- As the pandemic put a stop to travel this year, many turned to camper vans for road trips.
- Deanna and James Dunn converted a Ram ProMaster into a camper with a bathroom during lockdown, while Kirsten and Gabe Ciotti converted a Ford Transit.
- Van conversion companies like Advanced RV and Rossmönster built converted vans in 2020 with high-end amenities.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
While the coronavirus pandemic put an end to travel in 2020, the camper van industry boomed.
Instead of booking flights and traveling abroad, many people decided to purchase used Mercedes-Benz Sprinters or Ford Transits to turn into beautiful tiny homes with full kitchens, cozy bedrooms, and high-end bathrooms.
Here are five camper vans that were built this year that prove VanLife is here to stay.
Kirsten and Gabe Ciotti purchased a used Ford Transit van this year and converted it into a dream tiny house.
The couple purchased the van in June and finished the renovations in just two months.
"The van was an empty shell when we got it, and we did the build completely by ourselves," Kirsten said.
In the end, they decided to name the van Ford Voldemort "because we love Harry Potter and the name just seemed fitting."
The kitchen space is filled with white cabinetry and wooden countertops.
The kitchen also has a stainless steel sink, a mini-fridge that holds a week's worth of groceries, an induction cooktop, and a mini Instant Pot.
At the back of the van, there is a full-size bed for the couple.
Underneath the bed, there is a compostable toilet, and there are two seats in front of the bed with a pull-out table for sitting during the day.
The back doors of the van open up onto Kirsten and Gabe's storage area, which includes space for their bikes.
"We are extremely happy with our build and love this van and the freedom it allows us," Kirsten said.
During lockdown, Deanna and James Dunn worked on turning a Ram ProMaster into their livable camper van.
While spending time in New Jersey at Deanna's parents' house, the couple decided to waste time in lockdown by renovating a camper van. In the driveway of their parents' house, they renovated the Ram ProMaster for two months.
"It was definitely different doing a renovation during quarantine," Deanna said. "We just had to order so many things online. There were a few things we had limited options on."
When you first walk in, there is a shower and a compostable toilet, which are unusual in camper vans.
"There are things already difficult about traveling in a van, but we wanted to feel completely self-sustainable, especially during the pandemic where we don't want to go into public places," Deanna said. "We wanted to be able to shower and go to the bathroom without a problem."
In the middle of the van, there is a small kitchen counter, which is equipped with a sink.
"We loved being able to take design risks and seeing it all come together," Deanna said. "We love interior design, and we love creating a cozy space."
At the back of the van, there is a seating area that converts into the bedroom at night.
The queen-size bed faces a hidden projector screen that the couple uses for entertainment, especially because it's been difficult to travel and see places this year.
"It definitely is difficult at times, especially when you're traveling during the pandemic," Deanna said. "There are things that go wrong, and you have to be prepared to fix them on the go. To us, it's definitely is worth it."
Kara and Nate Buchanan also started living in a converted camper this year because of the pandemic.
The Buchanans spent the last four years traveling the world, but that changed in 2020. When the pandemic started, they couldn't travel internationally, so they turned to VanLife to continue their nomadic lifestyle.
"We wanted the opportunity to continue traveling in a safe and responsible way," Nate told Insider's Joey Hadden.
Inside the Buchanan's converted camper van, there is a full kitchen with blue cabinetry.
The kitchen also has a faucet, a stovetop, and a refrigerator.
In the back, there is a table that converts into their sleeping space.
Since the couple works as bloggers, they are often at this table working or eating. However, at night time, it becomes their cozy bed surrounded by open windows.
Kara and Nate use the back doors as storage, and they decorated the doorway with leaves.
"It took taking away international travel to get us here, but I don't know if I'm sad that it happened," Nate said.
A camper conversion company in Colorado built a luxury camper van in 2020 that is designed for full-time living.
The company, Rossmönster Vans, built this Mercedes-Benz Sprinter conversion this year for a couple who wanted to travel for a full year. The van is called the Grand Teton.
The kitchen has subway tiles, stainless steel appliances, and walnut countertops.
There is a three-burner stovetop and extra cabinetry that runs the length of the van.
Plus, there's a multifunctional seating area in front of the bed.
The cushion on top of the seat closest to the door can be removed to reveal a toilet and a showerhead.
Toward the back, there's a queen-size bed and a garage.
"We designed this van with full-time van living in mind," Luke Farny, co-owner and designer of Rossmönster, said in a statement. "This client has everything he needs to take the pleasures of home on the road."
A conversion company in Ohio designed a camper van with luxury details and off-grid capabilities this year.
Advanced RV created the Gayle from a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter for a client who wanted to go off-road with their camper van. It is designed to be lighter so that it can get through mud and sand, and it has a large bumper for extra protection.
One wall of the van is covered in "open-concept cubbies."
To keep the weight of the vehicle light, the builder decided to keep doors off the cubbies and left the storage space open.
The Gayle also has a kitchen that is equipped with a long countertop and a sink.
On the opposite wall, there is a microwave and a pull-out fridge.
To ensure the client can stay off-grid, a shower and toilet were installed.
This converted camper van is ready for any environment and climate.
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