Inside: All the reasons to consider a Dodge Promaster campervan conversion by Glampervan. Updated August 2020
I am joining the van-life movement with my very own Glampervan Promaster campervan. At least part-time. For years now as retirement came closer, I fantasized about having a self- contained home for extended road trips. I knew I didn’t want a big RV, and I definitely did not want to pull a trailer. I wanted something I could drive with confidence, something that’s allowed in all our National Parks (aka not too big) and something that can go off-grid for at least a week.
That led me to custom van conversions. This is a whole new movement popularized by young people living a nomadic lifestyle with work-from-anywhere jobs. Van life is part of the growing minimalist movement. However….
Van life is not just for Millennials
This almost 60 single woman dreams of the van life too! I love road trips and solo traveling. There is a lot of exploration I plan to do in the US and neighboring countries.
Now that I have plenty of time, I’m taking a leisurely approach to my travels. I’ll park anywhere that calls me: in a friend’s driveway, off-grid in a state or national forest, on-grid in a park campground, or even on a city street (stealth camping, baby!).
I look forward to savoring my home-brewed coffee in the morning, preparing food whenever I’m hungry, pulling over and take a nap or go to the loo on my terms – anywhere. It all sounds good. I want freedom!
I spent a lot of time online reviewing all the possibilities for camper-van conversions. There is a lot of competition out there now building campervan conversions, and wait times are often considerable-plus quality and options are quite variable. A few commercially available camper van options (or almost camper van-sized options) are also available, including Airstream, but these ready to go options are EXPENSIVE – well north of $160,000 in most instances.
I could DIY… yeah, right – not on your life. I know I can do it cheaper and there are a lot of instructions online, but I want to get on the road before I become decrepit, not spend years trying to convert a van with my not so accomplished DIY skills.
Update August 2020: I now have my Glampervan and it is even better than I expected. The quality of the workmanship blows me away, as well as the attention to design and optimizing every single feature. The company has also been fantastic to work with including answering pre-contract questions, keeping me in the loop during construction, doing exactly what they say they will do, and being available for questions and hand holding well after I got my finished van. You can see every little detail here.
With all the above in mind, here’s why I chose a Glampervan for my Promaster campervan conversion:
The interior design of a Glampervan is near perfection.
The design and placement of the kitchen, seating, bed, and storage are optimized to make you feel like you are in a larger space. Both front seats swivel and the table is movable so you can eat, work, prep food, and more with ease. Glampervans are actually MUV’s, multi-use vehicles, so you can fold up the bed and haul things too (I doubt I will use that feature much, but you never know when you will need to move a dresser or bike or large dog).
Glampervans are built on a Dodge Ram Promaster
The underlying body for the conversion is important because you provide Glampervan the Promaster when your build time comes up. Fortunately, there are plenty of Dodge Ram Promasters available, they are reasonably priced (26-35K new or almost new) and reliable. If you do break down getting repairs on a Dodge Ram is easier than a Mercedes. In short Promaster campervans are less expensive and easier to maintain.
Glampervans are built on a 136 high roof van.
This means you can stand up in your Promaster campervan (very important to me) and there is no pop-up tent, so fewer moving parts and more comfort in all seasons. At the same time, the van is agile and equipped to go on dirt roads and off-road (my kind of off-road driving anyway). Most of all, I know I can drive it as I spent years tooling around in a 12-seater Dodge Ram passenger van (think airport limo) with my 7 (now grown) kiddos. This van is even easier than my old one as it has a backup camera and extended side mirrors. Mileage is supposed to be greater than 10 mpg. We will see. Update: I am averaging 14.2 MPG over a range of driving (city, highway, mountain).
The bed is nearly a regular Queen size
I want a thick comfortable foam mattress and Glampervan is covering mine in purple removable (cleanable) Sunbrella fabric. I want the bed to feel like the one I sleep in at home. Update: The bed is actually MORE comfortable than the one I have at home (maybe I need a new mattress?)
The van is solar powered with lithium batteries –
Ready to go off-grid. No plugin needed. The standard Glampervan build includes a 340 Watt solar system and 2 12 volt Li Batteries. Update: I can cook anything I want and use all my electric gadgets and haven’t come close to using up my power.
Glampervans have an acceptable shower and toilet option
Glampervan’s Promaster campervan comes with a cassette toilet (common on boats) that is easy to use and simple to clean. No need to totally depend on this option, but it is there when needed Other RV toilet options are just too much effort (I do not want to deal with a black water tank). The Glampervan shower is an outdoor hookup (hot water) which is fine for me as I don’t do cold weather anymore, and most parks have good shower options. I have gone RVing and honestly don’t much like claustrophobic RV showers until the RV gets way too big (for me) to drive. Update: Both the portaloo and shower work great – the best choice ever.
Storage, lighting, and sound system perfection.
I am getting my Glampervan totally Glammed up so I have great LED lights and outlets everywhere I want them. Music and books will broadcast through a state of the art sound system. The heater is turn on/off easy to use.
Screens and shades
There are screens to cover windows and doors. A nice breeze with no insects-yes! An ability to block looky-loos, yes! Update: Get the screens! I’ve camped where bees hang out and the screens rock! They still allow ventilation, especially with the optional galley window, another strong recommendation.
There is a roof deck!
Yes, I plan on setting up shop on top of my van and writing blog posts while taking in the view opens up new horizons – literally.
Superb customer service
The most important reason of all: Glampervan customer service so far has rocked! I want – no, I NEED, great customer service. Robert, my contact, is answering all of my questions with patience and responding to email within a day. So far, I am very impressed.
My Glampervan is ordered! That was a big decision as the conversion costs about 60K. But this will be home on the road for years to come and I want it reliable, well made and comfortable.
My next step is buying my Dodge Ram Promaster. I expect you love buying vehicles as much as I do (not) so join me as I share my method for van shopping. Past car/van purchases taught me a lot over the years (much the hard way) about making a vehicle purchase easier, less expensive, and without the past pain associated with auto/van dealers. Update: Read all about buying my Promaster here.
My build starts in January/February at the Glampervan facility in San Francisco. If all goes as planned I’ll be hitting the road in April or May 2020. Where should I take my Promaster campervan first?
Update: I have Eve, my Glampervan back now, and have taken her on a couple of maiden voyages. You can read all about my trips to Joshua Tree and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks and see how I’ve discovered free dispersed camping.
Join me on my journey
If you’re new here – welcome! If you’re ready to start dreaming about or planning your epic adventures, be sure to subscribe to SSSNOOlife blog updates. We’ll plan and explore together.