The Van Craft Story

Sprinter Van Conversions, Rentals, and Resources

It all started with this very van; a 1995 GMC RallySTX 6.5L diesel.  The van spent its first life as a church vehicle in Maine.  It was then born again and converted into one of the most capable freedom vessels ever created.  The van made it’s way west to California, then south thru Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, back to the East Coast of the US and finally returning home to the sweet spot of the universe in Southern California. The van has since passed on to a new owner however the passion and freedom it inspired is still alive and well at VanCraft.

VanCraft is the product of two separate dreams that have since become intertwined.  The first dream was that of Nate and his girlfriend Meri who both grew up in Maine and were drawn to make the move west to California.  Nate had been making a living as a carpenter and converted the van in just a few weekends.  In 2014 they traversed cross country making stops at Niagara Falls, Chicago, Devils Tower, Yellow Stone, Badlands and Zion.  After settling in Oceanside CA, Meri and Nate quickly put down roots and moved into an apartment, bought cars, got jobs, and decided they no longer had a need for their van. The craigslist ad went up and that is where dream # 2 begins….

The second dream was that of Derek and his girlfriend Jillian who were living in Oceanside CA working a 9-5 grind and searching for an escape.  Derek stumbled across Nate’s craigslist ad for the van and struck a deal.  Once vanlife becomes a reality, the dreams of adventure start to permeate your being and the possibilities are seemingly endless.  The dream grew into a trip of a lifetime, abandoning their jobs and heading south for an undetermined amount of time through Central America.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” –Steve Jobs

Returning to reality after a year of living vanlife is no easy task.  Derek and Jillian had both quit well-paying, secure careers to pursue their dream of adventure and now it was time to return to the US with empty bank accounts and no plan for the future.  For Derek the trip had served as the ultimate reset button.  In the past he had found himself following down soul sucking career paths and vowed to not make the same mistake again.  

Derek’s longtime friend and yogi master @maxwell5363 helped to connect the dots and the seed for VanCraft was planted.

Allowing dharma to run its course, all of the pieces of the puzzle started falling into place and VanCraft was born!

VanCraft’s mission is to enable travelers and adventure seekers to pursue their own dreams by building what we believe to be the most capable freedom vessels ever created.   Our current opinion is that the very best medium for vanlife is a 2004-2006 Sprinter.  We are specializing in 2004-2006 Sprinters because they are incredibly fuel efficient (20-25mpg), they are very reliable motors lasting 300-400k miles, they have great interior space with 6’2” headroom, and having aged 10yrs+ are now becoming a great value. Our goal for 2017 is to complete 10 builds. We have spent the past 6 months prototyping two layouts and are now ready to move into full production mode. Please contact us if you are interested in our builds!