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Class B camper vans. Any experience?


Charlie Harley, #14153

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My wife and I are contemplating a camper van for the next phase of our outdoor life. An overwhelming number of sizes, features, options, etc.

 

I know there’s some RV’ers in the Saloon and was hoping someone might have experience with the small ones.  
 

We’re grateful for any thoughts folks might share. 

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Some class Bs are super nice but most I've seen seem cramped for even two people. Very limited space but road manners much easier than larger campers.

 

Even a smaller class C has a lot more room but can be trickier to park, probably costs more in fuel useage too.

 

I have seen a Sprinter class B that looked to be better on usable room, but higher cost soon factors in.

 

 

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We have a Thor Majestic Class C.  It is 19 feet long and was purchased used from Cruise America.  The only concern we had initially was could we manage getting into and sleeping in the cab over bed.  That turned out not to be a problem.  For 2 people, it's fine.  It is small, so you have to get used to it.

 

We've modified it quite a bit and added a cargo carrier and outside sewer hose storage.   We've taken it to End of Trail and to any multi day shoot in the SE.   We prefer it to hotels as it is our own stuff and food.    We can cook, eat and have bathroom facilities anywhere.   The bathroom/shower is small, but separate so it's easy to use compared to stopping at a rest stop.  I have a sewer connection at home that I use to dump the tanks after a trip.

 

One advantage of the small RV is that it can be driven around and parked like a large truck.  We do not take an extra car.  We use it to drive around town and have not had issues with either driving in cities or parking.  We've worked it out so we can disconnect from a camping spot in about 10 minutes.  It takes about the same to reconnect.

 

I will be at the SE regional in Alabama with the camper.   We will camping at the range and, if you're there, you're welcome to take a look.

 

Null N. Void

 

 

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If this is your 1st RV, I would recommend buying something used.   Let the original owner take the depreciation hit.  This will be your learning camper.  After 2 years of use, you will have a much better idea of what you really need based on how you use it.  There's a lot of options in the RV industry.  You have to decide what you are willing to spend and how big you want to go.

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I rented a Class B for a trip from Ottawa out to PEI and NFL for my wife and I.

If you just want a place to sleep we found it sort of OK, but when we had inclement weather, being stuck inside a small truck was not our favourite thing.

In 2014, we eventually purchased a 2013, 23 foot Class C that had been rented for one year so all the little and big things that could go wrong with them had been found and fixed.  (or the dealer couldn't rent it!)

It has a extra things on it the Class B did not: Genny; A/C; TV; Microwave; three way frig/freezer; toilet, hot water tank; awning etc. and lots of stowage space. I have an outside rack mounted on the trailer hitch, where I carry my gun cart.

 

Pitfalls include: It does like it's gas and it is taller and the than the Class B and when you want to buy a loaf of bread and a dozen eggs, you're driving a 23 foot truck,  We learned to love Walmart shopping for their parking lots!

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When we were younger, we started with smaller RV's, and the goal seemed to be to eventually have the biggest camper in the group. After working our way up to 30+ footers, we started the other direction. I'm down to using a 14.4' Jayco most of the time, and my cousin & his wife beat me out with a Dodge Ram Promaster (?). They've been coast to coast and border to border with it, plus into Canada several times, and say they've got no need to ever have anything bigger anymore.

 

@Navy Davey has something similar from Ford, I believe. 

 

DodgePromaster.jpg

 

 

My little Jayco. It's got a small bathroom with a tiny shower/tub and a toilet, two burner stove, furnace, a/c, 3-way refrigerator, and a small closet. I converted the table to a semi-permanent bed by leaving it folded down and putting a 10" memory foam mattress on it, and added a dual propane bottle rack. My 32'er gets out maybe twice a year anymore - this is just so much handier to prep, hook up, tow, and park. The biggest guy on the range has the smallest trailer. You don't really get into this thing at night so much as put it on. :lol:

 

Jayco.thumb.jpg.ced52a58d92be3522b4e7d603e82dd4a.jpg

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Mine is a homemade 15 person conversion.  Platform king size bed, small 12v/120 cooler/freezer, microwave, porta lu for the wife. Also a safe in the back. No running water or stove I cook with a camping stove. Best discrption is a tent on wheels. Jedi Knight has a full Adventure Van. Mine is a Ford Transit Van 16-18 mpg total 8 feet tall. If you need more info let me know

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3 hours ago, Badlands Bob #61228 said:

...Let the original owner take the depreciation hit...

 

Sage advice for any new vehicle. 

 

3 years back a local RV dealer, late in the year had several Class Cs marked down by what they said was 50% and the price was still $60,000. I imagine even at "50%" off they were making a pile on these.  Even with that markdown, I'll wait for something 2-3 years old.

