camper vans and rvs camped out on the coast near a city

Camper Van vs RV: What’s Better for Your Vacation?

Camper van vs RV, which team are you on? With camper vans gaining popularity, it’s important to understand the differences and decide which option best suits your needs. In this guide, we’ll explore camper van pros and cons, and then dive into RV pros and cons. With a better understanding of camper van rentals, you can make an informed decision for your upcoming adventure.

camper vans and rvs camped out on the coast near a city

What’s the difference between an RV and a camper van?

Camper vans and RVs are both recreational vehicles, but they differ in size, amenities, and capabilities.

What is a camper van?

A camper van, also known as a campervan or conversion van, is a smaller vehicle typically converted from a standard van. It offers basic living amenities, including a bed, a small kitchenette, and storage space.

What is an RV?

On the other hand, an RV, short for recreational vehicle, is a larger motorized or towable vehicle designed for extended travel. RVs often feature full-size kitchens, bathrooms, and sleeping areas, providing more comfort and space for extended vacations.

RVs are ideal for large families or groups as they offer more room for both passengers and storage. They provide additional utilities such as a water supply, shower, and toilet facilities, ensuring a more home-like experience on the road. However, RVs can be bulkier, have limited visibility, and can be challenging to park due to their size and height restrictions. A common question we receive is, “How much is it to rent an RV?” RVs are more expensive to rent, especially when considering factors like gas mileage and overall maintenance costs.

Conversely, camper vans, are smaller and more maneuverable. They are easier to park and navigate through narrow roads, making them ideal for solo travelers or couples seeking a simpler, more agile travel experience. Camper vans focus on simplicity and minimalism. Vans offer the essentials for a comfortable journey, but their limited space may not be suitable for large groups or travelers who require more amenities. And if you’re wondering how much it is to rent a camper van, they are often cheaper and overall more cost-effective due to better gas mileage.

What is the difference between a Class B RV and a camper van?

Just to make it a little more interesting, some camper vans meet the requirements to be considered Class B RVs. Class B RVs are recreational vehicles specifically designed for temporary living spaces. They are designed to meet the safety and quality standards set by the RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association). These certifications ensure that the camper van is up to code, safe for the road, and it also opens doors to financing and insurance benefits.

While they share similarities with Class B RVs, camper vans are typically built by smaller independent shops and builders that are not RVIA certified. However, if you own a camper van and want to secure better insurance, financing, or enhance its resale value, check with your local DMV about the possibility of retitling your camper van as a Class B RV. Rules and requirements for this process vary by state.

To avoid confusion, for the purposes of this guide, we will refer to both Class B RVs and camper vans as “camper vans.” And now that we have a clearer understanding of camper vans and RVs, let’s explore their respective pros and cons.

rv parked on the beach

RV Pros and Cons

RVs offer many useful features and benefits for your vacation. Let’s explore RV pros and cons:

Pros of RVs:

  • More storage space: RVs provide spacious interiors with plenty of storage compartments, allowing you to bring along all the necessary gear and supplies for your trip.
  • More utilities: RVs often come equipped with various utilities, including a kitchen, bathroom, shower, and even washer/dryer units, providing you with all the comforts of home on the road.
  • Fits more people: RVs typically offer sleeping arrangements for larger groups, making them a great option for families or group vacations.

Cons of RVs:

  • Bulky: RVs are larger and bulkier compared to camper vans, which can make maneuvering and parking more challenging, especially in crowded areas or narrow campgrounds.
  • Less visibility: Due to their size, RVs can have limited visibility, making it harder to see your surroundings while driving.
  • Parking problems: Finding suitable parking spots for RVs can be more difficult, especially in urban areas where space is limited.
  • Height restrictions: Some areas, such as low bridges or tunnels, may have height restrictions that could limit where you can go with your RV.
  • More expensive: RVs are generally more expensive to rent and operate compared to camper vans. In addition, fuel costs for larger RVs can be significantly higher.
camper van with an open door parked on the beach with a towel, some chairs, and an umbrella set up

