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What is a Campervan? Exploring the Van Life and Rental Benefits

Updated on January 28, 2024



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What is a campervan, you ask? An RV that combines the convenience of transportation with home comforts, campervans are a unique and popular way to explore nature without giving up luxuries.

what is a campervan

These smaller camper vans have gained immense popularity in recent years as people look to explore the great outdoors without sacrificing their creature comforts.

This comprehensive guide will delve into various aspects of campervan life, from understanding different types and benefits to choosing the right one for your needs.

We’ll also discuss how solar panels can enhance your experience on those long trips through national parks or remote locations. Finally, if owning a van isn’t quite right for you at this time, we’ll cover some advantages of renting one instead.

Discover the advantages of campervans for modern-day adventurers with us as we explore this exciting topic!

benefits of owning a campervan
Source: Contravans

What is a Campervan?

A campervan, also known as a camper or RV (recreational vehicle), is an innovative and versatile mode of transportation that combines the features of both a van and a motorhome.

It offers travelers the opportunity to explore the great outdoors with ease while enjoying all the comforts of home. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or embarking on an extended road trip, campervans provide everything you need for your adventure.

An Overview of Campervans

Campervans come in various shapes and sizes but share some common characteristics. They are typically built on standard van chassis, making them more compact than larger motorhomes or travel trailers.

This smaller size allows for easier maneuverability on narrow roads and better fuel efficiency compared to their larger counterparts.

Inside a campervan, living quarters are designed to maximize space usage efficiently. Most models include essential amenities such as:

  • Sleeping areas
  • Kitchen facilities
  • Bathroom facilities (toilet & shower)
  • Dining area
  • Storage compartments

The level of luxury varies depending on the specific model; however, even basic models offer comfort during your travels.

The History of Campervans

Campervans have their roots in the car industry and date back to 1910. The first camper was designed by Alfred J. Bamford, an English engineer who created a prototype using the chassis of a Model T Ford.

In the 1920s and 30s, companies like Pierce-Arrow, GMC, and Packard began building campers based on standard truck or car models.

These early campervans were used primarily for leisure purposes, such as hunting and fishing trips by affluent Americans who could afford them.

The 1950s saw a surge in campervan popularity and innovation due to the post-war economic boom.

Companies started developing more sophisticated designs with better insulation and interior amenities such as refrigerators, stoves, and fold-out beds.

Van conversions increasingly became available at commercial dealerships by this time, allowing working-class people to purchase campervans of their own.

In the 1960s, small motorhomes began appearing in Europe, allowing travelers to explore distant locations more comfortably than ever before.

By 1970, campervanning had become a popular form of holiday travel across much of Europe.

Today’s modern era of RVing has its roots in these adventurous travels from yesteryear.

Exploring the great outdoors and experiencing life on the road can be an exhilarating experience when you own a campervan.

Exploring the advantages of having a campervan is our next topic, so let’s take a look at why they can be such beneficial investments.

Key Takeaway: Campervans are an increasingly popular way to explore the outdoors, providing all of the comforts of home while on-the-go. Combining features from both vans and motorhomes, they offer travelers a unique mix of convenience and mobility for weekend getaways or extended road trips – perfect for visiting Yosemite National Park or taking in California’s stunning Pacific Coast Highway.

camper van during a trip

Benefits of Owning a Campervan

Owning a campervan can be advantageous for those who relish the opportunity to journey and experience nature. From convenience to cost savings, here are some of the top benefits you can enjoy when you own a campervan:

A Home on Wheels

One of the main attractions of owning a campervan is having your very own home on wheels. Having a campervan means you’ll always have your own personal living space, no matter where your travels take you – without having to stress over finding accommodations or booking hotels.

Freedom and Flexibility

Campervans provide unmatched freedom and flexibility in planning your trips. Campervans allow you to switch up your plans as desired, so you can explore new places without worrying about prior reservations for lodging or transportation.

