Class B Motorhomes

While doing some research for a friend who is looking for a small RV to take to Burning Man, I fell hard for the comfort and design of Class B RVs. As a tiny house, these things are swanky! Of the three types of motorized RV’s, Class B motorhomes are the smallest. They are larger than a VW bus, but smaller than a typical motorhome. They usually lack the overhead bunk of a Class C motorhome.

Courtesy of RoadTrek

Courtesy of RoadTrek

Class B’s get better maneuverability than their larger counterparts and usually get better miles per gallon. You don’t need a tow vehicle for a Class B and you can usually park it in a driveway, a small camp spot and a single parking space.

Class B’s are really only large enough to sleep 2 or 3 people, but they can be very versatile. Most of these RVs have driver and passenger seats that swivel, a dining area that converts into a bed, heating and AC, a small kitchen with microwave, stove, oven, refrigerator, freezer and storage, closet space, and sometimes an RV toilet or in-head shower.

Courtesy of RoadTrek

Courtesy of RoadTrek

Courtesy of FourWinds

Courtesy of FourWinds

Newer Class B’s are downright luxurious with custom carpeting and cushions, Corian countertops, wood cabinets, flat screen TV/DVD combos with surround sound, patios awnings, slide out pantries, day-night shades, full baths, generators, motorized slide-out rooms, “basement” exterior storage, tow packages, and rear backing cameras.

I’ve seen older Class B’s for sale for about $12,000 to $15,000. Brand new Class B’s can go for $50,000-$100,000.

Courtesy of the Digital Vagabond

Courtesy of the Digital Vagabond

Courtesy of the Digital Vagabond

Courtesy of the Digital Vagabond

Pat, the Digital Vagabond, lives, works and travels in a 24-foot Chinook Destiny which he says is “…built like a yacht, with high end woodwork and components from bumper to bumper…it is really more motor lounge than motor home”.

Courtesy of PleasureWay

Courtesy of Pleasure-Way

Several manufacturers of Class B’s include:

Airstream

Pleasure-Way

FourWinds

RoadTrek

Great West Vans

Additional Information:

Roaming Times

VanTastic Vans

Courtesy of RoadTrek

Courtesy of RoadTrek

By Christina Nellemann for the (Tiny House Blog)

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mike - December 14, 2009 Reply

Just awesome. I love these as well and see one sometime in my future. My big thing though is the mileage, although I don’t see an easy solution. Is there any info on biodiesel (or other options) for these and what the best cost/mileage scenario would be?

Christina Nellemann - December 14, 2009 Reply

Thanks Mike. Several Class B motorhomes have diesel engines that can be converted to biodiesel. Also, I have seen a few Class B’s with solar panels that power the lights and appliances.

Moon Tree Ranch (kevin) - December 14, 2009 Reply

Nice set pictured above for those that stick to the highways. A few years ago I ran into a guy who had a “sportsmoblie” this is a tricked out 4×4 van. He gave me a tour inside and I was pretty impressed.

This is the idea RV for the more active, adventure types.

http://www.sportsmobile.com/4_4x4sports.html

Christina Nellemann - December 14, 2009 Reply

Thanks Kevin. Yes, I met a couple at my last teardrop gathering who were traveling in a Sportsmobile. It was pretty fantastic. It was equipped to travel for weeks through the U.S. and Mexico with solar panels, 30 gallon water tanks and heavy duty tires.

Kent Griswold - December 14, 2009 Reply

I have a 1994 RoadTrek and will post on it sometime in the future. I average about 15 to 16 mpg. I have read that the Sprinter diesel models can get up to 25 mpg. I wish there was an easy way to swap out engines as I would really like to get that type of milage out of mine but can’t afford a new Class B.

Feng - December 14, 2009 Reply

Now you’ve entered in to my area of expertise. I belong to a small RV group on yahoo called Classic B Vans.

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/Classic_B_Vans/

We are interested mostly in older Class B vans but discuss all manner of small RVs and related topics. We also regularly post classifieds we find around the country if you’re shopping for such a thing.

MPG is an issue, especially with the older models.

Daniel - December 14, 2009 Reply

I’ve seen a few of these rolling down the road. I always thought it wasn’t more than an oversized Van. I can see I was mistaken. I didn’t think these things looked so good inside.

~Dan

Lucas - December 14, 2009 Reply

As an owner of a VW Vanagon, I wholeheartedly endorse a “camper Van” for tiny house living. My complaint w/ these new vans is the “over-excessorizing” of them. Just look at the photo of the built in coffee pot. That space would be much better served by a cabinet or storage that could house a french press and small teapot. Sure the toys are nice, but do we “need” these things. My VW, while 25 years old, is still relevant and its design is compact and concise. 2 Burners, Sink, and Cabinets. The frig’ is useless unfortunately and frankly I’d rather add ice to a nice cooler each day than to hassle w/ the power woes of a frig. I’ve considered upgrading to a new model, but I find fault in most of the domestic vans. The Dodge Sprinters are nice, but expensive as well. I’ve recently kicked around the idea of a Cargo van w/ windowless sides and building my own camping package inside. Unfortunately, it would not have the standing room that these nicer models come with. I could camp “stealth” in public areas without drawing too much attention. Anyone out there have a cargo van camper?

    Robyn - December 15, 2009 Reply

    I’m glad you commented on the VW camper vans – I agree on the simplicity of this type. I like the shower option of the newer Bs but am always looking for minimalism. I wonder if they’re ok to use in a deep winter?
    anyone know? (either the VWs or Bs)

    thanks!

