Campervan or Class B RV manufacturers are less sought after than the larger Class A or more compact Class C varieties but there is a growing interest in these all-in-one van-based vehicles. True, the Mercedes Sprinter has led the way and the Fiat Ducato chassis is now attracting more attention. But the long-standing reference for these vehicles in the VW Kombi.
Camper vans come in all shapes and sizes and the larger campervans could easily be classed as a motorhome. It largely depends upon which country you are in. For example, vans rented by the likes of Jucy Campers in Australia, New Zealand and the US are definitely too small to live in but take a larger van to start with and you could convert it to something suitable for long-term travel.
In the world of campervans as we know them, there are several variations but it is only the builders of the larger variations that would be considered Class B RV manufacturers.
The smallest are tiny, absolutely tiny. They are small van versions of popular cars or even small people movers. Most offer sleeping for two. Some though have just a single bed. You will usually find only very simple cooking facilities and perhaps a cupboard to store the smallest portable toilet. Most have a lifting roof of some sort but some have a high-top. This last means they may exceed the height limit for multi-storey car-parking.
The main UK-based manufacturers of these one- or two-person vehicles include:
- Stimson Designs
A slightly larger version is built on the Mazda Bongo van.
Well-known in the right-hand-drive world being used as city delivery vans and widely regarded as the Japanese equivalent of the VW Kombi. These small van conversions come from Japan where tax advantages are given if you sell your vehicle for export after just three years. For the right-hand-drive world, this offers offer excellent value for money and there is a flourishing “Japanese Used” market in the UK, New Zealand and… Russia! Some vans have four wheel drive which makes them suitable for light-weight, poor-road travel. We’re not sure we’d want to live in one though…
UK-based conversion businesses include:
- Direct Campers
- Clearcut Conversions
The Classic Campervan / Class B RV Manufacturers
Volkswagen campers are the reference point for the Happy Camper. Over fifty years of hippies, young families and aging hippies have ensured their popularity and longevity. There are thousands on the roads of the planet and they are still being built today by Volkswagen with support from a handful of specialist converters. They offer comfortable accommodation for two or more in a vehicle small enough to be used as the family car. Toyota vans are also popular as base vehicles for conversion.
When bigger vans are converted, they are sometimes known as ‘panel van’ conversions. These size vans are getting closer to the North American Class B RV offering more room. It is easier to fit a useful sized washroom and a kitchen that is a little more than functional. They are big enough to offer standing headroom and some have a fitted double bed across the back of the van.
Campervan and medium-sized Class B RV manufacturers in the UK, include:
- Devon Conversions
- IH Motorhomes
- Timberland Motorhomes
- Torbay Camper Conversions
- Volkswagen California
- Westfalia Ford
Most motorhome manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand fit into this category. You can find them here.
In North America, the Class B RV manufacturers listed below build vehicles that fit the criteria for campervan and medium-sized motorhomes, most often using the Mercedes Sprinter van as a base vehicle.
- Advanced RV
- Custom Vehicles
- Great West Vans
- K & D Custom Coach
- Leisure Travel Vans