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Done the Truck Camper, Then Small Bumper Pull Trailer,  Truck Camper ( again ) Now a Class C that measures 25' 9 inches from front bumper to the back of the outside ladder on the rear. The berth over the driver is 104 inches by 54 inches, the rear bed is 54 inches by 88 inches on the long side 78 inches on the short side... 

The foot is angled...

The dinette folded down is 75 inches by 58 inches... No slide .... Sleepy time pull over shut her down walk back use the washroom, jump in bed ... Gets better gas mileage than my Dodge 3/4 ton with a 5.7 hemi... did empty... 

 

Jabez Cowboy  

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You might also try "Forest River Forums" and pose your question(s) there.

Lots of people with a library of knowledge always ready to help. 

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16 hours ago, Badlands Bob #61228 said:

If this is your 1st RV, I would recommend buying something used.   Let the original owner take the depreciation hit.  This will be your learning camper.  After 2 years of use, you will have a much better idea of what you really need based on how you use it.  There's a lot of options in the RV industry.  You have to decide what you are willing to spend and how big you want to go.

THIS ^^^^^^ ! ;)

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We started out with a cabover camper then graduated to a 23' travel trailer. Then a 26' travel trailer which was mainly my deer hunting cabin on wheels. My wife wanted to start traveling so we upgraded to a 41' 5th wheel that is like a one bedroom apt on wheels. It is huge but very comfy. Now she says it is too big and wants to downsize back to around a 35' travel trailer if she can find a floor plan she likes. So guess I will be putting the beast up for sale in the near future. My only advise is not the buy one built during the Covid shutdown period. They seem to have a lot of issues that are still being sorted out. Buy either before 2020 or after 2022.

 

TM

 

 

2022 Angel Fire RV Resort.jpg

3763BP C.jpg

Bayfield RV Park.jpg

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My camper was built in 20 and you are so right! So far 25 things wrong with it. Just got a working fridge this year after 2 replacements and this was finally after 3 visits, repaired and has been working so far this year. But the stereo ( mono) died! And it's worth half or less of what we paid for it new in 20.:angry:

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I am not into campers or mobile homes, but there is a guy just down the road in an unincorporated area who has a sideline of demolishing them for components and scrap.  Passing these demolitions nearly every day, I can't imagine I would ever get one.  Two of my kids got hold of a Mercedes Sprinter van used and transformed it into a very useful and comfortable travel vehicle.  The only caveat, not good in snow.  They relocated to a snowy area and have gotten rid of it.  Based on what I have seen, something like that might be more appealing, certainly sturdier.

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My 20 foot Astra van meets this El Rey's needs to travel to Shooting events, sea scouting regattas and for hunting

It's easy to park, comfortable, has a nice stove, reefer and furnace plus Microwave and A/C.

 

 

 

 

 

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@Smart *  aka Smart Asterisk travels to lots of shoots in one with his wife. They spend a lot of time on the road in theirs.

 

IIRC he is based out of Florida so they should be at the Southwest Regional. Look them up, they should be able to give you lots of pointers.

 

Last time I saw them they had a Silver Mercedes camper van.

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There are all kind of solutions.  I like the Mercedes Sprinters or equivalent IF you are going, setting up and staying.  If I have to tow transportation behind a big powered RV I might as well pick a tow behind that I can pull with and existing vehicle.  So then I look at my existing vehicle and figure out how much I can pull.

 

I had a nice hybrid with the drop down ends, kitchen and small shower.  Pulled OK with a 3.7L truck.

 

But hey, I grew up with popups so I don't need a 200k diesel pusher.

 

I can tell you that Cruise America unit that I rented may sleep 7 but it drove rough and it was just big.  

 

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I had a Class B+ for 3 years.  Bought it used.  All the comforts of home.  Named it SKI (Spending Kid’s Inherence).  Main purpose in the purchase was to attend SASS Nationals in New Mexico and circular route back home, Grand Canyon, etc.  Also the son lived in Georgia and didn’t have a spare bedroom for when we visited.  SASS Nationals moved to Oklahoma and son moved to Wisconsin (spare bedroom).  Overnight stays at SASS matches and a trip to the Ark Encounter in Kentucky.  Overnight stays at Cracker Barrel, Bass Pro, WalMart parking lots were a breeze.  One WalMart stay noisy construction started around 4 AM, I slid into the driver’s seat and off we went.  10 MPG was normal, once I had a strong tail wind and got 12 MPG.  Retail market was high at the time so I sold it.  If I had a place for inside storage I would have kept it.

 

 

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