Ready to take the leap, but I need help


Hi all. I’m ready to take the leap into living the vanlife, but I’m unsure what make and model would be best for me. And what mileage would be okay to invest my money into. I’d prefer to have a bit of space for creativity (and…space) and some windows, so I’ve been looking at some Chevy conversion vans, many of which are well over 100k miles, as you’d expect of any used car for sale. Do vans tend to hold their life?

I’ve got so many more concerns as far as what to do about cooking and storage of necessities, fridge, etc… but perhaps that should be saved for a post regarding the next step?

Thanks for reading!



I definitely prefer window vans or conversion vans, life without windows isn’t for me.

I don’t think mileage is as important as maintenance. Most privately owned vans have had decent maintenance, unlike most commercial vehicles that are hacked together to keep them in constant service. I’ve ran the older 70’s and 80’s vans to well over 400k miles, newer ones get really expensive past about 100k miles, and many of them even before that. The more electronics they have, the worse they are, because electronic components tend to fail much quicker than mechanical ones. If I never own another computerized vehicle, it would suit me fine.

Conversions can range from simple, easy, quick, and cheap to very expensive and time consuming. After trying the expensive route, I’ve decided that the cheap route is better for me, not because of the money though, but because I like it better. Everything about my under $300 conversion is superior to my $20k+ conversion. Both comfort and convenience are vastly improved, without sacrificing anything.

With proper maintenance, any fully depreciated vehicle should hold it’s value, or maybe even increase in value. Loan interest and depreciation are the tow biggest killers of any savings, short of traffic accidents or natural disasters. Newer vehicles tend to age much more quickly than the older ones.



Hi! We converted a 2003 Dodge Sprinter van with over 200,000 miles and it has worked super well for the 14 months we’ve had it! We chose an older model for the gas milleage (22 mpg) and, of course, the affordability. We have read up on it and this year should last over 400,000 miles if we take care of it. Also, ours has no windows (that is just what we found at the time we were looking but it does really help us when we need to be stealthy). Hopefully this helps as you consider the right fit for you! And welcome to Vanlife! We hope you love it as much as we do! :blush: