Automotive

$35,000 Boho woody camper vans get you on the road for less coin and hassle

$35,000 Boho woody camper vans...
A big, old extended Ford E-350 Boho camper van known as Rev-Van
A big, old extended Ford E-350 Boho camper van known as Rev-Van
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Boho hit the ground running this year, and its affordable but gorgeous camper van conversions are already attracting international attention
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Boho hit the ground running this year, and its affordable but gorgeous camper van conversions are already attracting international attention
When we talked to it in early December, Boho said it has sold two camper vans so far; this one is the interior of a 2011 Ford E-350 Super Duty XLT Extended named "Rev-Van"
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When we talked to it in early December, Boho said it has sold two camper vans so far; this one is the interior of a 2011 Ford E-350 Super Duty XLT Extended named "Rev-Van"
The Rev-Van has some upgrades above the standard $35K package, including a special compartment with portable toilet and a stereo system
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The Rev-Van has some upgrades above the standard $35K package, including a special compartment with portable toilet and a stereo system
A big, old extended Ford E-350 Boho camper van known as Rev-Van
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A big, old extended Ford E-350 Boho camper van known as Rev-Van
Unlike other camper van shops that specialize in a specific van model or two, Boho works with a variety of vans
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Unlike other camper van shops that specialize in a specific van model or two, Boho works with a variety of vans
The standard $35K Boho package includes a rear slide-out with bamboo countertop
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The standard $35K Boho package includes a rear slide-out with bamboo countertop
A big part of the Boho conversion is the soft-wood (pine or cedar) interior paneling and vinyl flooring – looks like a place we could live for a while
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A big part of the Boho conversion is the soft-wood (pine or cedar) interior paneling and vinyl flooring – looks like a place we could live for a while
A look at the transverse rear bed of the Boho "Iris"
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A look at the transverse rear bed of the Boho "Iris"
That long, roomy interior is quite a different look from the numerous mini-campervans we've been covering lately 
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That long, roomy interior is quite a different look from the numerous mini-campervans we've been covering lately 
Boho Rev-Van
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Boho Rev-Van
Boho went international with the Iris camper, a 2007 Ford E-350 Super Duty XL converted for a customer in London
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Boho went international with the Iris camper, a 2007 Ford E-350 Super Duty XL converted for a customer in London
So far, both the camper vans Boho has sold have been Ford E-350s, but the company tells us it's also under contract to convert a 2019 Ford Transit
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So far, both the camper vans Boho has sold have been Ford E-350s, but the company tells us it's also under contract to convert a 2019 Ford Transit
It looks like you can prepare the meal on the slide-out shelf, then eat it there
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It looks like you can prepare the meal on the slide-out shelf, then eat it there
Boho keeps the interior very simple and clean - instead of a kitchen packed with equipment, it has a long bamboo counter and electric-pumped sink, relying on a portable stove and rear slide-out counter for cooking 
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Boho keeps the interior very simple and clean - instead of a kitchen packed with equipment, it has a long bamboo counter and electric-pumped sink, relying on a portable stove and rear slide-out counter for cooking 
The Boho Iris conversion includes a little removable dining table and swivel front seats
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The Boho Iris conversion includes a little removable dining table and swivel front seats
Inside the Boho Iris Ford E-350 camper van
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Inside the Boho Iris Ford E-350 camper van
Boho estimates build time at about a month, though you'll always want to contact a builder ahead of time for the latest time estimate
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Boho estimates build time at about a month, though you'll always want to contact a builder ahead of time for the latest time estimate
Boho bases its camper van rental and conversion operations in Phoenix, Arizona
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Boho bases its camper van rental and conversion operations in Phoenix, Arizona
One standard feature that's surprising to see on a $35,000 van, perhaps demonstrating the importance of consumer electronics and connectivity to the young, adventurous #vanlife crowd, is the dual-battery electrical system with 200 watts of solar
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One standard feature that's surprising to see on a $35,000 van, perhaps demonstrating the importance of consumer electronics and connectivity to the young, adventurous #vanlife crowd, is the dual-battery electrical system with 200 watts of solar
Boho camper vans
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Boho camper vans
Boho camper vans
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Boho camper vans

After spending a lot of time looking at European camper vans throughout 2018, we've become rather disillusioned with the American market. Whereas Europe has a booming market of smart, nicely equipped camper vans for under US$50,000 (when converted from euros), you're lucky to find a van with an MSRP much under $70K in the US. We're not the only ones who've noticed the American shortage of affordable vans, and a few brands have risen to the challenge of filling the gap. Arizona's Boho Camper Vans is one of the latest, designing downright gorgeous camper vans that base in at a very affordable $35,000.