Saving Money

Owning a campervan can save money in several ways:

  • No need for hotel bookings – this means no more expensive room rates during peak seasons.
  • You’ll also save on dining out costs since most campervans come equipped with kitchen facilities where you can prepare meals using fresh ingredients from local markets.
  • Fuel expenses may be lower than flying or renting cars if traveling long distances within one region.

Eco-Friendly Travel Option

Campervans are an eco-friendly way to travel compared with other modes like air travel and cruise ships. By choosing fuel-efficient models or even electric-powered ones such as the Volkswagen ID Buzz Camper, you’re reducing carbon emissions while still enjoying the freedom of the open road.

Customization and Personalization

When you own a campervan, you have the opportunity to customize it according to your preferences. From adding extra storage space or upgrading appliances to personalizing interior design elements, making your campervan truly feel like home is an exciting part of ownership.

Social Connections

Campervans are not just vehicles; they’re also a gateway into a vibrant community of fellow travelers who share similar interests in exploring nature and living life on the road. By joining camping clubs and attending events, you’ll make new friends and create lasting memories with people who understand your passion for adventure.

Owning a campervan offers an unparalleled level of convenience and flexibility when it comes to exploring the outdoors. Given the unique benefits of owning a campervan, let’s examine the various options available.

Key Takeaway: Owning a campervan offers the freedom and flexibility to explore, save money on accommodations, travel in an eco-friendly way with customizations for personalization, plus build social connections. It’s akin to having a second residence that you can use to journey anytime.

types of campervans
Source: Outdoorsy

Types of Campervans

To make the most of your next adventure, knowing what type of campervan best suits your needs and preferences is important.

Each type offers unique features and amenities that cater to various travel styles and needs. In this section, we’ll explore some popular categories of campervans:

Class B Motorhomes (Conversion Vans)

Class B motorhomes, also known as conversion vans, are built on a standard van chassis with added modifications for living space and amenities. 

These compact vehicles offer excellent fuel efficiency and maneuverability while still providing basic facilities such as sleeping quarters, a kitchenette, a toilet, and sometimes even a shower.

Pop-Top Campers

Pop-top campers feature an expandable roof that can be raised when parked to create additional headroom or lowered during transit for better aerodynamics.

This design allows for more spacious interiors without sacrificing mobility or ease of driving. Some popular models include the Volkswagen Westfalia Camper and Ford Transit Connect Campervan.

High-Top Conversion Vans

In contrast to pop-top campers, high-top conversion vans have permanently raised roofs that provide extra interior height throughout the vehicle, ideal for taller travelers or those who prefer not having to raise their camper’s roof manually every time they park up.

Examples include Mercedes Sprinter Van Conversions and Ram ProMaster Campervans.

Slide-Out Campervans

Slide-out campervans come equipped with sections that can be extended outward to create additional living space when parked.

Those seeking more space for relaxation without sacrificing the convenience of a smaller campervan can benefit from slide-out models.

Check out some popular slide-out models like the Winnebago Travato Slide-Out or the Thor Sequence Slide-Out.

4×4 Off-Road Campers

If your adventures take you off the beaten path, consider a 4×4 off-road camper designed to handle rough terrain and challenging conditions while still providing comfortable accommodations on-the-go.

These rugged vehicles are perfect for explorers seeking remote destinations inaccessible by standard campervans, such as the Sportsmobile 4×4 Camper Van or the EarthRoamer LTiS Off-Road RV.

It’s essential to pick the ideal campervan for your journey, budget plan, and requirements so you can have remarkable experiences on your next outdoor venture.

From pop-up campers to 4×4 off-road campers, a wide variety of campervans are available for your outdoor adventures.

With so many models to choose from, it’s essential to find the one that best suits your needs and budget – a topic we will cover in the following section.

