A New Overlanding Market Takes Root

It's no secret that overlanding has been one of the fastest-growing segments in the automotive aftermarket, and as it has gained popularity over time, the market has diversified. This can be seen in the types of vehicles employed as build platforms. Once dominated by midsize Toyotas, the overlanding segment has grown to include Jeeps and, increasingly, fullsize HD pickups with their superior load-carrying capability.

Now, yet another vehicle type has entered the sector, and it has ushered a new generation of backcountry enthusiasts into the pastime of overlanding. Known as adventure vans, camper vans or, occasionally, "glamper" vans, these vehicles represent a fast-growing segment of the overlanding market and offer a potential new revenue stream for aftermarket outfitters looking to partner with existing van builders, for established coach builders looking to diversify their product lineups, or for startups looking to capitalize on new opportunities in a fresh market.

For the purposes of this article, vehicles referred to as "adventure vans" generally fall into the category of Class B motorhomes. They are smaller in size—typically 17–23 ft. in length—and generally less luxuriously apportioned than the more expansive Class A and C motorhomes manufactured by companies such as Winnebago and Thor Motor Coach. Also, unlike their larger counterparts, they utilize existing OE light-truck chassis and bodywork, making them a more attractive alternative for consumers on a budget. They're also more economical to own, thanks to better fuel economy, and their smaller size makes them easier to maneuver and park.

In the North American market, the preferred platforms for these vehicles are typically 1-ton Ford Transit, RAM Pro Master or, most commonly, Mercedes Sprinter chassis, all offering all-wheel drive as the standard drive configuration, and base prices for these vehicles in stock (unmodified) trim start in the $45,000 range. Fully equipped, an outback-ready unit can list for six figures, so this segment represents a potentially lucrative source of income for businesses in the specialty-equipment market.

The State of The Market

Whatever their classification, RV sales are at an all-time high. According to a 2021 manufacturer survey conducted by the RV Industry Association, an industry record 600,240 wholesale shipments were recorded in 2021, an increase of nearly 20% since 2017. At present, the adventure van segment alone represents a $16.8 billion global market, a figure that is forecast to reach $24.8 billion by 2027, according to a 2022 survey from Marketwatch.

"The adventure van market continues to grow rapidly," said Scott Brady, Overland Journal publisher, "but the primary markers of success are differentiating features, unique manufacturing processes, or improvements to backcountry performance. Van builders are creating a unique offering or a performance advantage are continuing to garner long lead-times and full production schedules."

"The market has seen rapid growth over the recent five years, with new builders coming online almost every month," said Eric Miller, co-funder of TouRig, a Colorado-based van conversion company. "We're seeing new accessory companies introducing new product innovations that are directly catered towards the Adventure Van consumer. We are also seeing very nice cross-pollination with the outdoor industry, something that for years was somewhat a controversial subject."

"It's my understanding that Class Bs are the fastest-growing segment of the RV market," said Neil Morse, owner/promoter of the nationwide Adventure Van Expo series. "We still have tons of new people coming to our shows that have never seen them."

"It's a market that's really been growing the last few years here," said Oliver Bahr, president for the Americas with Dometic, a manufacturer of products for the adventure-lifestyle market. "The van market has really been growing well for us."

How well? "When we entered the market in 2014, there were around 10–12 real players in the space, excluding the behemoth RV brands," Miller recalled. "Today, there could be as many as 150-plus builders contributing to the adventure van space."

Owner Demographics

According to our experts, adventure van owners tend to differ from conventional RV owners by their desire to travel further afield than what's allowed by a bigger, bulkier Class A motorhome. "All-wheel-drive vans allow access to more remote campsites, hiking trails and similar points of interest," said Brady. "Adventure vans tend to correlate with hikers, mountain bikers and outdoor photographers."

"It's usually an active couple or family," Morse said, with varied outdoor interests: "Biking, skiing, paddle boarding, surfing and the like." Miller concurred: "Our biggest demographic is the outdoor enthusiast with a strong passion for outdoor recreation such as fishing, hunting, biking, skiing, etc."

