Stealth means secretive and not very obvious. A stealth camper van is, therefore, a camper van that is not very obvious.
What does this mean?
It means it is a camper van that does not really look like a camper van. The best stealth campers are those that look just like normal vans.
5 Reasons People Love Stealth Camping in A Van
- They are stealthy
In many movies and TV series, the detectives often hide close to the action in a stealth van.
It often excites many people that the good guys are hiding in plain sight. It is the fact that stealth van campers allow you to hide in plain sight that makes them so popular with many people.
- They allow you to park in almost any street
In many cities across the United States, it is not legal to park and live in an RV within city limits. This law is meant to protect RV campground owners by giving them business.
However, when you get a stealth RV van, you can literally park anywhere and go about your day-to-day RV life without anyone suspecting a thing and borrowing you.
- They are safer than ordinary camper vans
Ordinary campers vans are targets for thieves and robbers. They are a target because people quickly notice they are recreational vehicles and get excited by the idea of getting in and taking what they want while you are away.
When you travel with a stealth van, you will not have to worry about it constantly as nobody will be interested in breaking into an ordinary van.
- They are cheap to operate
Generally, stealth campers are much cheaper to operate than conventional campers. This is because owners of stealth vans do not have to drive around and consume a lot of gas finding an RV campsite.
Moreover, in many RV campsites, RV owners pay per hour. In contrast, stealth van owners do not have to find an RV campsite for they can park anywhere and do not have to pay a lot of money.
- They are custom vehicles
Unlike most van RVs that tend to come with everything designed and laid out, not many companies make stealth RVs.
For this reason, those who want to make one often purchase a van and then convert it themselves or contract someone to convert it for them. This often leads to great customized vehicles.
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4 Best Vans Good for Stealth Camping
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van
The Sprinter van is one of the most famous Sprinter vans on the market. Several models of it exist. Small ones go for about $35,000, while larger models are more expensive.
If you really want a Sprinter van but you think about $35,000 is too much, you should go for a used Sprinter van.
The best Sprinter van models are 4WD (four wheel drive) vehicles. This makes them perfect for road trips and even for traveling off-road. They are powered by powerful German engines that are reliable and rarely break down if well-maintained.
The cheapest Sprinter vans on the market have a standard roof height and a short wheelbase, while the more expensive ones have high-roof height and a long wheelbase.
So if you want a van that you can convert into a big and luxurious stealth van, you should get a Sprinter van that has a long wheelbase and a high-roof height.
A well-built high-roof and long wheelbase Sprinter can have enough sleeping space for four people. It can also have plenty of standing room and even a sizeable mini-kitchen that you would not expect to see in a van.
The only complaint people who have new Sprinter vans have is that they are expensive and sometimes costly to maintain. View Sprinter renting tips here!
However, if money is an issue for you, you should consider getting older model Sprinter vans as they are known to go for many miles without breaking down.
Viano Fun Van
The Mercedes-Benz Viano Fun Van is an impressive motor vehicle. It is not as big in size as the typical Sprinter van but it is a van that can be converted into a nice and comfortable RV for two people.
This German machine has a German engine as you would expect and can go for many miles without thorough maintenance.
Nevertheless, if you want it to take you across the country, you need to take it for thorough maintenance regularly. If you like old school driving with a manual gearbox, a clutch, and whatnots, you will love this vehicle even more as it is a six-speed manual gearbox diesel motor vehicle.
This old-school vehicle was manufactured as a six seats vehicle between 2003 and 2007. It is not in production right now but you can still buy it as a used car.
Many people across the world have converted a Viano van into an RV. Surprisingly, the smallish van can be quite the self-contained RV. It already has three seats at the front and the back can be built out to have a very comfortable bed.
To just give you a teaser of what you can have in a Viano, below are some of the features included in a recently sold Viano conversion van.
They include: a comfy bed, thick curtains for privacy, a table which can be hidden, a sink with a water pump, a storage area for dishes and cutlery, storage boxes under the bed, and a portable gas stove and gas cylinder.
