can be fully removed when you need more cargo room.
Best for Cyclists: Outside Van Tails
If you like to mix biking and camping, Outside Van has the vehicle for you. The Portland brand’sTailsmodel is a camper van designed with cyclists in mind. The van, which is based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, has everything you need for a few days away from home, including a kitchenette, a roll-over sofa and a convertible mattress. But what really sets it apart is the rear of the vehicle that’s basically an on-the-go bicycle repair shop, with a fold-down work table, an air compressor and Molle panels to hang all your tools. If that wasn’t enough, it somehow has room for six bikes, even when the bed is laid out for the night.
—The back of the van is basically a bicycle-repair shop with a fold-down table, an air compressor and plenty of storage space for tools.
—Has room for six bikes, even when its convertible sleeping area is out.
Best for Camping (Anywhere): Storyteller Overland Beast Mode 4×4
This latest offering from Storyteller Overland, based in Birmingham, Ala., is a true adventure van. TheBeast Mode 4×4is the outfit’s most feature-packed model yet and was designed specifically for overlanding (as you may have guessed from the company’s name). It’s a true 4×4 powered by a 188 hp turbodiesel V-6 that’s strong enough to tow an additional 5,000 pounds. Its slick retro-style livery is offset with loads of useful off-roading gear, too, such as an LED light package, a roof rack and a side ladder and custom wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich K02 tires. Inside, you’ll find everything you need to relax after a day of exploring, including a cushy lounge that can be converted to a full-size sleeping area. There’s even a climate-control system to ensure you’re comfortable no matter the weather outside. It’s priced at a flat $198,746, for everything listed above.
—Turbodiesel V-6 sends 188 hp of power to all four wheels and is strong enough to tow 5,000 extra pounds.
—Surprisingly cushy lounge for an off-roading beast.
Best to Live In: Loef Camper Van
Camper vans tend to be smaller than full-size campers and trailers, but if you want one with the maximum amount of space, Loef has you covered. The company’slatest luxury modelspans 24 feet from bumper to bumper and is nine feet tall. That means its wide-open cabin has more than enough room for a full kitchen, bathroom and entertainment area that converts to a spacious sleeping nook once the night’s festivities are over. There’s also a slide-out Big Green Egg Mini Grille built into the rear door so you can have an outdoor barbecue when it’s nice out. While the $150,000 van’s main virtue is its luxurious interior, the 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine ensures that you’ll have enough power to navigate any road.
—Large enough for two entertainment areas, one of which has a five-seat wraparound sofa.
—Stylish interior is inspired by Scandinavian design.
Best All-Electric Option: Tonke EQV
Looking for an EV you can take to the campground. The upcoming EQV just might fit the bill. Despite its relatively compact size—it’s smaller than the ever-popular Sprinter—Dutch camping outfit Tonke has managed to outfit it with everything you need to spend some time communing with nature. It has an entertainment area that doubles as a workspace along with a kitchenette, both of which can be converted into a two-person sleeping area with a simple flip of a bench (a roof-mounted, pop-up tent means it can sleep two more, too). Best of all, there are two variants available—the Touring, which is designed for long road trips, and the Adventure, which is aimed at casual campers.
—Fully electronic power train means you won’t have to worry about filling up the tank (though the battery is another story).
—Can sleep up to four even despite its relatively compact size.
Best With a Bathroom and Shower: Thor Motor Coach Sanctuary
Thor Motor Coach makes camper vans for those uninterested in making sacrifices. With theSanctuary, the company has taken Mercedes-Benz’s already excellent Sprinter 2500 4×4 and turned it into something you could easily live on—on or off the grid. The off-road-ready vehicle comes in two configurations—the 19P ($148,680), which features a back bench that converts into a bed, or the 19L ($151,060), which has a fixed double bed. Even with the bed there’s still plenty of room for other creature comforts, including a bathroom, an entertainment area with a TV and a kitchen with a sink, a dual-burner cooktop, a convection microwave oven and a fridge. An Onan 2500 LP generator keeps everything up and running, too, including an A/C system you can leave on for eight hours at a time. There’s also retractable power awning when you want to spend some time outdoors.
—Full-featured bathroom has a sink, a shower and a toilet.
—Available with your choice of either a convertible or a fixed bed.