Despite a sometimes-steep price of entry, the segment exerts a strong appeal on younger consumers. "We get customers in their 20s, but more frequently they're people in their 30s who've been working an office job for 10 years, and now they just want to travel," said Duran Morley, founder and CEO of The Van Mart, a California-based van conversion company.

As a rule, though, the typical adventure van consumer base skews somewhat older. "We generally see a middle-aged consumer with an adventurous spirit looking to enhance their journey through travel," said Miller. "This new category has made the journey as much fun as the destination."

What They Buy

Overlanders have higher-than-average levels of disposable income (see "Backcountry Business Tips," SEMA News October 2022), and players in the adventure van segment can benefit from an enthusiast customer base that's willing to spend plenty of money to customize their vehicles to their exact liking.

"The segment's growth is focused around accessories that improve the capability and appearance of the vans," said Brady. "Lift kits, bumpers, racks and even snorkels abound." Miller agreed, mentioning upgraded suspension packages, larger wheel/tire combinations, rear tire carriers, rear storage boxes, roof racks and ladders as popular items.

Morse similarly pointed to tires and wheels along with "anything battery-powered" such as cellphone boosters, and Bahr mentioned products that offer "modularity—being able to take that freezer, refrigerator or a cooktop from the inside to the outside of the van."

Most of our experts agreed that price is secondary in importance to quality for most adventure van owners, so manufacturers of higher-end componentry can find opportunities for growth. "People are willing to pay for the quality, and they want to make sure that they have the right product for when they're off grid," Bahr noted. "They don't want to be in a difficult position out in the wild."

COVID and Campervans

All of our sources agreed that the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 turbocharged growth in the market as locked-down consumers with extra time on their hands looked for recreational opportunities away from crowded spaces. The pandemic "sent [business] through the roof!," Morse exclaimed.

While COVID played a part, Brady also noted that growth "began with the availability of the AWD Mercedes Sprinter," while adding a caveat. "As return to work has increased and financing has become more expensive, we have seen some reduction in growth. In particular, the standard van builders are seeing a reduction in order rates. However, the vans with more bespoke interiors or improved capability are still performing well."

Adventure travelers often utilize social media to share their travel experiences with others, and our panel of experts recommended maintaining a robust social presence to optimize consumer outreach.

"People enjoy a sense of community, and they like to share within that community," Bahr said. "We have a distinct set of users in this side of the business, where they like to share their ideas, they like to share their experiences, they like to show what they've done, what they've built and what they're using. So engaging with that community is a really critical aspect for a brand like us."

Future Challenges and Opportunities

While our experts were optimistic for the near-term future, some expressed concerns about a slowing economy. Morse had an eye out for the consequences of the Federal Reserve's recent inflation-fighting measures given their affect on financing costs. "A rise in interest rates may take some players out of the van market," he said.

Still, most of our experts agreed that the smaller Class-B platform would prove resilient in the face of competition from the bigger vehicle classes. "It's still headed favorably in our direction," Morse said. "We have a very economical and maneuverable platform with the diesel Sprinter. For couples, you can't beat it. You can get into 19-ft. spaces and still have a bed, bath and shower."

"The majority of the growth will come from the brand name offerings as they have access to the dealer networks and financing required for volume sales," Brady said. "The most pressing challenge is chassis availability, with demand for Mercedes AWD Sprinters exceeding allocations. We need more AWD van options from companies like Nissan and RAM."

As bigger players such as Airstream and Thor bring their own Class-B vans to market, our experts agreed that adventure vans' public profile only figures to increase in the near term.

For the future, Morse pointed to electrification as the next big potential growth driver. "I think we need to work on E-vans sooner than later. If we get them into the 400-mi. range (fully loaded), we will see an explosion in the market."

Bahr also noted the future movement "towards self-sustaining power, which has been massive, using solar energy to power the battery packs to then power up refrigerators, cooktops and whatever else may be within the van.