Matt - December 14, 2009 Reply

Awesome! These will help me get some more ideas on my Chevy G20 “remodel”…

Moontree Ranch - December 15, 2009 Reply

For Lucas, for stealth camping, I meet an artist at a craft show who had converted a basic white sided cargo trailer into a camper. From the out side it looked just like any contractor’s rig or the other half dozen basic trailers at the craft show that weekend. Inside he had a bunk area, that had storage underneath for his “art and tent” and the front had a small sitting area/ kitchen. the major drawback in my book was the lack of windows…just one little one in the side door. You have to admire the price on these basic trailers I have a 5×8 that I picked up shinny and new for $2500, the nest size up was about 4k. for a base to built a rig that would be the size to go with…I can’t quite stand up in mine..but it tows easily being just a touch narrower than my Tacoma.

Lucas - December 15, 2009 Reply

Robyn, the VW’s are “ok” in cold temps, much better if you sleep downstairs, rather than pop the top, which is just canvas. The Samba is a great resource for info on VW’s and accessories to accompany them. There are some options for small electric heaters out there too. My van stays in the garage during winter, road salt is not my friend. A lot of the B’s come w/ gas furnaces.

Moontree, that is the kind of idea I was getting at. Simplistic, reasonably priced, and doesn’t scream, “Hey I’m camping/living in this thing!” Size wise, the lighter the better. I do not want to rely on a large V8 or Diesel Powered engine to pull/drive my home, nor do I want to give my meager income to the global petrochemical overlords!

Mattexian - December 15, 2009 Reply

I saw a related story that made me think of the “tiny house” idea– a Duke grad student living in a ’94 Ford Econoline. http://www.salon.com/life/pinched/story/index.html?story=/news/pinched/2009/12/06/living_in_a_van

Fleetwood RV - December 15, 2009 Reply

I have been never seen this type of Class B Motorhome yet.
I love it because,Class B’s are smaller, compact, and very easy to drive. They contain the same lifestyle amenities, but usually on a smaller scale. New ones are expensive, particularly compared to a similar-sized Class C or Class A. The Class Bs have less sleeping space for a small family than other small rigs or trailers.

Carey Huffman - December 16, 2009 Reply

I like the idea of Class Bs, but the problem is the lack of space inside. Basically, it is just an aisle with built-ins on either side. I have always thought a good stealth camper would be an old Ryder moving truck, the ones that are essentially van cabs with the big box attached on the back. The overhang above the cab would make a nice sleeping loft and there is plenty of room for a sitting area, kitchen and bath in the main body. Some of the newer ones even have the plastic roof inserts to give it a feeling of airiness and better light inside. I believe some are diesel and can be had for rather little money. If I recall, the gentleman who owns Tortoise Shell Homes uses one for a delivery truck. It was reading about this that put the idea into my head of converting one into a tiny home that could move itself.

Christina Nellemann - December 17, 2009 Reply

Mattexian. Great article. Thanks! If I had to do college over again, I think I would also live in a van or a nice Class B, but I would need one with a heater…or go to school in Florida.

Richard Wesson - December 26, 2009 Reply

The Sprinter vans are ideal, tall with steep walls that utilize cabinet space. Sportsmobile (check website) converts these over, as well as the most rugged 4x4s, and they work closely with you to customize it to what you want although they’re not really into the high-end stuff pictured in these photos. Mostly real basic stuff, arranged how you want it. We got one two years ago and are real happy with it. A main bed, two bunks in back that fold up to haul cargo, shower, port-a-potty, propane heater, hot water transfer from the engine system, reefer and aux. battery charged mostly from solar energy, a propane range rather than a microwave, and a killer sound system. It still rides like a van, nothing glorified, but we got almost 24 mpg diesel on our last big trip of about 2400 miles. We plan on moving into a small house at our place, renting out our main house, and hitting the road for good stretches at a time. It’s pretty much self contained except for laundry.

Ky G - March 3, 2010 Reply

I do agree so many of them are tricked out w/toys beyond my needs. I am searching for one but I have found that most I will probley have to strip!! I do not need propane or any sort of appliances, the water usage for a built in potty (I have my own methods) nor do I need a sink. An outdoor shower is the only option I would consider. I could carry so much more H2o w/out the weight of appliances or use that space more efficiently. A very minimal sink would best suit me. The beds in these vans are more like couches and I also find the weight of them un needed…another change there. I could purchase a large van but I do so want the space of the Class B and the water storage options…along with the sturdier roof for solar panels. Alas, what is a woman and her dog on a budget to do…
~Ky and Bingo

geo - September 28, 2011 Reply

nice

Motorhomes For Sale - February 28, 2012 Reply

I think Class B Motorhomes Rvs is a best Rvs for a family. because it is comfortable for long tour.

Thanks

http://www.usedtruckplus.com/

Nick Schmidt - April 7, 2013 Reply

great little piece, I was half way through it before I realized that it was written 3 1/2 years ago because the info is still so very relevant.
Class B RV’s continue to be incredibly popular, for the reasons that you stated so well.
My team actually created an RV buying guide for this very reason, the M.I.L.E.S. guide to buying a used RV.

Let me know if you ever need a guest post or specific reviews or recommendations based on geography, gas mileage or other specifics.

Nick Schmidt
Sunshine State RV’s.

ray nesmith - January 18, 2015 Reply

Contact above

Dave Anderson - December 7, 2016 Reply

I am looking for a class b motor home because of the convenient size and the ability to sleep in it if needed. I like to travel comfortably and I love the comfort that the motor homes offer. I did not know that a class b motor home could sleep two to three people but that would definitely be perfect for the family trips that my wife and I go on.

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