12 Best Cheap Van Conversions [Fresh For 2022!]
last updated: Feb 24, 2022
Are you looking to convert a campervan but don’t have a colossal budget?
Keen on some cheap van conversion design inspiration?
Look no further, because we’ve got you covered.
The question of how much a camper conversion costs comes up a lot.
And, though it’s true that many do spend tens of thousands on their conversions, it’s entirely possible to do almost as much but on a smaller bduget.
That is why we’ve rounded up 12 of the best cheap van conversions on the market.
This list contains a wide array of conversion vans that can suit anyone from the most minimalist outdoor adventurers, to the aspiring van lifers that crave more creature comforts.
We have a range of conversions from a minimal $100 build, to a large camper conversion with a full kitchen and toilet that costs less than $4000!
If you think you need to have a massive budget to have an awesome, off-grid van conversion then take a look at this list, and think again, because you really don’t!
1. University Student’s Cheap Van Conversion
Full video → Student Van Conversion
First up on this list of the best cheap van conversions is this Ford Transit conversion designed by a university student using her student loan! The total cost of the conversion including the van itself only cost $5000.
This van conversion has everything a student could need. It has a kitchen with a running sink, a camper stove, and plenty of pantry space.
The pantry in this camper van conversion is a repurposed old dresser. It doubles as a desk for work and studying, which is very important for a university student’s van conversion!
Repurposing old furniture to use in a van conversion like she did is an excellent way to save money and offset the camper van cost.
This campervan interior utilizes a pine tongue and groove cladding, which not only gives the van a light and airy appearance but is also cost-effective!
Pine wood is relatively inexpensive compared to other options on the market.
This van has a large double fixed bed with a ton of storage underneath. There is a massive clothes closet and plenty of room for anything you could need.
In addition to hookups for a main, this van is equipped with 50 watts of solar to power its battery, which keeps energy costs low.
This budget campervan is an excellent example of a great campervan conversion that is still affordable, as well as a great alternative to expensive university housing.
2. The Rock Climber’s Budget Van Conversion
Full video → Ezra’s Van Conversion
Next up on this list of the best cheap van conversions is this solid Ford Transit van conversion, done by my friend Ezra.
Not only was this van converted for under $14,000, but it also has a highly professional looking design, is beautifully decorated, and feels very spacious inside.
The pine tongue and groove cladding covers the entire interior of this van, and is not only affordable but gives it a beautiful look.
The kitchen in this van is minimal, but with a two burner stove, sink, and a little bit of counter space what more do you need? It is also equipped with plenty of storage containers.
The cab is separated from the back of the van for security, but a stealthy sliding screen allows for quick access and even a greenhouse heating effect on sunny days!
Allowing access between the cab and back of your campervan conversion is great not only for stealth and security but the extra heat from the sunlight on cold days can help to keep your heating costs low.
The workspace in this campervan conversion is incredibly spacious, has plenty of outlets, and is large enough to entertain guests!
When not in use for work or meals, it converts into a comfortable double bed.
For a shower, this van conversion utilizes an ingenious outdoor solar heated shower system.
The outdoor shower consists of a solar shower, and a shower curtain attached to the back doors by magnets.
This affordable shower system is perfect for van lifers who are in a warm area and are comfortable showering outside their van!
With its professional design and clean, minimalistic look, this Ford Transit van conversion easily earns a spot on this list of the best cheap van conversions.
3. Steampunk Budget Campervan Conversion
Full video → Ingenious Budget Van Conversion
This creative cheap van conversion is resourceful, eclectic, and its total price was only $2500!
That includes everything spent on building the camper, plus the van itself!
The interior of this van has pallet wood cladding, which not only gives the van a cozy log cabin feel, but cost only $40!
The same pallet wood was used to create the cabinets in the van, and there is more than enough storage in this cheap van conversion.
Pallet wood is a great budget option for designing a campervan, as you can find great deals on it and save a ton of money on your campervan conversion. You can even frequently find pallet wood for free!
This van conversion has a full kitchen, complete with a stovetop and sink. The vintage tile backsplash adds a nice pop of color, and the tiles were gifted for free!
