10 Best DIY Camper Van Builds of 2020
2020 was a great year for van life.
Since international travel was pretty much halted, travel aficionados hit the road in droves… some in RVs, but many in custom-built DIY camper vans. The best thing about camper vans is, if you do the work yourself, the builds are relatively inexpensive.
Check out the coolest and most unique camper van builds of 2020 here!
What is a Camper Van?
A camper van is a van converted into a camper. Most camper vans have a sleeping area, an area for cooking and food prep, and some even have a toilet or full wet bath.
DIY van builds can be made from any kind of van – from a mini-van all the way to a full-sized sprinter van or even mini-bus!
Pro Tip: While we love the idea of van life, there are 5 reasons you may want to avoid it!
#1 DIY Stealth Camper
This 1994 GMC Raally STX 5.7l V8 was built on a budget – the whole van and build came out to just $5.5k!
Travis’ build has everything one would need to live on the road: solar, a permanent bed, a kitchen area, a work space, storage, and yes: a toilet.
Travis Coseentino is the owner and builder of this stealth van. Travis works for Tiny Home Tours as a videographer. He lives full-time in his van, traveling the country and meeting other tiny home owners and nomads living tiny, mobile lifestyles.
#2 Bus Shuttle Conversion Van
John and Ina live and travel in this amazing shuttle bus conversion. The bus is a 2004 Ford E-450. It’s 22ft long and about 10 ft tall. Before it was a tiny home on wheels, this bus served as a transport shuttle for the elderly.
The shuttle bus has plenty of room for everything this couple needs. Busses don’t normally come with a passenger seat, but this one does! John and Inaa added a DIY passenger seat so both of them could ride safely and comfortably.
This conversion has a wet bath with a composting toilet, plenty of storage, a separate kitchen area and raised bed in the back.
John and Ina travel with their dog, Abbie. They have traveled most of the USA and even down into Mexico!
Keep in mind, bus conversions are one of the many reasons an RV park may deny your reservation.
#3 Van With Hidden Shower
Louis the van is a hyper-modern dark theme van build that looks seriously sleek and luxurious.
Louis the van is a black 159” wheel base high-roof Dodge Ram Promaster 2500. The interior has a stunning tile-to-wood floor transition that is an art piece in itself. The floor is waterproof with a low point drain – giving the owner the ability to rinse off right in the van.
Because of the low point drain and the tile floor, turning this space into a shower is as simple as hanging up a shower curtain. This is a seriously smart use of space! The showerhead hooks directly up to the kitchen sink, and there is an onboard electric water heater.
This van has everything you need for full time living – a workspace, fridge, kitchen area, tons of storage, a permanent bed, and so much more.
Louis the van was build by Seth and Scarlett from LTV Customs – a van life couple who started their own custom van build business!
#4 DIY Promaster
This 2017 Ram Promaster 2500 is built on the 159” wheel base as a full-time home for Courtnie and Nate who have been living in the van for about a year and a half.
This couple is truly at home on the road in this cozy conversion. It looks like a miniature house!
This van has a white and brown theme, making it feel so much bigger and homey.
The van was built with their dog’s well-being in mind – so they removed the passenger seat in order to keep his crate, where he feels most comfortable.
A lot of thought was put into the kitchen in this van – which is a beautiful farmhouse style kitchen with everything you’d need to prepare any meal on the road.
The bed is built in a U-shape so that it can convert into a seating area during the day, and back into a bed for night.
Courtnie and Nate are usually traveling around the Southern California coast and feel that van life suits them and their lifestyle perfectly.
The ProMaster made our list of the Top 5 Class B RVs.
#5 Converted Minivan Camper
Kyle and Madison have a converted mini van – this is a truly unique little home on wheels! This beautiful & stealthy camper van is seriously tiny, but it’s not lacking on features.
The minivan isn’t their full-time home, but it’s super functional for weekend trips.
The main idea with this van build was to make it practical, but also feel spacious. That is a challenge with a minivan! Kyle and Madison achieved this goal very well with their unique build.
