How much did my Promaster Van Conversion Cost?

I’ve been on this theme of answering the most asked questions I receive over on my, instagram and the cost of my Promaster van conversion is probably the most asked question of them all. 

So how much did my Promaster Conversion Cost?

Here’s the deal my dudes, and you may not like this answer, but here we go…

It doesn’t matter.

Now before I lose you, go with me for a second.

Am I saying that it doesn’t matter how much my van conversion ended up costing because I’m made of money and didn’t have to care about something like this?

Absolutely not. I made budget choices on most things the entire way through my build and actually still owe in it. 

Am I saying that you shouldn’t do your research to decide how much it’s going to cost you?

Not that either. I think this is a great question to ask around about to make sure you are in a place that you feel comfortable paying for something like this, especially when it comes to a newer van and build like mine. 

Do I feel like this question can be limiting or potentially hold someone back from what they really want? Absolutely.

At this time I’ve chosen not to answer this question with an itemized break down or share receipts. Who knows, I may answer this in the future.

Here is the reason why I’ve chosen not to share this at this time:

From my experience and from reading and watching blogs and vlogs of other van life accounts that do share receipts, there are way more comments in the comments section about how they wish they could afford it or that they are saving up now to be able to afford it down the road.

That, friends, is a big deal.

And I’ve been there too. I’ve thought those things when I would see these amazing builds before I hit the road the first time. I thought I would never be able to get to that point and it felt like defeat before I even started.

Here’s the thing: I think that if you want to live on the road full or part time, you’ll find something that works for you and your personal budget.

Budget is such a personal thing and we all look at expenses differently. What $10 is to someone could mean something totally different to someone else.

(By the way, this is why I REALLY love blogs like Gnomad home and Parked In Paradise because they lay out different renovation options for almost every budget).

My first experience with van life as a 1984 chevy g20 that we bought for $3,000.

Van life in our Chevy G20 van named Rosa from 2017-2019. Purchased originally for $3000.

We probably spent maybe $1500 – 2k on the renovation and that’s even pushing it, we probably spent less but we never kept track. We didn’t know what we were doing but we built something (with no experience whatsoever) that made it so we could hit the road sooner. You can check out why I moved into a van here.

We didn’t have running water, a shower, heat, a toilet, or even food storage. We used a camp stove to cook on for a year and a half and either packed out our waste or buried it.

I repeat: We either pooped in a hole or in a bag nearly every day FOR A YEAR AND A HALF. 

We called it luxury camping because it really was like that except instead of a tent, we had a 30-year-old van to take care of.

Our “kitchen” set up in our 1984 Chevy g20
We borrowed this portable shower from a friend when we first started out and it felt like luxury.

And guess what, it was awesome! We went everywhere we wanted to and hit the road just a few months after we decided we wanted to try out van life.

One of our first stops somewhere in the middle of Colorado.

From there we “upgraded” to a 1986 Toyota Sunrader. With that rig we had running water, a stove, a toilet, and a little bit more space for our two 60 lb dogs and the both of us. We bought that rig as-is and hit the road right away with no renovations at all. 

Our 1986 Toyota Sunrader

From there, after I took a break from the road, I moved into my jeep patriot for 5 weeks and hit the road with my dog. I made a small platform in the back and my pup and I “lived in it” for over a month and explored as much as we wanted to.

2016 Jeep Patriot Car Camper Set Up
Ollie sleeping like this on a long drive in the desert.

Are you catching on to what I’m saying? 

You don’t need a van like mine to experience van life. 

Van life and the idea of it has become this almost unobtainable goal for so many people because they feel like they have to spend everything they have to experience traveling full time or part-time. 

It’s just not true. 

You can literally use whatever you have and make it work. You don’t have to trade everything to move into a van to make it work. You don’t even have to go full time to make it work. Grab a tent, make a platform in your SUV, buy an old rig, or buy a new van and convert it if you feel like it’s going to allow you to do what you want to do which is ultimately hit the road.

You just need to get out of your way. 

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