Volkswagen Transporter T5
This vehicle is a product of a German automaker known as Volkswagen. If you are into cars or you know a bit about cars then you have most probably heard of Volkswagen cars (sedans) and SUVs.
The company’s vehicles are best known for being highly reliable and durable. This particular is designed as a commercial vehicle for transporting cargo. It was first made nearly 20 years ago and it is still in production to date.
Like most Volkswagen vehicles, this vehicle is highly reliable and designed to handle a bit of weight. The fact that it is designed to handle a bit of weight means that it is very suitable for conversion into a camper.
All the extra stuff you add to it will most likely not hit its maximum weight limit or affect its driveability.
The thing I like the most about this vehicle is that it is among the desirable transport vans. It is very desirable because of how cool it looks. It is a cargo van yes, but it has a low profile that makes it look very nice.
But you do not need to worry about how it looks so much as nobody would suspect it is a camper if you do not tell them it is or welcome them in.
Various models of this vehicle are available on the market. Therefore, if you want to purchase a Transporter T5, you should go for a model that is more suitable for conversion (a cargo model). Some of the latest Transport T5 models are perfect for urban stealth camping.
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Viano Marco Polo
The Viano Marco Polo is a Mercedes-Benz vehicle that is built as a camper by the world-famous German car manufacturer.
In other words, it is a van that you do not have to convert or modify to make it camper since it comes from the manufacturer as a camper.
Named after a famous Southern European explorer – Marco Polo – this stealth camper truck is the perfect camper for those who want to explore the world and the beauty found in all its many corners. It comes with a mini-kitchen, a spacious seating/eating area, and two sleeping zones.
Probably the best thing about this camper vehicle is its powerful 120kW Mercedes engine. The engine plus the fact that it is an all-wheel drive vehicle makes it perfect for driving on most terrain.
This vehicle can be driven on mud, sandy beaches, ditches, and so on and it won’t get stuck.
The second best thing about this van is its safety features. It has several safety features that makes it one of the safest vans of its kind.
The third best thing about this Viano Marco Polo is that four adults can travel comfortably and sleep inside it.
Its two front seats are swivelling seats and its rear seats are detachable; this makes it easy to setup a spacious living room in minutes. Its sliding door has a hidden folding table. Deploying it is how you complete this camper’s living room setup.
The fourth best thing about this Marco Polo are its two sleeping zones. They include a big bed made of a bench and a second bed in the pop up tower that is bigger and more comfortable.
The only issue with the upper bed is that you need to be a bit agile to climb on it. Nevertheless, both beds can sleep two people.
Lastly, this van comes with a small kitchen that includes a cooking stove, a mini-fridge, a sink, and storage areas for dishes and utensils.
Many who have seen this van would agree that it is one of the best for stealth camping. This is because its simple minibus-like looks do not betray the luxury found inside it.
Several things on the outside can be indicators that it is not a common van but not everyone can quickly guess that it is actually a camper van. The things include a frame that looks like part of a luggage carrier but it is not. It is a special awning or sunshade.
Apart from being used as a van life vehicle, this van can be used as a family van for daily drive. You will find its under 2-meter height perfect for underground parking if you want to use it go for work.
What is The Best Stealth Van?
The best stealth van is the Viano Marco Polo in my opinion. This is because it comes ready for traveling and exploring and it has just about everything you need for a comfortable stealth camping experience.
Everything includes two sleeping zones, a spacious living area, a mini kitchen, two swivelling front seats, a folding table, and so on. Who wouldn’t want to go camping in this camper?
However, there is something you must note about this van. If you want a truly stealth camping experience, you must never deploy its sunshade or its pop-up tower. This is because these two things give it away as a camper.
Stealth Camper Vans for Sale: To buy or to rent?
If your bank account balance has many zeros in it, you should buy a new stealth camper van such as the Marco Polo Viano.
The fact that it is new means it will have the latest driveability, safety and camping features. If your bank account statement does not make a happy reading, you should consider getting a used but good quality stealth camper van.
How To Live Off The Grid In A Camper Vehicle?
To live off the grid, you need to do a couple of things.
First, you must find an appropriate place where it is safe, there is a clean spring or river nearby, and where you can get help quickly if you need it. Don’t go somewhere where there is no phone signal.
