Class B RV living is a growing trend in America. This style of living accommodates the desire to travel and participate in the minimalist, tiny home fad that has recently increased in popularity. Can you live full-time in a Class B RV?
The short answer: Yes, you can live full-time in a Class B RV, which is a popular alternative to the traditional brick and mortar homes for younger and older generations alike. This form of living allows for the comforts of conventional RV living without the strains of driving or hauling a massive vehicle.
For the remainder of this article, you will learn how to live full-time in a Class B RV and how much it costs. You will also learn how to choose the best Class B RV for you.
Tips for Living Full-Time in a Class-B RV
If you are an experienced camper or tiny-home resident, Class B RV living requires minimal adjustment. However, since Class B RVs are more petite than Class As, the switch from living at home to moving into a Class B RV will take some modifications.
Three tips for living full-time in a Class B RV include becoming a minimalist, optimizing your space, and embracing the outdoors.
Become a Minimalist
Class B RVs do not come with substantial storage space. Before moving into your RV full-time:
- Be intentional about de-cluttering.
- Bring what you need and give away what you don’t.
- Consider renting a unit for storage to keep your larger items that are unnecessary for most of the year.
Optimize Your Space
Tiny living can be an enjoyable opportunity for creative thinking. Your living space will be multi-purposeful, meaning you will need to consider the best way to organize your belongings to optimize your area and how you use it.
Consider different organization methods and have fun decorating your new home.
Embrace the Outdoors
Regardless if you are living alone or with your family, Class B RV living can feel tight. Because your house is portable, the world is your home. Spend time outside enjoying nature. If you are frequently traveling to new places, take the opportunity to visit local museums or tourist spots.
Cost of Living Full-Time in a Class-B RV
Full-time living in a Class B RV has the potential to save you money, but it could cost more than living in a traditional home.
The upfront cost of purchasing a Class B RV may surprise you. The cost of a Class B RV can range from $100K to $300K, and it is often more expensive to purchase a Class B RV than a Class A because of the higher manufacturing cost. However, Class B RVs tend to have a lower long-term price, making them more budget-friendly in the long run.
There are multiple living costs to consider with Class B RVs:
- Your RV payment could be similar to a mortgage. You will probably spend most of your nights at campgrounds which have a wide range of fees.
- RV memberships for full-time RV living can be an excellent resource, but they add to your bills.
- You’ll need to take out insurance on your RV to protect your investment.
In addition to other everyday expenses, these bills can add up to a surprising amount. Consider these various costs as you transition to full-time Class B RV living.
Types of Class-B RVs
There are various Class B camper options. Some of the most popular brands include:
Each of these companies has a variety of models and floor plans for you to look through. The shell of a Class B RV is a cargo van like a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ram Promaster, or a Ford Transit.
A less expensive alternative to purchasing your RV from a manufacturer is to buy a cargo van and make your Class B RV yourself or with the help of a professional.
Building Your Own Class-B RV
Building your class B RV is a great, budget-friendly alternative to purchasing one from a large manufacturer. However, it can be a lot of work and does not have the same warranties as a manufactured motorhome.
To DIY a Class B RV, you will need to have an extensive building skill set or hire a professional.
You need to pick a van and clear it, leaving only the shell. Once you have chosen a floor plan and what you want to include inside, you or a professional will have to install the wiring, plumbing, and interior furniture.
Despite the work, a new DIY Class B RV will be a significant fraction of the cost of a standard, new Class B RV. You want to ensure that you or your hired professional have the proper skill set to complete the project correctly.
Also read: 10 Best Sprinter Van Conversion Companies
Pros and Cons of Class-B RV Living
Class B RV living is an excellent option for singles or small families who want to travel. Just like any living style, there are pros and cons.
Class B RVs are great for long-term travel as they do not cause extra driving or parking stress. Since your RV is simply a reconverted van, it will fit in most standard parking spaces, and you may even be able to park it in areas other than camper sites overnight.
You can also easily maneuver through busy streets, which would not be possible in a Class A RV.
Another pro to Class B RVs is their gas use. Some use diesel, while others use standard gas. Because of their vehicle model, they have the best gas mileage out of all classes of RVs.
The most significant con of full-time Class B RV living is the tight space. Your kitchen, bathroom, and the sleeping area will all be tiny and multi-purposed. For instance, many Class B RVs use the couch, or living room, for the bedroom.
Your kitchen will have minimal space making it difficult to cook extravagant meals. If you enjoy cooking, this is a downside to consider.
The Difference Between Class B RVs and Other Types of RVs
The classification of RVs ranges from A-C. Here are some of the differences:
- Class A RVs are more traditional models. They are the largest type of RV and tend to be less expensive than Class B RVs because they are easier to build. The manufacturer makes the internal contents and then creates the shell around it rather than starting with the body and accommodating the interior layout based on the provided square feet.
- Class C RVs tend to have vans or trucks as the shell, like Class Bs. They are larger than Class B RVs and are not guaranteed to have all the amenities that other RVs may have. The location of the sleeping area is often near the top of the vehicle over the front seats. This design allows for optimal space and prevents the sleeping area from being combined with the living room.
- Another type of RV is the trailer RV. This model can vary in size and amenities. A camper trailer is not motorized, thus, requiring another vehicle to tow it.
Living full-time in a Class B RV is doable and growing in popularity.
Class B RVs are the smallest type of RV, but they are the most maneuverable. Before beginning your Class B RV life, it is essential to determine what model works best for you, how you will finance this lifestyle change, and what you will do with your extra belongings.
RV life has the potential to save money, but because of the minimal square footage, it requires intentional preparation and adjustment.
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David Parnell is the founder and lead editor at Trail and Summit, who enjoys writing on a wide range of topics from travel trailers to trail running. He’s an accomplished mountain endurance athlete who has completed over 25 ultra marathon races (follow on Strava). He is most proud of his finish at The Drift 100 – a high elevation, 100 mile winter foot race that zigzags along the Continental Divide in Wyoming. In the future he hopes to compete in the ITI 350 and ultimately the full 1,000 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational that follows the same path as the historic dog sled race.