Traveling in an RV, whether full -time or part-time, can be a life-changing experience. Even weekend trips provide the much-needed getaway that some individuals and families need to satisfy their wanderlust. With such a large variety of different types of RVs, traveling is easier now than ever before. But with all the types of RVs comes confusion, questions, and die-hard opinions on which is the best option. There isn’t a wrong way to RV, but ensuring that you have all the facts before purchasing your next rig can save you from trouble and regret later down the road. If you’ve ever seen a camper van at a campground or a Harvest Hosts location and wanted to learn more, then continue reading to learn all about Class B RVs.
Many travelers who have never seen or been in a Class B often mistake these for standard vans. However, class B RVs are comparable to Class C and even some Class A motorhomes in features. Class B RVs, otherwise known as camper vans, are actually just smaller, more compact versions of Class C RVs. These are driven like a regular van, but are typically taller to allow for more living space. Getting around in a van is significantly easier than traveling in a class A or C RV.
The size of a Class B is either the biggest pro or biggest con, depending on the needs of each individual. Some travelers prefer the small stature of these vehicles for easier navigation or to enjoy a more simplistic experience. Vans can go anywhere that standard vehicles can go and usually only take up one parking space. This also means that they require smaller campsites, which can make boondocking experiences much easier, allowing RVers to travel more easily and to more remote campsites.
Many newer Class Bs now come equipped with the same luxuries and comforts found in Class Cs. These include couches that convert to king size beds, galley kitchens, awnings, and private bathrooms with a toilet and shower. Usually the floor plans in these RVs are similar across the board, and they typically do not have built-in slide-outs.
Some Class B models have a surprising amount of storage space, which is typically tucked away overhead or in outdoor storage bays. While this storage can be helpful, class Bs still provide significantly less storage space than other classes of RVs, which makes storing large objects such as chairs and coolers a challenge. In general, the storage options in Class B RVs are designed to keep the floor space as open as possible.
Most Class Bs can have a tow hitch installed, and some may even come equipped with this feature. While they cannot tow anything too hefty, some are capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds, with objects such as motorcycles, boats, ATVs, and snowmobiles. Similar to other classes of RVs, Class Bs can be fueled with either diesel or gas depending on the model. Those with diesel engines are more powerful and last longer than their gas counterparts.
Traveling and Set Up
Class Bs are some of, if not the most, low maintenance vehicles to set up at a campsite. Choosing a campsite and parking in it is almost as simple as parking a standard vehicle, but with the added step of leveling in uneven areas. Leveling in these RVs is typically done with an old fashioned bubble leveler and leveling blocks. Aftermarket automatic leveling kits can be installed, but these are not typically included, even with newer models. Despite the smaller size, it is still crucial to level your Class B as much as possible for the propane and plumbing to function correctly and not cause damage to the RV.
One potential con to camper vans is the necessity to break camp when needing to take trips into town for supplies or sightseeing. This can be avoided by towing a motorcycle or other small mobile, but that is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some travelers are fine with breaking camp and moving their motorhome, while others may find the process tedious, especially when planning to return back to the same campsite later.
Camper vans tend to have much better fuel efficiency than other RVs, due to their small stature. They are also significantly cheaper to fill with fuel, making these a less expensive choice in the long run. Another benefit of the smaller size is the numerous storage options during the off-season. Most Class B RVs can fit into a standard garage, which saves even more money.
Traveling in a van has some immediate considerations when you consider the size of your group or family. Most vans can only sleep two to four people comfortably, so adding additional friends or family members into the mix is more difficult when compared to a larger RV.
While Class Bs are smaller than larger motorhomes, they can still have similar interior features and upgrades. Despite all of this, owning a Class B is not for everyone. On the other hand, many travelers love their camper vans and travel in them full-time. It’s important to take into consideration the current size of your group or family, pets, finances, and any current vehicles you may have when deciding if this is the right RV for you. These considerations can weigh heavily on whether a Class B or camper van is a good fit. Consider renting one for a few days or weeks to really get a good feel of what living in one would be like before making the jump.
Have you ever traveled in a camper van before? What was your favorite part? Tell us your stories in the comments below!
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