What is Stealth Camper Van?
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.
Related: View truck bed camping ideas!
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.
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.
Related: View small truck camper ideas!
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.