We're an affiliate.
We hope you love the products/services we recommend on Just Van Life! So you know, there is the possibility we will collect a commission should you make a purchase via any of our links. This will in no way affect the purchase price. Thank you for your support, we really appreciate it!

Which Class of Vehicle?

Now that you’ve picked an engine the next question is of course, which class of van you will be getting! This decision is usually determined based on your personal needs as they have varying degrees of stealth.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at all of the different available vehicle types and analyzing their pros & cons. So get ready for a deep dive into Vanlife home analysis!


All it’s missing is FREE CANDY spray-painted on the side!

The Van

The Standard Van is much more robust than the soccer van and once stripped of its interior provides a large space for a home to be built inside. Delivery vans being as common as they are can still be quite stealthy, some even go as far as using vinyl stickers to camouflage as repair vans and business vehicles to park unnoticed. With the increased size much larger scale customizations can be completed such as adding a showering unit or dirt bike/e-bike storage. The possibilities are quite endless as with careful planning it’s even possible to fully compartmentalize your van with {beds that raise on platforms} to reveal storage chambers. All that is required is a plan to use the space efficiently, with a little bit of creativity, some diligent research and a bit of hard work your dream home can be built in a matter of weeks!

The Good

A full-sized van provides a stable platform to craft a custom-tailored home on wheels, they are powerful robust machines with a well-maintained suspension system they can handle off-road detours and come out without breaking a sweat. The added surplus in space they provide over cars, trucks & even mini vans allows for incredible build complexity. Room enough for multiple people, these are the common go-to’s for couples that want to have the flexibility of stealth when inside urban centers without sacrificing amenities or having to compromise on anything really diesel Vans are an absolute dream home

The Bad

Costing much more than their Mini-counterparts they are definitely not as cheap to start off in, requiring a larger initial investment to just get your wheels on the road. Then because of the increased space generally your creativity will run a bit wild and you will put a lot more into the van than if you had less space to work with. The other major consideration is the increased vehicle size, anyone who’s ever rented a truck with a friend to move knows the pain of wielding such a massive vehicle. While nowhere close to the issues that you run into with busses and transport trucks it is still a factor to consider if you’ve only ever driven a normal car.

What type of Van should I pick for vanlife?

To get an in-depth comparison of vehicles will take an entire article itself, but we can begin to cover the basics to give you an idea of some of the options out there for full-sized vans. There are a variety of models ranging from Cargo -> Passenger – > XL Passengers -> Cargo+’s.

Depending on your desired door configuration each class will offer a different suite of benefits and perks, some of them have only rear doors whereas others feature side doors, windows, roof racks, mounts and so much more. If you are willing to pay upfront for a brand new full-sized van you can benefit from an engine that will be free from problems for several hundred thousand kilometers.


Ready to rock, camper vans were the OG, vanlife vehicles!

Camper Vans

Camper Vans are the equivalent to a grocery store pre-packaged frozen meal, out of the box they will usually come with plumbing and electrical systems built-in and depending on how big you go washrooms & bedrooms. The downfall to these campers & mobile homes is their size and visibility, it’s very hard to hide something that actually looks like a house on wheels.

Depending on the location you are planning on traveling it might even be against the local laws to park in lots and sit some places require you to rent a spot at registered campgrounds or designated parking zones. This, however, comes with the ability to buy a camper off the lot load up on supplies and head off into the sunset in one day for those who lack the ability or the willpower to build a van up from scratch.

The Good

A camper provides an out of the box complete package, ready to go on the road it’s the ultimate lazy startup vanlife. They usually will come with an extended body that houses many home-like features and is designed with camping in mind.

Originally they are the mobile homes that these van modifications emulate, providing years of design considerations they are built to easily be jumped into, taken across the country and lived in full time as homes.

With some luxurious models containing entire rooms and multi-levels to live in designed for celebrities on the road it’s no understatement to say these can really be a paradise on wheels if you configure them properly and are willing to spend the money on the higher class models.

