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5 Reasons to Avoid a Camper Van

Camper vans seem like a perfect way to travel with everything you need. It’s a tiny space, easy to drive, easy to park, and is well-equipped. What could be better? 

As it turns out, larger RVs are often better. We’ve met many people in our travels, and we’ve seen a lot of rigs. We even traveled in a tiny camper during our first years of RVing, so we know small spaces well! 

We wanted to share some of the things we’ve discovered about these vans. Here are the top 5 reasons you might want to avoid a camper van and maybe opt for something larger. 

What Is a Camper Van? 

A camper van is exactly what it sounds like: a van that you can camp in. They typically have everything you need for a great camping trip, including a bed, a kitchen area, storage space, and occasionally toilets or full bathrooms. 

Types of Camper Vans

There are many camper vans on the market, but even with all the variety, they can fit into two main categories: Class B RVs and van conversions. 

Class B RVs 

Class B RVs are motorhomes with a van chassis.

These are considered actual recreational vehicles, and RV manufacturers produce them. Class B RVs are the most expensive motorhome per square foot, and they typically have most amenities you’d find in larger RVs. 

Camper Van Conversions

Camper van conversions are regular vans that have been converted into campers, either by the van owner or a van conversion company. 

They’re cheaper than Class B RVs but require significant work. Van conversions are custom built and can have all the amenities of an RV, or they might have just a bed. It’s up to the owner!

Benefits of a Camper Van

Benefits of camper vans include fitting into regular parking spots and occasionally stealth camping. They can also be more affordable upfront than larger rigs. 

But despite all the benefits, these tiny homes-on-wheels aren’t for everyone. 

5 Reasons to Avoid Camper Vans

Camper vans have their downfalls. This might seem like an attractive way to travel, but let’s take a closer look at some reasons why you might want to steer clear of these little campers. 

1. They’re Seriously Tiny

Camper vans are small–like, really small. While it might benefit some, it’s also one of the biggest downfalls. 

These campers are not great for more than one or two people, and living and traveling in one of these vans can put any couple’s relationship to the test! 

2. Three Words: “Camper Van Tetris”

Camper van Tetris is a fun way to describe a not-so-fun activity: the constant moving and shuffling around stuff. 

Everything we want to bring camping in a dream world will fit perfectly in the van’s storage spaces. 

But, in reality, that doesn’t happen. Finding storage for everyday things like hand soap or bedding can be tricky! Sometimes, you have to shuffle things around to get to places like the toilet or the stove.  

Unlike in a bigger RV, it’s always a game of Tetris when you want to switch tasks in a camper van. Not to mention a lot of prep work that goes into getting ready to travel!

3. Little to No Storage

Camper vans DO have storage, but it’s usually very minimal. Most storage places are difficult to access, so you don’t want to use them for everyday items. 

4. Not All Have Bathrooms

Not all RVs of this size have bathrooms. Need we say more? 

Some have a toilet, and others have a full wet bath. Many have none of that, which means you need to get comfortable going outside or always parking near a restroom. That doesn’t sound like fun at all!

5. You Have to Break Camp to Go Anywhere

When traveling in a camper van, you typically can’t tow another vehicle behind you. So, if you want to drive into town to explore after setting up camp, you have to take it all with you.

This means you risk losing a primo camping spot. It also means that you have to put everything away and secure it for travel, and when you’re ready to go back to camp and relax, you’ll have to set it back up.

Is it the end of the world? No.

But is it annoying? Sometimes, absolutely!

13 Reasons to Own a Camper Van

Your Home’s Where You Park It! Ever dreamt of living on the beach? In the mountains? Near a haunted house? With a camper van, your backyard can be anywhere.

Skip the Hotel Hassle: Forget check-in times and mystery mattress stains. Your camper van bed awaits, no key card needed.

Kitchen Always Open: Midnight snackers rejoice! Your kitchen is just a sleepy stumble away, and there’s no judgmental room service to side-eye your odd-hour orders.

Fashion Forward: Rock the “Bedhead & PJs” look at any time of the day. It’s the official camper van uniform, after all.

Pet Palace: Take Fido and Whiskers on a cross-country adventure without those pesky pet hotel fees or the guilt of leaving them behind.

“Portable Potty” Privileges: When nature calls in nature, you’ll have the best seat in the house (or woods).

Nosey Neighbor Deterrent: Annoyed by the local gossip? Just drive away! New neighbors are just a cruise down the road.

Décor Du Jour: Want beach vibes on Monday and forest feels by Friday? Your van’s views are the most versatile décor elements you’ll ever own.

Traffic Jam Napper: Stuck in traffic? Take a nap! You’ve got a bed in the back, after all. Just don’t forget to set an alarm.

World’s Best Ice Breaker: “Oh, you live in a house? That’s cute. I live in a mobile adventure hub.” Instant conversation starter!

Eco Traveler Trophy: Save on those carbon footprints by combining transportation and accommodation. Mother Earth gives you a green thumbs up!

DIY Drive-Thru: Forget fast food! Whip up your gourmet meal in your mobile kitchen and make every other car in the lot envious.

Experience Collector: Sunrises on mountaintops, spontaneous beach bonfires, and encounters with local wildlife (both animals and intriguing humans) – the experiences you’ll gather in your camper van are priceless.

Do These Reasons Make You Want to Avoid Them?

Would living in a tiny space, playing van Tetris, and always breaking camp deter you from camper vans? If the answer is no, check out the 10 Best DIY Camper Van Builds!

These are sure to inspire and keep you dreaming of that camper van life.

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

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  1. Deborah Kerr says:

    NO THANKS!! And why are Class B RV’s SO expensive???? I love my class C 💛

  2. Sarah says:

    Why can’t you tow something with a camper van? Mine will tow about 2k pounds, so many toy trailers will do. You can also pitch a tent in the space or ride a bike to town.

