The RV alphabet is an important concept to master when we first begin to shop for a camper or travel vehicle. RVing’s ABCs may seem simple at first glance, but many little complexities factor into each distinction. Whether you want to shop for a motorhome or towable, a little research goes a long way. Today, we’ll introduce you to the Class B RV.
Let’s dive in and see what distinguishes this compact RV and for whom it may be best suited!
What is a Class B RV?
The Class B RV is generally built on a standard van or panel truck chassis and is aptly referred to as a “camper van” as a result. Generally small enough to double as a daily driver, Class B RVs are a highly versatile means of transportation, camping, road-tripping, tailgating, and more.
Class B RVs are often fully self-contained with great conveniences. For example, a galley kitchen, flush toilet, and shower (indoors and outdoors) are common amenities. They typically house air conditioning and heating, powered outlets, and generators. In addition, they offer more storage than you ever thought possible in a relatively small RV.
How Big Are Class B RVs?
It’s good to know on average how tall RVs are when shopping around. If you want to stay under a certain height, this knowledge will help you determine what RV types to look at. Class B RVs are often 17 to 19 feet in length and the average exterior height is 8-9 feet tall.
However, there are Class B RVs currently on the market as long as 24 feet and as high as 10 feet. These larger Class B RVs offer interiors that can accommodate people as tall as 6’6”. In other words, Class B RVs are growing based on the expected demand for more space.
Class B RVs most often are best suited to sleep one or two adults and one or two small children. Most Class B owners will say that they’re perfect for a solo traveler, workable for two adults who are happy to be close, and tolerable for small families – or, more specifically, families with a small number of young children.
5 Benefits of Class B RVs
While there are drawbacks related to space for some travelers, those space-related concerns turn into tremendous advantages for many. Consider, for example, how easy it is to drive a fully-contained camper built on a van chassis. Think about the maneuverability and the ease with which it would rest on your home property when you’re not traveling.
Let’s take a look at five of the many and varied benefits of Class B RVs.
Small and Versatile
Expanding on the maneuverability of a Class B RV, these versatile camper vans can not only be parked with ease at your home but anywhere else as well. They fit into a regular-size parking spot in any parking lot. And they can fit seamlessly into most driveways if you’re visiting friends or relatives in your travels.
Class B RVs are great because they can drive down narrow country roads and congested city streets. They can usually be turned around or backed up as easily as any van, large SUV, or small truck on the road. They may even fit in some home garages for protective storage.
The comparatively diminutive size also makes the Class B RV more readily and easily serviced by most shops, which is not the case for larger motorhomes.
Has Standard RV Amenities
Despite their smaller size Class B RVs give up almost nothing in terms of amenities. They have bathrooms (usually, but not always) with toilets and hot showers, kitchens, small refrigerators, air conditioning and heat, a surprising amount of storage capacity, and the ability to power electrical devices and appliances.
They have holding tanks of varying sizes, including freshwater, greywater, and wastewater. In addition, they provide onboard propane for cooking and heating. Class B RVs give up nothing in the way of modern conveniences and creature comforts.
Comfortable To Drive
There is no RV on the market that is more comfortable to drive than the Class B. Whether you’re driving down a windy country road, along a beachfront, up a mountain, along narrow coastal streets, or busy city streets, the Class B RV is generally driven with ease.
Taking corners is easy, and backing up the RV is simple. Using the side mirrors or a small backup camera screen will get the job done. Even looking over your shoulder that can see right through the back window is extremely convenient.
The compactness of the Class B RV makes it a dream to drive, maneuver and park. To imagine this, consider in your mind getting to the end of an accidentally-reached dead-end street in a Class B RV which you simply back into the nearest driveway or even onto the soft shoulder of the road, and sharply turn quickly back to the opposite direction.
Now imagine reaching that same dead-end in a 35-foot Class C, a 45-foot Class A RV, or a 5th-wheel. Right. Just the thought of it makes us anxious!
Better Gas Mileage
One of the most severe drawbacks to traveling in an RV is fuel cost. Most RVs are heavy with poor MPG. However, many Class A motorhomes get 8-10 miles to the gallon, while many Class B units get around 18-25 miles per gallon. That’s a very significant difference when you’re covering a lot of miles!
So for road-trippers and serious travelers, the money saved on gas mileage alone is a significant advantage. Add to that the savings from not having to stay in hotels or eat in restaurants, and you’re ahead of the game as a traveler!
Easy to Store
Where to store an RV is a significant consideration for most RVers. Class A and Class B RVs and 5th wheels and other travel trailers need huge, tall storage areas and even just for long-term parking.
Some homeowner’s associations, condominium associations, and even neighborhoods prohibit parking large RVs on your home property, including in your driveway.
None of this is generally of concern for Class B RV owners. Class B RVs are vans that fit with ease in any driveway. They can even be parked on the side or back of a home.
Covered storage for Class B RVs is readily available in private home carports. Garages and commercial storage facilities may not accommodate larger RVs but have no trouble at all fitting a Class B in for safe storage.
Is the Class B RV Right For You?
While the Class B RV is not for everyone, this class of RV’s benefits is certainly plentiful. The ability to use your tiny RV as a daily driver, to travel to your kids’ athletic activities with your own bathroom and kitchen facilities, to visit grandchildren while carrying your own personal “hotel” along with you, or to hit the road and chase good weather all year long, the Class B RV is a fantastic travel vehicle with every amenity in a small package.