Contravans :: Campervan Conversions for the Rest of Us

One thing that can be frustrating when considering a campervan conversion company is that the majority exclusively work on either the Sprinter, Transit, or Promaster platforms. Now, to be fair, these three are a worthy starting point for an adventure rig, but the fact remains that not everyone can legitimize such a big purchase, and not everyone wants such a large vehicle. Thankfully, there are plenty of other suitable vehicles in the world that will make great adventure rigs, and this is where the Denver-based campervan conversion company Contravans shines. They have the biggest list of different vehicle conversion options that I have ever seen on a van conversion website. Also worth noting, they aren’t afraid to take on new vehicle models that are not listed.

Contravans Offers Three Levels of Campervan Conversions

 

Starting with their DIY option, Contravans aims to simplify the campervan conversion process for anyone doing most of the work themselves. They recognize that sometimes you are ready to get on the road, even if your vehicle isn’t completely finished; that’s where they can lend a hand. To me, the stand-out components offered in Contravans’ DIY section are the prefabbed/wired battery boxes and the precut campervan wall and ceiling panels.

 

  • Enclosed battery boxes come fully equipped with an auto-reset circuit breaker, 200 amp Sure Power isolator, 6-blade fuse block, fuses, wiring, battery capacity monitor, and tie-down straps starting at $399 for a single battery box, going up to $559 for the “quad.” You provide your own batteries and secure the box in an appropriate location in your vehicle.
  • Contravans’ pre-upholstered wall panels are made of 1/8-inch hardboard wrapped in either black, gray, or charcoal automotive upholstery. Ceiling panels are 3/16-inch hardboard available in either automotive upholstery or Formica with precut holes for LED puck lighting.
  • Other available DIY components include curtains and modular storage solutions.

 

 

Contravans’ next segment of campervan conversions, their Custom option, is for anyone with a vehicle that isn’t listed on their website. Contravans is quick to point out that their custom option isn’t necessarily more expensive; it just means that there may be a few more steps in the initial design phase.

 

  • Custom campervan conversions are offered as a full-service conversion, meaning that Contravans will do the entire conversion, from insulation to wiring and finish carpentry. A custom conversion begins with a consultation to discuss the goals for your build. Then their team will come up with a conversion plan (pending your approval) before you drop off your rig at their Denver shop.
  • Custom conversions range in price from $10,000 to $15,000 depending on the scope of your build and the materials/appliances you choose.
  • Builds take anywhere from days to three weeks once your vehicle is in the Contravans shop.

 

Finally, the Turnkey campervan conversion encompasses a generous selection of vehicles that the team has already worked on in previous builds. This includes box trucks, big and small cargo vans, passenger vans, Jeeps, SUVs, and even smaller vehicles like the Subaru Outback. With the turnkey option, you decide upon the features and amenities that you want in your vehicle, and Contravans can get to work immediately, constructing the modular components that will be installed. This saves precious time in the build process as a lot of work can be completed before you even drop your vehicle off at their shop.

 

  • Wooden components are 3D-modeled and CNC-machined out of Baltic Birch.
  • Simple, car, Jeep, or SUV slide-in units range from $800-$2,000.
  • Minivan builds range from $3,700-$10,000.
  • Box-truck and cargo van build prices vary by design and can be budget-friendly or luxurious.

 

More Than Just Campervan Builds

Additionally, Contravans offers a selection of other services in addition to campervan conversions. They are partnered with Overland Discovery, Native Campervans, and Voyager Campervans in case you’d like to rent a vehicle for an upcoming road trip. They also have a conversion products page (Amazon links), which lists some of the products they recommend for the DIYers out there. The company even acts as distributors for some commonly used but difficult to come by parts (use the contact form on their difficult-to-find products page if you are looking for something specific). And finally, Contravans offers a consultation service for anyone who needs a little extra help and guidance in their conversion ambitions.

Visit the Contravans website or check out their latest project on Instagram.


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Matthew Swartz is originally from Connecticut and currently lives in Denver, Colorado where he passionately pursues rock climbing, trail running, and skiing. Matt’s love of travel has inspired him to through-hike the JMT and part of the PCT, bike across the United States, and explore the West coast of South America from Ecuador to Patagonia. Matt and his partner Amanda have also travelled across much of the Western US in their 1964 Clark Cortez RV, which they lived in, on the road for the better part of three years. Matt has worked for the USFS as an Interpretive Ranger and Wildland Firefighter and Matt's photography and writing has been published in Rova Magazine, the Leatherman blog, 'Hit The Road' by Gestalten Publishing, and Forbes.