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After full time RVing in a Class A gas coach for over a year, we are ready to downsize. About five months in, we realized we had way too much room and wasted space in our 29′ motorhome. Our search for a smaller RV has been all over the place. We looked at lightweight travel trailers, truck campers, small Class C RVs and Class B RVs. The journey of downsizing has been an interesting one with many things to consider. In this post we share our search for a Class B camper van for full time RVing.
Class B RV Manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada
Class B Camper Van for Full Time RVing
There are many reasons we want to downsize to a smaller RV. The two videos below go into detail about our thought process for downsizing.
Benefits of Moving from Class A to Class B:
– Easy to park in a pull out along the road and enjoy the view
– Fit in the driveway of friends/family who invite us to visit
– Better fuel economy
– Small and nimble
– Lower maintenance cost (check out our post on the cost of Class A windshield replacement)
First Step: Sell the Class A RV
Second Step: Downsize for Camper Van Life
Third Step: Find the Right Class B Camper Van
The search continues for the right Class B camper van for us. Below is a list of the options we’ve considered so far. Cargo carrying capacity is a big concern when we look at the Class B camper vans. As we continue to minimize our lives, we realize we don’t need much to live the way we want. Of course, Leo has to approve of our new home on wheels. Update: Meet Our New Camper Van!
Class B Camper Vans Considered
Leisure Travel Vans Unity, Serenity, Wonder
Roadtrek SS Agile, CS Adventurous, SRT Simplicity, Zion
Sportsmobile Sprinter 4×4
Other Class B Camper Vans Considered:
– Coach House
– Midwest Automotive Designs
– Pleasure-Way Industries
Watch Class B RV Tours
List of Class B RV Manufacturers
In Between RVs
When you’re a full time RVer and you’re switching between two RVs, you may find yourself without an RV for a while. That was the case when we were downsizing from the Class A to the Class B.
Luckily, we were able to move in temporarily with our families during the transition. We had more time to minimize and time to figure out what essential items we need for van life.
Being without an RV also re-enforced our decision to continue full time RV life. We can’t imagine doing anything else right now other than traveling in an RV with our dog, Leo.
This experience has made us realize why some full time RVers trade in their RVs at a dealership. They can move everything out of their current RV into the new RV without any “down time.”
Thanks for reading! Check Out our Van Life Video Series on YouTube.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 24, 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
43 thoughts on “Class B Camper Van for Full Time RVing”
Really great info you guys!!! We’d love to get into a class B, but just don’t know if I can deal with the wet bath idea. Would really like to hear how you like it and how big a deal that really turns out to be.
Thanks Iris! Have you checked out the Van Life FAQ post https://weretherussos.com/camper-van-life-faq/? We answer the bathroom question in quite a bit of detail.
Just checking, were you on Rt. 476 southbound in Pa around noon on Feb. 21, 2019? We think we passed you. It was the same type and color as your unit. Just wanted to say hi. We weren’t in our Simplicity when we passed you.
That wasn’t us. We are enjoying van life in Maui right now https://youtu.be/bV2jTwdUY74
Thanks for the great information you provide. Could you please address how you deal with “cabin fever”. We have a Roadtrek RS Adventurous, perhaps slightly larger than your Hymer van, and went across the USA, but, there were times when it was either too cold or raining so we had to hunker down in the van.
We looked at all the RVs before we purchased this and decided that the fuel efficiency, mobility, driving and parking were the most important factors for touring. We don’t live full time in our van; it would just be too confining for us.
In addition, everything I’ve read about RVs is that they are the worst investment . depreciate about $5,000 per year even more in the first three years…..and by the time they are paid off, they have almost no value at all. People need to realize that taking out a 20 year loan on one of these units is a losing proposition. By the time you are at the 10 year milestone, you are so upside down and you can’t even get out without paying additional cash, essentially paying high interest…
One thing I will say about the Class Bs…I like the way they are built on a factory frame from an automotive industry manufacturer and only are customized on the interior preserving the structural integrity of the frame and vehicle like a car. They are one of the few RVs that have federal government safety standards unlike Class As that mostly lack airbags…..some people have told me…you don’t need an airbag in a Class A? Or where would you put it..? I don’t need a vehicle that gets 5 or 7 MPG.. I might as well stay home if I need that much space!
