RV sizes and prices vary as much as their floor plans and features. But if you’re looking for that small Class C RV to get you and your family around comfortably and efficiently, while still being able to navigate the vast majority of National Parks, this round up of options is for you.
Having a small RV is nice because you have your camper and vehicle in one package, but there are some factors to consider before heading out. Each National Park has its own rules regarding vehicle length, so be sure to check with your destinations to be sure your camper is allowed inside the Park and its campgrounds.
Otherwise, you might be parking outside of the Park and have to find transportation to explore inside.
Some Parks limit vehicle size only in certain areas, so you may find you can park at the campsite, but may have to find alternate transportation to a special spot. (i.e. Mariposa Grove in Yosemite.) Also, if your RV has a bump-out, check to be sure the campsite has room for it.
Each National Park has a website with information on vehicle size regulations and campsite accommodations, so check before you go.
Sizes are shown: Length x Width x Height. Always measure your actual vehicle’s size as features like bumpers and ladders may add a few inches. Dimensions do not include side mirrors, but most can fold inward these days.
Tip: We made a laminated card with our vehicle dimensions for quick reference when approaching that narrow road, tunnel, or overpass, and kept it in the dashboard console.
Notes: Alternate models with a bump-out (in parentheses) will typically add $1k – $5k to the price. Also, the first 6 in this list are mid-range price models (MSRP < $100k)
Let’s dive right into the list! Here’s the 9 smallest class C RVs:
1. Winnebago Outlook 22E (22C w/ bump-out)
24’-2” x 8’-5” x 10’-9”. Sleeps 4+. Ford E-350 chassis. Contact dealer for auto-leveling options. 54×80 bed. Great option at an affordable price and you have all the amenities you need for comfortable living, at an efficient size. The 80-inch deep bed is especially nice for us taller folks.
The 22C model includes a bump-out that allows you to walk around the queen bed. That can be a nice feature, especially when your partner is napping after a long day. Note, there are other Winnebago Class Cs in this size range, but the Outlook has the lowest starting price point.
2. Jayco Redhawk 22J (incl. bump-out)
24’-8” x 8’-4” x 11’-6”. Sleeps 5. Ford E-450 chassis. Auto leveling option available. 60×70 bed. The standard model includes a bump-out with a walk-around queen bed, which is nice. The bed is only 70 inches deep, but with the bump-out, you have a little extra space to extend your feet.
3. Thor: Four Winds 22B/22E; or Chateau 22E; or Freedom Elite 22FE
24’ x 8’-3” x 11’. Sleeps 4+. Ford E-350 of Chevy 3500 chassis. An electric stabilizer option is available. 54×80 bed. All these models start around 24 feet, have a similar price point, and an 80-inch deep bed.
Also, each has an option for a bump-out for the queen bed, giving you that extra legroom. Again, if that legroom is not critical, you can save some money and not worry about fitting a bump-out into those tight campsites.
4. Coachmen Freelander 22 XG (21 RS w/ bump-out)
24’-3” x 8’-4” x 10’-11”. Sleeps 4+. Ford E-350 chassis. An electric stabilizer option is available. 60×80 bed. This is a new model for 2020 so there may not be many reviews yet. It has all of the features you need, a nice layout, and notably a full 80-inch deep bed. That’s a nice feature for those of us pushing 6 feet tall. And if you want the bump-out, look at the Coachmen Freelander 21 RS.
5. Gulfstream Conquest 6237 (6220 w/ bump-out)
24’-1” x 8’-4” x 11’-3”. Sleeps 4+. Ford E-350 Chassis. Auto leveling option available. 60×74 bed. The base model has a nice floor plan and features, all the comfort you need for a family of four on the road.
The queen bed is larger than some in this class at 74 inches. Note there is a single step up heading towards the sleeping area. Not a big deal though, each RV manufacturer and model will have its unique aspects. Go take a look inside and see what it feels like for you.
6. Forest River Forester 2351 LE (2251 SLE w/ bump-out)
25’ x 8’-5” x 11’-3”. Sleeps 4+. Chevy chassis. No auto-level option for the Chevy model. 60×80 bed. Nice layout, and an 80-inch deep bed, but it does include a step-up near the bedroom. If you have trouble on unlevel surfaces, this is just something to keep in mind when you explore the interior.
Next up: Let’s get into the higher-end price models (MSRP > $100k)…
7. Dynamax Isata 3 24FW (incl. bump-out)
24’-7” x 7’-10” x 11’-5”. Sleeps 4+. Mercedes Benz sprinter chassis. Auto-leveling option is available. 60×74 bed. This is your higher-end brand and includes a full-width bump-out (FW) for the bed and dining area. The queen bed is a gel-infused memory foam mattress which is a nice feature. There is also a solar panel upgrade option.
