Guide to helping you decide between a truck camper and custom van conversion.

The world of adventure vehicle exploration is abundant with fantastic options for bringing a bit of comfort and luxury to your outdoor adventures. Not only do different types of adventures require different systems and components, but some require different chassis and vehicle capabilities. At Rossmönster, we specialize in both van and truck camper conversions, and have written this article to help you decide which one suits your lifestyle and adventure preferences best.

We’ve partnered with our friends over at VanLife Trader to write this blog, so feel free to check out their rendition of the truck vs. van comparison as well!

Image of a Baja truck camper for blog post

Benefits to a Baja Truck Camper

Some People are Just Truck People:

  • Some people prefer the driving experience, look and feel of a truck, and the great thing about the Baja Truck Camper is that it can be built on any truck make and model, ¾ ton chassis and larger.

Safety Benefits:

  • Though all of our builds (van conversion and truck camper) meet and exceed industry safety standards, there is no comparison to the safety provided by separating your living and driving areas.
  • With the exception of a pass-through from the camper to the cab of the truck, our Baja builds retain their factory seating, and as such, all seats are DOT approved.

Off-Road Capability:

  • Truck chassis inherently have a higher ground clearance than most van conversions, allowing Baja Truck Campers to explore further off the beaten path. 
  • You can configure the chassis with a factory rear locking differential.
  • There are abundant suspension upgrade options available including Liquid Springs
  • The Baja platform retains the original, fully-rated towing capacity. 

Unparalleled Driving Experience:

  • A Baja Truck Camper is quiet enough to listen to an audiobook, the news, or a favorite podcast to make those long-haul drives feel a bit shorter. Though all of our vehicles are built with sound-deadening features and rigorously rattle-tested before leaving the shop, there is no match to the silence provided by separating the camper from the cab of the vehicle as is true in our Baja Truck Campers. While many van build-outs will choose a soft partition to limit the noise carried from the living area to the driving area, the open-plan layout of a van build can often lend itself to a much noisier driving experience.
  • Our Baja Truck Campers have a lower center of gravity than most high roof van conversions, allowing you to feel safe and stable when driving down a windy road.

“Truck campers have a lower center of gravity than most high roof van conversions, allowing you to feel safe and stable when driving down the road.” – VanLife Trader

Wide and Open Floor Plan:

  • The Baja Truck Camper footprint is wider than that of most van chassis, allowing the living area to feel more open and spacious than most van build outs.
  • The large footprint of a truck camper allows for additional water hauling capabilities, larger power systems, and larger solar arrays that are usually only possible in the larger wheelbase van builds (170”, 170” EXT, or 148” EL). All of these features equate to more time off-grid, living and exploring the great outdoors.

Maximizing Space:

  • Due to its actuating topper, the Baja Truck Camper is able to utilize the cab-over space as the primary sleeping area for a queen size bed along with windows, a charging cubby, and the choice of a skylight or over-bed AC unit.
  • The larger footprint of the Baja Truck Camper allows most configurations to utilize a rear dinette that can convert into a secondary sleeping area to comfortably sleep up to two additional passengers (a feat that is rarely possible in a van layout unless building on a 170”, 170” EXT, or 148” EL wheelbase).
Custom van conversion image for van vs. truck blog post

Benefits to a Custom Van Conversion

Numerous Chassis Options Available:

  • At Rossmönster, we will build on a range of van chassis and wheelbases (all the way from the Mercedes Metris to a Transit 148EL), allowing you to choose the chassis that works best for your budget, driving preferences, and off-road living needs.

Driving Experience:

  • The captain’s chairs of most vans tend to sit high with large windows on all sides, creating a great vantage point to take in the scenery and keep an eye on the road ahead.
  • Availability of captain’s chair upgrades such as Scheel-mann seats offer ergonomically superior upgrades to make long-haul drives a breeze.

Superior Internal Gear Storage Options:

  • The various configurations of van conversions often allows for more internal gear storage options, especially for those who choose to include garage storage underneath a fixed bed in the rear of the van.

Indoor/Outdoor Flow:

  • There is nothing quite like the indoor/outdoor feeling of living/camping in a van that is created by the side sliding door. Many clients will choose to have their galley built looking out of the sliding door, allowing them to fully enjoy the scenery beyond the van while cooking meals and washing up.


  • Cargo vans are typically less expensive than a standard ¾ ton chassis truck
  • Van conversions are built within the existing rigid structure of the cargo van, without also requiring the build of the camper itself (as with a truck camper), allowing van builds to generally be a more economical option.

Ultimately, the choice between a truck camper and a camper van comes down to your individual preferences and priorities. Here are a few factors to consider:

Travel style: Are you more inclined to venture into hard-to-reach wilderness areas (truck camper) or do you prefer the convenience of urban and established campgrounds and BLM land (camper van). 

Budget: While truck chassis can be more expensive than many base cargo vans, you must also consider the cost of fuel and ongoing maintenance of the vehicle.

Space Needs: Think about how much living space you require, how many people you typically travel with, and how many people you want your adventure vehicle to be able to sleep comfortably.

General Preference: We can’t recommend enough trying both types of vehicles before buying and committing to a build. Here at Rossmönster, we have a rental fleet with both van conversion and truck campers, allowing you to explore first-hand which vehicle feels best for you and your family. And, we’ll apply the first two nights of your rental toward your build when you choose us as your builder.