Today’s RV review is something different: the ProCamp by Van Horn. There are a lot of reasons this van is very different, from the floor plan and layout, to how it’s built, to the price. This is one of the few finished van builds available for under $100,000.
Van Horn is a dealership group in Wisconsin and Iowa that sells the ProMaster vans and, not surprisingly, saw that a number of buyers were buying them to convert to RVs. Knowing that a high-end cabinet maker, ConceptWorks, was nearby, they got together with this company and the result is a Class B RV that has an unusual set of circumstances around it.
What’s inside the ProCamp
The goal of the ProCamp™ van was to use the interior space to its fullest. As a huge fan of multi-function components, I think they’ve done some really nifty things here.
We’ll start all the way at the rear, where the company has two captain’s chairs on the camp side and a bench on the road side. Of course, that bench makes into a bed. There are drawers beneath it as well as a drawer beneath each of the captain’s chairs.
But what’s unusual is that beneath your feet is a large tray, of sorts. You can put heavier things on it like eBikes or that sort of thing. It just slides in and out of the van. This means that this rear space can still function for cargo. Neat.
Built-in picnic table in the ProCamp
But also neat is the fact that, when the tray is extended, now you have a picnic table out the back of the van. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that—and it’s a good idea.
That couch on the road side also folds down to become a bed, of course. But I wonder how comfortable it might be. There are structural braces in the surface that would seem to be bothersome.
No matter, the main bed is above this living room and drops down at the touch of a button. The company states that the mattress, an RV queen, is an eight-inch ventilated gel memory foam mattress. This means you can leave the bed ready for sleeping and, when it’s time, just drop it down from the ceiling.
This van is not a complete home replacement, as some of these are, but there is a kitchen up front. The sink draws from a five-gallon tank underneath it via a 120-volt water pump. It drains into a second five-gallon tank. There are two sides to this idea. One side is that the utter simplicity and reliability of a system like this is commendable. But, you do only have five gallons of water.
And it’s easy enough to bring along an additional container of water if you wish. Or just carry the one under the sink to where a water spigot would be. Again, there are advantages to this kind of simplicity.
There is no provision for cooking whatsoever. However, you could easily go to your favorite camping store and get a portable stove or even use a portable induction cooktop. So I don’t see this as any big deal.
There’s also a bar-size (1.7-cubic-foot) refrigerator here. But that, too, runs on 120vac. I’d prefer that this was a 12-volt cooler, as you have to either run the inverter or be plugged in to shore power to make this work.
Power to the people
So here’s where the ProCamp gets weird. Sort of.
On board is a solar generator similar to the Jackery Solar Generator that I reviewed. That’s your battery system and, honestly, once again the simplicity of this kind of solution is not a bad thing.
But the weird thing about all this is that the company is using a 2,000-watt inverter as well. So you have to plug the solar generator into the inverter and then use that to operate any of the systems aboard if the engine’s not running.
If the engine is running, the on-board alternator powers the inverter. But then you have to choose either house power or the air conditioner and plug one of those into the inverter with a standard Edison plug.
Long extension cord
If you’ve found shore power, there’s a long extension cord on a reel and you can plug this into shore power. But it’s a 120-volt 20-amp plug and there’s no exterior connector. You’re literally dragging the cord through either an open window or open door. Then you plug in shore power and plug the AC and house power into that.
I think if they had just used the solar generator and then plugged that into the van, you’d be ahead of the game, honestly.
However, there are two 100-watt solar panels on the roof that also feed the solar generator. So it does offer that. And, in theory, you could plug the AC unit into the system and run it off the solar generator. But I don’t know how long that will operate. I know the Jackery can power the 13,500 BTU AC on my trailer for about 90 minutes or so.
Some of the other things that are really well thought through on this include the fact that there’s a metal counter extension on the sink cabinet. You can flip the passenger seat around 180° and use this counter extension as a table or desk.
The roof, too, is unusual in that it’s decking with a rail around it so you could store some things up here. Or you could be like so many Class B Instagrammers and actually go up on the roof, do a yoga pose and take a picture. In fact, there’s one on the company’s website.
One of the interesting things about ProCamp is that they actually offer four different models from essentially a bare bones box, so you can more or less build your own. They encourage you to do your own thing—all the way up to the ProCamp Destiny, which features a portable camp toilet in place of the captain’s chairs.
There are six models in total in the series, and you can tailor how you want those outfitted. For example, you can get the Cross Country model without the AC system but with an awning, roof rack and solar generator. The MSRP on this model is $87,000, but they’re offering discounts on the Van Horn website.
Further, one of the niftiest things about these vans is that you can rent them. The company does maintain a rental fleet of these vans. So if you’re not sure, this is a great way to give them a try and see what you like and don’t like about them.
I also like that the rear-view mirror has a switch where you can either use it as a traditional reflective mirror or a display to show what the camera at the back of the van is showing. Nice.
There is a huge community of people who are undertaking their own custom van builds. The fact that Van Horn is offering a ready-made platform for these people is a brilliant move by a dealership, in my opinion. There are certainly things I don’t like about this concept, principally the fact that you have to run the inverter to operate the fridge and water pump. But a lot of this build is simple enough that it’s less likely to need repairs and, if it does, the modularity of the components makes that simple.
The ProCamp might save you time and money
It may even work out that you’ll save a bunch of time and money buying one of these systems as opposed to doing your own thing. I will say, I still prefer the Vanaholic kit for the interior just because it has no wood, whereas this is mostly all wood. The Embassy is the best finished product, but this might be a great alternative and the price is certainly right.
I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.
Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. 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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