Once we had decided that we wanted to live nomadically, the first (and arguably the biggest) decision we had to make was what kind of van and conversion to go with.

There are so many possibilities when it comes to converting a van, which is both exciting and overwhelming. While we do not consider ourselves to be experts about van conversions by any means, we hope this post will guide you through how we made our decisions in the hopes that it will help others consider their needs in a build.

building yourself vs. hiring a company

When we first began considering van life, we quickly (and easily) decided not to do the conversion ourselves. Neither of us are the most handy and came into this with any sort of background around carpentry, electrical wiring, installing pipes, etc. While it is definitely possible to invest the time and energy into learning how to convert a van yourself (and we have much respect for the people who are able to go this route), we ultimately decided that we would rather have trusted professionals convert our van for us since we would be living in it full time. We also felt better about having a warranty with our build.

Once we made this initial decision, we began our search into van conversion companies. At this point, we were pretty open to all types of vans and floor plans, as long as Tom could comfortably stand and sleep at night (he is 6’5”).

Exploring our options

The first company that we considered is called Dave & Matt Vans out of Rifle, CO. They convert Ram ProMaster vans, and we visited their facility in Gypsum back in April 2022 to check out their vans in person. We were impressed with the build and the customer service, and we could see ourselves going with this company.

We decided, however, to continue to explore our options before making such a big decision. Our next step was to attend the Adventure Van Expo in Eagle, Colorado in July 2022. We had a great time talking to so many different van conversion companies and comparing our options.

We got to see Dave & Matt Vans again at this show; however, when Tom tried laying down in the bed, it felt pretty tight. We also weren’t completely sold on the ProMaster route after reading about so many transmission failures. And that’s when we stumbled upon a new company at the expo: VanCraft out of Salt Lake City, Utah. This is a company that converts Mercedes Sprinter vans. We fell in love with their build, and their price for a Sprinter van conversion was pretty affordable. We left the show thinking this was our company!

Renting a van

The next step in our process was renting a van from VanCraft, which we decided to do in October 2022. They have a rental location in Denver, so we didn’t have to drive too far to try out van life for ourselves. By the way, we highly recommend renting a van before deciding if van life is right for you. We took the van to Boulder and Rocky Mountain National Park, and we had an excellent rental experience. Again, we thought we had found our company!

As you can tell, we like to consider our options and make sure we are 100% sure before making a final decision. We found out that VanCraft would be at The Ultimate RV Show in Denver in January 2023. We decided to attend the show in the hopes that we would leave feeling confident in choosing VanCraft.

Another Option…

However, just when we thought we knew what we were going to do – life had other plans. As soon as we entered the RV show, we saw an amazing Sprinter van converted by VanWorks. They had a beautiful build, a floor plan that worked with our needs (and Tom’s height), and a special show price that we could afford. Plus, they were out of Fort Collins, CO – so we would be able to drive 20 minutes down the street and watch the van build process unfold ourselves!

We immediately called VanWorks the following Monday and set up a time to tour the facility. We also reserved a 2022 4×4 Pebble Gray Sprinter *just in case* we decided to go with them. Meanwhile, we also set up a video call with VanCraft to check out a 2022 4×4 Pebble Gray Sprinter they currently had for sale. We knew that after our tour with VanWorks and video call with VanCraft, we would be able to come to a final decision.

Making Our Decision

After writing a pro/con list for both companies and talking it over, we made the choice to go with VanWorks. The floor plan ultimately better fit our needs than the VanCraft floor plan: we would be able to access storage underneath the bed without having to go outside to open the back doors, the bamboo walls were beautiful, the refrigerator location was more convenient, the water system was bigger and better, and the bed was more comfortable. Plus, we just couldn’t beat the fact that Tom would be able to document our build process with VanWorks being located in town!

All around, it was a time-consuming decision almost a year in the making, but we are so glad we took our time. We are extremely happy with VanWorks and our build, and we look forward to many happy years on the road!

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