Key Takeaway: This article explores the different types of campervans available on the market, from Class B Motorhomes and Pop-Top Campers to High-Top Conversion Vans, Slide-Out Campervans and 4×4 Off-Road Campers. It’s essential to pick a vehicle that fits your individual journey preferences, financial plan and requirements for you to have an unforgettable adventure.

How to Choose the Right Campervan

When selecting a campervan, budget, lifestyle, and needs should be considered to determine the most suitable model.

In this section, we will guide you through some key factors that can help make your decision easier.

Assess Your Budget

The first step in selecting the perfect campervan is determining how much money you are willing to spend on it.

Campervans come at various price points depending on their size, features, and age.

Creating a practical and achievable budget before commencing your search is essential so as not to incur excessive costs or sacrifice quality.

Consider Your Travel Lifestyle

Your travel habits play a significant role in deciding which type of campervan suits you best.

If weekend getaways or short trips are more your style, then a smaller van with basic amenities might be sufficient for your needs.

However, if extended road trips or full-time living is what you have planned, larger motorhomes with additional comforts may be more suitable.

Analyze Storage and Space Requirements

  • Sleeping arrangements: Ensure there are enough beds for everyone who will be traveling with you regularly.
  • Kitchen facilities: A well-equipped kitchen makes meal preparation easier while on the road; look for appliances like stoves and refrigerators based on personal preferences.
  • Bathroom facilities: Some campervans come with a built-in bathroom, while others may require you to use external facilities. Consider your comfort level and needs when deciding on this feature.
  • Storage: Ample storage space is essential for carrying all your belongings during trips; make sure the campervan has enough room for everything you need.

Research Campervan Brands and Models

Once you have identified your needs, it’s time to investigate the various campervan brands and models that meet those criteria.

There are numerous reputable manufacturers in the market, such as:

  • Winnebago
  • Airstream
  • Roadtrek

Take time to read reviews from other campers who own or have rented these vehicles before making any decisions.

Test Drive Before Buying or Renting

A crucial step in choosing the right campervan is taking it for a test drive.

This lets you get a feel for how it handles on the road and determine if its size is manageable.

Additionally, spending some time inside will help confirm whether the layout works well with your lifestyle.

Schedule test drives for multiple options before settling on one that feels like a home away from home.

Considering these factors will ensure that you find the perfect campervan tailored specifically to your needs so that every adventure becomes an unforgettable experience.

By doing a thorough research and considering all factors, you can easily find the ideal campervan to suit your needs.

Renting a campervan offers many advantages that make this type of travel even more enjoyable and convenient.

Key Takeaway: Considering your budget, travel lifestyle, storage needs and research is key when selecting the right campervan. Taking it for a test drive to understand how it handles on the road and if its layout works with your lifestyle will help ensure you make the perfect choice that feels like a home away from home.

Advantages of Renting a Campervan

Renting a campervan is an excellent option for those who want to experience the freedom and adventure of traveling in an RV without making the commitment to purchase one outright. Renting a campervan can provide many benefits, which we will explore here.


Renting a campervan can be more economical than buying one, especially if you only plan to use it occasionally or for short trips.

By renting, you avoid the upfront costs associated with buying an RV, such as down payments and financing fees.

Additionally, maintenance expenses and insurance premiums are typically included in your rental fee.


When you rent a campervan from Ever RV, you have access to various types of vehicles that cater to different needs and preferences.

This allows you to choose the perfect model based on factors like size, amenities offered, fuel efficiency, and overall comfort level.

  • Variety: You can try out different models each time you rent until finding the ideal fit for your lifestyle.
  • No long-term commitment: Renting provides flexibility since there’s no need to worry about reselling or trading in when upgrading or changing preferences.
  • Ease of travel: With rented campervans available across multiple locations worldwide through Ever RV partner networks, you’re sure to find the perfect campervan to make your travels hassle-free.

Trial Run Before Buying

If you are considering investing in your own campervan eventually but are unsure about committing just yet, renting offers an opportunity for trial runs. 

By renting different models, you can better understand what features are essential to your needs and preferences.

