Everything You Need to Know About Buying an RV Van


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Do you love the excitement of exploring the world but don’t want a big motorhome? Then a Class B RV van could be for you. Below we’ll go over everything you need to know about buying one of these smaller campers, including the best RV vans for sale

What Are RV Vans?

Class B Camper van set up for boondocking in open field
Photo by Camping World

RV vans are also known as Class B motorhomes, van campers, or leisure travel vans. They are smaller than Class A RVs but still have space for the essentials. You’ll find bathrooms, kitchens, and comfortable spaces to sleep in. 

Another way to think of them is like vans with benefits. They have what you need to survive and feel comfortable on the road while still being compact enough to fit in a parking space. There’s no need to tow anything extra if you don’t want to. You can pack up and move out. 

There are three main chassis types that RV van campers are built on. These chassis are the Ford Transit, RAM ProMaster, and Mercedes-Benz. These articles will teach you more about each chassis and provide some of our favorite RV vans for each: 

RV Van Specs

Depending on your chosen model and features, RV van prices typically fall within the $90,000 to $250,000 range. They generally are 17-24 feet long and sleep 1-4 people. The average gas mileage for new and used RV vans can be around 17-23 miles per gallon, but the more weight you carry, the less mileage you’ll get. 

Pros and Cons of RV Vans

If you’re thinking about buying an RV van for sale, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of this type of van camper. 

Easier to park than larger RVsNeed a place to store your van
Easier to drive than larger RVsCost
Better gas mileageMore maintenance than a regular van
Camp whenever you wantMay need to purchase extra accessories
Makes the perfect tiny home


Family roasting marshmallows on portable fire pit outside Class B motorhome
Photo by Camping World

Here are some of the potential benefits of owning a Class B RV van:

  • Easier to park: Class A and Class C motorhomes offer a lot, but it can be hard to find legal and feasible places to park. Class Bs are smaller and, therefore, easier to park. You can park class B RVs anywhere you can park a van. 
  • Easier to drive: If you’ve been on the road a while, you might see bridges with vehicle height limits and steep hills with warnings for larger vehicles. So, it can be difficult to take bigger RVs on roads that aren’t relatively open and flat. RV vans, on the other hand, can handle a variety of routes and terrains. Find out more about why van campers are considered the easiest RV to drive.  
  • Better gas mileage: Since camper vans are just a little larger than cars, their mileage is not too different. You can travel far without having to worry about stopping to fill up, making them a great option for planning a cross country RV road trip.
  • Camp whenever you want: Since everything you need to camp is already in the van, you’re good to camp whenever the mood strikes. Had a tough week and work? Grab your supplies and head out for the weekend. It’s that easy.
  • It’s the perfect tiny home: Leisure travel vans are great for people who love a minimalist and nomadic lifestyle. And they’re not as costly as investing in a brand-new home. 


Dad and daughter standing outside RV van camper
Photo by Camping World

Here are some potential drawbacks of RV vans:

  • Storage: Vehicle storage might be an issue if you live in an apartment building or somewhere with little driveway space. Before committing to an RV van, ensure you have somewhere safe and legal to park it.  
  • Cost: Because RV vans have many amenities like cooking space and a bathroom, they’ll cost more than a regular van or truck. 
  • Maintenance: Like any other vehicle, you’ll need to do routine maintenance. But it’s more than filling up the tank and oil changes. It’s also maintaining the AC, kitchen and bathroom, and RV engine. Be sure you know how to keep everything in working condition. Download this reference sheet to track your RV’s maintenance records.
  • Buying accessories: You may need to purchase accessories, like extra bedding, cooking supplies, and propane, before your RV van is ready to hit the road. Visit Camping World for all your RV supplies and accessories.

Inspecting the Van: What to Look Out for 

Before buying any RV van for sale, you’ll need to inspect it to ensure everything is working. You don’t want to be on your first trip and suddenly discover that the bathroom’s out of order. Here’s what to look for. 


  • Mileage: RV vans typically last anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 miles. A used van 50,000 miles or less will get you lots of time on the open road, as long as you’re properly maintaining it. A used van with more than 75,000 miles could have more than 100,000 miles left in it—or just 25,000, depending on how well the previous owner took care of it.
  • Warning lights: When you’re inspecting RV vans for sale, make sure you actually put the keys in the ignition. You’ll want to look at what lights – if any – light up on the dash. While some issues (e.g. low tire pressure) can be easily resolved, others (e.g. engine oil, battery, check engine) are red flags.
  • No maintenance history: If you’re buying a used camper van and can’t get its maintenance history, that’s a red flag. You need to know if it was maintained, or else you could be on the road one minute and stranded on the shoulder calling for Good Sam Roadside Assistance the next.
  • Rust: Seeing rust means that excess water may have entered the engine and caused damage. If you see rust in the engine, it may be best to consider other RV vans for sale.
  • Propane leaks: If you’re purchasing a used van from a dealer, they will have likely performed a safety check to ensure there are no propane leaks. However, if you’re purchasing from a private seller, you will need to hire someone or learn how to perform this type of inspection. Contact a Camping World Service Center to schedule a propane leak test.