Second, you need a solar power setup to power your electronics. In addition to your solar power setup, you need a water purifier setup to clean water for you.
Third, you need supplies to survive on for some time. Include warm clothing, foodstuffs, and so on. In addition to food and clothing, you will need a microwave, a stove, dishes, and utensils.
Lastly, you need a toilet. Many stealth camper trailer vehicles come with one. So simply purchase the right vehicle to be able to go to the toilet in the privacy of your camper.
With all the above things, you should be able to survive off-grid. Do not forget to carry tools and equipment to help you sort out any emergencies.
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Some Questions & Answers!
How much does it cost to convert a cargo trailer to a camper?
You should be prepared to spend between $4,000 and $16,000 to convert a cargo trailer into a camper. The amount of money you will pay will vary based on the design and features/amenities you desire. If you want a quality and feature-rich camper built on a camper trailer, you should be prepared to pay more than $10,000 for the materials and the labor.
Why is stealth camping illegal?
Stealth camping is illegal in many cities and towns across the US. The reason why is that many cities and towns do not want people camping just anywhere they want to prevent tent cities from coming up.
Because tent cities negatively affect property prices and often cause insecurity. Another reason why stealth camping is illegal is that it prevents states, cities, and towns from earning money from their campgrounds.
How much does it cost to convert a step van into a camping vehicle?
Step vans are big vans compared to regular vans. Therefore, they typically cost more to convert into a camper than regular vans. You should be prepared to pay between $7,000 and $20,000 to convert a step van into a camping vehicle. The more you pay, the better the quality you will get.
Are stealth vans legal?
Yes, they are. Camping vans are very legal. And you can sleep in your camping van as long as you park somewhere where you are allowed to park overnight.
Is stealth camping safe?
Yes, it is. If you park somewhere well-lit and safe, you will be quite safe. But if you go stealth camping somewhere not very safe, you will significantly increase your likelihood of having a negative experience.
What is urban stealth camping?
Urban stealth camping is sleeping and basically living in your vehicle in an urban environment. The stealth part involves not drawing attention to your vehicle or yourself to avoid people asking you questions or calling the cops or city authorities on you.
The only other major form of stealth camping is boondocking. In contrast to urban stealth camping, boondocking is done in the wild away from urban settings.
What is the best vehicle for stealth camping?
The best vehicle for stealth camping is a windowless cargo van. This is because cargo vans are big and, therefore, make nice campers.
You can put all the features and amenities you want in a cargo van and you will still have room for a bed and a big dinette if you plan everything nicely. If you want to camp stealthily, you should make sure your camper is windowless to prevent people from looking inside.
What does Boondocking mean?
Boondocking refers to camping in the wild in non-official campsites or campgrounds. It is illegal in many states to go boondocking.
States want you to pay to use their official campgrounds and campsites. They also want you to camp where it is safe. Therefore, if you are caught camping in the middle of nowhere, you will probably be directed to the nearest RV campsite or park or fined.
Can a Minivan be converted into a good stealth camper?
Yes, it can. While the minivan won’t be as spacious as a Sprinter van conversion, it will certainly be livable. There are so many vehicle conversion experts that can convert minivans into clever and surprisingly spacious campers.
Many can also build minivan campers in such a way that it is hard for anyone to quickly guess they are campers and not ordinary family vans. So if you have a minivan that needs converting into a stealth camper, get the right guy or business to do it and you will have yourself a cute little mini camper.
Which Ford Transit model can I comfortably sleep in?
The cargo models are the best to sleep in. This is because they have enough space in the back for most people to sleep fully stretched in.
If you have a sleeping bag or a mattress, you can safely sleep in the cargo holding space of a Ford Transit van. Just make sure your engine is not running when you are sleeping to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Can I convert a Ford Econoline van into a luxury camping automobile?
Yes, you can. It is not a van that many van life enthusiasts prefer converting but you surely can convert one into a luxury camper. It is a relatively spacious vehicle so converting it into a camper will not be a big problem.
What do I need for DIY Chevy Astro conversion into a camper?
