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What Is A Campervan: A Beginner’s Guide to Vanlife

It can be quite confusing to get the hang of the recreational vehicle terminology. You might be wondering what are base vehicles, what is a campervan, and RVs as a whole (it shouldn’t be so hard to understand the various terms). Whilst there are obvious similarities, there are still certain ways you can differentiate these motorhome classes.

In this article, we will be focusing on the campervan and everything that has to do with this compact and comfortable vehicle that is a sleeping space and also for travelling.

What Is A Campervan?

What Is A Campervan?

A campervan is known as a smaller vehicle that has been converted so as to allow for sleeping, cooking, and also driving.

A campervan and a motorhome might seem alike at first glance, but they do have their differences. Motorhomes tend to be bigger than campervans.

Also, when they are compared to other recreational vehicles, campervans are class b vehicles, which means that they are smaller models than their class C and class A counterparts.

What Are The Different Types And Classes Of Campervans?

There are several types of campervans and they include;

A-Class (Ac)

The A Class campervans is a luxury range of mobile homes that come with an ample amount of storage space and living area. You will need a category c licence to drive one of these are they often weigh above 7.5 kg

B-Class (Bc)

The B-class campervan is a term that is not usually used except you are talking about imported North American models. They usually differ in size from semi-low profile fully coachbuilt models to van conversions.

Overcab (Oc)

These types of campervans are typically built on a van chassis or truck chassis and also retain the base vehicle’s cab. They usually feature more space over the cab, which you can use to store items or use as a sleeping space.

Low Profile (Lp)

Low-profile motorhomes are vans that have their design inspiration gotten from coach-built motorhomes but have more aerodynamic. They usually come with a slight overhang that is just above the driver’s cab.

High Top (Ht)

These types of campervans are typically based on a high-top van and don’t have too much modifications done to the coachbuilt body. Beds can be built by moving tables and seats or could be fixed in place.

Rising Roof (Rr)

This is a type of campervan that is usually based on a smaller van and features a roof that raises. A rising roof most times gives the owner space to stand in the vehicle. This vehicle could sport a bed but they are sometimes built by moving tables and seats.

Fixed Roof (Fr)

The fixed-roof campervan is also referred to as a day van or surf van. They have a similar size to the rising roof model. Toilet and shower cubicles are not usually fitted and they also have their beds built by moving tables and seats.

Dismountable (Dm)

With this type of campervan, the coachbuilt body is normally placed on a pick-up load-bed, which can sometimes be modified. This body can be removed at campsites if you need to use the vehicle.

Off-Road Variations

These types of campervans are usually referred to as 4×4 or 4WD campers. There are models that come with pop-up roofs for extra storage and sleeping space while others feature expandable tents mounted on the roof. This campervan is based on an off-road vehicle.

What Is The Difference Between A Motorhome And A Campervan?

What Is The Difference Between A Motorhome And A Campervan

A campervan is basically a small recreational vehicle that provides you with the basic necessities for you to live your life on the road. What’s more, is that there is usually no divide between the living quarters and the cab. When it comes to size and storage space, a campervan is basically smaller than a motorhome,

On the other hand, a motorhome is a motor vehicle that is built on a truck or bus chassis that serves both the purpose of providing sleeping accommodation as living quarters and also for recreational travel. A motorhome usually comes with additional space (you can even install a drop-down bed) and it is a larger vehicle compared to the campervan.

For more information, check our comparison of motorhomes and campervans.

What Features Can You Find In A Campervan?

What Features Can You Find In A Campervan

When you purchase a campervan, you should enjoy most of these features:

  • Sleeping Quarters: You cannot deem it a camper if there is no space for sleeping. A campervan usually comes with a bed that you can comfortably sleep on.
  • Storage: While the size of a campervan is not so large, they still manage to come with storage solutions. You might see some models that sport roof racks for extra space.
  • Kitchen: Most campervans usually come with a small kitchen that includes a cooking appliance, fridge, and sink. Most times, the size of the kitchen will be dependent on the vehicle size. It should also have a dining area.
  • Toilet: You should not expect to see a typical toilet in your campervan, but you should see a portable toilet in your small rv. Larger models could come with a cassette toilet.
  • Small Bathroom: Smaller RVs don’t normally feature a standard bathroom, but they could come with a wet bath, which is a smaller bathroom.
  • Propane Gas- Or Electric-Powered Water Heater: These are efficient and economical devices that can help you heat up the water in your class b van.
  • Electricity Supplied By “House” Battery Or External Hook-Up: You can choose to access power through the outlets in your home or other external locations.
  • Television: A TV set would be nice to have in your campervan as it makes your travel more entertaining and fun.
  • Air Conditioning: When checking the campervan, ensure it has at least a standard air conditioning system.
  • Room Heater Or Central Heating: This is a great device for heating up your camper in case the temperature gets too cold.
  • Portable Water Tank: These lightweight and compact tanks are ideal for transporting both fresh and waste water in your campervan.
  • Wastewater Tank: This is one of the useful and modern amenities in a campervan that helps to transport wastewater from the vehicle.
  • Extendable External Awning: In recent years, owning an awning for your campervan is more than a personal preference as it provides shade from the sunlight and also improves the aesthetic of your vehicle.
  • Generator: You should have a generator in your campervan in case of emergencies.
  • Solar Panels: Solar panels are great to give you that additional electricity when you need it.
  • Bike Rack: This is a device that is normally fixed to the back of the campervan and it is useful for carrying bikes and other stuff.

