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Class B Camper Vans Explained: Are They Right for You?

One RV choice that is becoming extremely popular for its small size and stealth camping potential is the Class B RV. If driving a huge vehicle has kept you away from RVing in the past, it doesn’t need to any longer. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about these rigs!

modern class b motorhome

What Is a Class B RV?

Most people refer to Class B motorhomes as camper vans, as they’re built using a full-sized van chassis. The Mercedes Benz, Ram Promaster, and Ford Transit are common chassis options. These RVs are typically less than 20 feet long, weigh between 6,000 and 8,000 pounds, and rarely have slide-outs.

They usually sleep only 2 people, although some may sleep an additional small child or two.

The small size of Class B RVs gives them some perks that Class A or Class C RVs don’t have, like:

  • Compact travel – All the benefits of a tiny home with luxuries like a kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom
  • Easier maneuverability – You can fit in most standard parking spots
  • Easy to drive – In fact, it’s the easiest RV to drive
  • Simple setup – Unlike towables or larger RVs in general, these compact campers require minimal setup and takedown to make and break camp.
  • Fit in driveways – Easy to visit friends and family
  • Easy to visit urban areas – Unlike a larger RV, many Class Bs are easy to navigate through bigger cities and more traffic.
  • Safety features — Since they are on regular van chassis, Class B RVs often have more built-in safety features than other motorhomes, like airbags in the cockpit.
  • Off-road capabilities – Some of the AWD and 4×4 van chassis enable off-road van life. However, there are still major limitations in how off-road you go.

Disadvantages of Class B RVs

Even though there are a lot of pros to campervan living, there are also some downsides. Some of the disadvantages of Class B RVs versus other types include:

  • Cramped living space – If you’re traveling with pets or kids, the small space will feel even smaller
  • Limited storage – You may not be able to bring all the fun gear you want to bring along with you
  • Fewer amenities – While many Class B RVs have all the same amenities as other RV types, they frequently skip some “luxury” features to save space.
    • May skip water tanks – You may need to carry water jugs and empty local catch basins.
    • May skip the toilet, shower, or full bathroom – Some camper vans don’t come with bathrooms and don’t need them.
  • Affordability – Most small camper vans generally cost just as much or more than larger RVs.

For many van lifers, these disadvantages are more just minor inconveniences in comparison to all of the potential living in a Class B RV has. Still, you will want to consider these before you jump feet first into van life.

This Is WHY A Class B RV Is Not Right For EVERYONE -- What You NEED TO KNOW!

How Many MPGs Does a Class B RV Get?

Class B RVs come in head and shoulders above other motorhomes for gas mileage. They average 18-25 miles per gallon. This average is quite impressive, considering Class Bs still have a host of amenities.

A campervan is a good option if you’ll be traveling long distances and want a rig that will save you some money at the pump.

What Is the Difference Between a Class B and B+ RV?

This question actually sparks quite a bit of debate. Sometimes, the line between B+ motorhomes and Class C motorhomes gets very blurry.

A Class B+ is an unofficial catch-all term for marketing larger Class B RVs that are a bit bigger than the original van chassis. They sometimes even include small Class C RVs. They maintain the camper van appearance in the front but with a larger, boxier living area.

For example, the Winnebago Ekko is on a Ford Transit van chassis, but the camper part is very boxy like a Class C RV. We’ve seen the Ekko fall into both Class C and B+ categories. Here are some more examples of RVs that fall into the B+ category.

mortons class B RV

Learn More About Class B RVs

Explore Class B RVs

Is a Class B RV Right for You?

If you’re looking for something small and inconspicuous that you can take almost anywhere, a Class B might be a great fit. They are easy and fun to drive, and so convenient for trips where you’re frequently on the move. You’ll have plenty of campsite opportunities as you can fit practically anywhere.

However, the small size does require a minimalist lifestyle, which is not for everyone. With the smaller space, longer stays in any one place may not be as comfortable as other RV types. Before you invest in a camper van, you may want to do a test run in a rental to make sure the lifestyle the RV requires is right for you.

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for Hwy.co and an Arizona travel guide.

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Ohm

Thursday 28th of January 2021

You guys look pretty happy so you prob need no praise from me. Since I'm on here already reading about class B campervans I wanna thank you for the energy and effort of yr article (Youtube?) abt lithium batteries. Super informative ! A day or so later a solar house salesman showed up, couple dys lter we signed up for a solar re-fit on the hse. Still in shock but Very interested in batteries now :) No need to reply, this is just a note of blather and a chance to say Many Thanks to you there . I hope you both are well and happy. Thank you , Ohm ygod

Mortons on the Move

Thursday 28th of January 2021

New Solar how exciting! Glad you are enjoying our content :)

Shawn Carlson

Thursday 28th of January 2021

I was wondering about your 12v refrigerator conversion and how you like it. I think I saw a different refer in one of your Videos and was wondering if you could give us an update??

Mortons on the Move

Thursday 28th of January 2021

Its a long story but we had one of the first cooling unit designs that had a flaw in the condenser circuit that overloaded the compressor. We were going to replace it with the same unit as they fixed that problem, but ran into issues with shipping and had to replace the fridge. We did end up replacing it with the new 12V DC Dometic fridge, however, and would not go back to an absorption style. Will write an article on that soon!