How to Choose the Perfect Van

One of the most popular questions we receive is, “What should I look for in choosing my van?” There are so many shapes, sizes, and features in vans these days, it can be challenging to narrow it down to the perfect van for you. Each person’s needs are so different from the next that there is no go to answer. Here is a list of a few items to consider before purchasing your van:


Standard roof top heights are short enough to park inside of parking garages, however are not high enough to stand inside.


What do you plan to use your van for? Will you be spending time inside of the van?

The single most important feature for us is finding one that you can stand up in. Almost every manufacturer offers a high-top version of their cargo van. This especially plays a key role if you plan to cook inside, or really spend much time inside at all. When we meet people with the lower roof style, they almost always comment on how they wish they had a higher roof, or
how they plan to add in a pop-top to expand the roof. You will also save yourself from additional neck pain during the building process.

We notice that a lot of people look for vans with windows to create a more open feel to their van. Personally, we prefer less windows because they let a lot of heat or cool air in. With our experiences spending the summer in California, and the winter in Colorado, we are thankful that our van is mostly insulated. The one window that we do have in the passenger door we cover up most of the time to keep people from seeing inside at night or to better insulate the cabin.

Where will you put your bed? If it is next to rear windows, will you mind the cool draft?

Have you made a list of the larger items you would like to include in your build? What hobbies would you like to accommodate?

Tom built “Darth Vander” around his dirt bike. He created a basic outline of the other things he needed to live comfortably from his van, a kitchenette, bed, and couch. Once he had a basic idea of these larger items, he was able to decide on purchasing a 170” wheel base Mercedes Sprinter Van.

All vans require maintenance. With a little tender love and care, your van will run for years. Are you willing and able to do the maintenance yourself? Are you someone who would prefer to take it to the shop?

Our Sprinter van has been extremely reliable. It currently has 355k miles, and runs like a champ. Tom makes sure to clean sensors, change the oil, and perform basic maintenance on a regular basis. When a check-engine light comes on, he is able to diagnose it himself and can usually fix the problem himself.

Our preferences have largely been based on our experiences living out of our van full time, our hobbies, and our trips across the nation. Your preferences will change based on your intended purpose and needs for your van. If you have a specific question, feel free to email us or call us! We love to share our ideas!