Camper Van Pros and Cons

Camper vans, with their unique features and advantages, offer a compelling alternative for your vacation. Let’s explore camper van pros and cons:

Pros of Camper Vans:

  • Easier to park: Camper vans are compact and agile, making them easier to park and maneuver in tight spaces, such as city streets or crowded campgrounds.
  • More agile/less bulky: Their smaller size allows you to explore narrower roads and reach remote locations that might be inaccessible to larger RVs.
  • Embrace the spirit: Camper vans embrace the spirit of freedom on the open road, providing simplicity and minimalism, perfect for those seeking an adventurous and nomadic lifestyle.
  • Cheaper: Camper vans typically have better gas mileage, resulting in lower fuel costs compared to larger RVs. Additionally, rental rates for camper vans are often more budget-friendly.

However, when comparing camper vans and RVs, there are some trade-offs to consider:

Cons of Camper Vans:

  • Less space for stuff/only fits 2-4 people: Camper vans offer limited space for belongings and generally accommodate fewer people, making them better suited for solo travelers, couples, families, or small groups.
  • No room for certain utilities: Due to their compact size, camper vans might not have space for certain amenities like a washer/dryer or larger kitchen appliances.

Is it Cheaper to Rent a Camper Van or an RV?

When it comes to cost, it’s important to consider various factors that can impact your budget. While costs can vary depending on your destination and specific requirements, renting a camper van generally proves to be more economical. Here’s why:

Parking: Camper vans are easier to park and often come with more flexible parking options, saving you money on parking fees, which can be higher for larger RVs.

Gas: Camper vans have better gas mileage, meaning you’ll spend less on fuel compared to RVs. You can cover more distance while enjoying the same travel experience but at a lower cost.

Heating/AC: Camper vans require less energy to heat or cool their compact interiors, resulting in lower energy consumption and reduced costs.

Eco-friendliness: If you’re conscious about minimizing your environmental impact, camper vans generally have a smaller carbon footprint compared to larger RVs.

Rental costs: Camper van rentals are often more affordable when compared to RVs due to their smaller size and lower maintenance costs.

Considering these cost factors, renting a camper van can help you enjoy your vacation without breaking the bank.

woman finishing up at the gas station after refueling her camper van

Is Gas Cheaper for a Camper Van or an RV?

When it comes to gas expenses, camper vans have the upper hand. Camper vans are more fuel efficient and offer better gas mileage compared to larger RVs. Filling up a camper van’s gas tank is not only less expensive but also allows you to go further on the same amount of fuel. This can be a significant advantage, especially for long road trips, where cost savings can add up over time.

By opting for a camper van, you can enjoy more miles of adventure for less money spent on gas.

Should You Rent a Camper Van or an RV?

When comparing camper vans vs RVs, consider the pros and cons of both. Ultimately, the choice depends on your personal preferences, travel style, and vacation needs.

If you prioritize convenience, ample space, and prefer to travel with a larger group, an RV might be the better option for you. On the other hand, if you value flexibility, ease of maneuverability, and a more minimalist approach to travel, a camper van is likely the ideal choice.

Remember, your vacation experience should align with your wants and needs, allowing you to make the most of your time on the road, immersing yourself in unforgettable adventures.

camper van parked just off the road near a forest recreation area

Find a Camper Van Rental For Your Vacation

Ready to embark on your camper van adventure? Look no further than GoCamp! We offer an extensive selection of camper vans for rent across the country, ensuring you find the perfect vehicle for your vacation. Our renters have consistently experienced ease, satisfaction, and memorable trips when choosing GoCamp.

To find the ideal camper van for your journey, start browsing camper vans and explore the diverse options available. Whether you’re seeking a cozy camper van for a romantic getaway or a spacious camper van for a family vacation, GoCamp has it covered.

Don’t miss out on the joy and freedom of traveling in a camper van. Reach out to us today and start planning your vacation!