You need several things including insulation, ventilation, a fresh water tank, a waste water tank, furniture, and amenities.
The easiest way to convert a Chevy Astro is to work with a company that makes conversion parts so that they send you the parts and instructions on how to assemble them.
How safe is using my enclosed trailer for stealth camping?
Your enclosed trailer needs ventilation. So if it has ventilation, you can camp in it for a while without getting suffocating. However, one more thing you will have to be cautious about is the fact that you want to stealth camp in a trailer and this is often difficult.
In other vehicles, you can get into and out of your sleeping compartment via the driver’s door and this often does not cause suspicion. In contrast, stealth camping in a trailer can raise suspicion because a man or woman getting in and out of a parked trailer is always suspicious.
Where can I customize my RAM Promaster as a family RV?
You can customize your RAM Promaster vehicle in a number of companies right here in the USA. The companies best known for converting RAM vans include waldoch, tommycampervans.
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Can you turn a box truck into a camper?
Yes, you can. You can turn a box truck into a camper. Most box truck campers are tall enough to allow you to walk around upright inside them.
Most are also long enough to accommodate separate private “rooms” with doors. One downside you have to keep in mind about box truck campers is that they consume more fuel per 100 miles compared to van campers.
Is a Prius stealth camper safe for my kids?
A Prius stealth camper is not spacious enough to camp in with your partner and kids. It only has enough sleeping room for two people max. Your kids can camp in it but it won’t provide them with the best sleeping space and protection.
What is stealth car camping?
Stealth car camping is pretty much camping discreetly in a car. To hide the fact that you are camping in your car, you will need to tint your windows or get curtains. Otherwise, security officers or neighborhood watch can quickly figure out you are camping in your car.
What is the point of stealth camping?
The point of stealth camping is to avoid detection and being asked to drive to an official campground or campsite.
Is it illegal to sleep in your van?
In many places it is illegal to sleep overnight in your vehicle especially when you do it in a non-designated parking spot. However, if you park in an official parking spot, you can sleep in your vehicle legally.
Is it legal to live in a campervan?
The United States wants everyone to have an official residence. They want you to either own a home or rent a home. Therefore, the government does not recommend living in a campervan. However, there are ways you can legally live in a campervan.
Can I sleep in my van anywhere?
In many cases, it is illegal to sleep in your van in non-official parking spots. You can, however, sleep in your van in a campground or campsite parking spot or any other official parking spot that allows you to sleep in your vehicle.
Can you stealth camp in a truck camper?
It is very difficult to stealth camp in a truck camper because the purpose of stealth camping is to be discreet and a truck camper is not very discreet.
What is the best stealth sleeping van?
A big enclosed Sprinter van is the perfect van for stealth camping. Most people will quickly think it is a cargo van but it is a van that can be made into a discreet camping van.
Where can you sleep in a campervan?
In most campervans, you can sleep in the van’s bed or convertible sofa/dinette.
Can you Boondock at Walmart?
Yes, you can. You can park your RV overnight at Walmart parking lot. But you need to follow a couple of rules to ensure your presence does not negatively affect the operations of the store.
Can you sleep in an RV rest stop?
Yes, you can. If you are tired and you want to sleep in an RV rest stop, just park correctly and sleep in your vehicle. However, you should note that camping is generally forbidden in RV rest stops. So do not set up a tent outside your vehicle or extend your vehicle’s slideouts.
What is the ideal cargo trailer stealth camper size?
What is the best stealth camper van interior?
An interior that is understated or that hides the features and amenities of a van is the best stealth interior. This is because it makes it difficult for anyone to guess the van is a camper van.
Can you stealth camp in a truck camper?
Yes, you can. If the truck camper is discreet, you can easily stealth camp in it. Just do not do anything that raises suspicion.
Can you live in a pickup truck?
Yes, you can. If you want to make it very comfortable, add a truck camper to the truck bed and you will soon be eating a sleeping in a very nice truck camper.
Do U-Haul sell or rent box truck stealth camper?
U-Haul is in the business of renting trucks and selling its old trucks. You can rent a box truck from U-Haul and use it for camping or buy and convert one into a camper and use it for camping.