With the RV lifestyle gaining popularity, many campers are finding they want a more maneuverable recreational vehicle. You can pack an entire home into a large Class A bus, but they get unwieldy to drive. Couples and solo travelers often desire a smaller RV that lets them explore more freely.
If you’re looking for “small and mighty,” check out these excellent Class B RVs.
What Is a Class B RV?
Many RVers don’t associate the term “Class B” with a particular style of recreational vehicle. In fact, Class Bs are just camper vans.
Today’s Class B RVs offer more luxury and dependability than the vans of old. Vans built today come loaded with amenities. You can rely on their sturdy construction, as well.
Class Bs sit atop a van chassis and range in length from 17 to 24 feet. Recent models offer up to six-and-a-half feet of interior headspace. They usually sit lower to the ground than a Class A. Many now even have four-wheel-drive capability.
Because of their shorter length, a Class B will usually fit into a regular parking space. If an average automobile can make the trip, so can a Class B.
Therefore, most RV manufacturers have added a line of vans to their product inventories. They’ve included many of the same amenities you’d find in a larger Class A or C model. Today’s vans come with kitchens, living/bedroom areas, and full baths.
To save space, most areas of the vehicle do double duty. For instance, the bath is a wet bath, meaning the shower is not in a separate area. The living space usually converts into a bed. Finally, you can turn the driver’s cabin into a dining or even sleeping area in some models.
You won’t get much interior storage, but these vans have become more efficient in other ways. From tankless water heaters to lithium battery systems, Class B vans can meet most people’s needs. Plus, owners can add all the bells and whistles they want, including satellite television, solar power, and cell boosters.
Many vans sit on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis and use diesel fuel. However, recent gas models feature Ford EcoBoost engines that get comparable gas mileage. In fact, users have found these newer Class B models so efficient and easy to drive that they use their vans as second vehicles even when they’re not camping.
What to Consider in Choosing a Class B RV
If you’re considering purchasing a Class B RV, think about how you’ll use the vehicle.
How many people will be camping in it? Will you be working from your van and require a dedicated office area? Do you need a large kitchen prep area or refrigerator space? Will you be spending most of your days outside? Do you see yourself using the RV as a mode of transport, or do you like to camp in one spot for a while? How much storage do you need?
All of these questions will help you decide if a small space will work for you. With less storage, work, and living space, a Class B can’t accommodate all lifestyles. However, the small size does open up opportunities for adventure.
For instance, the black, gray, and freshwater tanks are smaller in a van. However, you can park virtually anywhere and still get a good night’s sleep. Faster travel allows you to see and do more, so needing to spend your days outside could be a bonus. And with miles per gallon ranging from 15 to 20, you’ll be able to travel farther while spending less on fuel.
5 Best Class B RVs
Below, find five of the most popular Class B vans on the market today. See if any fit your needs for RV travel.
1. Roadtrek Zion
Overview: Built on a Dodge Promaster chassis, the Zion offers a budget-friendly model from Roadtrek. It runs on gas and can support multiple configurations. Use the rear sofas as twin beds or transform them into one king-sized bed.
The Zion comes with a propane stove, large refrigerator, full wet bath, tankless water heater, and 330 watts of solar power capacity. Additionally, it contains one of the larger Class B freshwater tanks at 37 gallons.
MSRP: Starting at $139,860
Why It’s Great: The reimagined 2021 interior freshened up the look of this van with white cabinetry and gray fabrics. This departure from the all-black design of the past lightens the space. At 21 feet, the van offers excellent maneuverability. It can travel just about anywhere with its gas engine.
2. Pleasure-Way Tofino
Overview: New to the market, the Tofino provides more sleeping space than many camper vans. A pop-up screened sleeping deck on top of the vehicle houses a bed with plenty of ventilation.
You can select either 100 watts or 200 watts of solar power capacity. It also includes the basics, such as two lithium batteries, a manual sofa that reclines into a bed, a refrigerator, and a stove. It does lack a bathroom and shower, however.
Why It’s Great: Built for the adventurous traveler who just wants a place to sleep, the Tofino improves on the classic camper. With its lithium battery pack and solar panels, you can stay out playing for days. Plus, the cargo space can store all your gear!
3. Winnebago Revel
Overview: Built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, the diesel Revel builds on Winnebago’s revolutionary camper concepts. Winnebago was the first to offer a mass-produced four-wheel-drive camper van. The Revel continues that tradition and offers unprecedented possibilities.
Designed with boondocking in mind, it offers a power lift bed for storage and versatility. It also contains a wet bath that can transform into a gear closet. A front booth seat and table can turn into a dining room or workspace. Plus, you’ll find a small galley with a sink and a removable induction cooktop.
MSRP: Starting at $185,838
Why It’s Great: They really thought about outdoor adventurers with this model. You can live off-grid for quite a while. With its solar panel and lithium batteries, Winnebago has created the perfect off-road exploring vehicle!
4. Airstream Interstate 19 Touring Coach
Overview: At 19 feet, the Airstream Interstate 19 lets you tour in luxury.
Starting with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis and diesel engine, you can add on four-wheel-drive transmission. It contains a wet bath, convertible sofa and side seats, and a kitchen area. Heat meals on the go in the convenient microwave.
Two lithium batteries and the 250-watt solar system will let you travel in comfort.
MSRP: Starting at $165,143
Why It’s Great: Any traveler who enjoys top-of-the-line comfort will find the Airstream Interstate 19 the perfect getaway van. It has all of the features of a high-end automobile mixed with the amenities of a world-class hotel.
5. Storyteller Overland
Overview: With three floor plans to choose from, Storyteller can take you anywhere you want to go. Two solar panels and a 3,600-watt inverter help power the van while you’re off the grid. A fold-down bed provides storage flexibility. You can also convert the “groove lounge” into an interior bath space with a portable toilet and shower pan.
The galley kitchen contains a sink and portable induction cooktop. You also get a small refrigerator/freezer.
Choose a floor plan that fits your budget. Pricier plans include bonuses like spoilers, brushguards, and ride improvements.
MSRP: $149,748 to $189,743
Why It’s Great: If you spend all of your time off-road, the Overland could get you there. Its rugged design and components appeal to those who are passionate about exploring the great outdoors. It also serves well for people using their vans as extensions of their sporting activities.
Camper vans have come a long way since their relegation to “vans down by the river.” The Class Bs of today can take you across the country in comfort or navigate the gnarliest off-road trails.
Whether you crave a quiet, relaxing tour along America’s byways or a rowdy roll through red rock canyons, you can find your dream vehicle. The newfound popularity of campers has spurred a building spree by RV manufacturers.
Take the time to explore these new and versatile campers. What are you looking for in a Class B camper van?
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