Dreaming of van life? Because we are — always!
Since its introduction to mainstream recreational camping in the 1950s, the Class B RV has remained a favorite amongst seasoned RVers, occasional campers, and newcomers alike. This small but mighty RV has inspired and facilitated millions of adventures for weekend campers, cross-country road trippers, and even full-timers.
If you’re ready to make your campervan dreams a reality, read on. Here’s what you need to know before buying or renting a Class B, including where to find some of the best rigs on the market.
What is a Class B RV?
Commonly referred to as campervans, Class B RVs are the smallest motorhomes on the market. These RVs are built on a van chassis and typically range between 16 to 21 feet long, making them perfect for campers looking for nimble, easy-to-maneuver vehicles.
Though smaller than their Class A and B counterparts, campervans often include many of the same features of larger RVs. At a minimum, these vans include an area for sleeping. However, many are outfitted with kitchenettes, dinettes, and even wet baths.
Their small size also equates to smaller costs. Though RVing can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be, traveling in a campervan is often the most budget-friendly motorhome option. For many RVers, they have everything you need and nothing you don’t.
Who are Class B RVs good for?
Class B RVs are good for campers who:
- Want an RV that can go just about anywhere
- Want the basics, but don’t need a ton of extra space
- Are traveling solo or with one companion
Additionally, this type of RV is great for DIYers looking to craft a custom rig. While Class B RVs can be purchased fully outfitted with everything you need, custom DIY van conversions are currently popular among people who want to forge their own outdoor experience.
Pros and cons of campervans
Like any type of RV, there are advantages and disadvantages to weigh when deciding whether a Class B is right for you.
|They can take on more roads and campgrounds. Not all roads and campgrounds are accessible to all RVs. Some roads, bridges, and tunnels have height, width, and/or weight restrictions, which hinder campers with larger rigs. With a Class B, this is less of a concern.||It can be cramped. Class Cs aren’t known for their spacious quarters. Even the largest campervans will feel cramped compared to other motorhomes. |
Even the largest Class B RV is comparatively small. These rigs aren’t best for those who like to bring a ton of belongings on trips.
|They have all of the essentials. If you’re looking for a simplistic camping experience, Class Bs are perfect. You can outfit them with the essentials — like a bed, kitchen, and bathroom area — and leave behind everything else.||You have to haul all of your belongings everywhere. In general, one of the cons to motorhomes is that you have to take your whole RV with you wherever you go. With trailers, you can unhitch and simply take your tow vehicle for day trips, running errands, etc.|
|Class Bs get better gas mileage than other motorhomes. If keeping your fuel prices low is a priority, Class Bs will be your best option.||There are few luxuries. Don’t expect long, hot showers in a campervan. Even if you have a small wet bath or outdoor shower, resources and space are limited.|
|They’re customizable. Campervans are easily customizable if you’re looking to make the experience your own.|
|You can store them anywhere. One frustration that many RVers face is storing their rig when it isn’t in use. Class Bs rarely take up more than a singular parking spot, meaning you could potentially store it right in your driveway!|
|They are an in-demand vehicle for renters. If you’re purchasing a Class B, you can make money off your rig when you aren’t using it by renting it out on Outdoorsy.|
What to look for in a Class B RV
If you’re in the market for a Class B RV, there are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself that will help you narrow down the right one.
1. Where will I be camping?
Needs for campers staying in high-end luxury campgrounds will vary significantly from those who want to boondock. This will affect how and when you use things like water, electricity, and sewage hookups.
If you plan on dry camping, you’ll want to consider the size of your holding tanks and how you’ll power essential equipment and electronics. This may be less of a concern if you are anticipating always having access to hookups.
2. How long will my journeys be?
The life of a full-timer is much different than that of an occasional weekend camper. If you plan on living in your van, think about what will be important to your van lifestyle in the long term.
3. What weather conditions will I encounter when traveling?
Love camping in the thick of winter or in the heat of summer? If so, you’ll want to consider purchasing an RV with appropriate insulation and heating/cooling measures. Finding a 4 season Class B RV will keep you comfortable and safe year-round.
4. Do I want to go off-roading?
Those taking their campervans way off the beaten path should consider investing in a rig with four-wheel-drive capabilities.
Buying a used Class B RV
If you plan on purchasing a used motorhome, there are a few extra things that you should think about:
- Make sure to inspect the RV thoroughly — in person — before purchasing. You want a full picture of the vehicle that you are getting.
- Ask for a detailed maintenance history report. This will give you an idea of how well the RV has been taken care of and what problems may arise in the future.
- Budget for repairs. Buying a used RV may mean having to make a few mechanical or cosmetic repairs to get your RV camping-ready. Don’t forget to budget for these when hunting for your rig.
Want more used RV tips? Check out our article on using an RV value guide. Though it is geared towards sellers, there are several tips that a used RV buyer can take advantage of!
Best Class B RVs on the market
Looking for the best B Class RV? Here are some of our favorites.
Best Class B RVs for full-time living or renting
If you’re on the hunt for the best Class B RV to live in, be sure to check out these models.
1. Airstream Interstate 24X
Starting price: $213,850
Airstream, an established name in the camper trailer game, came out with a new Class B motorhome — the Interstate 24X. This 24’ van is a beast, complete with everything you need from the kitchen to the bathroom to the large convertible dining/sleeping area. With seating for up to six and room to sleep two, this is the ultimate campervan for working — and playing — from the road.
Rent an Airstream Interstate to try it out.
2. RB Components Sawtooth Touring Van
Starting price: $185,000
Looking for a van that truly has it all? Look no further than the Sawtooth Touring Van from RB Components. This rig comes standard with large holding tanks, a full kitchen, a bathroom, four passenger seats, and a full-sized awning. Perfect for those going on long, off-grid, and off-road adventures, this top-of-the-line is just about as nice and chock-full of amenities as they come.
3. RAM ProMaster Cargo
Starting price: $32,340
Prefer to stick to the basics? The RAM ProMaster is a popular choice for DIY campervan enthusiasts. Whether you hire a company to help you with the build-out or do it all by hand, this spacious and reliable cargo van is a great place to start.
Rent a custom RAM ProMaster to try it out.
4. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
Starting price: $36,355
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is the dream vehicle for many van lifers. This reliable — yet sleek and modern — van is the base for other Class Bs on this list. However, it’s also a worthy choice if you’re looking to customize your own rig. With several models to choose from, this is a great place to start if you want a Sprinter at a lower price point than the luxury buildouts.
Rent a custom Sprinter to try it out.
5. Winnebago Revel
Starting price: $202,400
With a 3-liter turbo diesel engine on a Sprinter chassis, the Winnebago Revel is all power. Built for off-road, this campervan is equipped with a flexible galley, versatile wet bath/gear closet, and a Power Lift Bed with a gear garage below.
Rent a Winnebago Revel to try it out.
6. Thor Tellaro
Starting price: $120,960
Using the RAM ProMaster 3500 as its base, the Thor Tellaro has everything you need to live comfortably. Thanks to the Tellaro’s many floorplan options, you can outfit your rig with features like a king-sized bed, hideaway pet food and water drawer, wet bath, and more. Thule accessories such as a bike rack, roof ladder, and patio awning make this rig every outdoor lover’s dream.
Rent a Thor Tellaro to try it out!
Didn’t see the right campervan for you on this list? Browse all of our listings to find your dream RV.
Get on the road in a campervan
Whether you’re buying or renting, a campervan is the perfect vehicle for an outdoor adventure. This small, nimble RV will give you a cozy place to rest your head at night and a set of wheels to take you to your next destination.