Joe Russo, would you make links to amazon.ca. We bought something from your Store site but the links are only to amazon.com. Probably you did not get your commission. Thanks.
Hey Peter. This is our Canada link https://www.amazon.ca?&tag=wtrca017-20 Thank you for the support!
Hey guys! I follow a lot of your videos online and have become obsessed with trying to do the same ! I am wondering how long you guys plan on doing this for ? Have you set a time frame or is it only for travel? Hope you guys stay safe and have fun:)
What is your honest opinion about Leisure Travel vans? Could you see a couple full timing in one? I’m not to worried about living space but more concerned about cargo space and tank size. By the way I love your videos.
We’ve looked at them in the past and really like their product, they’re just too big for us. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXggPtlzfzo
They have quite a bit of storage, just be aware that they can only safely carry so much weight so you may not be able to use all that storage. Find out what the OCCC is ( http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?topic=26115.0 ). After you figure out what you and your husband’s weight is plus a full tank of water, you may not be able to bring much more stuff.
Your videos have been very helpful about Class B RV’s. I have considered full size RV’s and Class B RV’s and share many of the same concerns that you guys did. Ten years ago, I inherited an old hunting camper that I essentially updated the tires and put a propane refrigerator in it to then park it full time on my land.
However, now I simply think Class B RV is best for two people travelling out west and trips in Canada in order to be able to travel to the backwoods areas that I am used to going. With the large RV’s, it is would be impossible. I have ruled out the fifth wheel with pickup truck idea since hauling the large trailer to the remote camping areas across dirt roads might be an issue. Class B RV’s are compact enough it seems.
Thanks for the info.
You’re very welcome Lance and good luck with the Class B…I think you’re on the right track with what you’re looking to do.
Hi Joe nice to meet you.
English is not my native language but I ‘lol try to write some words
We are a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids) They are 9 and 6 years old.We are thinking to live that kind of life in a RV class B
I would like permanent because the schools
What do you suggest me,please
Hi Luis – I think a Class B would be too small for two adults and two children but you have to make that decision for yourself. My suggestion is that you should go look at different RV’s and find what suits you and your family best.
Hello Kait and Joe,
I am also looking for a class B with sleeping for 4 – two adults and 2 kids. I have found what I like and what would work for us. However, not available here in the USA. Maybe we can help and try to get American Companies to make this type of B Van. (Global Traveller Voyager)
Power in numbers….
My wife and I purchased the travato 59K in may and hope to go fulltime within the next year. We have a 10 year old Husky/Timberwolf so he will be our deciding factor. I know with just the wife and I it would be no problem but he is a big dog and sheds like crazy. Good luck in the search.
Thanks Brian – we’ll definitely be taking Leo in the Class B. When we are parked, we’ll have the outdoors to expand our “living room” so Leo will have more than enough room.
Why even bother with the toad anymore, with the prevalence of Uber, Zipcar and other options to get from point A to point B? Do the cost analysis, based on how much driving you do. Much less hassle, and should be less expense! We love using Uber (no affiliation) and even taxis when we have to, or renting scooters (fun!).
Hey Bill. That’s a good point and we’ve met many people that use those types of services. One thing we would need to consider is their pet policy. Not all Uber drivers will be willing to give our 70lb Siberian Husky a ride in their car.
Oh man, totally jealous that you got to make a video with Dean. I love watching his videos for Leisure Travel Vans; he almost always makes me laugh. (He also reminds me of my very funny brother-in-law, in looks, humor, and style.)
If we were to downsize from the Winnebago Vista LX 27N, the LTV Unity Murphy Bed would be at the top of my list. (Can’t do it now because the Unity MB only sleeps two–nowhere to put our six-year-old daughter.)
Well good luck if you do end up downsizing! Dean was great and fun to go through the different coaches with him.