Overlanding Remains a Market Mover; EVs GAIN A FOOT HOLD

››› Besides having the capability to transport their owners to remote areas, adventure vans can also offer all the comforts of home—it all depends on what buyers want, and the size of their budget. Courtesy TouRig

TRUCKS, SUVs & Off-road

As of August 15, 2023

ActionTrax 58018

Advanced Accessory Concepts 58156

Aftermarket Performance Group (APG) Wholesale 61256

Agri-Cover Inc. 55163

Airbag Man 57221


Air Lift Co. 60055

Alloy USA 50027

AlphaRex 55087

American Adventure Lab 56221

American Expedition Vehicles 58151

American Technology Components Inc. 57045

AMP Research 50027

Apex Chassis 57217

APS Auto Parts Specialist Inc. 58021

ARB 4x4 Accessories 54027

A.R.E. 50027

ARK 56015

Armadillo Liners 57153

Armordillo USA 53020

Attica 59205

Auto Speed Auto Parts Co. Ltd. 59012

Auxbeam Lighting Co. Ltd. 59235

AVS 50027

Backrack 50027

BAK 50027

B&W Trailer Hitches 55205

Battle Born Batteries 58007

Bed Buddi 59194

Bedrock Truck Beds 55227

Bedrug 50027

Behemoth Drivetrain 61234

Beijing Sunday Campers Co. Ltd. 12276

BelMor 50027

Bestop Inc. 55063

Better Automotive Inc. 60249

Big Sky Precision 57218

Black Horse Off Road 57185

BlackSeries 59185

Blue Ox 57157

Body Armor 4x4/Tuff Stuff Overland 58099


BOLT Locks by STRATTEC 58185

Boomerang Rubber 58249

BringIt Tailgates 60177

BT Fabrication 60253

Bubba Off-Road Recovery Gear 58163

Bullet Liner 57030

BulletProof Hitches 57195

Bullyliner 11632

Bushwacker 50027

Busted Knuckles Mechanical Services 12267

Cal4Wheel 57036

Caliber Inc. 61237

CALMINI-Full-Traction-Hanson-PUREJEEP 60051

Canadian Load Divider Dollies Inc. 61212

CanyonLand Coach 56011

Carbon Shock Technologies 59196

CARR 58044

Chemline Inc. 11426

Circuit Board Medics 59216

Clearlidz 59164

Combat Off Road 58027


COSMOR Industries Ltd. 56219

Crazy Industries 59199

C.R. Brophy Machine Works 57037

Crown Automotive Sales Co. 61079

Cruiser Accessories and Rock Tamers 56261

Custom Wheel Solutions LLC 59006

CVF Offroad 60157

Dana Inc. 60087

D&C Designs 58232

Danyang Spedking Auto Parts Manufacturing Co. Ltd. 59010

Dee Zee 55119

DGM Manufacturing LLC 61172

Diode Dynamics 61127

DK2 58039

Dongguan Bowang Photoelectric Co. Ltd. 57010

Dongguan Hawking LED Lighting Co. Ltd. 12784

Donrex-Landace 11448

DPI Off-Road Brands 61051

Drive Products USA 61236


DuraFlap 57222

DuraLiner 56129

EarthRoamer 61149

Eberhard Manufacturing 57129


EGR Incorporated 57103

Elwell Corp. 55265

ENGO Industries LLC 57026

ETL Industries (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. 61252

Expedition One 60185

Extang 50027

EZ Lee 12975

Fas-Top 59249


FLATED 61195

FlexTread 56189

Flog Industries 59020

Foke Lighting Electrical Ltd. 57220

Foshan Baitai Auto Accessories Co. Ltd. 59221

Foshan Chentong Cable Technology Co. Ltd. 61230

Foshan Hysami Optoelectronics Technology Co. Ltd. 59242

Foshan Jedision Electronic Technology Co. Ltd. 57254

Foshan Kingmoon Lighting Co. Ltd. 12351

Foshan Liweibo Auto Accessories Co. Ltd. 58260

Foshan Nanhai Ginto Lighting Electrical Co. Ltd. 58195

Foshan Shan Shan Electronic and Technology Co. Ltd. 60233

