The Must-Have Ford Camper Vans
The Ford Camper Van is gaining popularity for a multitude of reasons. Not the least of which is its durability.
Ford is also well known for its ability to build excellent vehicles designed for towing. And you’ve probably seen a Ford truck or two if you’ve spent any time in a campground.
But, you’re going to start seeing more Ford vehicles in campgrounds across the country, and they won’t be trucks. Today, we’ll take a look at the game-changing American-made Ford camper van!
Let’s jump in!
What Is a Ford Camper Van?
Camper vans are becoming a popular choice amongst RVers for their mobility and the comforts they provide. This lifestyle is gaining popularity due to the 2020 pandemic and because many influencers are adopting the van lifestyle and sharing their adventures. In fact, it’s never been more popular to own a camper van, and a Ford camper van is a great choice!
Ford has two cargo van models, the Transit and the Econoline. In 2014 Ford sent their entire Econoline series out to pasture by discontinuing production. Despite no longer being produced, the Econoline is still a popular choice amongst camper van enthusiasts.
A Ford camper van utilizes either the Transit or Econoline models as the base structure. Professionals or DIYers then convert them into unique living spaces. Of course, professional builds are rather expensive and include many more features and upgrades. DIYers can customize their unit to their liking but are often limited by their budget and technical skills.
A typical camper van customization includes a kitchen space, bathroom, and sleeping quarters. Because there’s not a lot of square footage in these units, camper vans can have an outdoor shower and folding toilet, or the shower and toilet can be in a shared space.
The Ford camper vans often pack quite a punch for their small size.
Keep in mind: While van life is awesome, here are 5 reasons you may want to avoid living in a van.
Popular Ford Van Models for Camper Vans
Ford has two popular models used when converting to a camper van. Let’s take a look at their most popular models.
The Ford Transit is still in production, and currently, there are two different models to choose from – the Ford Transit and the slightly smaller Transit Connect. The Transit Connect seats 7 and starts at $27,400. On the other hand, the Transit can seat up to 15 passengers and starts at $41,695. Seating capacity isn’t all that important as seats are often removed to provide additional living space.
The Ford Transit averages 15 miles per gallon in the city and 19 miles per gallon on the highway. On the other hand, the Transit Connect benefits from its smaller size and averages 24 miles per gallon in the city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway. More miles per gallon certainly means fewer stops to fuel up and more time adventuring!
The Ford Transit and Transit Connect are both tremendous options if you’re looking for a van to convert into a camper van. The Ford Transit carries a heftier price tag but is roomy enough for two, and it includes all-wheel drive. The Transit Connect is considerably cheaper but lacks space and the all-wheel-drive option.
From 1960 until 2014, Ford produced the popular full-size Econoline vans. They’re known as the E-series and were the most popular full-size van from 1980 until 2014. The Transit class replaced the E-series, but Ford sells cutaway and a stripped chassis version of their E-series. These E-series chassis can be found on all sorts of vehicles, including Class C RVs.
The Econoline vans average 13 miles per gallon in the city and 17 miles per gallon on the highway. Like many used vehicles, the price for a full-size Econoline greatly varies depending on age, condition, and any upgrades that have been made.
If you’re looking to build a new E-series camper van, cutaway models start at $33,630, and the stripped chassis version starts at $30,435
How Much Does it Cost to Convert a Ford Camper Van?
Because camper vans are so incredibly unique, the costs to convert a Ford camper van greatly vary. A bare-bones DIY camper van conversion can cost as little as $500. This DIY setup is for someone looking to convert their van for a weekend or short adventures. A DIY camper van conversion is a great way to grow your DIY skills, customize your camper van to your preferences, and save a ton of money.
Depending on your skills, a DIY camper van can still be costly. Far Out Ride converted a 2016 Ford Transit into their full-time living quarters in their DIY project.
They spent 640 hours and over $20,000 on their DIY Ford camper van conversion. You can see the conversion on their website and YouTube channel. The finished product may motivate you to take on a DIY camper van project of your own!
However, there are plenty of options if a DIY camper van is not a project you want to take on. If you’re letting someone else do the work, expect to pay for it. It’s not uncommon to see professionally converted Ford camper vans to carry a $60,000+ price tag.
These would be specifically designed and engineered for off-grid living. Many of these camper vans can stay off-grid for days, weeks, or even permanently.
Awesome Ford Camper Van Builds
Let’s look at a handful of some of the best Ford camper van builds out there!
#1 – Storyteller Overland Mode 4×4
A glance at this camper van, and you’ll quickly see it’s not a DIY project. This Ford camper van utilizes the Transit chassis, but they’ve upgraded it to include 4×4 capabilities.
This upgrade makes this vehicle capable of going just about anywhere. The beefy tires they’ve thrown on it add to its off-road capabilities and almost challenge you to test its limits.
This Ford camper van conversion has all the features you could ask for, whether you’re off-grid or in a campground. The water connections on the driver’s side allow you to fill the 22-gallon freshwater tank or connect to the city water connection at a campground. The passenger side hosts a couple of 110-volt plug-ins that allow you to work or play no matter where you’re setting up camp.