Thanks for sharing your exerince living in a class A camper. I think it was a smart choice to choose a smaller model, considering all the wasted space. My husband and don’t need much to take camping or road tripping, so I really don’t think we need all that much space. I will definately consider getting a smaller, B-class RV.
You’re very welcome Kairi (and very cool name)! We realize we’ll have some adjusting to do when we go from our Class A to a van but we are really excited.
We are not fans of towables. We do not always stay in a park and if you happen to run into any kind of trouble you can start your motor and drive away. If you’re towing you must exit and get into your tow vehicle. Safety first!
My wife and I are also in the market for a Class B or B+ and have a lot of the same makes / models on our list as you have on yours. We would highly recommend going up to Canada and taking tours at both Pleasure Way and Leisure Travel Vans. We did it this last summer and found the PW and LTV to be very high quality products. The last manufacturer on our list to visit is Coach House RV in Tampa, FL which we are going to check out this winter. Good luck with your research and many of us would love to see your reviews posted of the models you do your “deep dive” analyses on!
Thanks Mark – I don’t think we’ll have an opportunity to make it up to Canada before we buy our next coach. However, we’d love to visit and check them out if/when we make it up to Canada.
Have really enjoyed your posts…We had a 14 ft Fun Finder pulled by a Jeep Liberty. Great little package except when it came to getting out of bed..had to crawl over my wife to go to the bathroom & when it rained, which was fairly often living in the Pacific NW, we were stuck inside this cramped space.
We now full time in a 30 ft Class A & find that it’s just enough space our needs.
That’s been our experience…good luck!
Hi Mike! You brought up two good points that we’ve discussed quite a bit. The other is a wet bath. Did you live out of the Fun Finder full time? Glad to hear you’re finding the 30 ft Class A to be just right for your needs. Now we need to find someone who will find our Class A to be the right fit for them and take it off our hands 🙂
I liked your review of the Showhauler AWD Motorhome. That is a bit larger but should fit about anywhere. They could add a 6 foot garage into the rear also.
My wife and I have a 45 foot Showhauler Motorhome and love every minute.
Rugged, Tough, and a King-Size Bed every night. But were 60 Years Old!
Good Luck Searching! If you have the money, there are some truly awesome AWD European Motorhomes also. Most built on Mercedes Chassis.
Thanks John – so happy to hear you love the ShowHauler! We’ve seen some of those Euro vans and they are nice, but expensive to import here unless a company like Hymer for example is bringing them to the States.
For what it’s worth guys…
We have a 19 foot, fifth wheel Scamp trailer. I must say, I think this would have many advantages over a Class B, IMHO.
The most important advantage I believe is the permanent bed. Also, the camper is extremely light (less than 3,000 loaded) and easy to tow. The bathroom is on the small size, but is functional. The biggest down-side are the small tanks (12 Gal water, 18 grey, 9 black).
Escape Industries also make a fiberglass fifth wheel which is definitely a better quality product than the Scamp. Saw one at a recent rally and it was really, really nice.
Oliver makes a top-of-the-line fiberglass 23 footer which may be of some interest to you as well.
Best of luck with your choice and in your future travels!
Thanks for the suggestions! We’ve been considering small trailers such as the Scamp and Casita but they are REALLY hard to find! We also LOVE the Oliver Trailers, but there again hard to find plus we’d need a tow vehicle that can handle more weight.
Check out Born Free RV’s too.
Hey Deb – we have and really like them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szGUoUj1nsA
We have lived many years in our 17 foot Casita travel trailer towed with a cargo van – 7 years about 3/4 time earning a living then almost 6 years full time retired. The van is great for dead storage and extras and tools.
Based on your latest comments, I would definitely aim toward a Casita pulled behind your Jeep until you find you need more storage then trade the jeep for a cargo van.
The livin vans that we have looked at feel confined with a lack of ventilation.
Just one opinion!!!!!
Thank you for the suggestion Harrison! We actually know someone who full times in her Casita and loves it. We’re certainly interested but they are hard to find! It would be nice to be able to continue using the Jeep and tow with it.