Camper Van Vs. RV
The main difference between camper vans and RVs is their sheer size.
Typical camper vans are between 18-22 feet long, while RVs are anywhere from 29-36 feet long. This impacts the drivability of the vehicle the most: what kinds of roads you can drive on, where you can take it, and where you can park it.
When we’re talking travel vehicles, bigger isn’t always better. The bulk of an RV has limitations on the road.
A camper van boasts the benefits of potentially being an off-road vehicle, while RVs are limited to wide, paved roads.
In an RV, there’s no chance of stealth camping, and visiting major cities heavily congested with traffic will prove to be a hassle on the road.
Then, once you get to your destination, parking an RV will usually incur added costs and frustration. A smaller camper van usually has no trouble fitting into (and finding) a parking spot.
While the increased size of an RV has its setbacks, it also means you’ll have more space.
Both options feature kitchenettes, but RVs will feature full-sized bathrooms and showers—unlike their smaller counterparts. Camper vans sometimes have outdoor showers or portable toilets, but it varies van to van.
More space also means more companions. With the extra room, you can travel with family, friends, and pets in an RV. In a camper van, you’re limited to 3 people max.
The cost of operating an RV is almost twice as much as a camper van. Over 6,000 miles, a camper van will cost you roughly $1,400. An RV could run you between $3,600 and $4,000.
Which is Right for You? Camper Van vs RV Breakdown
Go with a camper van if you want to:
- • Travel with less than two companions
- • Drive off-road or back roads
- • Visit densely populated cities
- • Stealth camp
- • Spend less on gas, water, and electric
- • Live off-grid
- • Sacrifice space for functionality and minimalism
RVs are better if you’d rather:
- • Travel with multiple people or a family
- • Stick to well-paved trails and RV camps
- • Have running water with a full shower and bathroom
- • Hook up to external water and power
- • Sacrifice affordability to have more space