While some vehicles, such as the ubiquitous Volkswagen Vanagon, are factory designed as camper vans, the term is also used to refer to any relatively large vehicle specifically designed to allow camping--or even long-term living--in the rear portion.
Panel vans, small buses and minivans can all be converted into camper vans with relatively little technical savvy. Box vans, ambulances and large buses offer more space but are usually more demanding to convert and less convenient to drive.
Camper vans may be outfitted simply, with little more than a bed, or furnished with a full kitchen and plush seating; essentially, they can convert into a mini-RV.
Camper vans are prone to all the same mechanical problems as other automobiles. Always have a camper van thoroughly vetted by a trusted mechanic before purchasing it or taking a long trip.
Rust is a particularly persistent problem in many camper van models. Always check for hidden rust inside wheel wells, under the floor edges, on the roof and around each door.
Camper vans vary enormously in cost, from several hundred dollars for an older model in need of much work to well above $20,000 for new or restored models and conversions.
Article Written By Marie Mulrooney
Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.