The van life movement is picking up steam for the freedom, simplicity, and the thrill of adventure that it provides. Many people dream of hitting the road and living life on their own terms, surrounded by nature and the endless possibilities that come with it.

One of the first big decisions they face is whether to put in the work and convert a van into a cozy living space themselves, or to buy a camper that's already set up and ready to go. This choice can be tough, as both options have their own set of benefits and challenges. In this article, we will give you a guide to help you decide.

Customization and comfort

One of the best reasons to choose a conversion over buying a camper is that you can customize it to your exact specifications. You can set up the ideal bed position, an ergonomic kitchen, and place the van awning exactly where you want it. Your imagination and skills are the only limits to how personalized your van can become.

On the other hand, buying a pre-made camper offers the convenience of immediate use. There's no waiting around since you can start your adventure as soon as you get the keys. These campers come with a set layout and features designed to meet most peoples' needs for life on the road. However, the trade-off is that you might not get everything exactly the way you'd like it.

While there's a range of models with various amenities, you might find the customization options limited compared to doing your own van conversion. Yet, for many, the ease of jumping straight into the van life without the time and effort of a conversion is a huge plus.

Time and effort

Converting a van demands a significant amount of time, not only in the physical act of conversion but also in the planning and problem-solving stages. If you decide to take on this project, it involves learning a variety of new skills, from carpentry and electrical work to plumbing.

The time commitment can vary widely, often stretching over months or even longer, depending on the complexity of the design and the amount of free time available for the project.

Buying a camper allows you to skip all of the time required to do a conversion and hit the road as soon as your travel plans are complete.

What does it cost?

When it comes to choosing between converting a van and buying a pre-made camper, cost is a major factor. The initial investment for a van conversion includes the price of the van itself plus all the materials needed for the conversion. Depending on the van's condition, you could end up spending more than the cost of a new camper.

On the other hand, a pre-made camper comes with a higher upfront cost. These vehicles are ready to go and equipped with everything you need for van life, which is reflected in the price.