Want the Vanlife?

Here’s an overview of how the process works


Before you do anything to your van, do these 4 things

Whether you’re looking for easy spontaneous weekend getaways or you’re ready to leave your life behind and explore hidden landscapes for months on end, converting a van is a dream come true investment that will provide years of peak life experiences.

After years of helping hundreds of people fulfill travel dreams, here are our most game-changing recommendations. 

1. Obsess about your van’s design and components BEFORE you start building it

Your significant other may think you’re glued to Instagram, but spending time getting educated first will save you time and money later. Check out your friend’s builds. Ask them what they like. By light years, the best and cheapest time to change your mind is before you start building. 

2. Get on the same page as your partner, if you have one. 

Becoming a unified front with your parnter before you get started will make the process a lot more smooth – and a lot more fun. Ask each other: how will we use our van? What are our must-haves? What don’t we want? Make lists. Get clear. Form opinions while also considering each other’s needs – and leave room for expert feedback. We get the most done as a team!

3. Know your budget and know the market. 

Buying a van is akin to building a small house. Familiarize yourself with what’s out there and how much things cost. Know your parameters. 

This is a long-term investment that will hold its monetary and emotional value for years. Most people only convert one van in their lives – so make this the one you really want within a budget you can afford.

4. Protect your investment by choosing a reputable builder

While your sister’s friend’s uncle might know how to make cabinets, we’ve repaired too many leaky vent vans and dangerous electrical systems to feel comfortable endorsing inexperienced builders.

There’s nothing sadder for us that seeing a gorgeous new vehicle mangled by a well-meaning but incompetent builder. Choose a reputable outfitter who values safety and craftsmanship.


    Sprinter, Transit, or Promaster?

    Own a van? Congrats! Still deciding? Let’s break down your options to make sure you won’t regret your purchase. 

    Get an empty cargo van, not a passenger van. The passenger van comes with extra features. But more often than not people remove and replace them with the design they really want. It’s always easier to add a feature than to take it away.

    Go high-roofed, not mid- or low-roofed. Vanlife gets old FAST when you’re stooped over. There are zero benefits to mid- or low-roofed vans. Go high or go home!

    Think carefully about factory windows. Factory windows provide visibility but do not open. If you plan to sleep or cook in your van, we require at least one vented window and a vent fan. Otherwise you’ll be sweltering at night and condensation build-up will rust our your van.

    Don’t get an AC unit. Large factory roof units limit other elements like solar. Plus they won’t work when your van isn’t running. A good vent fan and vented windows provide plenty of airflow at night. Most people convert a van to get closer to the elements, not to sit inside their van with the AC on. Invest in a hammock instead!

    Sprinter: iconic and well-built, it's the classic #vanlife model


    • Top quality Mercedes construction
    • Available with factory 4×4
    • Diesel engines go forever


    • No good mid-wheelbase option
    • Backordered so harder to find and more expensive to purchase

      Transit: newer to the scene, it's emerging as the more affordable option


      • High-roof = tallest on the market
      • Good 4×4 options
      • Easier to find, cheaper to purchase and repair


      • Thinner metal construction
      • Newer on the scene so some parts are harder to install or integrate, though this is changing rapidly 

      ProMaster: good mid-sized option and easy to drive


      • Widest van on the market
      • Front-wheel drive for more stability and easy driving
      • The 159″ is a great mid-size option


      • Doesn’t come in 4×4
      • Lower clearance
      • Front wheel drive can be less effective off-road


        Full build or DIY?

        Levity Vans offers two paths to vanlife: 

        • Full builds: choose from the Levity Local, Levity Legend, or Levity Lifestyle.
        • DIY builds: for those doing their own builds and need help with a few things beyond their skill set. We also sells parts and kits for DIYers to install themselves. 

        Full Builds: the Levity Local, Levity Legend, or Levity Lifestyle

        We convert your high-roof Sprinter, ProMaster, or Transit van into a Levity Van. Pick your style from one of our flagship designs then customize it to your needs. Our expert team will build your dream van, start to finish. You can sit back and relax – we do all the work.

          DIY Builds: one-off installs you don’t want to do yourself

          You’ve got your design set and the skills to execute it – you just need help with a few features beyond your skill set. We’ve got you covered with installs like flares, heaters, windows, and more.


