Travel and Adventure

Best SUV for Van Life: Top Models & Features

SUVs have become the ultimate choice for van life enthusiasts, offering a perfect blend of versatility, fuel efficiency, and conversion potential. Whether you are planning a nomadic lifestyle or seeking thrilling van adventures, finding the right SUV can make all the difference in your journey.

But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the best SUV for van life. That’s why we have compiled a list of top-rated SUV models that are highly recommended for van dwelling and overlanding. From renowned brands like Toyota and Jeep to reliable options like Honda and Subaru, these SUVs offer the perfect combination of reliability, capability, and adaptability.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choosing the right SUV is crucial for a fulfilling van life experience.
  • Top-rated SUVs for van life include Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota 4Runner, Jeep Wrangler, and more.
  • SUV campers offer flexibility, affordability, and maneuverability, but also come with limited interior space and storage.
  • Consider your specific needs, budget, and lifestyle before deciding if an SUV camper conversion is right for you.
  • Exploring different SUV models and their features can help you make an informed decision.

10 Best SUVs for Van Life and Overlanding

In the world of van life and overlanding, SUVs are highly sought after for their versatility, reliability, and adaptability. Whether you’re looking to embark on a nomadic lifestyle or planning a van conversion, these top SUV options are sure to meet your needs. From rugged off-road capabilities to spacious interiors, these SUVs have gained a reputation for their suitability to life on the road. Here are the 10 best SUVs for living on the road, nomadic adventures, and van conversions:

SUV Model Features
Toyota Land Cruiser Rugged off-road capabilities, spacious interior
Toyota 4Runner Excellent off-road performance, ample cargo space
Jeep Wrangler Iconic off-road vehicle, removable doors and top
Mitsubishi Montero Strong towing capacity, comfortable interior
Jeep Gladiator Pickup truck with off-road capabilities, versatile bed space
Honda Element Modular and versatile interior, easy to clean
Kia Sportage Reliable performance, comfortable seating
Subaru Outback All-wheel drive, spacious cargo area
Honda CR-V Fuel-efficient, comfortable ride
Ford Explorer Roomy cabin, advanced safety features

These SUVs offer a range of features and capabilities that make them ideal for van life and overlanding. Whether you’re hitting the trails or seeking comfort on long journeys, these top SUVs have proven their reliability, adaptability, and convenience for those living on the road. Choose the SUV that best suits your needs and embark on your nomadic lifestyle with confidence.

Pros and Cons of SUV Campers

While SUV campers offer many advantages for van life enthusiasts, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making the optimal SUV choice for van exploration. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of SUV campers:


  • Non-permanent conversions allow for flexibility and versatility, enabling you to adapt your living space easily.
  • Compared to buying a van, SUV campers can be a more affordable option for full-time van living.
  • Compact size makes SUVs easy to drive and park, offering greater maneuverability and accessibility to various locations.
  • SUV campers are often stealthy and inconspicuous, providing privacy and security during your van life adventures.
  • The conversion process is typically easy and inexpensive, with a wide range of resources available for DIY enthusiasts.
  • Many SUV models come equipped with 4WD or AWD capabilities, enhancing your ability to explore off-road and rugged terrains.
  • If you prefer a pre-built option, conversion kits are readily available for SUV campers.
  • SUVs generally offer better gas mileage compared to larger vans, minimizing your fuel expenses for long-term van living.


  • Due to their compact size, SUV campers have limited interior space and storage capacity, which may pose challenges for long-term living.
  • The angled interior of SUVs can make it trickier to design and build out the living area, requiring careful planning and utilization of space.
  • Low headroom in SUVs may limit comfort and mobility inside the camper.
  • SUVs may have limited options for insulation and ventilation, which can affect the overall climate control of the camper.
  • Some SUV models may have poorer fuel economy compared to others, requiring more frequent gas stops during your van adventures.

By considering these pros and cons, you can make an informed decision about whether SUV campers are the best SUVs for full-time van living and optimal for your van exploration.

optimal suv choice for van life enthusiasts

Is an SUV Camper Conversion Right for You?

SUV camper conversions can offer a compelling choice for van life enthusiasts seeking flexibility, affordability, and maneuverability. These conversions allow for the conversion of SUVs into comfortable homes on wheels, perfect for explorations and adventures. However, it’s crucial to recognize that SUV campers come with limitations, primarily due to their limited space and specific design constraints.

Before embarking on an SUV camper conversion, it’s essential to carefully evaluate your specific needs, budget, and lifestyle. Consider the amount of space you require for living and storage, as SUVs generally have less interior space compared to larger vans. Also, take into account your desired level of comfort and amenities, as well as your long-term travel plans.

By thoroughly weighing the pros and cons of SUV camper conversions, you can make an informed decision about whether it aligns with your van life aspirations. Exploring the various SUV models available in the market tailored for van exploration can help you identify the best option for your needs. Remember, choosing the right SUV for your camper conversion is essential for a successful and enjoyable journey as you embark on unforgettable van life adventures.


What are the best SUVs for van life and overlanding?

The top SUV models for van life and overlanding include the Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota 4Runner, Jeep Wrangler, Mitsubishi Montero, Jeep Gladiator, Honda Element, Kia Sportage, Subaru Outback, Honda CR-V, and Ford Explorer.

What are the pros of SUV campers for van life?

The pros of SUV campers include non-permanent conversions for flexibility, affordability compared to vans, easy driving and parking, stealthy and inconspicuous, easy and inexpensive conversions, many SUVs have 4WD or AWD capabilities, and conversion kits available for pre-built options.

What are the cons of SUV campers for van life?

The cons of SUV campers include limited interior space and storage, tricky angles for building out the interior, low headroom, limited insulation and ventilation options, and some SUV models may have poor fuel economy.

Is an SUV camper conversion suitable for everyone?

SUV camper conversions can be a great choice for van life enthusiasts who prioritize flexibility, affordability, and maneuverability. However, they may not be suitable for everyone due to limited space and certain limitations. It is important to consider your specific needs, budget, and lifestyle before embarking on an SUV camper conversion.

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