They say home is where the heart is – but anyone with a four-legged best friend knows that home is really where your dog is. Unfortunately, bringing your pup with you everywhere you go isn’t always as easy as you’d like it to be – and extended adventures often mean that your fur baby ends up staying behind. Luckily, times are changing. As dogs are allowed in more and more places, vehicles are rising to the occasion and creating state-of-the-art options for traveling with pets.
While it’s true that RVs are the front runner when it comes to extended trips with dogs, travel vans are making their way onto the scene with plenty of space and amenities for Fido as well – however, it’s important to consider your pet’s safety and think about climate control, the size of your dog in comparison to the vehicle, and staying away from carpet at all costs.
Van conversion has become a fairly popular discussion board topic over the past decade, and you’ll find endless DIY videos on how to soup up your travel van to make it the most pet-friendly as possible – and your days of leaving your pooch at home could soon be behind you.
Keep reading to discover our picks for the 10 best travel vans for traveling with a dog.
Table of Contents
1. Dogscamper by Terra Camper
Designed specifically with pups in mind, the Dogscamper by Terra Camper is one of the best travel vans for traveling with dogs. This German-based company specializes in conversions of the Mercedes Benz Metris vans, and they’ve recently paired up with a state-side company to give North Americans a chance to get their hands on one of these conversions as well.
Terra Camper specializes in converting vans into homes on wheels, and their Tecamp package includes a pop-up roof, a kitchen area, lightweight modular furniture, a sleeping area for up to two humans, and so much more.
You’ll have to purchase a Tecamp conversion package before you can upgrade to the Dogscamper configuration, but while you’re spoiling your pooch you can reward yourself a bit too. If you’re planning on spending lots of time on the road or at the campsite, the full conversion is definitely worth investing in.
The Dogscamper conversion is all about keeping your dog safe and comfortable, and the starter package includes:
- Two crate walls (each with its own door)
- A ramp for bumper protection to avoid scratches and make entry and exit easy
- A box attached to the rear door specifically for your pet’s food, water, and other essentials
- Various floor plans to choose from depending on how many dogs you’ll be traveling with and how large your pooch is
This is one of the best travel vans for both dogs and their owners, as it’s not easy to find a company that can cater to both. When you compare the price to some other conversion companies, it’s really a steal – especially when you consider that it is one of the safest options for traveling with your pup.
2. Freedom Vans Pluto
Freedom Vans is a Washington-based van conversion company that rose to fame in the dog world after completing “Pluto” – a custom build for a woman and her four canines. While the company builds each van differently, you can take inspiration from this dog-friendly travel van and work with the company to create something similar.
Made from the ever-popular base of a Mercedes Benz Sprinter, Pluto combines the best of living off-grid and living with your dog with thoughtful and ingenious details throughout. The van has everything you’ll need in terms of human comfort, including a kitchen, a raised queen-size bed with lots of storage space underneath it, a dining area, and even a toilet. One of the most important features is the air conditioner and temperature sensor, which allows the owner to keep track of the van temp while they’re away to make sure dogs are comfortable.
Other perks for the pooches include:
- A raised dog bed right next to the human one
- A well-lit and spacious garage area under the bed for any crates, food, or water dishes you may wish to keep
- A doggy door for easy mobility between areas
- A hose so that owners can rinse off any dirty dogs before getting back into the van
There are plenty of human comforts included in this van conversion as well, from the fold-down dining area and upgraded captain’s chairs to the 30-gallon freshwater tank and the 4-gallon hot water heater. Custom van conversions are all about creating a liveable space for individuals (and in this case, their four-legged friends, too), so the possibilities for dreaming up your ideal dog-friendly travel van are truly endless.
Just be sure to get started as soon as you can, as Freedom Vans usually has a 10-14 month waiting list!
3. The Dog Liner T730
While this vehicle is definitely more of a motorhome than a travel van, our list wouldn’t be complete without it. The aptly named Dog Liner T730 is fully loaded to give both you and your pooch the best travel experience possible. This RV is made from a 24-foot-long Fiat Ducato base and can sleep up to 4 humans and 2 full-sized dogs.
Due to the larger size of this motorhome, there’s plenty of room for your whole family to spread out and make themselves at home. Your pets will stay safe while the vehicle is in motion thanks to the built-in dog kennel in the back – which is complete with:
- A padded bed
- An integrated water bowl
- A retractable ramp to avoid scratches
- A small window and personal doggy door
- You can also utilize a gate option instead of the wooden door that connects the kennel to the rest of the RV- so your fur baby doesn’t get too lonely during the drive!
