No doubt about it: Class B motorhomes have been stealing the spotlight for some time now. Whether you’re flipping through a travel magazine or scrolling on Instagram, you're destined to come across one. These small motorhomes, also known as camper vans, are a big draw for outdoor enthusiasts looking to adventure from the comfort of a mobile abode.
Before we look into the advantages these rigs offer, let’s briefly look at the different recreational vehicles.
Understanding the Different Types of RVs
If you’re new to RVing, some terminology might leave you scratching your head–like the different classes of RVs. So, before we dive deeper into campervans, let’s take you through the different RV types.
Basically, RVs are split into two categories: motorhomes, which are rigs you can drive, and towables, which you pull behind another vehicle. Towable RVs range from travel trailers, teardrop campers to toy haulers. Motorhomes also come in varying sizes and shapes. Here’s a brief breakdown of the different motorhome classes.
Class A Motorhome - They are one of the biggest RVs on the market, ranging from 29 to 45 feet long. These bus-like rigs sleep between six to ten people, and most are fitted with high-end amenities. Their size can be an issue for drivers who aren't accustomed to handling gigantic vehicles.
Class B Motorhome - Also known as camper vans or sleeper vans, they are essentially a van converted into a camper. Class B RVs are the smallest motorhome type, measuring between 18 to 24 feet long. These well-equipped camping machines pack a lot into a small space and can sleep up to 4, depending on the design.
Class C Motorhome - They fall between Classes A and B in terms of size and comfort. They are built around a truck chassis and have a distinctive overhead cabin above the driver and passenger seats for extra sleeping or storage accommodations. On size, they range between 20 to 28 feet long.
More About Class B RVs
Class B RVs are probably the most consistent motorhomes in terms of body size and shape. They look like outfitted vans, although they are much larger and taller than a typical full-sized van. Due to their size, they offer the least number of features compared to the other motorhomes. But don’t worry, they still come with all the basics for overnights–that includes sleeping quarters, a kitchenette, climate control, and even a full bathroom.
A campervan’s living space is best suited for small groups. They usually sleep only two people, although some are designed to sleep an additional small child or two. Class B RVs can be quite diverse when it comes to design, ranging from small luxury coaches to powerful 4x4 off-road machines. What’s similar about all campervans is that every item inside is made for efficiency, so you know you aren’t wasting a single inch of space. Plus, almost everything has a dual purpose.
Advantages of Class B RVs
There are many reasons why the camper van has become the go-to option for many outdoor enthusiasts. Let’s talk about the unique benefits they offer.
Easy to Drive and Park
The small size of campervans may look like a disadvantage. But in fact, it’s their biggest strength. Their small size makes them very easy to drive, back up and park. Even someone unpracticed in driving a motorhome can get the hang of it with just a little practice. Worried about navigating narrow roads and congested streets? Don’t be. Class B motorhomes are excellent at maneuvering in tight spaces.
Parking isn't an issue either. Most campervans will easily fit into a standard parking space, which is a big advantage when visiting busy places. You don't have to worry about finding larger parking spaces or getting in the way of other drivers. They’ll also fit into your garage for secure storage.
Better Gas Mileage
Campervans come in head and shoulders above other motorhomes for fuel-efficiency. That’s because of their weight and shape. Class B RVs have a sleek build, and the front end of the van is slanted, allowing it to cut through the air with less resistance. This helps improve fuel economy.
Campervans are also the lightest motorhomes you'll find in the market. The lighter load means the engine doesn't have to work hard to get the rig going, leading to less fuel consumption. They average 18-25 miles per gallon.
You Can Travel and Camp Pretty Much Anywhere
If you love to explore off the beaten track but are worried about size restrictions, a campervan might be exactly what you need. Although it’s not built to traverse rough terrain, it will fit into twisty national park roads as long as they are in good condition. That makes them a great option for accessing primitive campsites that aren’t suitable for other RVs.
With Class B RVs, planning a trip becomes a lot easier as you can use routes and campgrounds that aren’t ideal for larger RVs. Height clearance isn’t a major concern as the van can go under most bridges and tunnels, and finding a campground is easy since the rig will fit in just about any camping spot.
Although campervans have less square footage compared to larger motorhomes, the designers are incredibly creative with their use of space. The campervan’s layout embraces simplicity and functionality, ensuring you have the critical amenities you’ll need to feel right at home, no matter where you are.
In many floorplans, you will find essential features like a full galley, sleeping options, a dinette, and a small bathroom. It’s also not uncommon to find one with nifty amenities such as storage for your outdoor equipment, a solar system, a retractable awning, and a tankless water heater.
You Can Take Them to Any Service Shop
It's always recommended you seek the help of an RV repair shop when you need to have it serviced. But with a campervan, you have some flexibility. If your rig breaks down in an inconvenient place or you want to have an emergency check-up before a trip, most automotive/van shops will be able to help.
Class B RVs are all built on a standard van chassis, meaning the vehicle’s engine, suspension, and other systems are similar to those of any other van on the road. This makes maintenance affordable and less of a headache when you’re on the road.
You’ll be More Active Outdoors
Perhaps one of the most overlooked benefits of campervans is that they implore you to explore the outdoors more often. Few van lifers spend most of their time cooped up inside the unit at the campground. That’s because most campervans don’t offer all the luxuries of bigger motorhomes–pleasures that make most RVers stay inside the rig for too long.
With a campervan, you are more likely to immerse yourself in your surroundings. You’ll find yourself hiking, biking, skiing, boating, fishing, or tracking down new experiences more often than other RVers.
The Class B Community
There is an incredible support group of Class B owners. Many of the manufacturers have their own Facebook groups that allow for open dialogue about challenges, mods (modifications that people do to their vans), upgrades and meet ups. #vanlife is great hashtag to follow on Instagram too. There are also a number of Class B events you can attend to find out more about living in a class B and meet other owners. Here are some of the expos and rallys that support the Class B lifestyle:
Campervans are a great option for adventurers who want a motorhome that’s easy to drive and has the ability to travel to stunning, remote locations. These small rigs allow you to explore the great outdoors without worrying about size limits, and you don’t have to sacrifice the comfort and amenities of home.
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