How Much Our Van Conversion Cost
Sprinter Van Cost
Over the past 6 months, Ashley and I have built an amazing custom home on wheels. Our van is a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and we love it! In this post, I’ll break down the total cost of what it took to convert our van into a luxurious tiny home that has taken us all over the country.
There are three sections that Ashley broke down the costs into. First is the van, A.K.A. “Little Galena”. Second is all of the material within the van. Third is the cost of labor.
This was obviously the most expensive item that we paid for. Our Mercedes-Benz Sprinter cost $30,000. Keep in mind that we do not have a home beside our van to pay rent or a mortgage on.
The Materials & Labor
As I said, this is our only living space. We wanted our van to be high quality so we decided to not go cheap when decking it out. This helps the space feel more like home and less like a van.
Around one third of our material cost was for the solar panels, the batteries that hold the energy from the solar panels, and the rack on top of the van that holds the solar panels. Therefore, the energy portion of our material cost was a whopping $8,600. We researched and researched this cost and came to the conclusion that there was no way we were going to get a slick deal without sacrificing quality. In the end, we went with lithium batteries because, although they are more expensive, they allow you to use them all the way to zero without damaging the unit.
The next material item we invested in was our bed. Getting good sleep is vital to Ashley and me. That being said, we bought a Purple mattress; ours was $1,400 for a queen size.
We both are very hot sleepers. We knew that in order to keep the van cool, especially when traveling to warm locations, we would need some sort of van cooling system. The option we settled on was a swamp cooler which uses water to cool the van. It has saved us on hot nights, but just like everything else, the swamp cooler came with a price — $1,700.
The least expensive items in our van are tied at $1,300 each. First is our fridge. To be honest, this is the item I am most annoyed about simply because our quarter-sized fridge cost nearly as much as a full-sized one! The second item is our max air fan. Now, some of you may be wondering why this was so expensive. When figuring the numbers, Ashley accounted for both the price of the new fan plus the cost to remove the passenger AC unit that was already part of the van.
Okay, let me take something back. The composting toilet is definitely the most annoying thing we bought for inside the van. Before we hit the road, we did lots of research and found that a composting toilet (A.K.A. a glorified plastic bucket) was the most self-sustainable. We didn't want to have to stop at dump stations like most other RVers. When you go #1, the waste goes into a nice little bucket; when you go #2 it goes into a slightly nicer little bucket. However, to be completely honest, I have never done the latter of the two in the van! Either way, our toilet cost us $960!
Most tiny home vans actually don't have a toilet but if they do, it is usually a port-a-potty style. We decided that we needed a place that we could go if needed after driving the five-hour trip to our previous residence in Nevada to Adrian’s parents’ home in California. All gas station and restaurant bathrooms were closed due to COVID. So, although we don't use our toilet as much as we should considering how much we paid for it, it does give us peace of mind and will always be there in case of an emergency.
Moving into our kitchen space, our sink and faucet combined were about $500. One thing to think about is the weight of each and every item that goes into the van. Ashley really wanted a modern farmhouse sink for the van but it was just too heavy. We ended up settling for a bar-style sink because they are deep yet small.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van: $30,000
Energy Costs: $8,600
Purple Mattress: $1,400
Swamp Cooler: $1,700
Max Air Fan + Removing Passenger AC Unit: 1,300
Sink and Faucet: $500
Grand Total… $78,200
Ever since Ashley and I met, we have had great financial habits. We were able to pay off our debt in only a couple of years and have always saved more than we spend. Having our van is truly a blessing. It has allowed us to live an amazing lifestyle while saving over 95% of our income!
So, is van life for you? Did you expect converting a van to be more expensive? What do you think about this lifestyle? We’d love to hear your input.
Peace and God bless.
I make new content every single week, so be sure to subscribe to my Youtube and follow my Instagram @brambilabong and TikTok at @AdrianBrambila. I also have tons of resources and courses on my website that you won’t want to miss. Head over to www.adrianbrambila.com to learn more about what I do and how I live a financially free life.
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