The Isata RB model has no bump-out, but it also requires you to drop-down the queen bed in the dining area. This may still be a good option for you but will require some set-up before grabbing that quick nap.
8. Entegra Odyssey 24B (incl. bump-out)
26’-8” x 8’-4” x 11’-8”. Sleeps 4+. Ford E-450 chassis. Auto-leveling option is available. 60×70 bed. The 24B model includes a bump-out for the queen bed and dinette. A nice model, with high-quality features for the higher starting price. The queen bed is only 70 inches long which may not work for some, but adding a bump-out can give you that extra legroom.
Also, at nearly 27 feet this vehicle is a bit longer than the others shown above, so keep that in mind if you’re concerned about RV length.
9. Tiffin Wayfarer 25QW (incl. 2 bump-outs)
25’-7” x 7’-6” x 11’-4”. Sleeps 4+. Mercedes Benz sprinter chassis. An electric stabilizer option is available. 60×74 bed. I like this model because the queen bed is in the back of the vehicle, which lends a little privacy from the main sitting area. (Note there are other models with the two twin bed layout. And the 25RW model has only one bump-out, but it places the queen bed closer to the living area.)
This RV also has an overall narrower width, giving you a few extra inches to play with inside those tight campsites. The kitchen has a cooktop with convection microwave (saving on oven space), and the RV is already wired for solar panels, too!
This above list of small RVs includes:
- 2020 year models
- Mid and High-end price ranges (MSRP)
- Size (approx. 25 feet in length)
- Sleeping capacity (min. 4)
- Vehicle Chassis Type
- Whether auto-leveling is available
- Queen bed & dimensions
- Over-the-cab bunk
- Kitchen, dinette, toilet, and shower
- Alternate models with a bump-out option
Things to keep in mind:
2020 Models – All but one of the RVs listed here have been around in previous years, so reviews on past year’s vehicles are plentiful.
The price ranges are MSRP – The actual sales price will likely be different (and lower) based on specific features, your chosen dealer, and whether it is new or used. If you’re looking for great value, consider a gently used model. You’ll save on the initial price and still get a great RV.
Sleeping capacity – Unless the manufacturer specifically listed the sleeping capacity, each model has a minimum of 4+ persons (2 in the queen bed, 2 in bunk-over-cab), and in most cases, a person can sleep in the dinette area, but you’ll need to confirm with the dealer and your specific model.
Vehicle type and chassis is an important feature – For instance, the Ford E-350 and 450 chassis are very common on RVs. The 450, being larger, does provide additional braking power, and towing and carrying capability. But the E-350 is also fine and found on many smaller RVs. Ultimately the choice comes down to your loading needs, budget and personal preference.
Auto-leveling is a nice feature but is typically an upgrade option – We did not have auto leveling on our RV and had to use plastic leveling blocks each time we parked. It was not a huge deal and it got our kids involved in sighting and parking the RV, which gave them a little responsibility.
The queen bed is a must for most of us – However, some models have a two-twin bed option, too. The queen bed dimensions are noted, and many are shorter than 6 feet, so make sure it will work for you. Also, the over-the-cab bunk is great for the kids. It’s an efficient use of space and many have a retractable curtain for privacy, so they can have their own little “room” up there.
Kitchens – They are typically galley style with a sink, a stove/oven, and microwave, or a cooktop and convection microwave. The dinette has enough room for 4+ to eat and play games, and there is a toilet and stand-up shower in each. All you need for life on the road as a family.
Safety belts – Like most RVs, each of these models has lap safety belts in the dinette seats and loveseat/chairs. Kids (or parents) can sit safely at the table and read or play games while on the road. Great for those long rides between destinations.
Bump-out or not? A bump-out, also called a slider, is a feature where part of your RV house can extend outward on rails to expand the interior space. It is a nice feature as it gives you that extra elbow (or leg) room when you’re stopped. It also increases the price (see below), and there are maintenance concerns with the rails and seals around the bump-out.
If you’re buying new it will be less of an issue, but either way, it’s something to add to your maintenance routine.
Storage capacity – There is nothing like riding your own bike, but if you’re traveling light remember- bikes, surfboards, paddleboards, and kayaks can all be rented in most places. If not inside the park, then just outside. Do a little research first as this may be an efficient way to explore without having to carry your gear across the Country.
Tip: We each brought a few favorite books, then visited local used bookstores to find new reads.
Hit the Road!
At the end of the day, any one of these vehicles will suit your exploration needs as a family or couple. So, take a look and see what works for your crew, your goals, and your budget. Then choose what feels right for you and hit the road! You won’t regret it.
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