Conversion Vans vs. Mini Motorhome (Class B RV)
How many people know the difference between a Conversion Van, Camper Van, or Mini-Motorhome? Knowing the differences can help an individual make “Good Purchase Decisions”. The right Van can be your daily transportation or RV. The differences become important for simple reasons like:How much will it cost me to insure my vehicle?
- How do I determine a fair “Blue Book” price to buy or sell?
- Does my neighborhood association allow me to park my Van at Home?
- Safety: Is my Vehicle Crash Tested by a Government Agency?
- Who will service my Van when I need repairs or maintenance?
Conversion Vans are not Motorhomes, but they can offer many of the features of a Motorhome. So let us clear up the differences!
Keep in mind there is room to stretch from one class of vehicle to another; and there is no defacto industry definition; just guidelines. Search the listings at RVTRADER.com and you’ll find many Class C’s mixed into the Class B listings not to mention the Class B’s in the Bus Conversions. You’ll even find ordinary Conversion Vans in the mix. It seems people really don’t know what they have! Confusing isn’t it? We love vans and own several different types and is how we at Conversion-Vans.NET define the Vehicle Classes.
- Cargo Van – A Cargo van is a vehicle provided direct from the Manufacture with no rear seats, carpeting, or windows. These vans can be “Up fitted or Converted” to meet the needs of a variety of purposes.
- Camper Van – This is the simple conversion of a stock cargo van to add features helpful for “camping”. So a Camper Van is any van that has been converted for the purpose of camping – simple enough! Yes and No. There is no such thing as a commercial “Camper Van” – unless you get outside of the USA where the nomenclature changes. Camper Vans are typically “Homemade” modifications. A Class B Motorhome can be Called a Camper Van if you please, but you can not call a Camper Van a Class B Motorhome unless it has some very specific features! (See next)
- Class B Motorhome (Class B RV) – Any full fledged Motorhome built on a Cargo Van Chassis by a licensed up fitter. The van may have the top removed or the sides widened, but it is still essentially a van in size and shape. Additionally in order to qualify as a Class B Motorhome the van must have built-in sleeping, eating, and bathroom facilities (Including properly mounting fresh and grey water holding tanks). If the frame of the van has been cut down clear to the floor level (they come direct from Ford, Chevy, and Dodge this way – just a frame and a cab) and built up completely from the floor it’s a Class “C” not a Class “B”.
- Conversion Van (aka Luxury Van, Custom Van) – Any van that has been customized for comfort can be considered a conversion van. These are really luxury vehicles used to transport 6-10 people in comfort. Conversion vans can have some of the features of a “Camper Van” or even a “Class B Motorhome”, but are typically more upscale and designed for daytime use and luxury transportation. These vans may have a raised roof, fancy paintjob, Custom Wheels, Leather Seats, 4 Captains chairs, dual stereo, TV/VCR Combos etc.
- Mini C’s & B+’s – These are really Class “C” Motorhomes masquerading as Class B Motorhomes. They feature sleek aerodynamic body styles – often made of a single fiberglass shell. The Chinook line of Motorhomes by TrailWagons, Inc. is probably the best example. These are also sometimes referred to as B+ Vans. They are in fact built from the same chassis as a Class C, but are made more to look like a Call B. Confusing? Ultimately it doesn’t matter, as long as you find what you want.
So there you have it! The Van is an incredibly versatile mode of transportation that can be “converted” to suit the needs of a variety of individuals and purposes. Vans offer large storage capacity for hauling cargo to completely self contained luxury travel. So don’t just rush out and get a giant RV until you have considered a Conversion Van or Class B RV.
Michael is a Van Owner and Enthusiast having owned Vans from Ford, Chysler, and Chevrolet. Michael enjoys weekend travel, camping, adventure, and being comfortable with family and friends. Vans allow him to really pursue his quest for life at an affordable cost.