Van Builder Stories: Sunstorm Vans

Man and woman sat in side door of conveerted camper van

Van Builder Stories: Sunstorm Vans

Buy or Sell Campers

Buy or Sell Campers

16 February 2023

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📷 @sunstormvans
👥 LAMotorhomeRentals
📍La Crescenta, California, USA
🚐 Building vans since: 2019

A passion for perfection drove this story...

Wade from Sunstorm Vans is guy with perfection on his mind. Frustrated with the poor quality of RV builds, he knew there was another way. Today, Sunstorm’s 30th build is about to hit the road. What began as a push for perfection, has led to a van fleet of adventure-ready roving rentals, and a business selling lightly-used campers!

Designed for living, every inch of Sunstorm’s vans has been carefully considered to combine practicality, durability and design. We’re not talking quirky log cabins, we’re talking modern apartments! They’ll take you wherever you want to go, and you’ll have the reassurance that your van has been lightly road-tested, plus you have the back-up of a pro-build team behind you.

So Wade, tell us where it all began...

I started renting factory-built RV’s in 2018. They ignited our sense of adventure and got us out on the road, but they were all built with cheap materials. I spent a whole load of my free time repairing RV’s. I started researching quality built factory RVs… and it turns out that they just didn’t exist.

#Vanlife was just getting popular, and I decided to build a van so I could make it as nice as I wanted using the best materials available.

It all started so I would stop working on repairs all the time! But after building my second van, I knew I was onto something.

I went all in, partnered with my cousin, rented a shop and brought in full time help. The rest is history! We have now built 26 vans and we are on track to build one van per month.

What's unique about Sunstorm Vans?

Because we build roving rentals, every inch of our Ram Promaster conversions is primed for durability, longevity and ease of use. They are sold fully loaded and adventure-ready, so you can hit the road.

But not only that, my partner and I actually go against the grain a bit design-wise! We build what feels like a small modern apartment in a van vs the log cabin you see in most builds. They feature spacious garages for all your adventure gear and are designed for four-season vanlife.

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

The design of our vans is based around durability and ease of use. Because we are first a rental company, we want everyone to be confident in our vans and we want them durable. Because our vans are built for rental and designed for life, maintenance and repairs can be carried out swiftly.

What’s your favourite layout, and why?

We offer one layout at Sunstorm Vans. Developed through trial and error, we have complete confidence in it. We talk to vantrippers every day and have learnt what’s actually necessary in a van. The feedback from our rentals has been key.

Interior of Ram Promaster converted van
Sunstorm Vans signature layout

What’s your favourite van base to build from, and why?

Simple: RAM Promaster 136″ Wheelbase.

We build this platform because it is wider than the rival vans, we are able to have a bed ‘east to west’ vs having ‘north to south’. It the bed is ‘north to south’ then you have to build a long van to have to same usable space.This is the only base we build from.

Shorter vans are easier to drive and park too, so less accidents!

Ram ProMaster 136" Wheelbase

Do you take built-to-order commissions?

No build to orders here! We build our vans for the rental fleet and retire them – lightly used – after they have been roadtested with rentals.

Our vans are sold before they reach 30k miles, sometimes they have as few as 8k miles – it depends on the season.

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

No shower necessary inside, waste of space! Join a gym or go camping at places that offer facilities, that’s our approach.

Our van conversions have a water spigot coming from the back of the van, so a quick rinse off is feasible while standing outside of the van.

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

Cassette all the way, no moving parts to fail and they are plastic so they are recyclable – if you end up wanting to get a new one. They are also super affordable and compact.

How do you live your best vanlife?

I don’t get to use my vans as much as I would like to, but as my kids get older my wife and I will be able to enjoy them more!

Are there any particular ride-or-die brands you insist on for your builds?

Renogy for all electric mechanical, they are a proven brand with great customer service.

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

Smaller builds, everyone thinks bigger is better right now but I predict the trend will go the other way and a smaller more minimal build will become more popular.

What's one van item that you couldn't live without on your journeys? and why?

Lithium Battery Bank, having a really good battery makes life easy.

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

Come try it out first, before you buy a van!

We’re pretty unique in this way, but everyone who is interested in buying a van, I force them to try out a van for a week first to make sure they are happy. It helps people to really decide whether they can see themselves in a Sunstorm Van.

What are the must-ask questions when buying a camper van?

My first question would be to ask how many vans the company has built? New builders and still figuring it out and getting one of their first builds can be scary.

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

You get what you pay for, if you go the route of building a van then yes you have some additional pride of ownership… But, if you are anything like me, I am my own worst critic and when I lay down at night I would be looking around at all the imperfections! There are no imperfections in my builds, so you are able to enjoy your time in the van!

Let's connect...

📷 @sunstormvans
👥 LAMotorhomeRentals
📍La Crescenta, California, USA
🚐 Building vans since: 2019

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