The bed folds up into a couch to save space and make a functional living area during the day. There is storage under the floor for anything they might need to bring along. The van has a kitchen area with a sink and running water for everyday living and propane for cooking.
This minivan was built with stealth in mind and has some great build ideas if you’re thinking of converting a minivan!
Kyle and Madison are self-proclaimed travel addicts and can be found on their Instagram at @kyle_and_madison or YouTube channel here:
#6 Super Sleek Camper Van DIY
This van build definitely gives off yacht vibes – just like the title says. With features like a bathroom, king sized bed, and marble countertops, this home on wheels is a dream.
The build was completed by the owner, Peya, with the help of family and friends over the span of a year and a half. She is part-time van traveler enjoying van-life about half of the year.
This build was very smartly designed by Peya, who said she spent a ton of time watching YouTube van build videos. Specifically, the van build videos that said “Things I Would Change About My Van”. Wise choice!
The van, named Petunia, is built on a 2014 Ram Promaster 3500 on the 159” extended wheel base with high-roof. This huge van is also a diesel – it’s a beast!
There are some incredible details in this van build. Peya isn’t super active on social media – but you can glean some build ideas from her van tour below!
While we usually advocate for composting toilets (like they used), here’s the dirty truth about composting toilets.
#7 Convertible Bed Camper
Taylor and Kevin built their home on wheels in a 2015 2500 Mercedes Sprinter Van.
This van is big enough to house everything you need for full-time living: tons of storage, wet bath with a shower, super-functional kitchen, rooftop deck, and so much more. They even have a hanging closet for clothes!
The bed in this van build is length wise from the back of the van. It converts into a dinette style booth during the day for eating, working, and hanging out.
Taylor and Kevin have a YouTube channel where they filmed their entire build – with over 40 videos. If you’re considering building a van, check out their van build for some super smart ideas!
#8 DIY Ford Transit Camper
This Ford Transit 250 campervan is named Wilson and reminds us of a little cabin on wheels.
Wilson has fresh and gray water tanks mounted underneath the van – this is a feature you don’t see very often in DIY van builds.
The owners, Nikki and Ben, even included a hot water heater for warm showers.
This Ford Transit DIY van build was built with storage in mind – there is plenty of room for the owners to bring along anything they need!
Wilson the van is not only built very smart, but very aesthetically pleasing, too!
The owners, Nikki and Ben, are full-time travelers who make income from their photography. Check out their build below!
#9 Rustic Van Conversion
The previous van might have given off cabin vibes – but this van blows those vibes straight out of the water.
This 1986 Westfalia DIY camper van conversion will change everything you think you can do with a van build.
Some of the coolest features of this van include a DIY high-top built out of wood, a wood burning stove for heat, and tons of wood throughout. This van is the definition of the word rustic.
The owner and builder of this van, Frye, lives and travels in his rustic camper van. He makes a living on the road through photography and film production. Check out his build below.
#10 Big Bathroom DIY Camper
If luxury is what you like in a van build, you don’t want to miss this 2018 Ford Transit van build.
This van has beautiful design features. There is also a partition wall to separate the living area from the cab.
The bathroom in this van is beautiful, made with real porcelain tile and a composting toilet with a shower included.
In the kitchen area there is a sink, counter space, and an induction cooktop.
There is plenty of storage and a permanent bed in this van. The design is so clean and sleek!
The couple who built this camper van, Kensie and Joey, have their own van build company called Superstition Customs. This build was done for a client. You can learn more about their custom vans at their website here. Check out the build below!
A good friend has documented building his Sprinter conversion. While it is not complete, there is a load of information and knowledge to be gained by going to his website. He and his wife spent 10 years on a 40 foot sailboat cruising all over the world before moving back onto land a few years ago. The van build incorporates a lot of what they learned on the boat. http://www.sprintervanrat.com
These are nice, but they aren’t particularly innovative. In a time when more and more people are losing their jobs and homes, it’s time to consider how loving nomadically can be done in a graceful, considerate, and most importantly – sustainable and functional way. These guys are on to something: https://youtu.be/YN7swjFricM