Best Under $50,000: Fiat Ducato Camper Van
If you don’t like the Mercedes Sprinter, it can be hard to find a refined camper van. Luckily, theFiat Ducatoshould do the trick. The Italian automaker’s van, which starts at $48,000, is a great base for anyone looking to build their own compact motorhome. Available in four different wheelbases—9.8, 11.3, 12.5 and 13.2 feet—it can be customized to feature everything you want to take with you on the road, including an entertainment and sleeping area, as well as a kitchen. There’s are also several power train options to choose from. The brawniest generates up to 180 hp and comes mated to a manual transmission for the purists who can’t imagine driving anything else. The company also plans tolaunch an electric versionin the near future.
—Available in four different wheelbases—9.8, 11.3, 12.5 and 13.2 feet.
—Can be outfitted with a manual transmission, if you’re the kind of person who cares about that sort of thing.
Best for Families: Winnebago Boldt
Airstream isn’t the only famous RV maker that’s gotten into the camper van game. Winnebago actually sells several, and our favorite is the luxeBoldt. Despite being nowhere near as long as one of its campers—it caps out at 22 feet in length—the $230,276 van has everything you’d expect from the larger vehicle, including dedicated living and sleeping areas, a fully functional kitchen and a bathroom equipped with a shower. You also have several interior decor options to choose from, each of which delivers an updated take on classic Winnebago style. The Boldt is designed for paved roads and campgrounds, but if you want a more rugged ride, the brand also offers the off-road-readyRevel.
—Stretches 22 feet bumper to bumper, meaning there’s plenty of room for you and yours.
—Enough space for dedicated entertaining and sleeping areas.
Best for Winter Road Trips: Sportsmobile Sprinter 4×4
Take one look atSportsmobile’s Sprinter 4×4and it’s clear what its designers had in mind: off-roading. Whether you go with the 12- or 14-foot configuration, the Texas outfit’s stripped-down take on Mercedes’s ultra-popular van comes equipped with a 3.0-liter BlueTec V-6 connected to a five-speed automatic transmission and pumps out 188 hp and 325 ft lbs of torque. That should be more than enough to tackle even the toughest terrain. Inside, you’ll find a spacious living area with a full-featured kitchen. If you want even more room, you can also opt for a pop-up sleeping area that’ll make it that much easier to lounge in comfort.
—Well insulated throughout, but also has space for a propane furnace or heater.
— 3.0-liter BlueTec V-6and four-wheel drive mean it can take on any terrain.
Best Conversion: Glampervan Promaster MUV
If you’re struggling to find a van that checks all your boxes,Glampervanmay be worth a look. Using the Ram Promaster 136 as its base, the Oakland-based company will help you build the vehicle of your dreams whether your main priority is work or play (or both). The fully loaded version starts at around $80,000 and has a spacious interior with a full kitchen, plenty of storage space and a lounge area that can be converted into a bed. The van is powered by a solid 3.6-liter V-6 that churns out a respectable 280 hp and 260 ft lbs of twist. That mill and a slew of off-road accessories, including all-terrain tires, mean you’ll be able to have some run with the van, even after the road runs out.
—Shop works with you to create the camper van of your dreams.
—Every one of the company’s builds comes with a queen-sized Murphy bed.
Best for DIY Couples: Ford Transit Trail
Ford’s ready to knock the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter off its perch. The Detroit giant unveiled its own camper van, the Transit Trail, last fall. The adventure-ready vehicle is based on its uber-popular commercial van but is taller, wider and outfitted with protective body cladding. It’s also powered by a potent V-6 that sends 310 horses and 400 ft lbs to all four wheels via a 10-speed automatic gearbox. Right now, Ford seems content to let the $65,975 vehicle be the base for the camper van of your dreams, but it comes loaded with a slew of features that will come in handy at the campground, including a drillable wall you can use to install shelves, a kitchenette or furniture, along with a 12-inch infotainment touchscreen and a back-up camera. It also available in three body configurations—medium-roof, standard length; high-roof, standard length; and high-roof, extended length—one of which should fit your needs.
—It’s basically a blank slate for you and your partner to create your own dream camper.
—Still comes with premium features such as a 12-inch infotainment screen and a back-up camera.
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