In addition to plenty of storage and a full kitchen, this cheap van conversion has a large memory foam fixed bed, and still plenty of room to walk about the van.
Coming in at only $2500, this van conversion is one of the most affordable camper vans I’ve seen!
4. Money-Saving Fedex Van Conversion
Full video → Off-Grid Fedex Van Conversion
This ex Fedex van is an excellent example of the best Sprinter van conversions out there. Not only is it beautiful, but it also allowed two medical professionals to get out of debt!
It has a memory foam fixed double bed, slide-out table, ample storage, and a fully stocked kitchen.
This van’s kitchen is fully equipped with an oven, sink, stove, and refrigerator. For extra space, the refrigerator is stored inside the bench seat!
This van has an affordable and ingeniously simple design to keep the cab separated from the back.
To keep the cab separated, a black-out curtain attaches to the interior of the van. Not only does this allow for stealth camping, but it serves as temperature control and allows for safe access to the cab.
Also, the simplicity of the curtain design is much more affordable than installing a door!
The fixed, raised double bed in this van conversion was made by simply cutting a memory foam mattress so it could fit the custom space.
Bringing your bed from home into your campervan conversion is a great way to save money and reuse old furniture.
If it doesn’t fit, you can easily cut it, and standard mattresses can even sometimes be more comfortable than campervan specific mattresses. Who doesn’t love the idea of taking their bed from home on the road with them?
This van is just perfect for two working medical professionals, and is a DIY campervan conversion that saves tons of money over the years.
5. Tiny Self Build Affordable Campervan Conversion
Full video → Tiny Self-Build Van Conversion
This tiny self-built van conversion is a beautiful boho campervan that was cleverly crafted with recycled materials! It is a Ford Econoline van conversion, and it is small but mighty.
It’s proved one of our best van tours, largely due to just how much they’ve managed to squeeze into such a small, budget conversion.
It includes a queen-sized fixed bed, plenty of storage, sink, and kitchen within its interior.
To save money, many of the materials that went into this cheap van conversion were found and salvaged for free!
For example, the flooring was found in an old barn, and the panel on the wall holding spices was rescued from a dumpster.
The sink in this van is brilliant. All it is is an old salad bowl with a hole drilled in the bottom.
The faucet is a rechargeable sink faucet connected to a water tank. How sweet is that!
I’m incredibly impressed by the kitchen set-up in this affordable campervan conversion.
The kitchen simply slides out from the garage, along with ample storage for cookware!
Additionally, a table slides out next to it for an outdoor dining table set-up. This is such a great kitchen solution for anyone who is limited on interior space, and loves enjoying their meals outside!
Plus, it’s super budget friendly.
6. One Week Van Conversion
Full video → How to Convert a Van in Seven Days
Next up on the agenda for the best cheap van conversions is this remarkable conversion built by an engineer!
This campervan conversion is living proof you don’t need thousands of dollars and months to convert a van- he did it with $1000 in only 7 days!
This van conversion has a kitchen with sink and stove, plenty of storage, and an absolutely genius camper bed idea.
The kitchen cabinets are simply made from plywood, an affordable alternative to other woods.
A normal kitchen bowl from Walmart serves as the kitchen sink, and it gets the job done and only costs $3.
I’m truly amazed by the bed in this van conversion.
To turn the bed into a two person bench seat, all you have to do is pull a little yellow flap. That’s it!
This is by far the most simple and quick convertible bed set-up I’ve seen.
Between using simple materials and sticking to the essentials, this van conversion is highly affordable and functional!
By replicating this process, you too can have a liveable van conversion in just one week.
7. Spacious Budget Van Conversion
Full video → Spacious Budget Van Conversion
This elegant yet cheap van conversion is another great example of an affordable, functional, and stylish van conversion.
Employing some great conversion ideas to help make it feel homely and unique.
This van conversion has all of the essentials.
The complete kitchen has a sink and Dometic Single Burner Stovetop, 50 Liter Dometic Fridge, and plenty of food storage and counter space.
The furniture that went into creating the kitchen was recycled from the owner’s old apartment to further reduce costs.
