Van Build Costs

I’ve had a few people ask about my camper van build- how much it cost overall, what components were the most expensive, etc.  This post is for you my friends! 





The figures included are accurate to the best of my ability- they may not pass an audit with flying colors, but I believe this is a pretty in depth idea of what it cost to build this van (including any initial overhead costs to get it on the road and back to WV).  Although the van is still a work in progress (cabinet doors are actually sitting on the floor begging to be put up as I type this), these represent the expenses spent to get it to the current point it’s at, which is pretty darn livable thus far (5+ weeks and counting).

If the numbers presented here discourage you in any way from thinking this is something you also could do- STOP! Back up that train of thought, because everything here is really subjective to my build.  It’s completely possible to do something like this for much cheaper, depending on what you consider as essentials/ non-essentials.  I previously spent two weeks sleeping in a corner of the van on the floor with just a sleeping bag and sleeping pad, across the country, with none of my current amenities (and survived just fine, it was actually a blast).

(Full disclosure: some materials are not included in these expenses because they were gifted to me, or already available at my dad’s shop- these include the wire for the electrical setup, polyurethane, primer, and that awesome cedar slab for the counter.  Also, some figures are approximate… because I am admittedly terrible at saving my receipts.)

Van purchase price: $5300.00

Initial work/ parts (new tires, spark plugs, rear shocks, etc.): $1387.97

Build Components: $1906.51 (Electrical, Kitchen, and Extras- breakdown below)

Supplies (plywood, fasteners, hardware, paint, insulation, flooring, etc): $872.46

TOTAL INVESTMENT: $9,466.94 (as well as immeasurable amounts of time, blood, sweat, tears, and a small fraction of my soul possibly.)

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.  I eventually plan on posting a separate post on the actual build process & components (or I at least have really strong intentions of doing so).

Electrical: $630.58

Solar Setup




Batter isolator switch/ wiring


Switches, connectors, panel, etc




Kitchen: $176.25







Water jugs


Extras: $1099.68



Exhaust fan






2 thoughts on “Van Build Costs

  1. Where did you purchase the van? My daughter had the same dream/
    plan and it fell apart because she purchased a van that was not as it seemed. Big investment and a lot of time, down the drain. She is discouraged – understandably. What year and make is yours? Just wondering if she should try again?


    • Hi! So, I found the van on Craigslist in Vegas, and took it to Firestone before purchasing (the owner met me with it there). For $10 they do an overall look over on the van to make sure there’s nothing majorly obvious wrong, better safe than sorry, esp. for that price! Mine is a 2002 ford e350, purchased with 115k miles.


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