If you are planning to rent a recreational vehicle (RV) for a road trip, you might have some questions about which type of RV is right for you. RVs include campervans and motorhomes, but what is the difference between these two?
We have all the information you need below. We will break down what makes these two types of RVs different and how they can be best used to give you a great road trip experience. Read on to help you decide which is best for you: campervan vs motorhome.
What Is a Campervan?
Campervans, which can sometimes be referred to as campers, caravanettes, or motor caravans, are self-powered vehicles that provide living space and sleeping accommodations.
Campervans are generally considered a Class B vehicle, with gas mileage of around 18-35 miles per gallon (MPG), making it the most fuel-efficient type of RV. Although generally smaller than most others, a campervan’s sleeping and living accommodations can still be customized.
What Features Can You Find In a Campervan?
The features available in a campervan vary widely according to the manufacturer and type of campervan. Since the size is important when considering campervans, you may have to adjust based on what you can squeeze into it. But generally, you often find the following in your typical campervan:
Campervans include sleeping quarters for the occupants, so you can have a place to rest when on road trips, camping trips, or any other recreational travel.
Campervans are equipped with storage space for essential living items. But again, because of the size, space is often limited. That’s why you’ll often see campervans with roof racks for extra storage to retain maximum interior space for living accommodations.
Some campervans include a small kitchen with basic facilities including a small refrigerator and a dual gas burner for cooking. However, this is not a standard feature and many campervans do not include any kitchen facilities.
A typical camper van does not feature a wastewater tank, so these vehicles do not include full bathroom facilities. However, they sometimes feature a self-contained portable toilet that doesn’t require a separate wastewater tank.
What Is a Motorhome?
A motorhome is an RV that provides mobile living accommodation. The average motorhome is a larger vehicle and includes more features and facilities than a campervan.
Most people prefer Class C motorhomes because of their similarity with everyday automobiles. A class C motorhome has a fuel efficiency of about 14-18 MPG, meaning they are less efficient than campervans.
What Features Can You Find In a Motorhome?
Here are some common features you can find in most motorhomes.
Driver and Passenger Cabin
Motorhomes are made up of two separate areas: the vehicle itself and the living area. The cab includes many of the features you find in a typical car including cruise control, navigation, and 12 V and USB outlets.
A great feature in most motorhome models is the inclusion of a front dining area that has space for a table that can accommodate up to 6 people.
Modern motorhomes generally have well-fitted kitchens with features such as a large preparation area, food storage area, sink, tap, grill, and oven. Gas storage for cooking can be up to 130 L.
Motorhomes also include refrigerators, freezers, and microwaves. There are also plenty of power outlets for you to plug in small kitchen accessories such as coffee makers.
Typically, motorhome kitchens include a vent with a fan that can remove odors from cooking and bring in fresh air from outside.
Motorhomes also offer a variety of sleeping options and arrangements including single beds, double beds, or even bunk beds. You can surely find one that suits the needs of you and your traveling companions.
Motorhome bedrooms usually include several power outlets as well as TV connection points.
Campervan vs Motorhome: How Do I Pick the Right One for Me?
There are a few things you should consider when deciding between a campervan and a motorhome.
If you’re tight on cash and you plan to travel with a relatively small group, a camper van should work best for you. Due to their small size, campervans are easy to drive and tend to cost less than motorhomes.
If you want to go on a small camping trip, especially for an extended period of time, campervans would definitely be the ideal option due to their fuel economy and ability to navigate narrow roads.
On the downside, they can be quite cramped inside for more than a couple of adults, and there probably won’t be room for bathroom facilities.
Motorhomes are perfect for those looking for a more comfortable holiday. They provide enough space for a group of people to be comfortable and have all the facilities they need.
Think about what you absolutely need in an RV and what you can live without or find externally. If you’re someone who loves comforts and thinks camping should only be done in luxury, you will probably appreciate the features of a large motorhome.
A shower and toilet inside the vehicle may be requisite for some, but generally, campgrounds around the US tend to have excellent facilities anyway.
The Pros of Both Campervans and Motorhomes
Now, let’s look at how these two RV types stack up against each other.
Campervans are simple and convenient to drive, which is a major reason why many people choose campervans over motorhomes. A campervan is more manageable and less bulky than a motorhome. Its streamlined dimensions make it easy to pass under height barriers or maneuver down small roads or through busy city centers.
A campervan is easy to park. Whether you need to squeeze into a tight space at the supermarket or parallel park along a busy street, it’s no hassle.
Campervans are generally cheaper than classic motorhomes, although the price depends on the model and features.
A motorhome includes pretty much everything you need in terms of features. Cooking, eating, showering, sleeping, and using the toilet are all covered. Because motorhomes come fitted with so many features, it makes packing and getting away super speedy.
Motorhomes are more spacious than campervans so you can pack more, have more room to relax, and sleep more people. Some models are almost as big as a small studio apartment.
Motorhome living can be truly luxurious as they include king-sized beds, full-sized fridges, TVs, music systems, and other home comforts.
Campervan vs Motorhome: FAQ
Here are some frequently asked questions about these two RV types.
Which Is More Fuel Efficient?
Campervans are generally more fuel-efficient than motorhomes. They have a fuel efficiency of about 18-35 MPG, excellent for most trips and recreational activities.
Motorhomes, especially Class C motorhomes, only have a fuel efficiency of about 14-18 MPG, which is not very efficient for long adventurous trips. You also need to consider additional maintenance expenses.
Which Is More Affordable?
Campervans are cheaper to maintain and to rent, available for an average of $75-150 per night. However, since they are smaller vehicles, they don’t include some necessities (e.g., kitchen and bathroom facilities), which will end up creating extra costs.
Motorhomes are more luxurious with a price to match. They usually include all the necessary comforts for long-term travel such as a kitchen, shower, and toilet. It’s true that you don’t need to pay for campsites, but this savings is offset by the additional costs associated with owning this type of RV.
When all the figures are calculated, campervans are cheaper to own and rent than motorhomes.
How Do I Know Which Is Most Suitable for My Trip?
The major deciding factor is the size of your group and the budget you have available.
Campervans offer less space but are cheap to run and very easy to drive. They are great for extended trips due to their simple framework, durability, efficient fuel economy, cheap parts, and ability to navigate dirt roads, narrow roads, and busy towns.
Motorhomes, on the other hand, are perfect for those looking for a more relaxing holiday. They provide enough space, facilities, and comfort for a larger group of people to enjoy a long-term adventure out on the road. The tradeoff for this comfort is that they cost more to purchase, operate, and maintain.
The Bottom Line
In the end, your choice of campervan vs motorhome is very personal. If you’re thinking of buying one, it’s worth renting first to get an idea of what you like (and dislike) and to test your ability to operate a large vehicle.
It’s also worth considering that, if you only plan to use the RV a few weeks a year, renting a campervan or motorhome might end up being cheaper and more practical for you. You can pick one that matches the number of people traveling and you won’t have to pay for it for the majority of the time when it will just be sitting in your driveway.
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