Other pooch-approved features of the Dog Liner include:
- A hose for spraying off dirty paws before re-entering the motorhome
- A kennel camera accessible from the cockpit
- A climate-controlled cabin
- A pair of safety buckles in the main area if you want to have your four-legged friend a bit closer to you during the journey
While it may seem as though this RV is a pooch palace, the motorhome is equally as equipped for humans as it is for canines. Some of the main perks include a roomy cockpit with comfortable captain’s chairs, a spacious cabin area complete with a dinette and a well-equipped kitchen, and a full bathroom with separate toilet and shower areas.
Sleeping arrangements include a rear bed over the top of the dog kennel with a second sleeping space available by converting the dinette.
There’s also tons of storage space on board the Dog Liner T730, with a large cargo compartment next to the dog kennel, a dual bike carrier on the outside of the vehicle, and plenty of cupboards and cubbies throughout the interior.
If you’re not sold on the Dog Liner, you can always take one for a spin with 4 Pfoten (or, “4 paws”) if you happen to be traveling around Germany.
4. Advanced RV Ocean One EcOasis
For those who truly treat their pets like family, the Advanced RV Ocean One EcOasis may be the best travel van for traveling with a dog. While the company name may have you thinking of large and bulky motorhomes, Advanced RV also caters to those looking for a custom Class B van. This company produces 100% custom-built vehicles, and their Ocean One EcOasis model has been outfitted to travel with small dogs.
If it’s been done once, it can be done again, with all the unique features you could hope to get out of a travel van. Similar to the “Pluto” build from Freedom Vans, the Ocean One EcOasis uses a Mercedes Benz Sprinter chassis, though in some cases the vehicle can be elongated or widened to fit the customer’s needs.
The best example we can look at for a custom dog build from Advanced RV is one built for transporting show dogs. If you love to spoil your pups, you can take some inspiration from this impressively outfitted travel van. Complete with two twin beds atop the dog kennels, this van is perfect for two humans and two small dogs. There is a spacious kitchen area on board that boasts a large refrigerator, a microwave, lots of storage cabinets, a portable cooktop, and a single pod coffee machine. You’ll also find a bathroom with a porcelain toilet, shower, and sink on this model, along with other features catered toward the human passengers like a flat-screen TV, WiFi, security cameras, and a Pioneer stereo system.
The real luxury here is for the dogs, however (literally!):
- Their kennels are made with foldaway screen doors.
- Your pooch will sleep on decked out waterbeds.
- They’ll have their own separate HVAC units.
- The hallway area between the kennels even features mats for any dirty paws roaming around the cabin when it’s parked.
Of course, not every dog can hope to be this spoiled (especially if you’re on a budget), but it’s nice to know that there are possibilities for customizing a travel van to make your fur baby as comfortable as possible.
5. 2015 Volkswagen Crafter by This Moving House
Another inspirational pup-approved van conversion comes from the UK company This Moving House. Specializing in unique custom builds, This Moving House created one of the best travel vans for traveling with dogs back in 2015. The base vehicle is a Volkswagen Crafter, and while it may look like any old van on the outside, the inside has been designed with dogs in mind.
This van was converted for a client and her two canines, although there’s space enough for two humans thanks to the pull-out guest bed and main single bed. There’s also a kitchen area with a single stovetop, grill, mini-fridge, and a sink, a portable toilet, three swivel seats in the cockpit, and lots of storage space for both your belongings and your fur babies.
When the guest bed is tucked away, your pooch can use the set of stairs that lead up to the bed, and there’s even a cubby built into the side of one stair for their food and water dishes. The back of the van (underneath the bed) is dedicated to two dog kennels so that your pup can ride safely, and two small gates open up to the main cabin area so that they are never truly alone.
Of course, this travel van is just one example of all the ways you could customize a vehicle to fit your (and your dog’s) wants and needs – and your options are truly endless. Custom van builds are never cheap, but a conversion like this one is worth every penny if you want to travel with your pet.
6. RB Components Sawtooth Touring Van
Those interested in traveling far off the beaten path with their pup should consider the RB Components Sawtooth Touring Van. This fully outfitted 4×4 is another Mercedes Benz Sprinter build, and this travel van is built for the wild.
While it’s not designed specifically for dogs, it’s a great option for those who are looking to spend some quality time in the great outdoors with their pooch. Whether you’re going on a cross-country adventure or just on a weekend getaway, this van has everything you’ll need.
The exterior features make it easy to spend as much time as possible outside with your four-legged friend, including:
- A full-sized awning
- A built-in BBQ
- A hose to spray down your dirty pup before re-entering the van
The inside of the van has a place for you to shower off as well, along with a toilet, kitchen, dining area, and spacious sleeping space in the back. You’ll also find tons of storage space throughout the van; when the bed flips up, there’s more than enough room to fit a large kennel.
7. Mercedes Benz Sprinter
If you’re interested in converting a van into a pet-friendly home on wheels but want to save some cash, you could always buy a base vehicle and do the heavy lifting yourself. One of the most popular travel vans for conversions is the Mercedes Benz Sprinter, and there are a few reasons why this one leads the pack.
