Are you ready for an adventure? An overland van can get you to some of the most remote locations. You can take your bed and kitchen with you and head out.
Keep reading to learn how you can go overlanding with a van. We’ll also provide some options on today’s market. Let’s get started by taking a closer look at overlanding.
What Is Overlanding?
Overlanding is when you travel in a vehicle to a destination that mainly involves off-roading. The point is the journey, not the destination. It’s an opportunity to discover remote places off the beaten path while sleeping and living in your vehicle. Most overland vehicles are self-contained and can be off-grid and off-road for several days.
Can You Overland in a Van?
Yes, you can overland in a van. While not as popular as overlanding in SUVs or trucks, vans are starting to be more available with critical off-road capabilities from the factory – namely four-wheel drive. The weight dynamics and geometry also may put vans at a disadvantage on the morerugged trails, but with the appropriate upgrades a van can get you out on the trail with the benefit of additional comforts of vanlife.
Overland vans are becoming more trendy, especially since significant RV manufacturers are starting to produce them. For example, Winnebago has put out the Revel 4×4, which you can use for some overlanding. In addition, vans offer versatility for adding off-road features and interiors that withstand the elements.
Pro Tip: If you’re interested in seeing some overland van adventures, check out our friend Chad DeRosa of Living the Van Life who has built out and taken his van on some amazing off-road expeditions!
What to Look for in An Overland Van?
When shopping for an overland van, look for off-road tires and ample clearance under the van. You may drive over some very rough and rocky terrain, so clearance is necessary. Also, consider how self-contained the van is. For example, does it have solar power? How is the insulation?
A challenge of an overland van build is finding space for a freshwater tank substantial enough for extended off-grid travel. Look for a van with holding tanks with sufficient capacities for your needs.
However, no matter what manufactured van you choose, you will likely have to do some overlanding mods and acquire additional gear before heading out on the trail. Upgraded suspension, beefier sway bars, light bars, a winch, and extra fuel tanks are just a few of the modifications you will likely have to do yourself to fit your adventure style.
Pro Tip: We broke down What Is Overlanding All About? Why People Do It, and How to help you head off the highway and into epic adventures.
Which Camper Vans Are Best for Overlanding?
An overland van is an excellent option for couples or solo travelers. Let’s check out the best camper vans that will keep you overlanding for years.
Sportsmobile’s Ford E-Series Van
About: Sportsmobile’s Ford E-Series Van is a 4×4. It’s on a Ford cutaway chassis with a steel-reinforced fiberglass shell. It also has a pop-up top penthouse for extra head space and airflow. The interior couch converts into a bed and a kitchen.
Specs: The Ford E-Series overland van has a 140.3” wheelbase, 16.5” ground clearance, and a 10,000 lb towing capacity. It has a 7.3L V-8 engine with a 4R100 transmission. Its suspension has a partial military wrap leaf shackle system.
Overlanding Features: The Sportsmobile has an Advance Adapter Atlas II All Gear Driven transfer case and a Dynatrac Pro-Roc 60 front axle and Dana 60 rear axle. It also has Fox 2.0 performance series shocks and a High Knuckle front end for extra tie rod clearance. In addition, it has F550 rotors.
Price: $175,000 to $225,000
Winnebago Revel 4×4
About: Winnebago’s Revel 4×4 camper van is on a Mercedes-Benz® sprinter chassis. The off-road capabilities make it optimal for overlanding. It sleeps two people in the rear power-lift bed with garage space below, and it has a wet bath and kitchen. You’ll also find a jump seat behind the two swiveling captain’s chairs.
Specs: The Revel 4×4 has a 3.0L 6-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. It’s 19’ 7” long from the front to the rear bumper, and the wheelbase is 144”. It has a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs with a 7-pin connection. Both the freshwater and gray water holding tanks can hold 21 gallons.
Overlanding Features: The van has on-demand 4WD with Hi/Lo range, electronic stability, and traction control. It also has two 125-amp hour LiFePO batteries. You can add on performance wheels and BF Goodrich® T/A® KO2 all-terrain tires.
