Young Woman Looking to Buy a Camper Van

Hey y’all! I’m really interested in buying a mini camper van. A lot of the bloggers and people I’ve been watching paid like less than 3,000 for their used vans, and that’s the price range I’m most comfortable in. I really want a van that has a high top so I can stand in it and something with high mpg would be super great! Also I do plan in living in it full-time, and I’m open to converting it myself.

I guess what I’m asking is if this is possible? I’ve been looking for a week and I haven’t found anything that comes close to what I’m looking for. Am I being reasonable? Should I be saving more? Also are there any specific makes and models I should be looking at? I really don’t know much about cars, and trying to search for them is really confusing.

I’d love to hear from someone who knows what they’re doing! :joy:

EDIT: Wow! Okay before you comment please do not comment something if youre trying to talk me out of living in a van. Yes I know the risks, and yes I lmow all of your concerns are valid, however it is my life I’m not asking for you to input your opinion on whether or not I should live in a van. Just on which makes and models I should look at and realistically how much I should save. Some of you have answered accordingly and I thank you for that. But the next comment that says something like just move into an apartment I’m just honna delete! Apartments in my area are expensive! Which is why I want to live in a van. (Not that it’s any of your business haha)

So thank you to those who have given me great advice to everyone else, I know where I can legally park my van\car, I know that as a woman there are things I need to watch out for (but not be afraid of, there’s a difference), and I know I need to save my money in order to do this. So thanks for your advice but it’s not needed! (Unless its about what makes/models I should look at, and about any personal experiences.)

I doubt you can find a descent low milage camper van for that price range.That $3000 can buy you a small trailer.Old reconditioned VW Westfalia campers sell for around $20,000 in my area.


Here is a company that does this type of camper. Look for how much they sell there used vans

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Are you looking for a “Class B” motor home?

Or a “Class C” motor home?

Finding either one for under $5000.00 is possible, but probably not worth buying. is a good place to start, Ebay and craigslist

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Leaving aside any vehicular or money issues, there’s the larger issue of personal safety while “living in it full time”.

What you’re considering is a full time abode that wouldn’t meet the security, fire, electrical, plumbing or construction standards of a Bowery Flophouse.

For the sake of your loved one’s and yourself, please consider something a little more conventional.

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Thank you for your recommendation, and your tips. It is something I need to consider.

While your concern is noted I have done the research necessary in order to feel personally safe.

I also am going to be using a gym membership, parking in public places, national parks, truck stops, and friend’s homes. It is a lot safer than you’d think!

The main thing for me is the idea that I’d be saving money instead of paying rent, my money would be saved for things I value. So that is the main goal with living in a camper van.

So while I appreciate your comment, I’ve already thought about every single little detail that would go into living in a van.

Buying the van however, is something I need a little bit more guidance in.

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I’m looking for neither of those tbh. Something that is a van, SUV, or camper trailer or camper van that I would be able to stand in.

Something like a vw bus or mini bus, I’ve looked into other makes and models as well.

Something like a ford transit would be perfect, I am also only considering used. :smirk:

Don’t forget that its illegal to park your van in a public place in the U.S to camp overnight… Some Walmart stores can accomodate you for 1-2 nights free. Better off renting a small appartement and be safe then living in a van.

I’[d say your own research is the answer to your question. For $3000 you can buy a running car but not a reliable running car.

I’ve seen videos on YouTube of people doing this. I would take anything they say with great skepticism. After all it is the internet and people lie on the internet to get you to watch their videos. You’ve already exposed the first lie - you can’t find a reliable camper van for $3000. Maybe that is a hint.

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I agree with the others saying that you’re unlikely to find a reliable van in that price range. How much of a concern is that to you? Will you be traveling to places where emergency repairs will be difficult?

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WE get these threads a couple times a year. Someone looking for a vehicle in a price range that doesn’t exist.

$3,000 is completely unrealistic for this type of vehicle that runs and is decent condition. Quadruple that amount and you have a better chance.

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I think the OP is wanting to do what may be called ’ Stealth Camping ’ . That is living full time in a vehicle and moving it around to different areas . But the others are correct , the budget is unrealistic .


I come across a few people that live this way all the time at campgrounds. Most are retired living in a Winnebago or larger vehicle. Most just travel South for the winter and North for the summer.

Living in a Winnebago at a campground with hookups seems much easier that moving day by day to various parking lots in a vehicle with no bathroom or maybe not even a kitchen. Not my idea of fun.

No. Used car prices are nuts. You’d be hard pressed to find a decent Honda Civic for that much.

A $3,000 RV is usually an invitation to disaster anyway. With only a few exceptions (that you will never find for 3 grand) these are complex machines built cheaply, which means if maintenance isn’t meticulous you get all sorts of problems. Not just the usual used car headaches, but also water leaks, mold, solidified black tanks, etc.

In general, if any motorhome costs less than 5 figures, you’d probably be upside down if it was free.

That’s bad enough when you’re just using it to camp, but if you’re living in it full time, you need a higher quality RV that can take that kind of wear and tear. We’re talking things from Roadtrek or Winnebago here, and you’re never going to find an even semi-decent one of those for that little.


I know it seems that way to you right now, but no one has ever managed to figure out every detail of RV ownership before they actually owned one. I’m not saying you’re wrong about the personal safety angle - frankly our society is entirely too terrified of its own shadow and I think you’re right in that you will probably never have a problem.

But from a “these things break a lot” angle and from a “this is the best way to do things in an RV” angle, there’s no way you’ve thought of it all yet - no one ever does.

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By chance, are you a college student . . . ?

Several years ago, npr interviewed a guy who could only afford tuition, not room and board

So he bought an old Econoline and got permission to park on the campus.

And this was only a means to an end. I believe after he graduated and got a job, he got himself into an apartment

But I wouldn’t advise this kind of lifestyle.

People living in RVs are often the victims of all sorts of crime, and you being a woman might just attract the worst kind of criminals.

If you do this, you’re also going to burn a lot of bridges

your friends, the gym, pretty much everybody will soon tire of your van in their driveway, parking lot, street, etc.

You should have no trouble achieving this goal! :wink:


Thank you for your honestly, I plan on staying stationary not moving a lot tbh.