The Storyteller Overland Mode 4×4 comes from the factory equipped with 90-watts of solar mounted on the roof. They’ve wired and positioned these panels to allow for up to 600-watts of power easily. A 30-amp shore power connection is available for those cloudy days when you’re not getting enough power. This camper van is designed to manage power and can stay off-grid indefinitely if needed.
With the Storyteller Overland Mode 4×4, you don’t have to leave your toys at home because the bed and sleeping space can convert into a garage. This allows the user to bring a dirt bike or motorcycle for even more adventures. And more adventures are never a bad thing!
This is a tiny unit, but it provides a tremendous amount of storage. It’s lined with cabinets on each side and has a giant storage space below the bed. You’ll have plenty of room to bring essential items and even some non-essential items with you on your adventures.
If you’re not completely sold on how amazing this Ford camper van is, it also includes a shower and wet bath. What else could you possibly need for adventuring? However, the $153,000 price tag isn’t as attractive as the rest of the Ford camper vans.
#2 – Ford E-250 Camper Van
In this video by Trail, Andrew Cranston shares his Ford E-250 camper van conversion. It spotlights his DIY abilities and the many advantages of going the DIY route. He’s able to customize the camper van to his liking fully and even use unique materials during construction.
One great example of this is how Andrew uses a popular bed liner material to coat several key exterior spots. This provides added protection against the elements for years to come.
This camper van, like many DIYers, is created with Andrew’s needs in mind. Andrew shows how he invests his time, energy, and money into the areas of the project that matter most to him. Bringing his gear, keeping his battery charged, and having an aesthetically looking space are priorities for him.
We love that Andrew shares tips for others who may be interested in building their own camper van. He shares how his conversion took him three years because of school and work, but a build like his could be complete in a month or two with more focus.
Andrew spent $8300 on his van conversion and did so by utilizing online marketplaces like Offer Up to find budget-friendly deals. He also enlisted the help of family friends to help with some of the elements like fabric and wood flooring. A bit of wisdom from Andrew is to research items and not just buy the big brand name items with an expensive price tag.
This unique DIY camper van is a great example of what DIY camper vans are all about. Using your skills to create something that meets your needs. We love seeing the results when creativity and adventure are combined.
#3 – DIY Ford Camper Van Tour
The YouTube channel Van Talk shares Jordan’s story. He’s a professional writer who converted his 2010 Ford E-150 into what he describes as himself in van form. Jordan converted an industrial work van into his surf camp van.
The space he’s created has no running water or bathroom and is simply a place for him to eat and rest his head at the end of the day. It’s a vessel that allows him to explore and write stories about his adventures.
Jordan is a great example to other DIYers in that he didn’t get lost in the DIY aspects of his design. He cut corners where he needed to save costs. He sees the camper van as a means to an end. It allows him to deepen his creative skills and help others do the same.
#4 – Lifted Ford Transit Conversion
Freedom Vans is a professional camper van conversion company that spotlights some of its builds on its YouTube channel. Today they walk us through one of their most recent projects, “Fred the Van,” a Ford Transit.
In the garage space, they’ve created a space for the client to store their outdoor gear and access an outdoor shower. They’ve also created a secret door that provides a way to quickly grab items from the garage without having to go all the way around the van. They’ve listened to their client and adapted the space for their needs.
Where “Fred the Van” really shines, though, is the interior. Freedom Vans has done an incredible job converting this van into a space that’s easy on the eyes and functional. The kitchen space is as nice as, if not nicer, than many residential kitchen spaces. The couple will easily be able to use the space whether they’re working or enjoying a meal.
This camper van comes with a 30-gallon freshwater tank, which is comparable to some smaller RVs. The clients wanted two ways to fill their tank via a freshwater hose connection or fill via jugs or water bottles if potable water was unavailable.
The van has 300 Amp hours of lithium batteries plus 320-watts of solar on top of the roof, allowing for excellent off-grid capabilities. With multiple options for charging their batteries, this couple will have no problems staying off-grid for as long as they like.
Freedom Vans utilizes the Ford Transit’s window cavities to provide maximum space while sleeping. These cavities allow for 6’2” of space, which is more than enough for their client in this build.
A conversion like this is great if you know what you’re expecting from your camper van and have deep pockets to pay for it. A conversion like this could easily cost $30,000 to $60,000 but could be even pricier depending on your needs.
DIY Ford Camper Vans vs Professional Conversions
Knowing what you expect from your camp van and how you plan to use it’s essential when considering a camper van conversion. It’s also important to know your limitations as a DIYer. Are you capable of creating and executing the job?
A DIY project like this can easily turn into a money pit and take longer than initially expected. DIYing is a great way to learn new skills and save cash, but it can be a nightmare if you’re not technical.
When you hire a professional, you allow experts to do their job. They’re either trained or have professionals they work with to make sure your camper van works how and when it’s supposed to.
Our best advice is to know your limits. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and know that it’s okay to pay a professional when you’re in over your head. Doing the job correctly and safely is most important when creating your space.
The Unique and Popular Ford Camper Vans
Converted Ford camper vans are popping up in campgrounds and remote camping locations all over the country. If you get the opportunity to step inside one, take it! These singular, incredible spaces may inspire a future purchase! Would you ever consider a Ford camper van?
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site!
We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: