Insights Into the Ram Promaster’s Versatility for Van Lifers
While much of the van life conversation revolves around the classic Sprinter van, it’s far from the only van on the scene. One van that deserves more recognition is the Ram’s Promaster van. We’re going to go in-depth on the Ram Promaster for van life.
Let’s take a look at its advantages, disadvantages, and some inspiration for a great Promaster build.
Why the Ram ProMaster?
Despite being a less popular choice than Sprinters or Transits, there are still plenty of reasons to pick the Ram Promaster for van life. Here are some of the main benefits.
Spacious Interior Means More Space for Activities
One of the biggest reasons to choose a Ram Promaster for van life is the spacious interior. This is because of the square, boxy frame with mostly vertical walls. The vertical walls increase the amount of interior space versus other vans.
The Promaster is also the widest of the most common vans, coming in at 73” wide versus 69” for the Sprinter and Transit.
The Promaster also comes standard with front-wheel drive (FWD), which confers a number of benefits for van life. Because of the drivetrain’s lighter weight (among other aspects), FWD improves fuel efficiency and frees up more space in the vehicle.
Plus, due to the heaviest components being over the driving wheels, FWD vehicles have better traction on slippery surfaces.
Cost Advantage Means More Money in Your Pocket
The final, and perhaps greatest, advantage of the Ram Promaster for van life is its cost. Compared to Sprinters and Transits, a Promaster can be easily found for $5K to $10K less, even when new! Due to lower demand for ProMasters versus other options, they’re typically pretty easy to find used at a great price.
The lower price point puts more money in your pocket for building out the perfect interior, fueling your adventures, or just for a rainy day.
The Downsides of the Ram Promaster for Van Life
Of course, while the ProMaster has plenty of great qualities, it’s not without its downsides. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why choosing a Ram Promaster for van life might not be ideal for you.
Promasters Don’t Hold Value Well
Remember in the last section where we mentioned it’s fairly easy to find a used Promaster at a good price? Well, this is both an advantage… and a disadvantage. You see, Promasters simply don’t hold their value as well as other popular vans, partly due to the lower demand for them.
Gasoline Only & Fuel Efficiency
The Promaster is also only available with a gasoline engine, and unlike the Sprinter and Transit, has no diesel option available. While gas engines are generally cheaper to maintain than diesel, they also offer less torque and worse fuel economy. Because of this, despite the fuel economy benefits of FWD, the Promaster is still the least efficient of the three main van models.
Unfortunately, Promaster vans also have a reputation for being less reliable than other vans. They also generally need more frequent repairs and maintenance. This is somewhat mitigated by the Promaster’s more affordable cost of parts and repairs, but not entirely.
Now that we’ve looked at the pros and cons of a Promaster for van life, let’s look at the customization options.
Like other cargo vans, the empty canvas of a Promaster van lends itself to lots of different options for your perfect custom van build. Plus, its unique features open up some unique avenues for customization.
One of the Promaster’s biggest advantages for van life is its width. This extra space allows you to fit things into your build that wouldn’t fit into other vans. Some layouts to consider include a bed placed side to side at the rear of the van or a wet bath.
Of course, going fully DIY isn’t the only option when it comes to building out a Ram Promaster for van life. A number of “plug-and-play” conversion kits are available on the market to make your van conversion a breeze.
One of the most popular options is a kit from Wayfarer. They have two Promaster kits available:
- Walter – for Promaster 1500s and 2500s
- Walt – for Promaster 2500s or 3500s
Both conversion kits provide all the materials needed for your build, plus installation, for around $20,000.
This is a bit more expensive than a DIY build and leaves you with less flexibility for customization (although some customization options do exist with these kits). By and large, you’re stuck with the tried and true layout of the kit, with little option to make it unique.
As a tradeoff, you won’t be able to do the fully customized DIY build of your dreams (check out this DIY build for some inspo). But if you’re looking to make the build process simpler or faster, it’s a great option.
Awesome Ram Promaster Vans to Inspire You!
Thinking about a Ram Promaster for van life and looking for some inspo? Here are some great Promaster camper vans to give you just that.
Summer Ginther’s Promaster build is a truly impressive one.
The interior is designed to be chic and cozy, with natural wood and warm tones throughout. This Promaster build has not only a bed and kitchen but also a full wet bath! The wet bath is installed toward the front of the van and is decorated with hand-painted tile that evokes the colors of a sunset.
Van Damme Conversions “Emerald”
Van Damme Conversions is a California-based conversion company that makes some truly impressive vans, including the amazing Emerald.
This build, based on a Promaster 3500, has a unique layout and packs in tons of unexpected features. The kitchen features an eye-popping backsplash, a full oven and stove, and even a dishwasher! Right next to the kitchen, you’ll also find a full wet bath. In the back is the bed as well as a small seating area.
Jessie & Chris’s Promaster 3500
Jessie & Chris’s Promaster conversion van shows that with a bit of ingenuity, you can fit some truly impressive things in your van build.
This van packs in not just one but two bathrooms, a kitchen with plenty of counter space, a living area, and even space for an 88-key piano! All this is tied together by a chic and clean design featuring white paint and natural wood.
Outside the van, they’ve cleverly installed a mount to hang a swing chair from.
The Ram Promaster for Van Life: An Underrated Choice
The Ram Promaster for van life is among the least popular vans… But, the Promaster’s spacious interiors and affordability help make them a great choice for the right person. Maybe soon, you’ll find yourself in your very own Ram Promaster camper van!