Is a Camper Van Considered an RV?

Camper van parked in woods

An RV, also known as a recreational vehicle, is a mobile living space that can be pulled or driven from place to place. These recreational vehicles may also be known as campers, motorhomes, fifth wheels, pop-up campers, travel trailers and yes, camper vans.

A camper van is considered an RV since it has a livable space and can be driven and moved from place to place. Although, small in size, a camper van is large enough to provide all the essentials needed for traveling and living and can be a great solution for camping and recreation.

Types of RVs

In order to understand what an RV is and what it means to be considered an RV, you should have a basic understanding of the different types of RVs.

Recreational vehicles come in many shapes and sizes and some have benefits over others. The type of RV that one ultimately chooses is based on personal preference as well as what they want to use the RV for.

Keep reading to learn more about different types of RVs available.


A motorhome has everything you need in one unit. It provides a mobile living area as well as the actual vehicle that you drive. There is no need to pull anything unless you want to pull a small car to use when you are out on the road.

Class A

A class A motorhome is the largest of all of the motorhomes that you drive around. These are basically buses that have been converted to campers on wheels.

These can be quite large and many of them have slide-outs that create more space while parked, making them even more livable and quite spacious like a house would be.

The benefit of a class A motorhome is the livability that it offers. With copious amounts of space, you will never feel cramped in a class A.

However, the downside is that they are so large and may be difficult to drive, park, store and maintain.

Class B

A class B motorhome is a camper van. This type of RV, which is the subject of this article, provides living space on wheels in a much smaller package than that of a class A.

A camper van is considered an RV but requires a different approach since it is much smaller and offers less living space than any other type of motorhome.

However, don’t let the small space fool you because class B motorhomes usually have well-thought-out floor plans that allow you to maximize space.

A class B motorhome has many benefits over other types of motorhomes with the small size of it being one of its best features. A home on wheels in such a small package is a dream come true for many adventure seekers.

Class C

Similar to a class B, a class C motorhome is built on a van chassis but has a custom living space in the back making it much larger than a class B camper van.

A class C motorhome is also easy to drive since it is like driving a van. The only difference is that the backend or the living area of the RV is much bigger and requires more space and thought into maneuvering it.

A class C is a good in-between size for someone who doesn’t want a large class A but considers a class B to be too small.


If you have a vehicle that can tow a large trailer, this may be a good option for you. A trailer requires something to pull it so although trailers are often cheaper, you have to consider the cost of the towing vehicle that you will have to purchase and maintain.

Travel Trailer

A travel trailer is an RV that pulls behind your vehicle just like a trailer would. This type of travel trailer includes a living space similar to what you would find in other campers.

These types of trailers require some sort of vehicle that is capable of pulling the size of a travel trailer that you have.

These come in all different sizes and obviously the larger the trailer, the larger and more powerful vehicle you will need to pull it.

Teardrop trailers fall under this category as well. These small trailers provide a small sleeping area with minimal amenities.

Fifth Wheel

Fifth wheels are the kings of the pull-behind types of RVs. These are generally very large and include pull-outs to maximize living space. These can be compared to a class A RV and are usually even larger and provide a greater amount of living space.

These types of RVs require a special type of hitch in the back of a pick-up truck to be pulled. The fifth wheel attaches to the vehicle and typically has a living space such as a bed over where the hitch goes similar to how a class C RV has a sleeping area over the cab.

The downside of these is obvious, they are large and require a large vehicle in order to get you on the road.

Pulling a large fifth wheel can make for a miserable experience if you do not know what you are doing.

Park Trailers

A Park trailer is a travel trailer that looks a little bit more like a home than the typical trailer does. These types of trailers are typically set up to stay in one location throughout an entire season.

Hybrid Trailers

Hybrid trailers are travel trailers that look like standard travel trailers but also include canvas pop-outs that are designed to increase the space of the trailer. These pop-outs generally protrude out the back, front or sides.

These may also be known as expandables.

Toy Haulers

A toy hauler can be a travel trailer or a fifth wheel that also has an area in the back to haul toys, hence the name toy hauler. Many people use these to haul motorcycles, quads, golf carts or other vehicles that can be used when they get to where they are going.

If you want to travel and take your motorcycle, a toy hauler will allow you to do this while keeping it safe and secure and still allowing for ample living space. It’s similar to having a garage attached to a house.

Is a Conversion Van an RV?

What about a conversion van? We know that we can consider a manufactured class B camper van to be an RV. However, what if the van is one that you converted yourself into a living space?

In this case, there is no difference. A conversion van may also be considered an RV. Since the camper van has a living space whether it is custom-built or manufactured, it may qualify as an RV as long as it meets some requirements.

Many people are concerned with this because they would like to title their conversion vans as RVs. While each locale has different laws and rules regarding this, a conversion van can generally be titled as an RV as long as it meets certain criteria.

In many locations, the van must have a sleeping area, running water, a stove or a place to cook and have electricity just to name a few.

If this is a concern of yours, it’s best to check with your local DMV for further information and the criteria required to accomplish this.

Why Choose a Camper Van Over Other Types of RVs?

If you are searching for an RV you probably already have a type of RV in mind that you would like to purchase. In the past, I never really considered a camper van because I assumed they were too small.

I had never really looked at one in person when I first began my search. When I had gone RV shopping, it was typically in search of a travel trailer or a class C motorhome.

It wasn’t until I realized the benefits that a conversion van has over other types of RVs or motorhomes. The main benefit for me is that a camper van is easy to drive and easy to park into most parking spaces.

If you were to choose a travel trailer, fifth wheel or a larger type of motorhome, you would not have such an easy time going to places you would like to go.

It would be more involved each time that you wanted to go to a new destination. With a conversion van, I can pick up and leave at a moment’s notice and not have to worry about whether my motorhome will fit or if I will find a good place to park.

Other benefits might include:

  • Small and compact
  • Easy to drive – if you can drive a car, you can drive a camper van
  • Good fuel mileage
  • Easy to maintain
  • It doesn’t require an extra vehicle. It can be used as your get-around vehicle when you are on a trip.


Camper vans are becoming more and more popular as an RV option and many people are seeing the benefits of such a small solution. If your goal is to travel and see the beautiful sights of this world instead of focusing on big, fancy living areas, a camper van may be the best RV for you.

A camper van is an RV for those who are adventurous but still like the idea of having all of the conveniences that they are used to.

These types of RVs can get you to where you need to go in style and you won’t be stressed along the way.

Dan Collins

I consider myself an outdoor enthusiast. I love to travel and go to places that most people don't get a chance to go. I want to see it all and live life to the fullest while I'm alive. My camper van is helping me to do just that. I write about my experiences to help inspire others to do the same.

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