Though there are several different types of vans, nearly all of them have a commercial obligation that is worth protecting with a dash cam. Vans is an umbrella term that catches all varying types of vans from sprinter vans, to panel vans to crew vans and more. No matter what kind of van you have, you depend on your van for livelihood, whether that be delivering, driving or transporting. With so much dependent on your vehicle, why not ensure that you have a security system monitoring it?
- Two Wireless Cameras can be mounted anywhere with 1080P @ 30 FPS
- Huge 7 inch LCD Screen to monitor up to 4 cameras in real time
- Loop recording to constantly record and overwrite old files
- IP69K, waterproof and weather resistant
This is where a dash cam can assist. Dash cams have certainly advanced in the recent years and have now made it a lot easier to provide security to your van whether you are or aren’t nearby. That’s right, you can have the dash cam watch over your asset. Not only could it help you with security, it can provide extra driver assistance such as helping you reverse. Most vans have poor visibility in the rear, so having a rear dash cam can allow you to manipulate tight areas.
Van Dash Cam Features to Consider
Arguably the hardest decision you will have to make is where you want to install your dash cam. It’s harder than it sounds because most dash cams are made for smaller vehicles like sedans. Chances are dash cam manufactures aren’t designing their products with vans in mind. But knowing what to look for and what works helps you narrow down your choices faster.
First, let’s talk placement. Starting in the front, the only spot you should entertain is right in front of the rear view mirror. Other places don’t make too much sense. Dash cams blend in with the dark mirror, and it doesn’t attract too many eyeballs. With the larger front windshield, you might get away with putting it in the corners, but we recommend near the rear view mirror is the best bet.
For the rear camera, you can mount it in several areas. One area is if you have rear windows, is to mount directly on the windows. This is like how it would be if you had a standard car. One thing to note is you should be aware of how you open and close doors in relation to the rear dash cam wires.
Another spot you can install a rear dash cam would be in the 3rd brake light at the top of the car. There are a couple of ways of going about this. If there is a brake light there, you can run your power cords through the brake light into the inside of your van. You could probably get away with using 3M adhesive tape, but most likely you would want to drill the mount onto the car. We recommend drilling right above the brake light.
Every van is going to be different. Be creative, and choose the best method that suits your van.
A big difference when it comes to other camera kits like installing a backup camera, is that dash cams aren’t necessarily made for vans. What I mean by this is that, backup camera kits typically have extra long cable running from the back of the car to the front. Front and rear dash cam kits has long cable, but you need to make sure it has enough for your van.
Typically, a rear dash cam will come with a 20 foot extension cable. Be sure that is enough wire for your situation. Vans aren’t that long, but if you route throughout the inside of your van, you can run out of wire pretty fast. Taking a bit of time planning out your install will be much easier when you actually have to start executing.
Cable management is often an important topic. Whether you have a sprinter van, or a crew van, you don’t want to have wires all over the place because you often have cargo coming in and out of the van.
In terms of the front dash cam unit, this is a straight forward process. Once your cam is mounted, you can route the cables along the top headliner using a trim tool to make room for the wire. Navigate your way down to the side where the fuse box is, generally it will be under the instrument panel with another panel covering it. Route the cable using the weather stripping along the van’s A-pillar and remove panels when necessary.
For the rear camera, this is fairly straight forward as well. There should be wires that are already running towards the rear of your car to power the brake lights. If you can find that, we recommend following that same path with the rear dash cam power cord. Vans are different than passenger cars in that typically they are made for commercial work and will be more bare bones. This is good for installing a dash cam as there won’t be as many tricky panels to navigate.
If you are planning on mounting any device externally, you’ll need to think about the weather and how it will affect it. Most dash cams are mounted inside the car’s cabin, so a lot of them don’t offer that type of protection. Luckily, there are still a few that are intended to be mounted outside. There are a few that we recommend checking out. Otherwise, you can re-purpose a non-dash camera setup to get a similar effect. Meaning, although not typically used like a dash cam, some backup camera systems have recording functionality. This is the main feature and need for a dash cam system, so we can explore that down below.
More of a luxury feature, having GPS enabled may not be a necessity for you, but it is certainly nice to have. GPS allows you to map out your routes, determines your speed and records your location. If your work involves transportation of goods, you may want to consider GPS functionality. It may be good if you own a fleet of cars too, to analyze routes or resolve disputes.
There are some dash cameras that do not have a screen in order to save space or to accommodate a design. While this is fine for some, others may want to have a more active role in the surrounding cameras. You may need to have quick access to front or rear cameras at a moment’s notice, or you want to view them at all times.