  • Wall stains: Stains on the wall signify that water not only entered the RV but also stayed there for a while. Water doesn’t stain unless it’s had time to settle in. So, wall stains could signify that the RV van camper you’re considering had significant water damage at some point. Here’s how to conduct a roof inspection to find signs of water entry.
  • Floor stains: Stains on the floor could mean that you have a bathroom leak or other plumbing issues. You don’t want to buy an RV van to spend more money fixing it unless you’re a DIYer interested in finding clearance RVs and renovating them.
  • Lighting issues: If you notice that not all the lights come on, there could be big, expensive issues with the electrical system. The seller should have replaced the light bulbs if that was the only problem. 
  • Refrigerator odor: A strong odor coming from the fridge should give you pause. If the odor seems permanent, you may need to replace the fridge altogether, and RV refrigerators can be very expensive.   
  • No flame: If you hear a click on the stove but aren’t seeing the stove burners ignite, that’s a red flag. Until you check it out further, you won’t know if the pilot light is out or if you need to replace an entire gas line. 


  • Popping trim: If the door’s trim pops out or looks off, it could be that the van was previously damaged and has not been fixed properly.
  • Worn tires: All tires need tread. If the tires look bald, you’d need to spend money to replace them. Unsure if the tires are bald? Try the penny test. Take a penny and stick it in the tread ribs with Lincoln’s head down. If his head disappears, there’s plenty of tread left. If you see most of his head, it’s time to get new tires. Learn more about RV and trailer tires before buying a van camper.
  • Rust: Seeing rust on the outside is just as bad as the inside. It means there could have been extensive water damage.

How to Find the Right RV Van for Different Needs

Now that you know about the red flags, let’s look at the different RV vans you could get.

Full-Time Living

Lady looking at camera with computer on table in RV
Photo by Camping World

Do you want to live in an RV van full-time? Then you’ll want a camper van with comfortable sleeping options, a decent kitchen, and a bathroom. 

The Winnebago Travato 59K is a great option for full-time living. It has ample closet space, twin beds that can easily convert into a king, and fantastic kitchen space. You can cook great meals, relax with a nice shower, and settle in for movie night. It’s everything you need to make your van feel like home. 

Travel and Camping

RV Van in open field with grill, cooler, and camping supplies outside
Photo by Camping World

If you love camping, then you want an adventure van that makes it easy to get away at a moment’s notice. Camper vans are perfect for making your outdoor dreams a reality because of their amenities and the convenience of their smaller size. 

If you’re an avid camper or traveler, consider the Jayco Terrain. The Jayco Terrain 19Y sleeps two with a power lift bed. It has a gear garage, wet bath, and 5,000 lb towing capacity. Perfect for any adventure. Explore Jayco’s entire RV lineup.


Couple sitting in their RV van drinking beverages
Photo by Camping World

Consider yourself a glamper? Do you prefer the finer things in life? Then a luxury RV van might just be more your speed. 

If you want a model that doesn’t skimp on luxury, consider the Thor Sanctuary 19P. It has a TV in the rear bedroom and a convertible bed that can convert to a king.  It also has a removable table up front for dining, a Thule bike rack, a roof rack, and a JBL flip speaker. 

Financing an RV Van

Generally, RV financing comes in two forms: secured loans and unsecured loans. 

Secured loans are for higher amounts and use the RV’s title as collateral. The main drawback to these loans is that if you miss any loan payments, your RV is repossessed by the dealer or bank. But because lenders have this option, interest rates tend to be lower.  

Unsecured loans are based on your creditworthiness. They are often used for lower loan amounts, from $5,000-$100,000. They may have higher interest rates, so keep that in mind.

Your best bet to finding a suitable loan is to ask your RV dealer. Dealers, like Camping World, have connections to great lenders, and you’re more likely to get a better deal through them. 

Regardless of what type of loan you get, know that banks not connected with your dealer will want an RV inspection. Loans through your dealer may not need them. 

Find Your Dream RV Van

Are you considering a class B RV van? Camping World has you covered. 

Find a location near you to tour your favorite van campers in person. 

We have many RV vans for sale, whether you want one you can live in full-time or take out for shorter staycations. Camping World also offers RV financing so you can find and purchase your camper van all in one spot. 

Browse our collection of Class B RV vans today so you can live the life of travel you’ve always wanted.  

Do you have any questions about buying a camper van? Let us know in the comments below.

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