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Campervan?

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Campervan

Campervans sure do have their advantages, and typically, also come with disadvantages. These are what you should expect.

Advantages Of A Campervan

There are a lot of benefits that are associated with owning a campervan. These include:

  • One of the top advantages of a campervan is that it gives you the freedom to visit so many different destinations.
  • Thanks to its small size, you will be able to park almost anywhere. In case you are planning on spending the night at a campsite, you can easily find ones that offer cheap and affordable parking fees.
  • A campervan does not require as much maintenance as a class C or class A motorhome.
  • This is easily the most affordable version of all the RV styles.
  • A campervan is one of the simplest models to build out, modify, or convert on its own.

Disadvantages Of A Campervan

Campervans are quite small in size and don’t come with a bulk of storage and because of that they have the following disadvantages;

  • The portable shower in a campervan can be uncomfortable. If you normally like taking your time to enjoy those hot showers, then you might find it quite daunting to adapt to the type of showers you will be taking in a campervan.
  • Depending on where you are headed, you might find that there are narrow roads that are not quite passable except if you have a compact car.
  • It does not offer as much space and comfort as a large motorhome, so you might feel a bit cramped inside a campervan.
  • Because of the relatively small living space, you might start to feel claustrophobic if you spend too much time on the road.

Can You Drive A Campervan With Your Car Licence?

Can You Drive A Campervan With Your Car Licence

Most of the campervans that you will see on the market will only require a standard class B driving licence (car licence). This is due to the fact that campervans are recreational vehicles that mostly weigh less than 3500 kg.

How Much Does A Campervan Cost?

The cost of a campervan will vary based on the storage space, brand, and other features it sports. To get a picture of what you are to expect, the base vehicles for a campervan can start anywhere from £10,000 to £100,000.

How Much Maintenance Does A Campervan Require?

Just like your trucks and cars, your campervan will also need routine maintenance under the hood to ensure that it is up and running anytime you wish to use it. It is recommended to take your campervan for two full services every year. The main idea is to make sure your vehicle is regularly serviced and well-maintained.

What To Look For When Buying A Campervan?

What To Look For When Buying A Campervan

When you are looking to get a campervan, whether it is used or new, there are certain features and things you need to be on the lookout for to ensure that your living space is to your liking. These include:

  • Check out the bed design as manufacturers usually focus on this area and you should too. You need to choose the type of bed you are comfortable with as there are various options to pick from including single beds, bunk beds, or even transverse beds.
  • You need to check how spacious the front of the campervan is since you are going to spend a lot of time handling the wheels. You should also determine the amount of storage space you will need.
  • Determine the seating and sleeping arrangement of your living space by first setting out the users of the campervan, whether it is for family trips, couple adventures, or just lone travels to other countries.
  • You need to determine the size of campervan that is best for you from either the larger models or smaller ones.
  • Your budget is also very important and that is what should help guide your search for a new mobile home.

Where To Buy A Campervan?

Once you are done with all your findings about campervans, the next step would be to start looking for places you can get one. There are a lot of increasingly popular sellers of mobile homes on the internet.

However, if you are looking for a leader in this particular field, then you should look no further Oaktree’s exceptional range of quality campervans for sale. Choose from top brands, 2-6 berth options, and enjoy unbeatable value backed by our 3-year RAC warranty.

With 20+ years in the market, 5-star customer satisfaction, and comprehensive pre-purchase inspections, you can trust Oaktree for your next adventure. Benefit from free 1-year MOT, road tax, and flexible financing options. Contact us today to find your perfect campervan!


Generally, a campervan is different from other types of recreational vehicles. However, it still comes equipped with well-designed features, allowing you to explore your next adventure in style.

A campervan is the right choice for you if you want to pick up and go, but it still comes down to your personal preference. These smaller vans allow you to enjoy the freedom of the world while you are out camping.


1. What Is The Difference Between A Campervan And Caravan?

There are no distinct differences between a caravan and a campervan. The campervan is a type of all-in-one recreational vehicle that comes with an engine and you can drive it around and also live in it. The caravan on the other hand is just a living space that does not have an engine, but rather it is towed behind your car.

2. Do Campervans Have Toilets?

There are certainly toilets in campervans as a typical camper van should be comfortable in all areas. Depending on your type of camper van, you could get some different kinds of toilet setups in this mobile home. There are some campervans that come with a portable toilet while other van conversions might come with fully integrated indoor bathroom facilities.

3. Is Driving A Campervan Difficult?

Campervans are recreational vehicles that are larger than a car. However, it would come as a surprise to learn that campervans are not so difficult to drive as long as you follow the rules. If it is your first time driving a motor caravan, it could feel weird. The key differences between driving a small car and larger motorhomes is that you shouldn’t drive too fast and give always yourself some extra space when on the road.

4. What Age Can You Drive A Campervan?

You can start driving a campervan or motorhome from the age of 18, depending on the host of your RV. Whether it is class C motorhomes, class B vehicles, or class A motorhomes, you would need to hold a c1 licence to drive them.

One thought on “What Is A Campervan: A Beginner’s Guide to Vanlife

  1. Hi there! Thhis post couldn’t be written any better! Looking att tis article reminds mme of my previous roommate!

    He always kept preaching about this. Iam going to forward this post to
    him. Pretty sure he’s going to have a good read. Many thnks for sharing!

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