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What’s Better: Off Road Truck Camper or Off Road Van?


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. We teamed up with Rossmönster, who specialize in both van and truck camper conversions, to help you decide which one suits your lifestyle and adventure preferences best. 

Truck Campers

Some people are just truck people

Trucks have a classic look and feel and some of us just love to drive them. With rigs like the Baja Truck Camper, they can be built on any truck make and model, ¾ ton chassis and larger. The options are nearly endless!

Safety in separation

Though professional builders like Rossmönster work to meet and exceed industry safety standards in both their van and truck builds, 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, truck 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 rigs like the Baja Truck Camper 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
  • They can retain 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 Rossmönster 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 most 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.

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.

Wide & open floor plan

We’ve found that truck camper footprints are 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 and other rigs like it, are 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 truck campers allow 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).

Van Conversions

Van chassis options still provide a lot of creativity in builds

Most professional builders, like Rossmönster, 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.

The driving view is unmatched

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.

More 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 feel

There is nothing quite like the indoor/outdoor feeling of living/camping in a van that is created by the side sliding door. Many people 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.

Budget friendly

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.

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).


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.

Try it out!

We can’t recommend enough trying both types of vehicles before buying and committing to a build. If you’re shopping for rigs on the site, you can try out the van or truck experience by renting. At Rossmönster, they have a rental fleet with both van conversions and truck campers, allowing you to explore first-hand which vehicle feels best for you and your family. And, they’ll apply the first two nights of your rental toward your build when you choose them as your builder. No excuses!

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