Having a screen or a monitor in the front with you is a smart way of doing that. You might need to reverse into a tight area and don’t want to waste time fiddling with your phone’s settings to see a view of your rear view camera.
Or if you own a panel van where rear visibility is low and you need to change a lane, you want to be able to quickly glance at the monitor to process what is behind you. There are setups that have this ability, so if these situations are some that you consistently run into, consider installing a monitor.
Best Front and Rear Dash Cam for Vans
VanTop H610 10″ 2.5K Mirror Dash Cam
If you don’t want a complicated dash cam solution for your van, consider a rear view mirror dash cam. The VanTop H610 is a 10 inch touch screen that is a straight forward installation process. This mirror dash cam fits over your existing rear view mirror, but provides a touch screen where you can switch between front and rear cameras, change settings or watch footage.
This setup can film in 1440P and 1080P resolution at 30 FPS. What stands out about the lens is their wide angle. The front captures 170 degrees field of view while the rear is 160 degrees. In addition to recording more of the road, using the rear unit as a rear view mirror has increased your viewing angles and can help you with blind spots and reversing.
Speaking of backup cameras, the rear unit is small, discrete and most importantly is waterproof. Included in the kit is a very long 23 foot rear cable which should satisfy most work vans. It films in 1080P and can be mounted anywhere from above your license plate to the top of your car near the 3rd brake light.
We think a dual channel mirror dash camera is an excellent setup for sprinter or panel vans as it adds safety features while not burdening the driver with extra cords.
CHORTAU Dual Dash Cam 1080P
Next up is the CHORTAU dual dash camera setup. This is a very budget friendly dash cam at around $50. This is a traditional dash cam setup, but is great for van owners who are on a budget, but still want good coverage. With such a low budget camera, you may have compromise on some features but keep an open mind and you may be surprised how many features this setup comes with.
This is a front and rear dash cam that films in 1080P. It has a decent field of view with the front at 170 degrees and the rear at 130 degrees. Night vision is important to this camera and 6 IR LED were added to the front of the dash cam to illuminate the road ahead in low light conditions. The main front dash cam is held up by a suction cup which can be mounted underneath or to the side of your rear view mirror. It is a 3 inch LCD screen which is a good screen size for certain activities like reversing. Depending on a 3 inch screen to understand what’s behind you might be a little bit of a struggle, but is doable if you get used to it.
The rear unit comes with a 18 foot cable which is a decent length. A pro tip is if you contact their support, they have a 26 foot cable available that users have said they have gotten for free with their purchase. If they change that policy, the cost is only a few dollars extra.
Haloview MC7108 Wireless Backup Camera
The Haloview MC7108 is not designed to be a dash cam. But today, we are going to be re-purposing it as one. That’s right, it is typically used as more of a monitoring system or a backup camera system for large vehicles like big rigs, but I think it is perfectly appropriate for work vans or any other extended vans that need front and rear dash cam coverage. The great thing about Haloview is that you can add up to 4 cameras around your car for maximum coverage. Perhaps it’s overkill for a van, but you have the option!
This setup is definitely a premium setup because there are so many features packed into it. For one, all of your cameras feed into the giant 7 inch LCD monitor. A great setup would be to get that monitor mounted on your vehicle’s dash and you can have easy accessibility to all angles.
The great thing about this setup is that all the cameras connect wirelessly to the main unit. It uses WiFi signal to connect with a range of up to 984 feet. Though it is called wireless, you still have to tap into a power source for the camera units which can easily be done through a brake light or otherwise. And since it is wireless, you have a lot more freedom on where you want to install all of the units. You can get creative as long as you keep the power source in mind.
Each camera unit is waterproof rated IP69K which is the highest IP rating and handles vibrations as well. It also includes IR capabilities so when low light is detected it will switch to the IR image.
AMTIGO 1080P Backup System
The AMTIFO system was made for much larger vehicles, primarily large RVs, trucks and motorhomes, but I see no reason why this can’t be used on vans. It checks many of the boxes. For one, this setup comes with 2 cameras as a standard package. They both film at 1080P and relay the picture wirelessly into the main 7 inch DVR unit. The main unit has the ability to support up to 4 cameras and has a lot of the dash cam features you would expect like loop recording. A nice little bonus is that it comes with a 32 GB microSD card already installed. You will want to upgrade this in the future.
The two camera units itself are of high quality. The units are made out of metal and are IP69K waterproof and can withstand extreme weather. Each of the camera units have 16 LED IR lights that are used to help illuminate low light situations. We really like this solution if you operate a vehicle where you need to reference the different angles of the car quickly and accurately. If there are awkward angles you need to monitor, having a wireless system is a flexible solution.