When I first considered the RV lifestyle, my mind was already leaning towards a class C type motorhome. I felt like this type of RV would give me the most space and provide me with all the comforts of home that I was used to. However, it wasn’t long into my search that I realized that I didn’t want to drive something as large as a class C around.
After sitting in a few of them along with class A’s, I realized that these types of rigs were a bit too big for what I was looking for. I realized that it would be difficult for me to get these types of rigs in and out of places that I wanted to go.
That’s when I began looking more seriously at class B RVs, also known as camper vans. The obvious problem with these is the size. I wasn’t sure if a class B would be big enough for what I wanted to use it for.
It took a little research and a few test drives to realize that a class B would be more than enough for my needs. After taking my time to decide on the best RV for me, here is what I learned.
A class B RV is not too small in order for you to enjoy living or traveling in it. However, it may require a more minimal type of living and will likely only be suitable for 2 – 4 people depending on the size of the van.
There are many people who live full-time in a class B and they can have benefits that set them apart from their larger counterparts.
What Size is a Class B Motorhome
A class B is typically in the range of 18 – 24 ft in length and may have less than 100 square feet of living space. Although small, many of the layouts are designed to feel more spacious and can offer enough living space without feeling too cramped.
|RV Brand / Make||Exterior Length||Exterior Width||Interior Height|
|Winnebago Travato||21 ft||83 in||6 ft 3 in|
|Coachman Crossfit||22.17 ft||84 in||6.25 ft|
|Coachman Galleria||24 ft 3 in||83 in||6 ft 2 in|
|Winnebago Revel||19 ft 7 in||76 in||6 ft 3 in|
Making The Most Out Of a Small Space
Living out of a class B camper van is much different than living out of a larger RV or a standard sticks and bricks home. A small van requires that you make some changes in order to make the most of it and maintain the comforts that you are used to.
Many people who travel in a camper van, say that they live out of their van rather than in their van. When you travel in a van as small as a class B RV, the world is your home and the van itself is where you sleep, eat, and maintain a sense of privacy and safety.
If you are new to van life or traveling in a class B, don’t expect to have as much room as you would in something larger. Although there are some layouts that maximize space, no layouts are going to provide you with tons of elbow room over another one.
No matter the van or layout, you will be dealing with a small footprint in which you will have to make sacrifices or learn how to live differently in order to be comfortable.
If you are having trouble determining whether a class B is too small, perhaps you should ponder the following questions.
- Can I take a more minimal approach to living and cut out unnecessary items that I may be accustomed to living with now?
- Would I rather have more comfort in a larger rig but be more restricted as to where I can go?
- Would I rather have the ease of getting around in a van and being able to park in a regular parking spot, making it easier for travel?
It’s important to note that although you will probably not have as much room as you would in a larger rig, this doesn’t mean that you will be given up much. A class B RV has plenty a room for most people and as long as you aren’t hauling a large family, you will most likely be happy with the amount of space.
Advantages of a Class B RV
Camper vans may be smaller but they do have some advantages over larger RVs.
1. You will be able to park nearly anywhere that a standard car can park. One of the most difficult parts of driving a large RV is parking and maneuvering around on city streets. The size of some RVs restricts where you can go and makes it a stressful driving situation at times. With a camper van, it will feel as though you are driving a full-size truck and most of them will fit into a standard parking spot nearly anywhere.
2. You will get better gas mileage. Our custom camper van which is built on the Ram Promaster chassis gets around 17 to 20 miles per gallon depending on the terrain and type of road. Some will get more and some will get less but either way it is much better than the fuel economy you might expect from other classes of RVs.
3. You may be able to park stealthily in them if needed. You would never be able to do this in a larger RV because they stick out like a sore thumb. This is beneficial because you are not stuck with only staying in RV Parks. They are easy to park and they are also easy to drive away if you need to get going.
4. They are easier to drive. If you have ever sat inside a large class A motorhome, you know that they can be intimidating and especially once you get going on a road in a city or in small areas. You won’t have a problem with a camper van since most of them are easy to drive and small enough to fit on any road that a car can drive on.
Disadvantages of a Class B RV
Of course, along with the advantages come disadvantages. The main disadvantage is the size of the RV. It’s obvious that a class B camper van will not be as large as a full-size motorhome, travel trailer, fifth-wheel. If you are used to the space that larger RVs provide, you may find the following to be disadvantages.
1. The toilet and shower area, if it is even equipped with one, may be cramped and barely sufficient for most people. Our camper van shower is sufficient for our needs but if you are overweight or larger, you would probably have a hard time with our shower and toilet.
2. You can’t bring as much stuff with you. There are fewer storage compartments and space than a full-size RV would have so you may have to get creative in order to organize items, especially if you are not traveling alone.
3. Gray tanks or black tanks will likely be smaller in capacity than those of larger RVs. If you depend on these water holding tanks you will need to take this into account when planning a trip in a class B.
Who is a Class B For?
If you are an adventurous type and do not have a large family to carry around with you, a class B camper van may be perfect for you. Even people with families may find a layout that works well for them without being too small and suffocating.
On the other hand, if you have a large family and would like to have room to move around, a class B will probably be too small for you.
The following types of people may find a class B to be just the right fit for their needs.
- Single people who want to travel without the hassle of a heavy load
- Adventure seekers who need a home away from home
- Weekenders who are looking for a small camp space and don’t require a lot of stuff
- Couples who are accustomed to a more minimalistic approach to life
- People who prefer a more fuel-efficient approach to RVing
I fall into the category of an adventure seeker as well as a weekender who enjoys being out in nature without the hassle of having a large RV to drive around. I enjoy driving my camper van around because it feels just like I’m in a large vehicle like a full-size truck.
I can pull into a spot and fix food, rest, or even sleep for the night and then be gone in no time.
A class B is definitely for a different type of camper than a class A or class C or even a travel trailer, fifth wheel or any other type of full-size RV. Camper vans are for those who are looking for adventure and are not simply seeking a home that can take the place of a standard home.
A camper van is meant to be driven and those who love to explore and travel to exciting places will love the convenience of a class B. These types of RVs are not ideal for those who want something that can be parked for days at an RV park so they can live in it like they would a larger RV.
On the other hand, if you are you looking to travel and maintain some comforts of home along the way, a class B should be plenty for you.