    It’s pretty easy to go to the bathroom at ault toilets or outside. I’d say it’s easier than hauling some gas-guzzling obnoxious RV around.

  3. Mimi says:

    I have had class A, B, and Cs through the years. I 100% prefer a van to any of them for many reasons. Overall simplicity, better access and freedom to just pull away if I dont like it… i dont set up much STUFF and i pack it in pack it out….To each his own …please take good care of our public lands…..

  4. keebler says:

    I love all the vans i have had & I still have 1,1990 Chevy G-20 Full size bed High top,a 1996 1500 High top Queen Bed,yep tagged,& on the road.

  5. Sigrid says:

    I love my van! It’s a 2000 GMC Savana, which started as a conversion van, but I changed it to make it more suitable for my needs. Perfect accommodation for one person and 2 big dogs. Enough storage, got a kitchen counter and sink, camping toilet, mini fridge. Easy to drive and park. Reasonably good gas mileage. It could tow a 5000lbs trailer, if I wanted to. I’m glad I got it.

  6. William Maceri says:

    For every reason listed for not using a camper van, there are actually another 5 you can add to the reasons why you shouldn’t. Maybe their OK for an overnight run to go check out a meter shower,or like that, but other than that don’t do it.Find a way to pick up a small class C motorhome, or even a tent.Even the smallest of class C motorhomes can provide the full motorhome experience. If you’re going to spend time on the road, you must have a bathroom.A refrigerator,not an ice box. A full bed that doesn’t need to be set up before you get in it. An LP gas stove with an oven,which can also be used as a heater,and at least one roof air conditioner. Because after being on a hot road all day, especially out here in the western US, you’ll never be hotter than in a motorhome that holds in all that road heat until very late at night. My advice would be, save some money, buy or even rent a real motorhome to see if you like it,stay in motels or just stay home,because if you and your favorite other person attempt camping in a camper van,it won’t take long before you and your favorite other person, won’t be for very long. If you like road trips, and I do very much, there’s no better way to do it than in a real motorhome. They will allow you to enjoy the beauty of being outdoors, and enjoy living with some amount of the amenities of home. I believe it doesn’t get much better than that. America has some of the most beautiful places on earth, you owe it to yourself,to see as much of it as you can, and do it with that favorite other person for many years to come. In my opinion the best RVs,are motorhomes,and travel trailers.Slide in truck campers and camper vans not so much. In the past I have always had either motorhomes or travel trailers,however at this point in time I don’t and that leaves me with a huge void in my life and I plan to fix that as soon as possible. Sometimes life’s journey takes you places you would never choose to go. But you need to do what it takes to get yourself back to where you’re meant to be. For me, that’s getting another motorhome so I can get back out there in our beautiful country once again. I’m a lot older now so I will have to adjust to a new normal,and that’s my goal.

  7. Ross says:

    Done the class A and C. Even the travel trailer, tent trailer and cab over camper. Nothing even comes close to the full featured off road capable B. Two conditions, maximum of two people who plan to sleep inside, and all occupants need to be smart enough to overcome the challenges mentioned in this article.

  8. Certainly I appreciate we all have to make a living and everybody has to do something but when is the last time either of you have set foot in a camper van, an RV an airstream or whatever? You keep submitting all of these opinionated infomercials and I believe that you need to move on and find a job consistent with your current position. I don’t agree with your opinionated infomercials. Sorry to be so crass but enough already

  9. Mark Weiner says:

    They are indeed small, but, it’s also a benefit because you learn to take less. Think mimilist. There’s less to clean up and being organized is a top priority.
    Everything in the van is practically within reach.

    Fuel efficiency and mobility is one of the best features of a Class B motorhome. Everything is spontaneous, you can literally go and park anywhere. Nothing is spontaneous with a Class A and if you don’t have software and technology devices turning down the wrong road may take 30 to 50 miles before you can find a place to turn around, especially if you’re driving a 40 foot motorhome.

    Over time, fuel is the most expensive thing you pay for in any vehicle. We consistently get 18 to 19 miles per gallon. It might not seem important, but, if you travel 200,000 miles, this really adds up. Some Class A’s get 6 or 8 MPG. That translates into $100,000 more in fuel costs for the Class A getting 6 MPG. That’s very significant.

    It all depends on how you travel and what you want. If you go somewhere and stay for an extended period of time, get the larger RV, but, if you like to travel and see different places every few days, the Class B is the way to go.

    No one ever said that a Class B motorhome was inexpensive. Price per foot they are certainly one of the most expensive motorhomes on the market. They have all the amenities of a larger coach except they are smaller. My rig looks like an “executive jet” on the inside with upholstered walls, wood cabinets, kitchen, full wet bath, generator and entertainment system. It’s very deluxe. So, don’t be surprised when you find new ones selling for $200 thousand dollars.

    Class B motorhomes are regular vans built to automotive standards that have been modified on the inside with specialized components designed to fit in a small space. They are engineered differently than Class A’s and Class C’s which are built as a separate box and placed on a chassis. Nearly all Class B motorhomes are hand built and the labor to achieve these close space tolerances is more expensive and time consuming.

    Only you can answer those questions if this type of vehicle is right for you.

    Most Class B motorhomes hold their value better than Class A or C which is an advantage.

    Class B motorhomes are the fastest growing segment in the RV market today. They are wildly popular for many reasons.

    Good luck, it’s a difficult choice and you don’t want to buy one and realize you made the wrong decision.

  10. Lori McDaniel says:

    Your bias is showing. You forgot: Vans can tow cars. Vans are more affordable. My van gets 25mpg (without the car in tow). The van is just where you drive, sleep safely, and perhaps get out of the rain. The world is your bigger rooms and your yard!