Foshan Sunway Auto Electrical Co. Ltd. 59163

4x4 Accessories & Tyres Ltd. 59227

FOX Factory 55023

Fusion Bumpers 58042

Future Solutions 72001

Gate King 58189

GEN-Y Hitch 57027

Gladiator Cargo Nets 11317

Golight Inc. 57031

Go Rhino Products 55135

Green APU LLC 11628


G3 SpA 56213

Guangzhou Audly Electronics Co. Ltd. 12466

Guangzhou Besure Electronics Co. Ltd. 61219

Guangzhou Dongsui Auto Accessories & Spare Parts Co. Ltd. 61152

Guangzhou Maike Auto Accessories Co. Ltd. 58221

Guangzhou Nuobei Auto Part Co. Ltd. 59014

Guangzhou OUGE Electronic Technology Co. Ltd. 57014

Guangzhou OVOVS Lighting Co. Ltd. 58190

GuangZhou Zheyu Technology Co. Ltd. 58258

Hardkorr 61163

Hatchlift Products 11438

Havoc 50027

Headrest Safe Co. 56227

Hellwig Products 56039

Hi-Lift Jack Co. 58043

Hima Lighting 59193

HM4X4 48197

Husky Liners 50027

ICECO 11221

Icon Vehicle Dynamics 56169


IndeedCamping 58252

Inspired Overland 57243

Intradin/TOWKING 57018

Intrepid Camp Gear 56241

Ironman 4x4 58008

iRopes (Anhui) Co. Ltd. 61232

James Baroud 60119

Jii-Power Auto Accessories 60221

JLI Group Pty. Ltd. 12970

Keeper Products 58254

Keg Media 60192

KEKO 56147

Kelderman 56119

Keyline Sales Inc. 11620


Kleinn Automotive Accessories 60107

Klymit 60069

K-MAN Suspension Technology 59241

KSC4x4 60153

KSP Performance 61220

Küat Innovations LLC 58255

Lasernut 58171

Leer Group 57085

LEQUMOD Inc. 12167

Lippert Curt Luverne Ranch Hand Aries UWS 55103

LiquidSpring LLC 58141


LockNLoad Hitches 11320

Lucas Automotive 59255

LUND 50027

Magnum, A Shyft Group Brand 56233

Mammoth Products 57265


Max Trac Suspension 56153

MaxxHaul Towing Products 57211

McNaughtans Pty Ltd. 60227

MDC USA 55259

Merritt Aluminum Products 59167

Meyer Distributing 60075

Meyer Products–A Brand of Aebi Schmidt 58020

Mile Marker Industries Inc. 55145

Milford 57249

Mini Monsters LLC 58261


MORryde International Inc. 60149

Morsun Technology Co. Ltd. 60143

mPower Lights 56205

myTop LLC 56163

Napier Outdoors 58165

Neapco- Aftermarket 60193

NETMOTOR (USA) Inc. 60231

N-Fab 50027

Nilight-Znder Inc. 61241

Ningbo ALL-TOP Auto Products Co. Ltd. 61227

Ningbo Beilun Haiyu Automotive Lamp Co. Ltd. 58227

Ningbo Fentol International Commerce & Trade Co. Ltd. 58193

Ningbo Goldy International Trade Co. Ltd. 60237

Ningbo Jingyi Machinery Manufacturing Co. Ltd. 59192

Ningbo Kingone Industrial Co. Ltd. 12982

Ningbo Maoyuan Vehicle Parts Co. Ltd. 57234

Ningbo Melbrio Machinery Co. Ltd. 57255

Ningbo Sanlishin Auto Parts Co. Ltd. 60173

Ningbo United Win Long Co. Ltd. 59259

Ningbo Xianlin Import and Export Co. Ltd. 58216

Nomadic Cooling 61085

Novawinch USA Inc. 58238

N2 Auto Race Inc. 57191

OMAC USA Inc. 61061

Omix 50027

ONLTCO Products Warehouse 57216

ORZ GmbH & Co. 61189

Overland Eagle 58243

Overland Vehicle Systems 61171

Papp Plastics & Distributing Ltd. 57043

Paramount Automotive 56021

Pareto Point Industries 57021

Parkit360 Inc. 60213

Patriot Liner 57009

Pelican Products 60163

The Perfect Bungee & ShockStrap Tie Downs 57019

Pittman Outdoors 57073

PMF Suspension 60095

POP & LOCK 56027

Powerful 4x4 HuaDian 60131

ProTech Industries Inc. 58237

PullRite Towing Systems 57147

