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!
When you are on the hunt for a van to convert into a camper, one of the very first questions you may conjure up is what sort of van (if any) you would be able to stand up in. I mean, ideally, you do not want to be crawling around your newly converted camper van on your hands and knees, and so a van that has some headroom in which you can stand up straight is desirable.
If you are totally set on a little DIY project where you can convert your own van into the perfect campervan for your needs, we have all of the information for you that you could possibly need.
In this article, we will be showing you some of the best vans you can get for the purpose that you can stand up in. We will also be providing you with some biggest pros and cons related to getting a van for the purposes of converting it into a campervan. As if that wasn’t enough, we will also be exploring some of the most frequently asked questions we get in relation to vans that can be stood up in.
Buying a Used or New Van for Van Life
The best sort of van for your DIY conversion into a comfortable campervan would be one that is versatile, spacious, and has all the room you will need for installing your campervan necessities and must-haves. You may also need something that will be big enough for two or more people, and perhaps even your whole family!
Lots of people decide the best course of action is to buy a relatively cheap, older model that is spacious enough for everything they want to do. Typically this will be a van that has been used and has previous owners. They can be found online, on websites such as Craigslist, and in a used car and van retailers.
Others look to buying a brand new van so they can get exactly what they need. Of course, buying a brand new van outright is the easiest choice out of the two as you can choose one based on the size and room.
However, if your budget only allows for a used van this makes the decision much more difficult. It may seem like an impossible task and may have you thinking that you’ll never get the perfect van unless you buy one brand new for hundreds of thousands. You may even begin to feel that you may as well just give up on your dreams of converting your very own can into a camper and buying an RV instead.
Whatever route you decide to take is totally up to you. Buying a used van comes with its own trials and tribulations in the same way as buying a brand new one does. A used van may not be in the best condition but will be far more affordable which is always attractive since the cost of renovating a van into a camper is not cheap anyway.
A brand new van will be in perfect condition but you may still need to do work to make it how you want and it will also have a hefty price tag. Research both options well and decide based on your needs and the needs of your family and loved ones who will be using it too.
Vans You Can Stand Up In
There are so many options out there for vans that you can stand up in that you can buy straight from the retailer. If you are very lucky, you may even be able to get your hands on one of the vans second-hand if you look hard enough.
We wanted to show you some of our favorite options for vans that are big enough and spacious enough for standing (and sleeping, eating, sitting, and all the other things you need to do) and tell you a little bit about them all. You are sure to find the perfect van for you and your loved ones’ campervan project from our selection below.
Nissan NV Cargo Van
This recognizable van with its long front and tall size is a great choice for lovers of van life looking for an impressive-size conversion. The sheer height of the Nissan NV Cargo Van makes it an ideal choice for anyone wanting something comfortable and spacious.
It typically comes in two sizes, a standard and a high-roof version. The high-roof version is most desired for van life enthusiasts, but the standard could also work if you want to add in a pop roof. Of course, in terms of being able to stand up, the high roof option would be preferable.
The front cabins tend to be roomy, and whilst the backs are a little less spacious, it makes up for that in height. This may be the best choice for those wanting to build out. However, one drawback is the fact that they do not offer as good gas mileage as some of the other models you are about to see on our list!
Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van
Often viewed as the pick of the bunch when it comes to the best vans for conversion, the Mercedes Benz Sprinter lives up to the impressive reputation that Mercedes’ vehicles have. It is super spacious and offers ample room for all build-outs. In fact, it is not uncommon to find this as the van of choice for bigger families of four or five!
No matter your height, you will be comfortable in this tall van as you can stand up tall in there without crouching if you are 6 feet and 4 inches or less. They are simple by design and have basic interiors that you can rally out your own stamp on.
Sadly, the biggest drawback is that they are very pricy, both to buy and to run. This means that they are not the best option if you want to do this on a budget. That being said, you may be able to find a used model for a much lower price but still with as high quality as the brand new version.
Ram ProMaster Van
Similar in design to the Ford Transit Van that we will be discussing below, this van is an excellent choice for those looking for a conversion on a budget. You get excellent value for money with the Ram ProMaster, and you will be very impressed by how spacious it is. Certainly, standing will not be an issue in this van.
These vans are often used as delivery vans as there is plenty of room in the back cargo area. Something that you are sure to love is the fact that it has side walls that are at a 90-degree angle, making those build-outs even simpler.
As well as this, the front cabin is comfortable and spacious, albeit a little basic in design. This basicness is what puts some people off, but if you have a creative streak and are looking for a blank canvas that you can spruce up with your own designs, then this could be a great option. As well as this, it also boasts front wheel drive which is always a plus.
Ford Transit Cargo Van
Ford’s are great vehicles that are known for their reliability, there is no denying that. The Ford Transit Cargo Van is synonymous with spaciousness and it ticks the box of being able to stand up in it!.
In terms of van life conversions, this model is (surprisingly) somewhat of a newcomer. They are very common in Britain where they are often used as work vans. However, the van life craze has only recently begun to rave about them.
Nonetheless, their simple, basic interiors make it easy to put your own stamp on it, and the length of the van makes it a great choice for large families.
If you are after height above all else, you certainly get it with this model. They are in constant demand and new models are made frequently. This means that you can buy one brand new from the manufacturer if that is your preference.
However, you will also be able to find an older model easily with a quick internet search or scout around a used vehicle’s yard. Perhaps the only downside is the basic interiors in the front cabin, but if aesthetics don’t bother you so much then this is a great, affordable choice.
Chevy Express Van
Finally, we couldn’t not include the classic Chevy Express Van in our list. This big guy gets an honorable mention because of the sheer size of it. In terms of space, there is plenty of it, but you may have to compromise a little on headroom.
Unlike the other vans that we have included on this list, the Chevy Express Van is a little shorter in terms of height. This means that you may not be able to stand up in it as well as the other models on the list.
However, if you are up for a bit of conversion and DIY, such as through adding a pop-top or higher roof, this could be a great choice.
The interior design is simple enough so you can really put your own stamp on it. Chevy’s are, as you may know, known for their longevity. This big guy is certainly built to last. Whether you want to buy one brand new (yep, they are still being made!) or you want to get your hands on an older, used model, you will have plenty of choices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you have found out all about the best van models that you can stand up in that would be perfect for a campervan conversion, we wanted to explore some of the questions we get asked concerning vans.
Should I Get a High or Low Top Van?
When it comes to choosing a van that you want to be able to stand up in, it goes without saying that a High Top Van is the best choice. You will be able to stand up in it and enjoy van life with ease.
That being said, do not totally write off Low Top Vans as these can be converted by adding a higher roof or pop-up element. You will just have to wait longer.
How much does it cost to add a high top to a van?
The price of adding a high top to a van varies depending on what type of van you have and any extras you may want to add to it such as a bed, a vent fan, insulation, and much more.
It can cost anywhere from $7500 and $15000 on average, but it may be even more than this, especially if you get professionals in to do it.