Utilizing old furniture from your apartment as furniture in your van design is such an amazing way to not only save money but also save old furniture from simply ending up in the dump.
I love the way this kitchen also has a little personal shelf for the teapot, and the use of a stick to secure it is cheap, clever, and has a nice rustic touch.
Like many other vans on this list, the bed in this campervan was simply repurposed from the bed in their home and cut to fit the van interior.
With its reused furniture and simple yet elegant decor, this van is easily one of the bed cheap camping vans.
8. Porsche Camper Overlander
Full video → Porsche Camper on a Budget
Campervan conversions come in all different shapes and sizes. This particular cheap campervan conversion comes in the shape of a sweet, 2002 Porsche converted for overlanding.
The total cost of this Porsche Camper was only $5000.
After being saved from a wreck, this Porsche was converted into a sweet overlanding vehicle. It was lifted for offroading, and a Tentbox camping tent was added to the top.
This tent sleeps 3 adults comfortably!
For a kitchen, a simple barbeque sits just outside the trunk.
Although this is not a traditional van conversion, it’s a great example of how with a little money and creativity, you can create a vehicle to live in and carry out your adventures.
This is a cheap van conversion alternative that can be replicated in almost any vehicle. All you need is a camping stove and a roof tent, and you’re ready to go!
9. Adventure Fiat Ducato Budget Conversion
Full video → Adventure Couple turns Ducato into Unique Self-Build
There’s a reason why the Fiat Ducato ranks as one of our top vans for camper conversions. Not only are they budget-friendly, but they offer so much space for your money!
This Ducato van conversion was done for less than $1400 and in just 6 weeks.
It is an amazing conversion, and a wonderful example of a cheap campervan conversion that doesn’t take months on end to convert!
One of the major upsides of this van conversion is that it was purchased as a campervan conversion, and then gutted, and redesigned.
The benefit of this is that the plumbing, gas, and electrical were already installed. This saves plenty of time, effort, and money, and is certainly something to consider for anyone thinking about buying a campervan to convert themselves.
Additionally, when this campervan was purchased, there was a wooden shelf running all along the overhead interior of this campervan.
With the use of some additional wood found in a fleamarket, that old shelf was converted into a massive amount of overhead cabinets that give the van loads of storage!
This campervan has a double memory foam mattress fixed bed. The bed is not quite long enough, so the ceiling of this van holds an extension for the bed which drops down at night so the bed is long enough.
This bed solution is genius, and one of the best campervan layout ideas for taller people who want a fixed bed, but don’t want to take up too much space in their campervan conversion.
The kitchen in this van conversion is simple, lovely, and functional. The countertop is a piece of oak that was purchased for cheap.
It also has a sink that was only $10, and the taps were creatively made from old pipes!
The kitchen is also complete with a stovetop.
This is a great converted van for living in, and easily one of the best cheap van conversions.
One of the key reasons this van was able to be converted so quickly and at such a low cost, is that it was purchased as an already converted van, which is a great way to save time and money on your camper conversion!
10. VW Transporter Budget Van Conversion
Full video → How to Convert a Van in 6 Days/Tiny Budget
This bright yellow, VW Transporter was converted in just 6 days on a tiny budget by two students!
The owners of the van are full time students and they didn’t have months on end to design a van.
Instead, they got together 3 weekends in a row and worked hard to complete it in that time frame.
The end result? A beautiful, boho campervan that is just perfect for weekend getaways.
The van itself cost only $1800 and the DIY conversion cost was kept low by using recycled wood and with the help of a little creativity!
This cheap van conversion has a simple yet efficient design that is not quite sufficient for full time van life but all you could need and more for spontaneous trips and adventures.
The van was purchased in a bright yellow color.
To tone down the yellow, they added a black stripe along the bottom using spray paint.
As a professional paint job, this would have cost $1000. Little things like even painting your vehicle yourself can save some serious money when it comes to designing a cheap van conversion.
To decorate the interior, they added some wood cladding throughout the van. The wood paneling on the interior gives this van a fun and rustic look.
