Van Builder Stories: Sandy Vans

Sandy Vans sign with campervan on beach and sunset

Van Builder Stories: Sandy Vans

Buy or Sell Campers

Buy or Sell Campers

20 January 2023

We’re putting pedal to the metal on a one-way mission to ignite wanderlust and connect you with your ultimate roving home. Subscribe to get a weekly dose of vanlife inspo and expert hacks straight to your inbox.

📍 San Diego, California, USA


📷 @sandyvansofficial



Building vans since: 2019

Vanlife: From Anxiety to Adventure

When lead builder Steven Stolp was honorably discharged from the US Navy he was keen to find a creative outlet. What started as a side gig doing handyman tasks on the popular app Task Rabbit, soon morphed into building furniture with a skill for storage solutions. But it wasn’t so much his love of carpentry that led Steven to vans, unusually it was a bout of travel anxiety! But what if he could build a roving home that would take the anxiety out of adventure? Sandy Vans was born!

Today, this epic custom conversion co are responsible for bringing us Oscar-worthy builds such as Vangelina Jolie, Scarlett Jovansson, Morgan Freevan, and Vanne Hathaway to name a few of their star-studded cast of Sprinters.

So Sandy Vans, tell us where it all began!

It all began on July 7th, 2019 when Lead Builder – Steven Stolp – awoke with a strange strange problem. His bills were paid, but he had no “job”, and too much free time. This, combined with what he fondly calls ‘travel anxiety’ sparked an idea… He grabbed his computer and hopped on Craigslist. Four hours later, he was the proud owner of a 1997 Ambulance. He’d always wanted to build a van, and scored impressively in ‘tinkering skills’, but financial unknowns had held him back. After 4 months of completely winging it, the RADBULANCE was finished – a van with the safe feeling of home, but on wheels. The positive feedback from this creation was mind blowing and here we are!


Today, Sandy Vans is a camper van conversion company based out of sunny San Diego, California. It’s what happens when an idea sparks and some passionate watersports adventurers and action sports enthusiasts come together to make van life more accessible! We left our full-time positions within engineering, supply chain, sales, and finance, and are united by a common mission – to put wheels under every keen adventurer and bring reasonably priced product kits to the van life community.


We may be a group of engineers, designers, carpenters, and adventure-seekers, but most of all, we’re passionate about campervans. We believe vans are the best way to connect with our community and the natural world. To us a van represents freedom and our mission is to make you feel more alive.

What's unique about Sandy Vans?

We build vans with a custom feel, fit and finish, quickly, and at an affordable price point.

Tell us about your build style - what can clients expect from you?

Our lead builder is Steven Stolp, coined the Sand Man, who provides a ton of inspiration for the van builds. He is an artist at the end of the day, bringing our customer’s dreams to reality. Our favorite layout is the Sandy Vans Signature Layout! Open, social, and designed to utilize the space INSIDE your van instead of it just basically being a shower and bed.

What’s your favorite van base to build from?

We build on the Mercedes Sprinter Chassis, the 144 and 170.

Do you take built-to-order commissions?

Yes. We build our Sandy Vans Signature Layout with about 25 different add-on options, and color palettes, so customers can make it their own!

Help us end the eternal debate: which is the best shower format, and why? No shower...outside shower...pop-up shower...fixed shower...

Permanent shower inside is a waste of space.

Let's cut the crap, give us your top toilet recommendation, and tell us why!

No toilet. Nature!

How do you live your best vanlife?

Many of the founders are kiteboarders, Stolp and Dave on the build team are big into BMX. Everyone has a shared passion for the outdoors.

Road in Baja, Mexico with coastline

Where’s the best vanlife destination?


What do you think will be the next big thing for vans?

Electrification in the next 5 years.

What's your message to people just starting or thinking about getting into vanlife?

Take a trip in a rental to see how it makes you feel!

Why go pro, rather than fly solo on a conversion?

For us, it’s as simple as having the experience, been there done that. We’ve got the proper tools, it’s what van builders do for a living.

What are your dreams for Sandy Vans?

We want to be a household name, and be on RV dealership lots. We have a goal to help 1000 people be more focused on living! AKA, be in Sandy Vans!

Let's connect...

Read this next


Register to receive our newsletter, bringing you exclusive offers and the latest news.

Sell your Van in 7 days

Built by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts, Buy or Sell Campers is the ultimate place to browse hundreds of camper vans for sale nationwide. Drill down into van-specific features that make all the difference in finding your perfect camper van. 

Selling your camper van? We can help with that too. Instantly gain exposure to thousands of van buyers across the Country!

Why Buy or Sell Campers?

With over 200k followers, tapping into our social media guarantees mass exposure for your rig.