Price: Starts at $208,914
Storyteller Overland MODE Series
About: The Storyteller Overland MODE Series is for adventurers. Its Mercedes-Benz chassis is durable for long trips. Although it’s for rugged terrain, the interior is comfortable with modern features. For example, it has a bed with garage space underneath, a kitchen, a portable toilet, and a jump seat with a table for dining or working.
Specs: The Classic MODE high-roof van is 20’ long and has a 6’ 3” interior height. The ground clearance is 9.5”, and the wheelbase is 144”. Its freshwater tank holds 21 gallons, and the gray tank holds 24 gallons. A 3.0L turbo-diesel V6 engine powers this van.
Overlanding Features: The MODE Series Mercedes-Benz features a 4×4 package with low and high ranges. It also has LED high-performance headlamps, a rain sensor, rear glass tint and defrost, heated and electrically folded mirrors, a 360-degree camera, brake assist, lane assist, and blind-spot assist. These features come in handy when navigating rough terrain and weather.
Price: Starts at $153,748
Pro Tip: Get to know Who Is Storyteller Overland before you buy your camper van!
Overland Van Project
About: The Overland Van Project does custom adventure van conversions. They can make your dream overland van with your needs and specifications. First, they provide you with a 3D rendering of your build and work with you to perfect the custom layout.
Specs: The specifications for an Overland Van vary depending on the build, but the sky’s the limit. You can add solar, modular furniture, extra garage space, etc. The company’s creativity helps you develop what you want and will work best within the area.
Overlanding Features: The company builds on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, which provides a template for off-road features. They often add running boards, a ladder, and a pro rack. One of their specialties is creative and roomy garage spaces.
Price: Builds start at $150,000
Pleasure-Way Rekon 4×4
About: Pleasure-Way’s Rekon 4×4 handles extensive off-grid travel. It’s built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 chassis and is compact but mighty. The interior has a murphy bed system with a garage, a kitchenette, and a wet bath. The captain’s chairs swivel with a Lagun table in between.
Specs: The Rekon 4×4 is 19’ 5” long and has a 144” wheelbase. Its diesel engine is a 3.0L V6 BlueTEC. Best of all, the van has 124 cubic feet of storage space. The freshwater capacity is 40 gallons, which is optimal for off-grid living. In addition, the gray water tank holds ten gallons, and it has a propane capacity of 20 lbs.
Overlanding Features: The Rekon 4×4 overland van has 400Ah of Eco-Ion Earth Smart Lithium coach batteries and 400-watts of solar panels. It also has Toyo all-terrain tires and Black Rhino Havasu rims. In addition, it has convenient features like an outdoor shower.
Price: Starts at $175,500
How Much Does An Overland Van Cost?
An overland van can run from $150,000 to over $225,000. It primarily depends on the company, quality, and the features you add. If you plan to be off-road and off-grid for extended periods of time, the investment will be more significant. Consider your priorities for an overlanding vehicle, and map out your needs according to your budget.
Mods You Can Make to Improve Your Camper Van’s Off-Road Capabilities
Some of the manufactured overland vans will likely not come with everything you might have on your wishlist. Worry not, because you can make modifications to improve your camper van. For example, you can modify the suspension or add sway bars, a winch, lights, and off-road tires. Also, consider what off-road recovery gear you may need and add them to the vehicle.
With all the different types of overlanding trails and adventures, it only makes sense that all overland vans have different capabilities. Modifications to suit your needs should be expected as you head into this mode of travel. Climate, terrain, elevation, camping style, cooking style, and duration are just a few factors that will affect your ultimate overland van build.
Is An Overland Van Worth It?
If you’re interested in blurring the lines between vanlife and overlanding, an overland van is worth it. Although it doesn’t have as many extreme capabilities as a larger overland vehicle, the right build-out can get you further away from the crowds and deeper into nature. In addition, having a comfortable living space can keep things simple as you enjoy the outdoors on your journey.
Which of the overland vans we listed would you take on your adventures? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
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