Puma Defenders 61199

Putco 58119

Qingdao Hairunkaiyuan Auto Parts Co. Ltd. 12183

Quake LED-Freak Show Builds 60197

Radflo Suspension Technology 57123

Rampage 50027

Ranch, ATC, Jason, Venturous, LoadMaster 58129

RANDYS Worldwide 57169

RealTruck 50027

REDARC 59173

Retrax 50027

Rhino Linings Corp. 57109

Rigid Industries 58085

RinseKit 58217

RoadWorks 50027


Rock Slide Engineering 57061

Rogue Van Co. 58231

Roll-N-Lock 50027

RubberShox 57232

RucRak Inc. 56255

Rugged Ridge 50027

Rugged Liner 50027

RYD Motorsports 59197

Saber Offroad 57248

Sandy Vans 59260

Sanooer Co. Ltd. 59018

Scorpion Protective Coatings Inc. 55217


Shanghai Jinli Special Rope Co. Ltd. 61185

Shanghai Junch Industries Development Co. Ltd. 11553

Shanghai Lantsun Auto Parts Co. Ltd. 11217

Shenzhen Aurora Technology Ltd. 12450

Skyjacker Suspensions 58069

Sloggn Gear Co. 58236

SNO Trailers 61247

Spark Lines Inc. 56195

Spray On Bedliner Depot 56249

Stampede 50027

Steelcraft Automotive 56137


Steinjäger Inc. 58031

Superlift 50027

Supreme Suspensions 57163

Surco Products Inc. 56043

Tackle Tuff 57214

Taiwan Dihshiang Ent Co. Ltd. 58262

Talway Electric Co. Ltd. 60235

3D U Ace 55185

3W Auto Accessory Inc. 58205

Thule 55233

Ticar Industrial Ltd. 58017

Timbren Industries 57119

TITAN Fuel Tanks 58036

Tonneau Buddy 60198

Tonno Pro 50027

Torklift 57212

Totron Co. Ltd. 61226

TowSmart Custom 12273

Trailer Valet 60101

TRAIL FX 57051

Transfer Flow Inc. 56033

TRE 4X4 Productions 57205


TRIM-LOK Inc. 59022

Triple-R Lights 58213

Truck Covers USA 57141

Truck N Cover 61095

Truxedo 50027

Turtleback Trailers 57233

TYRI Lights 57135

UnderCover 50027


Uriah Products LLC 58016

USA Diesel 11442

USA Osomemall Inc. 60205

Vanguard Off-Road 55177

Van Windows Direct 57259

Vicoffroad 60241

WAAG (Guangzhou) Ltd. 58011

Walker Evans Enterprise 60169

WeatherTech 55075

Weigh Safe 56199

Wenling Haifeng Differential Gear Co. Ltd. 12782

Wenzhou Dongjinlong Safety Equipment Co. Ltd. 56253

Wenzhou Noble Auto Parts Co. Ltd. 58264

Westin/Superwinch 55051

Whelen Engineering Co. Inc. 61119

WildLand International Inc. 61205

Wildtop Truck Caps 72007



Winnebago 61135

Xcalliber 58013

Yuyao City Yurui Electrical Appliance Co. Ltd. 57016

Zero Breeze 59008

Zhejiang Bezos Outdoor Equipment Co. Ltd. 57253

Zhejiang Hongli (A/List) Tools Co. Ltd. 11544

Zhihui Metal Industrial Co. Ltd. 12984



Flowmaster FlowFX Cat-Back Exhaust for '22–'23 Tundra 3.5L

This Flowmaster FlowFX Cat-Back Exhaust System for the '22–'23 Toyota Tundra trucks with the 3.5L engine is manufactured using durable 409 stainless steel throughout and features dual 2.50-in. mandrel-bent pipes for better exhaust gas flow, and a FlowFX "straight-through" muffler is used for an aggressive to moderate sound level and maximum performance. This system exits out both sides, behind the rear wheels, with dual 4.00-in. black ceramic tips for added style and a custom look. The system uses all the existing factory hanger locations and is backed by Flowmaster's lifetime limited warranty.

Sawtooth Industries Expandable Tonneau

