If you’ve been dreaming of hitting the open road in a traveling home, you might be overwhelmed by all of the different RV possibilities out there. We’re here to help in demystifying some of the most popular categories of recreational vehicles. In this post, we’re comparing Class B, Class C, and Super C RVs.
Choosing the right class of RV will depend on several factors such as what type of travel you have in mind. Whether you are looking for a nimble ride to campsites off the beaten path or a mobile hotel suite for weekend getaways with the family, there is an RV designed for you. Read on for the details.
What Are the Classes of RVs?
Recreational vehicles are divided into three main classes: A, B, and C. Class A RVs are the largest motorhomes. They are built on bus chassis and run from 29 to 45 feet in length. This post won’t focus on Class A RVs because if you are looking for that style of RV experience, you probably already know it. Class B and Class C RVs are more similar, necessitating a more thorough comparison.
Class B RVs, also called camper vans, are the smallest option on the market. They are often built on Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or Ram ProMaster chassis and run from around 17-23 feet in length. These vehicles blend in seamlessly with commercial delivery vans often seen on the road.
Class C RVs are larger and often built on Ford truck chassis. These motorhomes run anywhere from 21-41 feet long. Most Class C RVs make use of the area over the cab for extra sleeping accommodations, giving these motorhomes their distinctive shape. Both Class B and Class C RVs come in diesel or gas-powered options.
Super C RVs are a subcategory made up of the largest Class C RVs. These motorhomes are built on larger commercial truck chassis with diesel engines. They are known for their roomy floor plans and plentiful exterior storage.
Overall, the size differences between these classes are seen mostly in the length and height of the RVs, as all vehicles need to stay within the same width limit to fit safely into lanes. However, some Class C and Super C RVs have slideouts that can add several feet to the motorhome’s interior width when parked.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what differentiates these classes, let’s get into the lifestyle details! We recommend asking yourself the questions below and compiling your answers to help narrow in on the right rig for you.
How Much Space Do You Need?
Since the main difference between these three classes is size, this is a great question to start with. You should choose the smallest RV that will adequately meet your needs. How can you determine these needs? First, how many people will be traveling in the vehicle? One to two adventurers can live comfortably in a Class B camper van. You might be able to squeeze in another guest if you opt for a camper van with a pop-top sleeping area, but spending time in the van will probably feel uncomfortably cramped. If you plan on traveling with family or friends, you’ll want to look into a Class C or Super C RV.
Second, how long of stretches will you be traveling in the motorhome? Road warriors can comfortably live full-time in any class of RV, provided that the size is correct for the number of travelers. However, a solo traveler or couple might also consider a Class C or Super C RV if they want to live in the RV full-time or go on extended trips. Besides more spacious interiors, these models offer ample storage, which is a boon if you’re keeping all of your worldly possessions on board or have lots of bulky gear.
What Type of Adventures Are You Interested In?
Like animals that have evolved to suit their environments, RVs are designed for different destinations and types of travel. If you plan on staying in one place for a long time, like retirees who head to warmer climates for the winter, a Class C or Super C can serve as a well-appointed home away from home. If you’d rather zip around from place to place, the maneuverability and lower fuel costs of a smaller Class B van are ideal.
Enjoy the amenities of RV parks and resorts? Class C and Super C vehicles will serve you perfectly. If you prefer to head to natural locations off the beaten path, these larger recreational vehicles may struggle on narrow and bumpy roads and won’t fit in some campsites. Nimble Class B RVs, especially those with four-wheel drive, are up for the task of boondocking almost anywhere.
Class B vans are also easier to maneuver and park on city streets. Stealth camping in the city is an option for van dwellers that is trickier with the RVs that look like, well, RVs. The length and height of Class C and especially Super C RVs can also pose a problem when it comes to finding parking in the city.
What Amenities Do You Want?
Class B camper vans are the most compact form of traveling home. If you choose a prebuilt camper van like those offered at RecVan, you’ll get a sleeping area, dining and lounging area, small kitchenette setup, bathroom, and storage. Everything you need–but nothing more.
When you upgrade to a Class C RV, each of these spaces will be larger and more delineated, with multiple sleeping areas and more privacy for each traveler. You’re also likely to get a full bathroom with a separately enclosed shower, unlike the wet bathrooms in many Class B vans where the entire bathroom space is used as the shower.
Super C RVs take this to the next level with more space and amenities, such as full-sized residential refrigerators. Super Cs also have more basement storage than their non-super counterparts. This means you can bring all the camping, barbequing, and outdoor sporting goodness along for the ride, as well as off-season clothing and supplies if you are living in the motorhome year-round.
What Driving Experience Do You Prefer?
Each class of RV has its own pros and cons when it comes to the driving experience. As we mentioned, Class B RVs are easier to maneuver and park thanks to their smaller size. Operating one of these vans will feel more like the driving experience you are familiar with.
What Class C and Super C RVs lack in agility, they make up for with a comfortable ride. These motorhomes are built on chassis with wider wheelbases, making them feel extra steady and secure on the road. Some even harness the technology that ambulances use for a smooth ride. Driving and parking these larger rigs can take some practice, but many have rear-view cameras to help you navigate your surroundings. These RVs also have significantly higher towing capacities, so you can bring along a small vehicle for day trips or errands in the city.
What Is Your Budget?
Despite the difference in size and amenities, the difference in price between these options is less than you might think. Class B vans generally run the cheapest, but not by much. The furnishings of these small traveling homes are built right into customized van bodies, which is labor-intensive. The bodies of Class C and Super C motorhomes, on the other hand, are built on top of a bare chassis and attached to the cab and over-cab bunk area, making them relatively less expensive to produce. Class B vans can also be more expensive to fix due to the specialized manufacturing process.
However, the smaller the RV, the less you’ll spend on fuel as well as heating and cooling costs when not using RV park hookups. You’re more likely to find free camping spots with a smaller rig too. As you can see, budget should be a secondary consideration to lifestyle when determining which class of RV to go with.
Overall, your optimal RV class depends on all of the factors listed above. Whether you’re looking for a mobile vacation home for tropical RV park trips with the family or a minimalist home to explore nature’s hidden gems full-time, you can find it at RecVan. Browse our large collection of Class B, Class C, and Super C RVs from the most trusted brands in the business.
Still can’t choose between Class B and Class C? Check out the Winnebago Ekko, which combines the best of both worlds. Ready to hit the road less traveled? Read our guide to some of the best 4×4 Class B campervans. If quality time with the family is more your thing, we’ve got you covered with our list of Class C RVs that sleep 4+ people.