The cabinets in the kitchen were made from recycled plywood and pallet wood, to keep costs extra low on this van conversion.
For food and extra storage, this couple utilized wicker baskets. Not only are they affordable, but they also contribute to the fun, rustic style of this campervan conversion.
There is also ample storage underneath the bed for wetsuits and other sporting equipment!
The bed in this campervan is full size, and it has slats that slide out from underneath at night to extend the length.
This van conversion also has a built in drawer that slides out to reveal a camping stove for cooking meals. The stove is attached to gas but is also fully removable to cook meals on the go.
This fun, yellow recreation van is one of the best budget van conversions I’ve seen that has been completed in under a week!
11. My $100 Campervan Conversion
Full video → Awesome $100 DIY Camper Van Conversion
This next cheap van conversion was done by me for only $100!
I converted my estate car into a mini DIY campervan conversion for budget travels across Europe.
The conversion is fully removable, and as a bonus, the back seats can still come up to carry passengers!
For this mini camper conversion, simplicity was key.
The components of this conversion include shelves, storage, a bucket for my climbing gear, a fold out table, and a simple sleeping pad.
It’s certainly minimal, but for one person on a low budget adventure, you really don’t need much more.
For preparing meals, a table folds out the back of the storage unit.
I use a simple backpacker’s stove to heat hot water for coffee and meals, and it takes up very little space and uses very little gas.
On the interior of the van conversion, I have my sleeping area set with a small sleeping pad.
I also built a fold out shelf to support my laptop so I can work remotely.
For stealth camping and the security of my belongings, I blacked out the windows using magnets and mats.
For anyone wanting to convert a minimalist campervan on a super tight budget, I hope this cheap van conversion inspires you!
12. Under $4000 ambulance conversion
Full video → Unbelievable Ambulance Conversion- all for under $4000
Wrapping up this list of the 12 best cheap van conversions is this unbelievable ex-Ambulance van conversion.
This van conversion has everything. From a king bed, full kitchen, and even a campervan bathroom! Including toilet, shower, hot water, and record player!
The best part? The total price of the van AND conversion was less than $4000.
One major way to save money while designing your van conversion is to take advantage of the materials that are already in the van.
For example, in this van conversion, the entire unit that is now the kitchen was already in the rig.
To convert it to a kitchen, they simply cut out pieces to fit a stove and oven.
The sink is a large dog bowl with a swivel faucet, and it more than gets the job done!
Another sneaky and clever addition to this van is the toilet.
To use the toilet, simply take off the seat cushion of one of the blue chairs and Voilah! A hidden toilet.
Another key way to save money in a campervan conversion is to make use of the materials you already have in your house.
This is exactly what they did to make this van conversion- the bed itself even came from their house, and has proved to be extra comfy and sturdy.
The remainder of the furniture and pieces in this van were purchased for very cheap at second hand stores.
It is rare to see a van conversion cost so little, and yet still have components like a shower, toilet, and full kitchen.
Awesome cheap van conversions like this one show that you can absolutely create a van you can live in full time on a cheap budget. All you need is a little inspiration and creativity!
Well, now you have it, the 12 best cheap van conversions!
I hope that at least one of these vans, if not more, inspires you to get started on your camping van conversion.
Whether you want a minimal, solo car camper set-up for less than $100, or more of a full campervan conversion, there really is a budget van conversion for everyone on this list.
After taking in all of these sweet cheap van conversions, would you opt for a low-cost simple car conversion or a larger affordable campervan conversion?
Other posts you might like:
Build your own adventure
The guide anyone can use to convert a van into a camper! With over $350 worth of savings inside
Check our Electrical Design Service!
Our award-winning Electrical Design Service you receive 1-on-1 help from an experienced off-grid electrical engineer who takes your ideas toward a system that works.
Get it right the first time and save money, time, and stress!
The Van Conversion Guide (14th Edition)
The guide anyone can use to convert a van into a camper! This best-selling guide, now in its 14th Edition, has been used by thousands of people to transform a van into a camper.
- 150+ page eBook
- Helps you convert any kind of van
- Diagrams for all the main systems
- FREE mini-course - 25 video tutorials