The first van I converted for myself was a small Nissan van, smaller than a standard sized van. I was mostly concerned about being stealth when parking on the street if I were going to spend a lot of time hanging out inside of it.
That van was my dream. I had finally done it and I was proud to show it off. I traveled a little bit to get used to the idea of living that way.
After a while, I realized that no one bothered to notice if I was sleeping in the van and no one cared that I had my doors wide open to expose my living space.
They were mostly fascinated that I had managed to pack a lot of features like a kitchen and bed in this super small space. It wasn’t long until I became relaxed about the whole vanlife thing and not concerned about stealthiness any longer. No one seemed to care.
Parking in the clouds – From Instagram@vanbuild360
I loved my van and still do till this day but I often thought to myself why didn’t I just buy a standard sized or a high roof Van? I was starting to regret not being able to stretch or stand up when I dressed myself. I am tall at 5’10”. I knew why. I had let the fear of being confronted for sleeping in a van make the decision for me.
Now, being stealth doesn’t seem to be a big deal these days, from my point of view. I was now regretting not investing a little wiser.
I had looked at the Dodge Promaster, Ford Transit and the Mercedes Sprinter. These were the holy grail of high topped vans, in my opinion. They were all amazing. You could stand up tall in these. I could see all the amenities down to the smallest detail already done. I had imagined a hideaway cooktop, beautiful wall cladding, vented heat and dual remote controlled RV roof vent fans.
It feels good to be back on the road! Constantly in search of the turn out where we can find the most secluded spots filled with untouched beauty. – From Instagram@vanbuild360
Unfortunately, I also saw so vividly someone tapping on the window saying you can’t park here. I had let too many scary stories settle into my subconscious.
I’m not knocking the tiny vans like the Nissan NV200, Ram Promaster City or the Ford Connect as they are suitable for many especially when you need to travel for work or vacation. However, I can’t say I recommend them for full time living if you have other options available to you.
Whatever makes you feel comfortable starting vanlife whether it be a tiny van, standard sized van like the Ford Transit or a High roof version, don’t let fear dictate what you buy. Buy it because it fits your needs specifically. Always plan and buy with joy in your heart. I finally traded in my Nissan for a Sprinter and built it out to my needs and I have no regrets.
– Mark Twain