Looking for 1st van - help!

Hello! I am new to this and trying to do my research. I don’t yet have the funds to purchase a van, but I want to start learning as much as I can…hopefully as I make steps forward things will begin to fall into place.

Anyway, I’m on the first step — finding the right van to fit my needs. I’ve read several articles, but I’m still lost. Can you help?

Me: single girl with her small dog.
What I’m looking for:
-low cost repairs
-good on mileage
-easy to add in essentials (shower, toilet, fridge, sink, burners, battery, etc.)

  • storage space (I don’t have much, but I want to be able to be organized and have a comfortable living space).

I’m such a newb to this, so please forgive me if I’m off with any of my questions. Thanks!



A 1 ton, extended van will give the most room. You need to decide if you require/desire standing room, and consider the pro’s and con’s of each.

Window vans are safer to drive, and in my opinion safer to live in because you’ll have a clear view of what’s going on around you. My current window van was also much cheaper to insure than a previous cargo van as well.

Newer, computerized vans typically require much more in repair and maintenance costs than an older pre computerized, well maintained van. The cost of ownership and operation of diesels is roughly 3 times the amount of a similar gas engined van.

I think comfort and reliability are far more important than gas mileage. You can always drive less if your gas mileage is poor. Take the time to smell the roses. I might stay in a town for a month or more before I feel like moving, and then it’s rarely farther than a single tank of gas away, and that’s not because I am short on gas money.

My high top, extended length camper van is about as spacious as it gets without getting something larger than a van. Mine was unfortunately stripped when I bought it for $800, so I built it myself with all of the amenities you listed and more. My entire conversion probably cost about $200-$300.

One question I always ask people, is whether converting a camper van is cheaper than buying one ready made, or a motorhome. Frequently very nice motorhomes can be bought dirt cheap. Your intended usage might be an important factor, but spending big bucks on something that is likely to only depreciate in value is rarely a good idea. Comfort and reliability do not require a huge investment.

The lack of money and/or jobs are frequently dream killers. Having job skills that blend in well with traveling is your best bet. I worked construction jobs for many years and could get a job almost instantly anytime and anywhere there was a construction site. A typical job lasted from a week to several months. I’m sure there are other professions that could work similarly. Some people make their money working remotely on their computers over the internet too.

Many things to consider, but hopefully this helps a little.



I don’t know much about vehicles, so i can’t help you much. Sorry

But to save space I recommend using portable showers and toilets. If you have a built in washroom it will take up a lot of space, and it’s just a hassle to deal with grey water tanks, and clean water.

Totally agree! The more things you keep portable, the more you can use either inside or outside without the needs for doubles.

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