            FULL BUILDS

            What’s your style? The Levity Local, Levity Lifestyle, or Levity Legend

            The first step for a full build to choose one of our two base models as the basic blueprint for your van: our functional and minimal Levity Local or our robust home-on-wheels, the Levity Legend. You can customize each one by adding and subtracting features to meet your specific needs. Looking to seat four and sleep four? Check out our family van, the Levity Lifestyle

            The Levity Local: everything you need, nothing you don’t

            Functional while still beautiful, the Levity Local has the essentials you need without the extras you don’t.

            • Minimalists
            • The adventure-minded who haul friends and gear
            • Those who want a quality, sleepable travel van on a budget

            Base price: $60,000

            Shown above with optional kitchen galley for cooking on the road and a foldaway seat for kids or friends. 

            SEE MORE

            The Levity Legend: your luxury home on wheels

            Leave your life behind but take all the comforts of home with you in our gorgeous, top-of-the-line Levity Legend.

            • Part-time adventurers who value comfort and quality
            • Tech-minded travelers who want more quality and style than an RV
            • Full-time travelers whose van is their dream home

            Average price: $120,000

            SEE MORE

            The Levity Lifestyle: seat four, sleep four

            A quintessential family van with all the modern van tech. Sleep four and seat four on your grand adventure.

            • Families who need a build that includes space for children
            • Adventurers who love to bring their friends along
            • Those who want the versatility of a modular van


            SEE MORE

            What’s the difference?

            Both models come standard with our top-of-the-line component installs, like:

            • Solar system
            • Lithium battery bank and high capacity inverter
            • Wool insulation
            • Hand-crafted fabric interior panels
            • Marine-grade vinyl flooring in a variety of trendy styles and colors
            • Our custom-welded removable aluminum bed system

            The Levity Legend, our most robust design, comes with more features than the Local, such as:

            • Extensive, custom-build real wood cabinetry throughout
            • Kitchen galley with induction cooktop
            • Sink with fresh and grey water storage tanks
            • Composting toilet
            • High-capacity refrigerator
            • Seating options

            Both styles can be customized. Add and subtract features until you’re satisfied.

            DIY BUILDS

            DIY Builds: we do the scary stuff, you do the fun stuff

            Your design is set, your tools ready. You know what’s worth outsourcing to pros and what you can do on your own. Tell us what you need and where you want it. We’ll order and install it for you.

            Common DIY installs

            For DIYers, we carry in stock and routinely install the following parts. For flares and foldaway seats, we’ll custom order for you and install once the parts are in. 

            • CRL Windows
            • Maxxair vent fans
            • Espar and Rixens heaters
            • Flarespace flares
            • Seat swivels
            • Foldaway seats, and more

            Reputable parts you can trust

            We are vendors for reputable companies you can trust, and sell parts you can install yourself. 

            • Battleborn batteries
            • Maxxair vent fan kits
            • Havelock wool
            • Electrical components
            • Espar heaters 
            • Strawfoot window coverings
            • Scopema seats and swivels
            • CRL windows
            • Flarespace, Adventure Wagon, and RB Components kits

              One-on-one DIY project consulting

              We also offer hourly project consulting to help you through trouble spots, give feedback on your build plan, or dial in the details. We’re happy to bounce ideas back and forth with you, and integrate the parts you want to do yourself with what our shop offers. 

                GET AN ESTIMATE

                Tell us about your build via our interest form

                Head to levityvans.com/hello to fill out our interest form and give us all the info we need. Or call us at (831) 687-VANS. We’ll collect the essential info about you and your van, then get back to you with next steps like estimates, appointment times, or answers to your questions.

                Full Builds: let’s talk customizations and timelines

                We’ll set up a meeting to get to know your and your needs better, then go over any customizations for your base model so we can get you an estimate. We’re typically booked 2-3 months out for full builds and require a deposit to get on our schedule. 

                DIY Builds: submit a request and we’ll write up your order

                We’ll send an estimate for your work request via text or email. For common, one-off installs like windows or heaters, we typically book a few weeks out. Custom order are subject to shipping times.

                Still figuring out exactly what you want?

                No problem! Book a free shop tour with Reece to meet us and see what we’ve got going on at the shop. Or schedule an hour consult with Jimmy for expert advice and help with design, parts recommendations, and order of operations. Consults are $150/hr and credit towards any future work you do with us. 

                REVIEW AND REVISE

                Look over the first draft of your estimate

                During your meeting or hour consult, we’ll go over all the details of your build to make sure we’re on the same page. Once you’ve asked all your questions and we’ve answered, we’ll send you an estimate to review.

                For basic DIY jobs, we’ll just send over an estimate based on your work order – no meetings required!

