Picking an RV-Class B Motorhome or Van Camper

The Class B motorhome or van camper offers the traveler both an RV and especially in the case of the smaller units, a second car as a bonus. They appeal to those who want car like drivability with all the features of a motorhome in a compact space. They are easy to drive and operate and can be parked in normal parking spaces for the most part, making them easy travelers on the open road. Unlike a large motorhome, it is easy to spontaneously pull off the road and take a break, make a meal and other activities without much thought.

The modern Class B motorhome can be bought in sizes of from 18-24 feet. Typically the van will have a raised fiberglass roof allowing the occupants to stand up inside the van. The recent models based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, feature stand up headroom as an inherent part of their design. Others models may have a popup roof, with screened tent type fabric enclosing the raised roof space. There are also van conversion companies on the market that offer van campers with optional four wheel drive adding to the go anywhere travel possibilities available.

Vans can also carry roof racks, bike racks and other enhancements multiplying the recreational possibilities. Another bonus is being able to tow a boat or a trailer. Some models can tow up to 10,000 pounds, appealing to many fulltimers who own both a van for towing and exploring the boonies, and a full size larger trailer that stays in the RV parks as a home base. This is a very versatile, multipurpose setup.

In most van campers, the front seats will swivel around adding to the useful amount of interior space to be had. A van camper can sleep 2-4 people depending on the floorplan and length of the van. Most beds have to be converted when it’s time to sleep by pulling out couches, breaking down dinettes and so on. Modern units will sport all the typical RV features one is used to like full galleys, entertainment centers, and even toilet and shower facilities. Storage is available inside with some having storage access from the rear doors and/or outside compartment doors.

Pros:

  • Vans make good multipurpose vehicles whether it is as a second car, or to tow a trailer or a boat.
  • Van campers can go almost anywhere where larger RV’s cannot venture. If primitive sites and/or windy, narrow roads are where you like to roam and explore, consider a van camper.
  • Class B motorhomes get excellent gas mileage for economical traveling.
  • Van campers have the advantages of a motorhome in that you don’t have to exit your rig when ready to camp. Setup is easy with minimal fuss unlike a towable RV.

Cons:

  • Vans can be small and cramped in their narrow confines. Two people can operate if cooperative, or those with very small children will do well. Fulltiming in a van camper would be a challenge as the small space will wear on you over time.
  • If using the van as a second car, the miles will add up quickly depreciating the vehicle making it harder to sell than a motorhome that is only driven on trips.
  • Bedding has to be setup and taken down for sleeping adding a bit of work in operation. It can be hard on those with sensitive backs or larger folks.
  • The small space of a van dictates that there will be limited storage available. For those who need to take it all with them a van camper may cramp their style.

Cost: Van campers can range from a low of $40,000 to well over $100,000 for the newer Sprinter vans or a four wheel drive model with all the bells and whistles.

Van campers definitely have their appeal for those who want an easy driving rig that sports all the conveniences that RV’s have to offer in a compact space. Fulltimers should probably select a larger rig as the space of a van will prove inadequate long term. Those needing a second car and love to go on weekend journeys and other shorter camping trips will also find a van camper an unbeatable choice. A family with small children will find van camper travel a great ally on the road, having washing, bathing and other facilities at their fingertips.

Hauling Dirt Bikes With A Hitch Carrier

Hauling a dirt bike is often an obstacle for many if they do not have a pick-up truck or trailer. If this describes you, do not be concerned, I’ve a way around this. You’ll be able to haul your dirt bike for cheaper and, usually, easier than the usual trailer or truck. A Dirt Bike Carrier may mount to the hitch of one’s vehicle, even though it is a van or SUV. They’re lightweight, not a worry to install, and give you much more room to pack gear and parts in the vehicle without having to pull a trailer.

As much as I like hauling my bikes using a three-rail motorcycle trailer, it can be a pain to maneuver it in and out of places, especially when it’s tight and you’ve got to back up (not that I can’t do it!). I’d just prefer a single hitch carrier on my van if I’m hauling one dirt bike to the track. By doing this I don’t really have to stress about running over things or knifing a trailer. This is a great alternative if your kid goes racing and you don’t want anyone to drive the trailer around.

But, generally if I have two bikes to haul, I can always get a Double Motorcycle Carrier. It isn’t much heavier than the single since it is composed of light-weight aircraft aluminum. Provided that the vehicle and hitch can contain the extra weight, this carrier will haul two motocross bikes to the track! Rather than cramming a couple full-size dirt bikes in the bed of a truck, you can toss them behind it, saving you the time and hassle trying to fit everything in, as well as being able to shut the tail-gate completely without having your gear or parts slide out.

It is not only quicker to haul bikes using a hitch carrier, but it also will give you more room. Any time you haul the bikes using the hitch carrier on a van or SUV, then there’s much space inside the vehicle to cart your gear and your friends! Even when you have the carrier on a truck, you’re able to toss most of the equipment in the bed, so you have plenty of room in the cab.

So if you don’t mind throwing your dirt bike(s) up on a rail behind your vehicle, a dirt bike carrier is an effective way to go, and is a lot less expensive than getting a truck or trailer. Good luck!

-Tom Stark

Benefits of a Van Roof Rack

You may think that a commercial van would be an ideal form of transport for a family holiday. What better way to get to from home to Dover then over to France than a commercial van? Think of all of the wine that you could bring back. All of that space in the rear that will allow for red, white and rose wine will make the trip worth while. But what if you want more space for things like clothes? Well other than upgrading the van for a larger size, which could cost you more than you wanted to pay there is another way.

A roof rack provides you with the basis to get some extra space that you might need. Factory fitted or one bought from a local motoring supply store, each will enable the used of such things as roof boxes. This is a cost effective way of getting additional space in a van that you have out grown. The extra space that a roof box allows will provide storage for other things that you can’t quite fit in the vehicle.

Of course you don’t have to get a roof box to get the most of the roof rack. Many commercial van users have the roof rack to transport things such as ladders and other tools necessary to do their jobs. It can also be used for carrying timber that you would not necessarily be able to fit into the back of the van. Any materials will need to be securely fastened to the roof rack to ensure it is legal and safe to use.

It’s not only commercial van users that benefit from a roof rack but also people off on holiday. As well as the extra space for wine that the roof rack and roof box combo can offer the roof rack can also be adapted to sit push bikes on top. This is ideal for anyone who likes their biking holidays yet doesn’t want to cycle all the way to the country that they are heading to. You must remember that this will increase the height of your vehicle, so low bridges and multi story car parks might be worth avoiding.

For advice on roof racks, roof boxes and roof mounted cycle carriers speak to a professional.