Warning: This is an extra-long review. We are just so excited about our Wayfarer Van that it is hard to stop talking, or writing about it.
My wife and I purchased the Wayfarer Van kit for the Ram Promaster City 3 months ago. Since then, we have been on 4 weekend camping trips totally 9 nights. We have no complaints what-so-ever. We have both been life-long tent campers. But, with both of us approaching our 60th birthdays, we began looking at other alternatives. I first thought of buying a restored VW campervan. I have two friends that own VW campervans. The vans, while ultra-cool, are underpowered and need constant repair work. I came to the conclusion that we needed a brand new vehicle. I would either build it out myself or purchase a kit. I first considered the Recon Camper Kit for the Nissan NV200. However, if you get all the bells and whistles you are looking at spending upwards of $50,000 for the vehicle and the conversion. There was also a 1-year wait to receive the Recon Camper. I also briefly considered the ECamper conversion kit for the Honda Element. However, Honda stopped making the Element in 2011, so I would be looking at a 7 year old vehicle a best. Then, I discovered Wayfarer Vans. Wayfarer met all my criteria. I needed a campervan that was (1) affordable, (2) would get around 25mpg, (3) small enough to park in my garage and (4) could be used for a daily driver if needed.
We found a brand new 2016 Promaster City for $17,000 plus taxes. The vehicle was discounted greatly because it was November 2017 and the 2018s would be coming out the following week. It also had the options we were looking for, a backup camera, cruise control and rear windows.
Taxes $1,000 (est.)
Plane ticket to pick up vehicle $350
Wayfarer Kit $4,700
Total Cost of new vehicle and Wayfarer conversion $23,050
From the first time we camped in the Wayfarer we have been in love with it. It is luxury to pull into a campsite and not worry about putting up a tent or taking it down in the rain or snow. The van stays warm in cold temperatures due to the magnetic insulation (in my opinion, the most ingenious part of the Wayfarer kit) and our Portable Buddy Heater. The Wayfarer has tons of storage, so much so that we don’t even bother putting our four large sleeping bags into their stuff bags. Storage in the kitchen box is a bit tight, but with planning we can make everything fit easily for a 3-night weekend trip. The Wayfarer bed is a bit narrower than a full size bet but much wider than a twin bed. It’s wide enough that two people and a small dog can sleep in luxury.
The cushions supplied with the kit were not designed for use as a sleeping pad, but we found the cushions are more comfortable than our backpacking sleeping pads, even when doubled. We purchased an extra cushion so now there are cushions for both of us.
Below is a list of items that we have purchased to improve our Wayfarer.
Aftermarket roof Rack $300 (we are cyclists and need a roof rack for our bikes)
Portable Buddy Heater $70 (we never use it while sleeping, but it’s nice to knock the chill off before bedtime and first thing in the morning)
RAM OEM Side Window Deflectors $80 (These allow us to open the windows at least 1/3 of the way even during a hard rain)
Front Window bug screens $40
Extra cushion $69 (Amazon)
Luminoodle rechargeable interior lighting $0 (gift)
Total Improvement Items purchased $559
Before spring we also intend to purchase the Yakima SlimShady awning. ($260-$280)
The best part of having the Wayfarer Van is that it is permanently packed. We can be ready to go camping in about 15 minutes. Unpacking when we get home takes 5 minutes. We are currently planning a weeklong trip to Colorado and a 2-week trip to the Canadian Rockies.
My only word of caution is that if you are extra tall, you may want to consider the full size Promaster conversion instead of the Promaster City. The storage boxes limit the distance the driver and passenger seats can slide back. My guess is that if you are 6’5” or shorter the Promaster City will be OK, but if you are taller, there may have to be adjustments in the size of the storage boxes to be comfortable driving the driving the smaller Promaster City.
- Rodney Hendrickson February 22, 2018