                Now is the time to revise and make changes

                The easiest and most cost effective time to add or subtract features or change your design is now – before the building or ordering starts. We’re happy to make changes to your estimate so you can have the build of your dreams.

                Once work on your van gets underway, we can still make changes – they will most likely cause longer time delays and higher costs than if we’d made the change at the beginning.

                How much does a van conversion cost?

                Full Builds: base model prices adjust up and down based on customizations

                • The Levity Local base price: $60,000
                • The Levity Legend base price: $120,000
                • The Levity Lifestyle goes into production 1/22
                • Your detailed estimate will show all the parts and services included in your build

                DIY Builds: prices vary per install from a few hundred dollars for a window to a few thousand for Flarespace flares or a panel kit.

                • We’ll detail each item and installation on your estimate for you to approve

                  GET ON OUR SCHEDULE

                  Authorize your estimate and submit your deposit

                  Once the estimate satisfies your expectations, authorize the items you want to move forward with. We’ll send you a partial invoice, if necessary. 

                  For full builds – the Levity Local, Landscape, or Lifestyle: we require a 20% deposit to get our our schedule. If your build includes custom parts unique to your build – like flares, racks, or kits – we request payment for those upfront as well.

                  For DIY jobs: we carry most common DIY parts in stock, like windows, heaters, and vent fans. For custom elements like flares or foldaway seats, we request payment for parts-only so we can order them for you. 

                  Parts ordering and procurement

                  Once we receive payment, we’ll reserve your build in our queue and start ordering parts. This can take a few weeks to a few months, depending on your build and the supply chain.

                  Due to COVID-19 and the explosion in vanlife, many parts are backordered. These time delays are just as frustrating for us as they are for you. We do our best to carry common items stock and expedite custom parts orders whenever possible.

                  Finalize design, placement, and parts details

                  For full and custom builds, we’ll set up a times to finalize details including placement of features, fabric choices, storage needs, etc. 

                  You can always reach us via text or phone to ask questions along the way. 

                  We accept cash, checks, and major credit cards. For amounts over $10K we request cash or check to avoid large fees.

                  BUILD YOUR DREAM VAN

                  You’re up! Bring your van to our Santa Cruz, CA shop

                  Your day has arrived! Your parts are in and you’re next on the schedule. Your van finally rolls through the door of our Santa Cruz, CA shop. Hand us the keys and we’ll get to work building your dream van from start to finish.

                  Van inspection

                  After saying hello and celebrating the big day, we’ll do an inspection of your van noting together any pre-exciting defects, blemishes, or other issues.

                  Last minute details or loose ends

                  If there are any other pending decisions or design questions, we’ll address them now. 

                  Submit your second payment

                  When your van rolls into our shop, we request payment totally 50%. For most customers who put down 20%, this means submitting a 30% payment. If you ordered substantial custom parts, your deposit may have exceeded 50% of your build total. In that case, you owe us nothing further at this time. 

                  How long will this take?

                  Our full builds like the Local and Lifestyle average 4-10 weeks to complete. We’ll send updates and keep you informed along the way.

                  If you’re a DIY customer, drop your van for service on the date of your appointment. Many common DIY jobs can be done in one or two days.


                  Full builds: test out your masterpiece

                  When your work is done, it’s time to marvel at your masterpiece. Take your time to enjoy your new baby. We’ll give you a tour of the features of your van and talk you through how to use things like your electrical system and hot water heater.

                  Once you inspect the job and it meets or exceeds your expectations, we’ll settle up your remaining balance. 

                  While we’ve tested all your systems, we encourage customers to take their van out for a small weekend adventure to try everything out. Then bring it back to the shop if there are any kinks or systems you need help using.

                  We guarantee our work from defects for one year. We also offer an extended warrantee and maintenance service. 

                  DIY builds: come back again soon!

                  We’ll let you know when your van is ready. Pay your remaining balance when the work is done. Now you’re one step closer to your completed project!

                  Come back anytime when you need more help, and keep us posted on how your build is going by sending us pictures or tagging us on your Instagram van pics. 

                  Contact Us

                  Request DIY Shop Services

                  DIYing your van? Check out our services then use the button below to request services or ask questions.

                  Get an Estimate for Full Conversion

                  Interested in a Levity Local, Legend, or Lifestyle? Pick your base model and customizations and we’ll send you an estimate.

                  Ask a General Question

                  Looking for some basic info or have a general question? Ask us here and we’ll help you take the next step.