There is no better feeling than hitting the open road after a stressful week at work, cruising down the highway with your favourite van life essentials packed and ready to go, preparing to add another journey to your list of top road trips. Not all vandwellers can live the vanlife full time; travelling in a van can be hard if you have a young family, and living the van life might just be a hobby for some rather than a long-term alternative living plan. This is why we salute the noble weekend warrior, armed with a compact camper van and a timer that’s constantly ticking down to that glorious Friday evening of freedom.
It’s true; whether you own a cheap camper or have made a luxury camper conversion, we respect any off grid living aficionado who does whatever it takes to get out into the wild. So much so, in fact, that we’ve made a Van Lifers & Weekend Warriors Facebook Group in your honour!
Meet The Compact Camper Van That Could Be Your New Tiny Home From Home
If you live in the United States, then you’ll be no stranger to the fact that it’s hard to get hold of a good Eurovan since Volkswagen stopped their production in 2003. The Volkswagen Bus Camper has and probably always will be one of the most sought after campers of all time, and with conversions like this VW California Camper doing the rounds on the internet, it’s not hard to see why.
Solace can be found in companies that specialise in campervan conversions, taking your beloved retro vans and turning them into the adventure bus that they were always destined to be. In the same way that budget campervan company Cascade Campers can make you a full functional stealth camper van, Seattle based Peace Vans specialises in converting and servicing, upgrading, and renovating your retro pop top camper back into a tiny home from home that all the family can enjoy. But they also have another hidden talent that may save weekend warriors everywhere. With a significant lack of affordable tiny homes on dealer forecourts around the U.S in the last 23 years, Peace Vans Modern have been using their love of all things VW to create the ultimate weekend camper that can also be used to ferry the kids to school and pack full of groceries.
Tell Us More About This Compact Camper Van
If there’s one company that I would want to build a campervan, it’s one that has countless years of experience with dealing with VW classics. Peace vans have focused their new build around three different designs, all using the brand new 2019 Mercedes Metris as a base vehicle, and each conversion is designed to complement your lifestyle and individual needs.
If you’re just looking for a bed to crash on when you go on long journeys, then the first conversion option is to make a compact camper van by adding a pop top to your Mercedes Metris. Your interior will stay completely untouched, leaving you with ample room to ferry your kids and their friends around all week long. The second conversion, aptly titled ‘The Weekender’, is more for the family that shares a minimalistic view of tiny house camping. As well as a pop top, you’ll get a folding back seat that converts into a bed. Peace Vans know how important it is to get off the grid on a budget, but they do it while never compromising on your families safety, which is why the rear folding seats meet all of the required specifications and ratings that a car seat requires.
The first two conversions are for Metris Passenger Van’s only. You can expect to pay around $10k for your standard pop top installation, and $24K for ‘The Weekender’.
The third compact camper van conversion is the one that we’re going to take a look at today. It’s called the ‘Full Camper’, and it might just go down as one of the neatest and well built Mercedes camper conversions that we’ve ever seen.
What’s Inside The Full Camper?
Steady on; we haven’t even talked about the outside yet! Based on the Metris cargo van, this compact camper van boasts of the features of the first two conversions and a heck of a lot more. Complete with solar panel charging facilities, full rear opening boot, Peace Vans decals, and the option to add roof racks, awnings and more, the Full Camper is the perfect small camper for your next off grid adventure.
Inside this compact camper van, you’ll find tonnes of useful gear for life on the road. A two burner stove, sink, and a 49L AC/DC fridge that Angus Young would be proud of, provide you with all of the top cooking accessories that you need to whip up tasty meals on the go. There’s more than enough storage to keep tinned and dry goods in your camper all your round too, so now you’ll be ready to shoot off on an adventure at a moments notice. The cupboards look a little bit like something that you might find in a college dorm room, but they certainly do the job and keep all of your mess out of the main living area.
Is This Compact Camper Van Suitable For Living Off The Grid?
The Full Camper comes with up to 20L of fresh water storage, which isn’t a lot if you’re planning on going away for more than a weekend. I’ve been living in a van for almost 17 months now, and I go through 25L in about a week, but that’s just for washing up, cleaning, cleaning face and teeth etc. I have another 35 litres of water that I use for cooking and drinking, so you can see how 20 litres would dimish pretty quickly. Having said that, if you’re only going to be away for a few days, then it’s a perfect set up and keeps the overall weight of the camper down too, which means you won’t be using up as much fuel either.
The pop top sleeps two adults comfortably and has a large window that you can view the stars from, making this compact camper van perfect for romantic weekends away with a loved one. If, however, romantic weekends are now a thing of the past, then the pull out bed below can sleep two to three children quite comfortably, giving you a much cheaper option than renting multiple rooms in some fancy hotel. Auxiliary batteries can be charged via solar of standard plug-in cables that you’ll find at any campsite, but I always recommend going solar heavy so that you can travel off the beaten path; that’s where the best adventures happen after all. The advantage of solar is that you also don’t have to pack tonnes of power banks (but if you like to charge on the trail, then here’s a list of the best power banks on the market).
Ok; it’s truth time. I’m usually, I’m the first one to disagree with shelling out tonnes of money for another company to convert a camper for you; it’s a costly process and one that can be done so cheaply yourself with a little bit of help (like our How To Build A Camper e-book for example!). However, Peace Vans know what it takes to make a seriously nice camper van, and don’t just build cheap campervans that compromise on quality. They’re the real deal, and they may vert wall have changed to change my opinion on company-converted campers.
The Full Camper costs $39,995.00 to convert, which is about £31’000 to us Brits who might be thinking of a move to the States. You’ll need to own a Mercedes Metris Cargo Van beforehand, however, so if you don’t already own one, then you could be looking at an extra $33-45K on top of this price. If you really want to get a Peace Vans conversion then consider looking for a second hand Metris instead. If you don’t want to shell out that kind of money, then take a look at our best van to live in guide for other vehicles that make top quality rolling homes.
The Full Camper is a stunning compact camper van and a perfect day van for the weekend warrior that likes to get out and about in his or her spare time. It’s still a costly option; added extras like a Webasto heater add an extra $3k onto the overall price, so you could always consider adding a cheaper option like a Planar for about a quarter of the price (that’s what I did in my conversion, and it’s been perfect!). If you’re only going to use it a couple of days a year, then this probably isn’t the conversion for you. But, if you’re sick of lugging a tent around in your Mercedes Metris and long for a vehicle that you can use to escape the 9-5 every Friday, then this compact camper van will serve you well for many years to come.
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