How To Decide Between a Skoolie vs. Sprinter Van

In this modern wave of vanlifers, it seems like a good idea to explain why we decided to buy a short school bus over a van. Price and space were the two main factors that swayed our decision and they both pointed us toward the school bus.

Price

Firstly and probably most importantly, vans are generally more expensive than school buses. When we were in the market, it was hard to even find sprinter vans for sale in our region let alone ones in good condition and ones that were less than $20,000. I’m sure this has a lot to do with the small window of time in which we were in the market as well as the fact that Vermont is not a prime location for old vans due to harsh winters causing rusty destruction. We kept our eye out for any miracle deals but generally stopped actively looking for a sprinter van early on because of the price.

*Not a sprinter van*

Space

This was a big one for Travis. He has frequent back pain and needs room to stretch regularly even when it’s raining or uncomfortable outside of the vehicle. It was important to us to feel like we could move and stretch inside while also having enough space to not constantly be on top of each other.

Sprinter vans have an interior width of 70.1″ (or ~5.8 feet). School buses have an interior width of 90″ (7.5 feet). That’s almost a 2 foot difference in width! Depending on the school bus or sprinter van, the interior length can range from about 13.5 to 15 feet long. The longest sprinter van is about the same interior length as a short 5 window school bus. However, an extra 2 feet of width over 13.5 feet of space means that the short school bus has a larger interior by about 27 square feet.

The one place where the sprinter van seems to have the upper hand is interior height. The interior height of most sprinter vans is 6’4″ while most school buses are looking closer to 6’2″. It’s not a massive difference but it can be an important practical difference if you’re approaching those heights yourself.

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