First you should know that I am NOT actually super 100% sure that I'll end up with a step-van. I'll write about my vehicle options and ideas soon, but this post is just for my Craigslist swoons.
Okay, so I've been prowling around Craigslist for a while screenshotting step-vans that look good. Up till now, I haven't been prepared to act on any of these, but they're a good example of the range I'm looking at. Although most of these are probably not available anymore, they're some good leads to jumpstart my search in the next month. (Sorry, some of the pictures are obnoxiously cropped, but the goal was to capture a reminder + something searchable for later)
I was surprised to find that step-vans tend to fall a little higher on the price scale than small RVs - I could dependably find likely RV suspects in the $2-6,000 range, but the step-vans are usually closer to 5-10,000 for something in decent shape. I suppose it's because they're more flexible and built to last, which are two big draws for me. Also a lot of them come with food truck equipment, most of which is useless to me. Maybe I can find a restaurant around here to go in with me for the food parts??
Some of the pre-installed equipment is pretty attractive to me though, enough to get it on my swoonlist. Any shelving or cabinetry or work surface that's welded in seems very handy; step-vans are all big metal boxes by default, so anything welded in is as sturdy as it gets for rattling and rolling on the road. Another big winner is large backdoors. I've seen a lot with very narrow doors, or the rolling door. I haven't decided on a 'best door style', but a large entryway is ideal. Of course, many are just on here because they have a nice ratio of price-to-age or price-to-odometer or etc.
On Craigslist, I've been looking around most of Virginia and DC. I read on other blogs all the time about how "we finally found our baby in Arkansas and jumped in the car to go pick her up!" .... but combing the entire US sounds kind of insane. I'm willing to travel to find the ~right~ vehicle, but I'm not sure of the other best places to look.
If you're reading this and have any advice, definitely throw it my way!