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Key Takeaways

  • The 1996 Ford camper van is a great all-around recreational vehicle with abundant features.
  • It is relatively easy to drive and offers amenities that can benefit vacation-related road trips and daily driving.
  • The 1996 Ford camper van has solid construction and excellent potential for upgrades.

If you’re looking to buy an older camper van for vacationing or daily driving, I can tell you why buying a 1996 Ford camper van is worth it.

A 1996 Ford camper van is worth it since it is relatively easy to drive and has plenty of cabin space with ample amenities. When compared to modern camper vans, a 1996 Ford camper van will give you more bang for your buck due to its much lower price.

As a lifelong camper van enthusiast, I feel the 1996 Ford camper van is a quintessential vehicle in the history of camper vans. I have countless good memories of riding, lounging, and sleeping in the van over the years.



What’s So Great About The 1996 Ford Camper Van?

The 1990s were a magical time when it comes to road trips and weekend activities.

As a youngster, I had many vacation adventures and daily drives with my family in a 1996 Ford camper van from the Econoline series, which is also known as the E-Series.

In my city and surrounding areas, the camper van was a rather ubiquitous vehicle on the road during those years.

It wasn't uncommon for me to run across a Ford camper van while heading to school or running errands around town.

Though the 1996 Ford camper van was large compared to other consumer vehicles around the time of its production, it is much more common today to see similarly-sized vehicles such as SUVs and trucks.

In my opinion, camper van designs and features at the time weren’t much different from what is available today.

Our Ford camper van came with many convenient features such as a countertop, sofa bed, and refrigerator.

Easy To Drive

The 1996 Ford camper van can be easy to drive compared to larger recreational vehicles.

Our Ford Econoline camper van, which had an automatic transmission, was one of the first cars I drove since our other cars had a stick shift.

Though the accelerator pedal was a bit heavy compared to our other cars, I felt the heavy pedal made the camper van easier to control.

Smaller vehicles with lighter accelerators tend to take off more quickly than I want.

Though our Ford camper van would accelerate more slowly, it allowed me to drive more safely since I wouldn’t accelerate too fast.

However, the heavy pedal on our Ford camper van would sometimes be tough on my legs, especially when I would have to make frequent stops during heavy traffic.

If you are used to driving a large SUV, truck, or other vehicle, it should be relatively easy for you to drive a 1996 Ford camper van.

Camping And Other Recreational Activities

Though I sometimes enjoy sleeping in a tent when camping, I don’t like that a tent is generally not sturdy.

When we’re out in the forest or a campground, I don’t feel a tent can provide the security I need to feel safe from animals, insects, and inclement weather.

Even with extra padding on the floor of a tent, I usually don’t feel it gives me adequate support when sleeping outdoors on rough terrain.

Some nights in a tent can be quite cold and wet, which can make sleeping in a tent somewhat miserable.

Our 1996 Ford camper van provided us with a warmer and safer environment that had many of the comforts we had at home.

When it came to sleeping space, we could often fit my whole family in the van without feeling any tightness.

Since my family included two adults and two children, I think it was quite a feat to fit so comfortably in one vehicle.

If we wanted to bring along other people, we could comfortably fit at least two more people by having them sleep in the front seating area.

The sofa in the rear could be pulled out and converted into a bed to extend our sleeping space.

Though the space inside our Ford camper van might be tight while driving, we could easily move things around to create more space to lounge and sleep.

If we went to a campground or other area with sufficient space and security, we could simply move items outside our van or place them in the storage container on the roof.

Our 1996 Ford camper van was also frequently used to go up mountains for ski trips and cabin stays.

When we went on vacation to a ski resort, cabin, or other mountain destination, we would typically bring along ski equipment and other gear that would add significant weight to our van.

Even with all that weight, we hardly had any trouble ascending steep mountain roads.

Daily Driving

Our Ford Econoline van was also versatile for daily use since it could transport me and my siblings to school activities or haul groceries and other supplies.

The van had a spacious fiberglass top we used to stow all our bags and other items.

Even though we had a container on top of our Ford van to stow belongings, there was usually enough space within the cabin for use to stow items while driving.

This space allowed us to bring more equipment, food, and other items for our road trips and daily drives.

Our Ford camper van was highly versatile since we can easily adjust and rearrange features to meet our needs.

Durable Construction

I think the construction of the Ford camper van was quite impressive for its time.

Much of the materials inside our van were incredibly durable and didn’t fall apart easily.

The item that wore down the easiest was the mesh screen by the sofa in the rear, which we could easily replace on our own.

We just had to drop by our local hardware store to pick up a low-cost mesh sheet to replace a worn one.

Though our Ford camper van occasionally had engine issues just like any other vehicle, our van was relatively easy to maintain overall.

Upgrade Potential

The 1996 Ford camper van has excellent upgrade potential for an older vehicle.

With all of the modern aftermarket upgrades available today, you can easily upgrade your van with a new paint job, wheels, and other trendy accessories.

Our Ford camper van offered loads of room for us to add supplementary items such as a television, stovetop, and a coffee machine.

The ceiling and walls inside a 1996 Ford camper van allow for plenty of accessories such as towel hooks, smoke detectors, and organizers for toiletries.

Though there were no iPhones or other similar devices in the 1990s, we could easily plug in DVD and music players through the built-in power inputs in our Ford camper van.

Now that Bluetooth and other connectivity options are readily available, you’ll have many more digital entertainment options at your disposal.

To help modernize our van, I added a remote-controlled security system that helps prevent theft and has a panic button that can sound an alarm if we’re in trouble.

The alarm comes in handy when we're parked in an isolated area such as a campground or empty parking lot.