Contravans has become one of the American gurus of cheap, simple camper vans designed to get people on the road quickly and easily. Now it’s sizing its way up from the typical couples van to the family van. Its simply named Family Camper Van package turns the seven-seat Ford Transit Connect Passenger Wagon into an efficient five-seat, five-bed mini-campervan that gets the whole household out of the house. On sale for about half the price of the Mercedes Metris Weekender, the dual-personality everyday driver/camper offers an affordable RV experience.
Even in the long-wheelbase seven-passenger configuration required for the Contravans Family Camper Van, the 190-in (483-cm) Ford Transit Connect measures in over a foot shorter than the Chrysler Pacifica that’s a base van option for the Contravans minivan conversion. And unlike Contravans’ original Ram Promaster City mini-campervan, the Family Camper Van is based on a passenger van, offering three back row seats.
Beyond its extra seating, the Family van’s basic layout is quite similar to the Promaster City Contravan, albeit with a more well-equipped slide-out kitchen that includes a dual-burner camping stove, HydroBlu 15-L pressurized jerry can and storage compartment on one side, a 36-L Isotherm stainless steel fridge drawer on the other. The kitchen area also includes outlets wired up to the standard 50-Ah lithium battery.
Inside, the three-seat rear bench folds down at night to make way for the bed platform that supports a fold-out mattress (not included) for two. The rest of the family sleeps upstairs, where Contravans saves the complication and expense of an Ursa Minor-style pop-up sleeper roof by going with a roof-top tent. The standard Roofnest Condor sleeps two to three additional family members on a queen-size 60 x 83-in (152 x 211-cm) bed, relying on a hardshell fold-out design quite like the one we’ve seen from iKamper. Those looking for extra space can opt up to a Condor XL, which sleeps three to four people on a 74 x 92-in (188 x 234-cm) mattress.
The base Family Camper Van conversion with all the aforementioned standard equipment and a 400-W inverter slides in at US$14,698. Options include a simple 50-W solar charging system, Roofnest awning and interior LED lighting. Add in the $28,315 base price for a brand-new Ford XL Passenger Wagon and you have a mini-campervan that sleeps the whole family for just over $43,000.
Contravans is also currently advertising the brightly wrapped Family Camper Van in the photos for $34,988. It’s based on an older 2015 XLT Passenger Wagon with over 60,000 miles (96,500 km) but includes additional options and features such as a rear suspension upgrade, 50-W solar charging, 1,000-W inverter and Condor XL tent.
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