A Class B Campervan is quite simply a Campervan built, either as a DIY Project, by the Manufacturer or by a registered Coachbuilder on the chassis of a small passenger carrying or work van.
Class B Campervans are only one of the 3 classifications of Campervan, there are also Class A and Class C Campervans. We’ll discuss what they are, and more importantly what licences you will need to drive them later in this post. Firstly, let’s have a look at what you can expect to find in a Class B Campervan
What Amenities Does A Class B Campervan Have?
By it’s very definition a Class B Campervan is a Van Derived Campervan, so as you can imagine, space is going to be limited.
However, by using a bit of creativity, Campervan Designers have managed to ensure that owners of smaller vehicles, such as Class B Campervans, don’t go without many of the luxuries you would expect to find in a larger RV or Motorhome.
The following is a list of things that you are probably going to find in a Class B Campervan:
- Somewhere to Sleep, most likely fold away
- A Table to eat at, again probably fold away
- A seating/living area
- Swivel front seats to make extra living space
- A Cooker
- A Sink
- A Toilet of sorts, probably a Thetford Cassette type
- A Fridge or Cooler
- Curtains and thermal window screens
- A limited amount of storage space
- Possibly a Pop Top for extra headroom and sleeping quarters
- Some form of heating
- Separate water and waste systems
- A Power System with Mains Hook Up and Leisure Batteries
- Possibly, but not always Solar Panels
This is a fairly comprehensive list, which I believe covers most set-ups, but be aware that some of the amenities will be in certain models and not in others.
How Many People Does A Class B Campervan Sleep?
A Class B Campervan will normally sleep between 2 and 4 people. However there are a few which sleep 5, or 4 plus a child.
Of course the number of people a Class B Campervan can sleep will be limited by how many seatbelts the Campervan has.
It’s no good saying a Campervan can sleep 5 when it only has 4 seatbelts, even if it has enough room, you wouldn’t be able to legally transport the other person to where you were going to set up.
The beds in a Class B Campervan are usually folded or stored away until they are needed. A 2 berth will generally have a rock and roll bed set-up, whereas a 4 berth will normally have a pop top and rock and roll bed combination. 5 Berth Class B Campervans often have some form of hammock to make up the 5th bed.
Are Class B Campervans Fuel Efficient?
Your Class B Campervan is going to be less fuel efficient than the figures given out by the manufacturer for that type of van before it was made into a Campervan.
Fuel efficiency in a Campervan is generally directly related to how much you can keep the weight of your vehicle down to. Which then becomes a trade off between which luxuries and amenities you are prepared to do without.
Obviously, fuel type, how you choose to drive it, engine size and vehicle manufacturer are all factors too, but the weight of your Campervan is probably going to be the most significant factor when it comes to fuel efficiency.
What Is A Class A Campervan?
A Class A Campervan is a Campervan built on the chassis of a Bus, or what you would describe as a Lorry or Large Delivery van here in the UK.
A Class A Campervan is truly a Motorised Home, hence they are often called Motorhomes. A Class A Campervan is like a small home from home on wheels, it will have many of the amenities you would expect to find in a house that you wouldn’t expect to find in a Class B Campervan, such as:
- Fixed Beds
- A Wet Room and Toilet Cubicle
- Plenty of Headroom without the need for a Pop Top
- A Fixed Living Space with table
- TV and Internet
- A proper Kitchen with larger Fridges, Cookers and Sinks
- Drinking, Grey and Black Water Systems
- Plenty of storage space and options
- A Larger Power System with 12V and 240V Sockets and an Inverter
Class A Campervans are much larger than Class B Campervans and it can sometimes be difficult to find somewhere to park them. Class A Campervans are generally between 25 and 40 feet long and they are wider than normal vans. They often weigh between
What Is A Class C Campervan?
A Class C Campervan fits nicely into the space between the monster Class A Campervans and the compact Class B Campervans.
Class C Campervans have almost all of the luxury amenities afforded by Class A Campervans, but everything is done on a more compact, smaller scale.