Not only is it extremely affordable, but it also boasts some great safety features including brake and attention assist, a 360-degree camera, and a blind spot mirror, to name a few.
The Mercedes Sprinter is the perfect size for small-scale conversions and is easy to drive and park virtually anywhere. There’s a reason why so many travel vans use this chassis and they’re available in almost every country on earth. If you want to reduce your budget even further, you’ll likely be able to buy one of these vehicles second-hand – and if you’re lucky, there might already be some upgraded components.
While you’ll likely have to watch countless hours of Youtube instructional videos to build the travel van of your dreams, doing it yourself ensures that you can install all the pet-friendly features you’ll need for traveling with your best friend. You can take inspiration from some of the other travel vans on our list, or simply use your creativity and hone in on your DIY skills – the sky’s the limit with this one!
Of course, you don’t need to get crazy. The base vehicle is large enough to fit a crate in the back, and if you’re planning on tent camping anyway, there’s really no need for fancy features like beds, bathrooms, and kitchens in your van. Those who enjoy spending most of their time in the great outdoors with their dog and simply need a way to get from point A to point B can get off cheap with the Mercedes Benz Sprinter.
8. Winnebago Travato
The Winnebago Travato is another one of the best travel vans for traveling with a dog, and even if you don’t add on any pricey conversions, this large vehicle should work for both you and your furry friend. The Travato has plenty of space for stretching out and relaxing, and the vinyl flooring ensures that even the sharpest claws won’t cause too much damage.
There are a few different models of the Winnebago Travato that you can choose from, and the best one for you and your pooch will depend on your travel needs: Two of the best options are the 59K and the 59KL, both of which have a wet room area in the back of the van. The double doors in the rear open up to this room, allowing you to shower your pup and make sure there are no dirty paws when entering the interior.
The floor plans don’t vary much, and you’ll find all the human comforts you’ll need like a sleeping area, kitchen, dinette, TV, and a cozy cockpit area with comfortable leather chairs.
Just like the Mercedes Benz Sprinter, you could always add your own customizations to make it more pet-friendly, but the Travato is a great travel van all on its own. The price tag is a bit high, especially if you plan on adding some upgrades – but if you’re looking for a well-equipped base vehicle, this might be one of your best options.
9. A.C.E Class A Motorhome
If you don’t mind driving a big rig, the A.C.E Class A Motorhome is one of the best ways to travel with a dog. While it’s massive compared to the other travel vans on our list, it has some unique features geared toward the four-legged passengers in your group that deserve some attention.
This massive vehicle is spacious enough for your whole family, and some of the pet-friendly features include:
- Vinyl floors that are paw approved
- A “motorhome mudroom” to keep your pup (and your RV) clean as a whistle
- An integrated pull-out kibble station so that their food and water stays put
- A dog-height window so your pooch can enjoy some squirrel or bird watching from the comfort of the motorhome
Of course, this home on wheels is big enough for everyone to feel at home, including the human passengers. You can relax on the sofa and watch a movie on the flat-screen TV, enjoy a meal in the spacious dining area, read a book in the bunk bed, or scroll through your phone thanks to the onboard WiFi.
The kitchen is outfitted with a three-burner stovetop, double-door refrigerator, microwave, small oven, and a deep stainless steel sink. There’s also plenty of storage space in this area and throughout the RV – so there’s no need to worry about having to pack lightly. Another key feature onboard the A.C.E is the full bathroom, complete with a large shower, porcelain toilet, and sink.
There are numerous configuration options for this Class A motorhome, and you should have no problem finding a setup that works for you and yours. There are also various upgrades you can purchase if you’re looking to really live in the lap of luxury – but just know that the base model alone is going to cost you a pretty penny.
10. NOAH Cross City Capsule
One of the biggest stars at the 2016 Japanese Camping Car Show was the NOAH Cross City Capsule from Tokai Utility Motor. Made with a Toyota chassis, this aesthetically pleasing vehicle is one of the best travel vans for traveling with a dog.
Unfortunately, this design has yet to be streamlined and available to the public – but our list just wouldn’t be complete without it. At the very least, it’s a great example of what the future could hold for traveling with dogs.
The fun orange and white color scheme can be seen throughout, from the exterior details to the steering wheel and the removable components of the van. But this vehicle made headlines for more than just its good looks. The rear of this small vehicle has been transformed into a sleeping area for both humans and canines, with a kennel pod and sleeping bunk taking up half of the space.
The other half of the van is open space and could be used as an additional sleeping area or as a storage space for any gear or luggage you may have. There’s also a small tailgating table in the complementing orange and white colors, along with a matching dog carrier. This travel van is perfect for small dogs (and humans, for that matter), and if nothing else, this unique vehicle can act as an inspiration for pet-friendly travel van conversions in the future.