Buying A Vanagon

Buying a Vanagon is an adventure. Here is our Vanagon purchasing story. We bought Boscha our van (read Boscha’s background story here) for $3,500 US after finding her on Craigslist in the fall of 2012. Immediately she needed some love and we dropped another $2,000 to get her road ready. Corey spent weeks with his hands dirty, replacing the fuel lines, repairing rust, removing AC unit and fridge, installing auxiliary battery, inverter, roof racks, tent canvas and more.

Over the course of the first year, we spent thousands more on upgrades as many of her parts were original. The Vanagon Westfalia camper comes stock with a pop top, two burner propane stove, storage, refrigerator, and two beds with room to sleep four comfortably. Since then, Boscha has been highly modified mechanically, as part of our relationship with GoWesty Campers.

Vanagons are incredible vehicles with much character and an epic subculture, but the truth is their maintenance costs are unpredictable. For example, you may buy one for $3,500, drop a few thousand into it and go for years with minimal cost. Or you may buy one for $15,000, believing it perfect, and blow the engine the first month on the road.

If you’re completely seduced by the Vanagon, a condition that we fully relate to, the most important thing you can do during the buying process is hire a Vanagon specialist to give it a pre-purchase inspection. You will then have an idea of what you are in for.

Vanagons are a labor of love. We call them the Swiss Army Knives of the RV world. And the Vanagon community is diverse, welcoming, and inspiring. We wouldn’t trade Boscha for the world.

All of this being said, there are many other van options. Any cargo van can be converted into a camper with a simple bed frame, foot pump sink and twelve volt fridge. In the U.S., the Ford Econoline is a great option due to affordability… just about every part can be purchased at a Napa Auto Parts store!

Living the #vanlife is not dependent on the type of van. It’s deeper. Vanlife is the desire to Live fully. It could be a car. A mini van. A sprinter van. Even your own two feet.

We’ve learned so much about purchasing the right van and getting it road ready. If you’re in the buying process and would like to chat, we offer donation-based vanlife consulting to help you make the right  purchasing decisions for you. We’d love to chat!

Check out our Vanagon Kitchen in this video!


You may also like


  • Dana August 5, 2016  

    This is awesome! We are deeply considering purchasing an old van and slowly converting our tiny house life into van life. Probably will end up in an econoline due to towing capacity and relatively low cost, but you make us want to go with a Westy!

  • Idriss August 31, 2016  

    Wow, very impressive work. You guys are living the dream !

    • Emily king September 1, 2016  

      Thanks for checking out our lifestyle project. Much love!