The Sawtooth Tonneau is a groundbreaking and patented expandable truck bed cover designed to provide consumers with unmatched flexibility and utility. The stretchability of the Sawtooth tonneau cover offers a unique solution for a variety of situations, enabling customers to load more, haul more and do more. This expandable tonneau cover is a game-changer in the industry, providing an innovative alternative to traditional "flat-only" tonneaus. Sawtooth, a SEMA Launch Pad finalist, specializes in innovative automotive cargo management solutions.

Overland Vehicle Systems Discovery Truck Bed Rack

Overland Vehicle Systems' new universal-fit midsize truck application is designed to be a direct bolt-on bed rack. Featuring square tubing that can be set up to accommodate many mounting brackets, T-slots, and other cargo management gear to take on the trail, the Discovery Rack's open-bed design has plenty of capacity to support about everything you want to put on it. Quick and easy installation gives you the ability to carry all the gear you need for a successful trip.

Superlift 3- to 4-in. Lift System for '21–'23 Broncos

This kit features FOX 2.5 Performance Elite series coilovers with dual-speed compression adjusters front and rear. Manufactured with aluminum bodies, 7/8-in. chrome shafts and compression adjusters, which allow easy tuning of high- and low-speed
compression valving to cater to your driving style.

Kleinn Air Horns Train Horn & Onboard Air System for '20–'24 GM 2500HDs/3500HDs

The Beast Model 230 horn features reinforced high-impact ABS trumpets with all-metal bases and a high-output VX6003 all-brass solenoid. The horns measure 17.5, 14.5 and 11.5 in. in length and produce an incredible 153.3 decibels of real train horn sound. The 6350RC is a fully submersible waterproof air compressor rated at 150 psi and 100% duty-cycle.

Hellwig Products Front Sway Bar for '22+ F-150 Lightning

Hellwig Suspension Products' new front sway bar for '22-and-newer Ford Lightning trucks improves stability and comfort for daily driving and while towing. Its solid heat-treated chromoly steel construction offers increased stiffness over factory sway bars, resulting in better handling, comfort and safety for everyday driving and heavy towing applications.

Ironman 4x4 Uber Lite Rooftop Tent

The Uber Lite Rooftop Tent is an option for campers who prioritize mobility, convenience and comfort. Its lightweight aluminum slat base and frame make it easy to carry, install and setup with a total weight of only 104 lbs. Ideal for smaller CUVs/SUVs that may not have the capacity to carry heavier rooftop tents. Features a 93x 47-in. mattress and made with high-density foam that is 1-in. thick. With a total open height of 39 in., there's plenty of headroom for sitting up and relaxing.

Warn Industries HD Electric Hoists

Available in 800-lb. (363 kg) and 1,000-lb. (454 kg) capacities, the DC800 and DC1000 hoists can be used on everything from work truck cranes to the back of large overlanding rigs that need a hoist to lift their large spare tires into place. The new DC-powered hoists are equipped with powerful 12- or 24-volt permanent magnet motors, and the reliable all-metal three-stage planetary gear train is smooth, quiet and super-durable.