Gaining insight through renting a variety of models can help you determine what features are essential to your campervan needs and preferences when it comes time to make the investment.

Minimal Maintenance Responsibilities

Maintenance responsibilities fall on the rental company rather than yourself when renting a campervan.

Professionals take care of regular upkeep, such as oil changes, tire rotations, and general repairs, leaving you with more time to focus on enjoying your adventure.

Support During Your Trip

Renting from a reputable company like Outdoorsy ensures that you have access to support throughout your journey.

From roadside assistance to customer service for any questions or concerns during your trip, peace of mind is guaranteed while exploring the great outdoors in a rented campervan.

In essence, renting a campervan offers numerous advantages for those looking to explore nature without committing to ownership just yet.

With affordability, flexibility in choice, minimal maintenance responsibilities, and professional support available, many travelers opt for this option before diving into RV ownership headfirst.

Key Takeaway: Renting a campervan offers many advantages, including affordability, flexibility in choice, and no long-term commitment. It’s an ideal way to test the waters before investing in RV ownership, with minimal maintenance responsibilities and professional support available throughout your trip.

FAQs in Relation to What is a Campervan

What are the benefits of a campervan?

A campervan offers a unique and convenient way to travel. It allows you to explore the outdoors while having all the comforts of home in one compact vehicle. Staying in a campervan eliminates the need for accommodation while allowing access to places that are otherwise difficult to reach. Additionally, camping with your own van gives you flexibility and freedom when it comes to planning your trip itinerary. The security of having all your belongings safely within the van can provide a sense of tranquility during your travels.

What is the difference between a van and a campervan?

Vans and campervans differ in their characteristics; one is mainly used for transport, while the other has living quarters and recreational features. A van is a vehicle with four to six wheels that typically has no living space or amenities for camping. It can be used for transporting people or goods from one place to another. On the other hand, a campervan is a type of RV (recreational vehicle) that includes sleeping and cooking areas and storage compartments built into the interior design. Campervans also come equipped with additional features, such as solar panels and water tanks for extended off-grid trips away from civilization.

What is the history of campervans?

In the early 1900s, horse-drawn caravans were used for leisurely travel and served as precursors to motorized campers in Europe and North America by the 1940s. By the 1940s, motorized campers began appearing in Europe and North America as a way to explore nature with greater comfort and convenience. In the 1950s, manufacturers started producing more specialized models that could be towed behind cars or trucks. Today’s modern campervans offer kitchens, bathrooms, sleeping areas, and entertainment systems while providing a sense of adventure on the open road.

What is the camper lifestyle?

The camper lifestyle is an outdoor-oriented way of life that involves using a recreational vehicle (RV) to explore the outdoors and travel. Hiking, fishing, biking, swimming, and other activities in the wild are all part of the camper lifestyle that involves RVing to explore nature. Campers can move around easily while enjoying creature comforts like air conditioning or heating, depending on their needs. RV living also allows campers to make new friends with fellow travelers and enjoy unique experiences they would not find at home.

In Conclusion

Possessing or leasing a campervan is an ideal method to investigate the outside and go in solace.

A campervan can provide the ultimate combination of flexibility, convenience, and mobility to make your next trip truly special.

With so many different types available, there’s sure to be one that fits your needs perfectly.

Whether you choose to purchase or rent a campervan, it will give you an unforgettable experience on your next adventure.

Explore the world of campervans and recreational vehicles with us! Discover new adventures, tips, and solutions to make your RVing experience one-of-a-kind.

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<span style="color: #01343d">About</span> Editorial Staff

About Editorial Staff

We’re passionate about all things RV and camper, and love sharing tips, “how-to”, and reviewing the latest products to help make your camping experience a success!

<span style="color: #01343d">About</span> Editorial Staff

About Editorial Staff

We’re passionate about all things RV and camper, and love sharing tips, “how-to”, and reviewing the latest products to help make your camping experience a success!

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