In working to keep price down, Boho skips right past nice but pricey brand-new van options like the Mercedes Sprinter and Ford Transit, opting instead to source 1-ton commercial vans from the used market. It may be a Dodge Ram Van 3500, or it may be a Ford E-350, but it'll be roomy enough to support a camper floor plan and it won't cost more than $10,000, leaving the remaining budget for the particulars of Boho's interior conversion.

The type of buyer waiting for the new Mercedes Sprinter to land Stateside so they can get a camper van with all the latest technological bells and whistles probably won't be shopping for a $35K camper van, anyway, whereas the average Boho buyer probably won't care so much about which van model is doing the driving, so long as it's capable of driving and camping around the map. Boho's conversion operation actually grew out of the demand Boho was experiencing on the rental side, which opened earlier in 2018, so its customer base seems more interested in living open-road adventure than in owning the newest, most cutting edge camper van.

A look at the transverse rear bed of the Boho "Iris"
A look at the transverse rear bed of the Boho "Iris"

Boho dedicates the rest of each conversion's budget toward building out a simple but very aesthetic living space. It covers up the cold sheet metal with warm, knotty pine or cedar, creating the feel of a cozy mini-lodge. The wood-look flooring shown in photos blends nicely with the wall and ceiling paneling, but Boho uses vinyl flooring, beefing toughness up for the mobile environment.

In back, Boho adds a two-person full-size bed, framing out storage below the mattress. Ahead of the bed on the driver side, the long bamboo countertop unit includes an end sink hooked to an electric pump and 25-gal (95-L) water tank. That water tank also feeds the outdoor shower.

Boho leaves behind common but expensive camper equipment like the inbuilt stove and fridge, opting instead for a simpler, cheaper propane camping stove and cooler. A slide-out bamboo shelf out back holds the stove at a comfortable cooking height.

It looks like you can prepare the meal on the slide-out shelf, then eat it there
It looks like you can prepare the meal on the slide-out shelf, then eat it there

One thing we wouldn't necessarily expect to see on an entry-level adventure van like this is the 200-watt solar system feeding the dual 12V batteries. Solar panels are usually optional on base-level camper vans, but Boho includes them as part of its standard kit, keeping its buyers powered up on the road ahead. The electrical system also includes an inverter, USB ports, AC outlets, and LED lighting.

That package prices you out to the $35,000, after you throw in some linens, cookware and other provisions. From there, Boho can further customize the conversion.

Boho only started doing conversions in October and has completed only the two vans pictured in the gallery, one based on a 2011 Ford E-350, the other on a 2007 E-350. Some of the custom options added to those builds include a toilet, upgraded audio, European-based electrical system for English customers, swivel seats and custom storage.

Boho went international with the Iris camper, a 2007 Ford E-350 Super Duty XL converted for a customer in London
Boho went international with the Iris camper, a 2007 Ford E-350 Super Duty XL converted for a customer in London

On the rental side, Boho offers several different vans for rent from its Phoenix headquarters. It aims to rent more of a camper van experience than just a vehicle, offering full trip suggestions and its own "secret map" of campgrounds, attractions and activities in the greater Southwest region.

We like the retail niche Boho has dug between standardized production camper vans and fully custom conversions. North America seems to have plenty of van customizers, and while their van creations are generally quite nice, they tend to bring along some sticker shock. Boho offers buyers the opportunity to get right on the road with something simple, affordable and functional, but it can also build out a more personalized van if you're willing to spend the money. It joins the likes of Cascade Campers and Caravan Outfitter in giving American van buyers affordable, non-custom options to consider.

Source: Boho Camper Vans

3 comments
guzmanchinky
Love this concept. I have an old 2004 E series cargo van. $3,000 at auction. Added a Sportsmobile pop top for $5,000. Turned it into a 4 wheel drive at Agile Offroad in San Diego for $15,000. Added a portable toilet, portable shower (just open the barn doors on the side of any road and shower outside!), big battery and solar and it is hands down the easiest, most reliable and stealthy camper ever that I can take down any dirt road for privacy and beauty. Been using it for 10 years. I also have a deposit on a 2019 4x4 Sprinter that I'm having built out which will cost about $120,000 when it's all done. So that's about the whole spectrum there, I guess...
Joshua Tulberg
This looks like top-notch quality. Best of luck to this dude and his new business!
Gregg Eshelman
Ford hasn't completely killed off the E series van. It's still available in bare chassis or cutaway cab for building RVs, box trucks etc.