This miniaturising of the Class C Campervan and it’s amenities into a Class A allows it to be built into a far smaller vehicle, generally something between 20 and 30 feet long and only slightly wider than a Class B Campervan.
Making everything smaller also has the benefit of making Class C Campervans lighter and therefore more economical to run than their larger counterparts, but not a economical as the Class B.
Class C Campervans are generally starter Motorhomes for those wishing to spend a lot more time on the road, but without giving up the luxuries of home.
Why Choose A Class B Campervan over Classes A And C?
As you can see Class A and Class C Campervans offer more luxury and convenience than Class B Campervans, but if you are prepared to rough it a little more, the benefits of having a Class B Campervan can more than make up for it, such as:
- Class B Campervans are easier to park
- They have better fuel economy
- They can still be used as a day to day vehicle
- They cost far less to purchase then Class A or C Campervans
- They don’t need to be put in specialist storage facilities when not in use
- There is usually very little prep time required pre-trip, you just jump in and go
Probably the most important of the factors mentioned above is the affordability of a Class B Campervan. It opens up Campervan ownership to the younger generation and allows them to get out and explore the world while they are still young enough to enjoy it.
What Licences Do I Need To Drive A Campervan?
I can only speak from a UK perspective here as I have no knowledge of overseas licencing classes.
Here in the UK all Campervans can be driven on a Car Licence, which is known as a C1 Licence, providing their Axle Weight, now known as MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass) is below 7.5 Tonnes.
If the MAM is over 7.5 Tonnes (this will be a seriously big Campervan), the you will need a Class C Licence, which used to be known as HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle).
You can also drive Bus Derived Campervans on the licences above, obviously keeping in mind the MAM figures, providing the bus has less than 17 seats and is not being driven for reward/payment. If it did/was, you would need a PCV (Passenger Carrying Vehicle) Licence
What Are The Most Common Models Of Class B Campervan?
Some of the more popular Class B Campervans available, which you will probably be familiar with are:
The VW Campervan
VW Campervans are probably the most iconic of all Campervans in the UK and quite possibly worldwide. The VW Campervan opened up the possibility of travelling the open roads without the need for Hotels and Motels to a whole generation in the 60’s and 70’s.
They still manufacture Campervans today and VW Campervans are as popular as ever.
The Mercedes Sprinter
The Mercedes Sprinter is becoming increasingly popular with Campervan enthusiasts. Mostly due to the reliability of the Mercedes Engines, the head height available and the superior build of their vehicles, the Mercedes Sprinter pushes the limits between Class B and Class C Campervans.
The Mazda Bongo
The Bongo is one of the smallest Campervans here in the UK and it fits between a Day Van used by Surfers and a very tight, space limited, occasional Campervan.
They are affordable and popular with the younger crowd.
The Peugeot Boxer
The Peugeot Boxer is also popular as a Campervan here in the UK. It is similar in size to the Mercedes Sprinter, but far more affordable, hence it’s popularity with the younger generation too.
The Ford Transit
The Ford Transit is an extremely well known and popular vehicle. It is just large enough to be used as a Campervan in the short wheelbase version. However, there are numerous configurations of wheelbases, chassis and bodies.
Our first Campervan was a Class C Campervan made on the Chassis of a Ford Transit Mark three, 2.5 Litre Diesel.
The Renault Trafic
The Renault Trafic, spelled with one “f”, just to annoy people I think. Is a very similar size and performance vehicle to the Ford Transit and comes at a similar price.
What Is A Class B Campervan? – Summary
As we have discussed, a Class B Campervan is a Van derived, limited space, occasional motorhome that can be driven on a Car Licence.
Class B Campervans are extremely popular, especially with the younger generation due to their affordability, convenience, ease of parking and driving and their fuel economy.
Class B Campervans are ideal vehicles to give those of us without the luxury of a bulging bank account the chance to try out Van Life. If it appeals to us, we always have the option to upgrade to a Class C then Class A Campervan in the future as we trade up the ladder.