Promaster Stealth Van Concept

Camouflage is your friend when stealth camping in urban places. For stealth, your van needs two things:

  1. A story that observers will tell themselves to explain why this van is parked in their neighborhood overnight.
  2. No conflicting clues that this is not a farmer’s market delivery van with nothing valuable inside.

A story that tells itself

Onlookers will think this is a van that delivers food to the local farmers’ market, so they’ll think it must be parked in the neighborhood to get an early start setting up for the market. It’s a clean and professional-looking van, and there’s what looks like a company name and a phone number they could call if they were concerned.

The reality is that the van is a tiny home for someone who wants to disappear into the urban landscape. They don’t want to provoke any concern. They just use a public parking space overnight to get a good night’s rest.

It’s not a commercial van and doesn’t carry any typical markings, only markings that hint at its fictitious purpose. The number 118 is visible on two sides of the van, showing that this is the somewhat rare 118″ wheelbase version of the ubiquitous Ram Promaster.

One three sides, there’s a 12″x12″ decal that reads, “Support Local Farmers,” clearly showing support for local agriculture, much like a bumper sticker. On the back is a phone number and a message inviting people to call and report impaired driving, but it’s an 800 number for alerting the home owner that there might be a neighbor that isn’t friendly to their presence.

The van isn’t pretending to be something it is not, it is simply making a statement about the owner and provides familiar messaging that most drivers would recognize and appreciate.

No conflicting clues

The van would have no usual camper van clues visible on the exterior. There would be no bike rack and no solar or vents on the roof. When you peek into the cab, you would see a spartan work van and a partition shielding the cargo in the back from view.


Instead of power coming from the sun, this van gets it’s home’s battery bank recharged while underway from the engine. It would have 12-volt and 120-volt power, an inverter, and lithium batteries. When parked in locations where stealth is not needed, portable solar panels could be set outside and plugged into the system to augment the power fro the van’s alternator.


12-volt fans would provide fresh air from beneath the van. Inlets and outlets would keep air circulating through the van in near silence. No vents on the roof would give away the true nature of the van.

A Small, Clean Van

The Ram Promaster 118 is the smallest of this full-size van model. It’s cute and compact. The ceiling is low, and the cargo space is only 8 feet long, but it is easy to maneuver and park. It’s also rarely used for a camper van and more likely to be seen employed as a delivery van or postal truck. It’s large enough for a tiny home with a bed, toilet, shower, and small kitchen.

A higher roof van would be more comfortable for full-time living, but this model gives you more flexibility than the Ram Promaster City and Ford Transit Connect. It is almost as expensive as a Ran Promaster 136 high roof, so if super stealth isn’t your goal, the larger, taller model is a better choice.

Design Concept Inspiration

I’m considering taking a job in San Francisco, but I live near Sacramento. The job pays significantly more than I make now, but not enough to justify moving to the San Francisco Bay area. The commute is 100 miles and takes two to three hours, depending on the hour. To avoid spending hours in traffic or stuck on a bus or train, the idea of a stealth van occurred to me, and it sounds like a fantastic adventure.

Photo by Ram Trucks, enhanced by me.

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