The Bad

The largest problem with driving a house on wheels is your visibility, everywhere that you go it’s quite obvious what you’re up to and you can run into issues with locals not being appreciative of your mobile house parked on their street. There are loads of stories of campers being woken up by police due to a nosy neighborhood Karen…

Not to mention the designs are often built so compartmentalized that leaks are common and often result in expensive repairs due to the intricate systems they house, making them not the best choice for those looking for very long term living situations at low cost.

The real downfall is the lack of customization available, as they are built for function it’s sometimes impossible to tear them down and rebuild on the inside as vital components for systems are built into random places within the vehicle itself, unlike a van which just has a ton of seats to gut and build on top of. Oh, and they’re really really huge…

What Class of Camper Should I go with?

There are a few camper class sizes, varying in height and length all fulfilling different roles. It’s important to take into consideration your habits and hobbies when deciding on a camper if you are mobile all the time you will want something with 4 wheels whereas if you like to set up shop and live out of the vehicle for a few weeks/months at a time a Hauler can still leave you with a vehicle to explore with in addition to your mobile home. The flexibility a Camper + Hauler combo provides and the versatility of the mobile home campers ensure that if you do choose a camper you end up with a large amount of space, a mobile home without any labor and instant freedom.


Most commonly known as the “Soccer Mom Van”.

Mini-Vans

The smallest and most covert the {Mini-Van}, while lacking in size and amenities with careful customization one can create a very comfortable minimalist life inside a minivan.

Once the interiors are stripped you are left with quite a bit of space to work with and the possibilities are endless, being a simple minivan they can be parked virtually anywhere be it the side of the road in a major city or a parking spot at the mall the vans ability to blend in with the surrounding vehicles make for the ultimate stealth Van.

The Good

The smallest of the bunch a minivan has the highest level of stealth amongst all the vans, dotted all across the roads used by soccer moms globally these things can go anywhere and park anywhere without raising as much as an eyelash.

Due to the majority parental use, these vehicles commonly have their windows tinted as well-meaning you can sit in your van in broad daylight with none the wiser allowing for full questionless stealth.

Worth noting as well as the low price for most of these vehicles, they usually are sold for almost nothing used and with a bit of mechanical skill can easily be repaired and maintained for long periods of time and at a relatively low cost.

The Bad

With small size comes small customizability, these vans are seriously limited in capacity for construction and building modifications as they, unfortunately, are much smaller in size than their cargo van cousins.

Having less of an interior to work with then their larger cousins will mean they are harder to fit with comforts, while in a van you have room to install a shower should you feel the need you will be unable to do the same in a mini-van and will likely be forced to rely on your surrounding area for amenities that you can’t fit inside the minivan.

What brand of minivan should I use?:

The main consideration for minivan brands will be the availability of parts within the locales you want to travel and exterior & interior designs. Some mini-vans are designed modular out the box making gutting them a super quick affair others are more standard of course.

While most modern cities will have access to parts for all vehicles known to man, random towns in the middle of farm country might not have the parts handy to your obscure car model leaving you stranded. Think about where you will be driving and what sort of things you’ll be doing with your vehicle before you pick a brand.


In conclusion…

I hope we’ve helped clear up some of the confusion you might have had in choosing your new home, there are a lot of options when deciding on your vanlife home and it can be daunting trying to take on a build with no experience of your own. It’s a compact mobile place you’ll be living in and it’s important to actually consider all the nuances and really narrow down on what it is you require and need for your actual day to day life.

Your van should be just like your bedroom, a reflection of you and everything about who you are. Unlike a bedroom that you leave most of the day, there will be rainy days you are stuck inside the van all day so you want to make sure you really build a place you love spending time inside of.

When a friend enters your van it will be like they are stepping into a physical manifestation of a glimpse into your mind, I believe that concept is pretty cool and you should definitely design your home to be a true representation of you designed around your life and custom-built for you.

I wish you nothing but the best of luck in your journey to freedom.

-Cassius Fragomeni

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

SUBSCRIBE TO THE JUST VAN LIFE NEWSLETTER

Scroll to Top