Today’s RV review is a new look at a company called Wayfarer Vans. The Colorado-based company offers very simple, but mostly complete, van conversions. Since the last time we looked at them, they’ve been listening to their many customers and made changes.
The nice thing is, you can bring your own van or buy one from them, which means you might be able to find a good used van and really save some money. But with their conversions starting around $20,000 (excluding the van), you’re already dollars ahead.
Like so many good ideas, Wayfarer Vans started on a camping trip. Essentially the founders of the company were coming home from a trip in their Honda Element and realized that that was just too small a vehicle for two people to camp in. So they stepped up the size and created a business to convert Ram ProMaster City® vehicles to camper vans, which expanded to now include the Ram ProMaster van and Ford Transit.
The way the company works is to start with very specific vehicle platforms. The nice thing about this is, you can bring your own van in or they have a relationship with a dealership local to them. One of the advantages of this situation is that if you find a good used van, you can utilize that and potentially save a bunch of money.
Really quick conversion process
The conversion process is really, really quick. You find your van and set an appointment to have it converted. Typically the conversions themselves only take a few hours and you’re ready to roll.
By having everything relatively standardized and ready to roll, the cost of the conversions is relatively low. For example, the “Wilma” package, which utilizes the Ford Transit van, starts at just $20,000 installed. Compare that to some of the vans we’ve been looking at lately where the finished price is close to, and sometimes well over, $100,000, and you see a real bargain for the right customer.
It should be noted that these vans are not the fully featured models that might come from companies like Winnebago and the like. But they do offer pretty much a good foundation on which to fully outfit a van.
The basic package includes a bed frame, cabinetry, a storage platform with bungees, and a flooring system with rack rails that will let you tie down your gear. From the company’s website (which is really good, BTW): “The complete Walter conversion comes with: flooring, with integrated cargo management tracks, wall and ceiling paneling with 100% natural wool insulation, perimeter shelving, a kitchen galley with five gallon fresh and grey water tanks, sink and hand pump, bed platform that measures 54″ wide x 6’1″ long with cushions, boot box and privacy paneling for the sliding and rear door window areas.” Bam.
Upgrade with more features
You can also upgrade with more features if you choose, including a slick spice box, hideaway table, 12-volt cooler, propane heater, lighting and side windows.
The water system is dead simple—it’s essentially two five-gallon containers under the sink. There’s a manual pump on the faucet (reminds me of vintage VW campers). The water gets pumped from one container and drains into the other. That’s it.
Interestingly, you can also ship them six yards of fabric and they make the interior with that.
Blank slate can be inspirational
While the company offers a few options, a blank slate like this can really be inspirational. It’s no stretch to imagine heading over to your local camping store and adding things like induction cooktops, battery systems, solar, a toilet, a shower and more. Yes, this is almost more of a camper in the state you get it from Wayfarer, but it’s also a blank canvas.
The upside of starting from this point is that the price is relatively affordable and the materials are certainly good. For example, the bed frame rails are quarter-inch thick “L” brackets on the side with square steel bars spanning the space. These are also slotted bars, so you could also hang things from here. The elevated bed leaves plenty of cargo space below it.
The shelves on the side are also really unique in that they’re a flat horizontal surface, but then there are bungees that contain your stuff.
Listening to customers
Since we’ve looked at these vans in the past, the company has been listening to customers and making changes. There are also a lot of people with a lot of hacks and ideas about making their own conversion more accommodating, fancy, VANcy, or different.
As such, the company has upgraded a lot of the processes and materials they use and the surfaces have a more upgraded feel. I did like that the cabinet doors were aluminum in the past but now they’re a laminate composite. Some of the things that had been optional are also now included. But the modularity, a real highlight of these vehicles, has also been improved.
The soft surfaces, which had been magnetic, are now a diamond-stitched material that is attached with hook-and-loop fasteners. This still means you can get behind it if you find the need to make a repair, but it also means you can literally launder the fabric sidewalls. Cool.
The cushions are covered with a higher-quality fabric that has the benefit of being created from post-consumer waste materials. Hey, the company is in Colorado, after all.
The floors, ceilings and walls are all insulated with wool insulation. Lighting has been upgraded, too, with LED puck lights that are touch-activated.
The booth boxes, which are what make up the dining and seating space, have a higher back, so they’re more comfortable. The conversions also come with a Lagun table. I like them.
And since the seat cushions were upgraded, they also upgraded the mattress that’s included to a memory foam model. The company claims you no longer need a topper to make this comfortable.
One of the universal truths about any RV is that you get it and then immediately want to make changes. This looking at greener grass philosophy is what keeps people reading my RV reviews, I think. Maybe it’s the puns.
But one of the things that makes the Wayfarer vans different is that you can reconfigure the items easily. Simply unscrew the various components from the “L” track on the floor and move them around to your liking. Nice!
This is certainly not the van conversion for everybody, but it’s one of the most affordable and promising that I’ve seen. Considering how many Class B vans I’ve seen that try to be everything to everyone and come out just badly, I like this much more simplified approach—and now with improved materials and finishes.
Furthermore, you can be as stealthy as you wish in something like this. If you happen to find the right van in an auction and it still has a delivery company or plumbing company logo on the side, maybe this is the ideal vehicle for camping in the city where nobody even knows you’re in there.
Of course, if you go all crazy with solar and awnings and put your Instagram and Facebook stickers on the van, all bets are off. But at least you have a choice. Wayfarer Vans can also now arrange for delivery of these vans all over the U.S. But, honestly, if you’re doing something this cool, wouldn’t you want to go to Colorado and then drive home and test out your new camper? Or maybe delivery is for you. I don’t judge—I just camp.
If you choose to have one of these vans built, the company can do so in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where the company is headquartered.
More about these RV reviews
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
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