12 Facts About Camper Vans That’ll Make Your Hair Stand On End

Camper vans, also known as conversion vans, and Sprinters (which are actually a van model produced by Mercedes), are often viewed as alternatives to campers. There are a number of ways that people choose to use camper vans and they are ideal for a variety of uses. Camper vans come with or without bathrooms, showers, sinks, kitchens, storage, beds, etc. They are fully customizable and extremely popular. Freedom Conversions is a producer of camper vans and can arrange your setup in any way you’d like.

Camper Van Freedom Conversions

Here are 12 facts about camper vans that you may not know:

  1. It all started with a factory parts mover. Volkswagen made camper vans popular when it launched the iconic Type 2 van in 1947. The original van was designed to move vehicle parts around a massive VW factory in Britain. A Dutch VW importer named Ben Pon came up with a design for a larger parts delivery system than the current solution, the VW Beetle. He designed the van around the VW Beetle chassis. The Type 2 van hit the market and became the perfect “do whatever you want” van. It hit its stride as a camper van in the 1960’s hippie movement and the rest is history.

  2. The first generation Sprinter van was launched in 1995. Mercedes designed a van that had high cargo capacity and maximum durability as a middle ground between large trucks and small trucks that was larger than traditional vans. The Sprinter has since become ubiquitous in the camper van community as the gold standard chassis because of its functionality and durability.

  3. Camper vans (also called conversion vans) are not the same as traditional RVs. There are two key differences between conversion vans and their counterparts in the RV world, specifically the relatively small RVs in a category known as Class B. First, a Class B RV will almost always come with a full bathroom, large kitchen area, doors, large cabinets, etc. Many people have found that bathrooms and other “luxuries” are not always necessary. Second, camper vans usually retain their value longer than Class B RVs due to the quality of the chassis and components used in many camper vans.

  4. Camper vans usually start as cargo vans. Mercedes, Dodge, Ford, VW, and other vehicle manufacturers typically do not “upfit” their vans. They produce cargo vans that function as the chassis which are then converted into camper vans (hence why they are called conversion vans) through a qualified upfitter, like Freedom Conversions.

  5. Uniqueness is common. There are very few van conversions that are created equally because almost all of them are custom. Even with packages and some similar traits among vans, every van that Freedom Conversions produces is unique.

  6. Not all camper vans are used for camping. Some camper vans are designed for roughing it in the woods or off the grid, but the vast majority of vans that are produced at Freedom Conversions are made to be vehicle that can be driven every day for purposes ranging from family haulers to full-on homes on the road.

  7. The first camper van had a tiny engine. VW’s Type 2 van only had a 1.4 liter engine. Today’s modern Sprinter vans can be purchased with a 3 liter, 6 cylinder, 188 horsepower engine in two or four wheel drive options. That’s more than enough to get you and all of your stuff just about anywhere.

  8. Build as you go in a camper van. Many people build camper vans in phases. That’s not typically something you can do in a traditional motorhome. This can help you get on the road quicker with less money up front.

  9. Save money on fuel. Most camper vans are lighter and more fuel efficient than traditional motorhomes, so you’ll put less wear on your engine and pay less for fuel in a conversion van.

  10. Go green! Camper vans can be upfitted with the latest innovations in solar energy, water recycling, and high-efficiency features that will make you feel like your carbon footprint is no bigger than a desert shrew’s...that’s a very tiny rodent that we think probably has a very tiny carbon (and actual) footprint.

  11. Say goodbye to dump stations. Almost all traditional motorhomes require their users to dump waste tanks at appropriate dump stations. The process can be messy, laborious, and just gross...not to mention inconvenient. Freedom Conversions began making vans for people who needed a regular-sized toilet in a vehicle they could drive every day. Today, we make vans that come with or without bathrooms, but our bathrooms have always and till do feature simple cartridge-style dump tanks that can be emptied into any normal toilet. It’s extremely simple.

  12. Vanlife is a culture. Once you buy a conversion van, you’ll instantly become part of a community of believers. People who want to think outside the box and do things differently love having conversion vans. People who need an alternative vehicle for more convenience love conversion vans. And people who are ready to take their lives on the road love conversion vans. Consider joining the movement!

Whether you’re just getting started in van life or you’re an experienced professional, Freedom Conversions can help you take your camper van game to the next level with value and excellent customer support at the forefront of all that we do. Start designing your van today by scheduling a free design consultation with Freedom Conversions.

Olivia Huggins